Northland Newton | Needham St. @ Oak St. | Newton

F-Line to Dudley

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How much more branching can you do on the green line? The central subway is already super congested.
You can do lots more branching after the GLT initiative cleans things up. Signal priority on the B and C + all-door PoP boarding tames most of the dispatching chaos going into Kenmore. The new stretched low-floor cars tame most of the dwell time issues in the subway. The systemwide signal audit whacks a lot of speed restrictions that have been around since the PCC era but make no sense with cleanroomed rolling stock and modern technology giving the operator additional tools. Dispatching reform with more computer traffic management...and hopefully someday actual automated signaling...trims the fat and inflexibility from it being an error-overpadded strictly human-controlled operation.

Remember: there used to be FIVE western branches (in addition to 1 remaining South End branch that lasted into the Riverside era)...daily supplemental short-turn service on the Arborway and Watertown lines throughout their service lives...and episodic trials of short-turns on the BC and Riverside lines when those still had their respective mid-line turnbacks at Nickerson Field and Reservoir. And Needham was supposed to be built in tandem with Riverside, so the D was built from Day 1 with higher-density signaling than it actually makes use of as a solo service.

The last 30 years of ops brainrot in the light rail division is not at all indicative of the Green Line's native throughput, because it used to do lots more. The places where it's failing now are attributed to very clear-cut ops inefficiencies. Take out the trash with all the surface traffic conflicts and dwell hell and rediscover the forgotten art of slotting and there's room off Kenmore for not only the moderate-load Needham Branch but also Urban Ring-North and Harvard Branch spurs off a BU Bridge subway extension.


The worst-case, most conservative scenario for GLT reforms still serves ample capacity for a Needham Branch. Best-case scenario where they optimize the shit out of everything: lots, lots more expansion.
 

Equilibria

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In this case, though, they didn't punt. The City has rediscovered enthusiasm for the extension with all this redev we're talking about here, because without a transit solution the growth along Needham St. and at New England Business Center won't be sustainable. It's a transit-using neighborhood anyway since the locals are reliant on the 59, sick of the crappy service on that broken route, and dearly want something better. Whatever NIMBY's there might be have powerful incentive to be open-minded given the looming carpocalypse they're looking at.
All I can say is: I hope you're right. It's possible that the pushback to the Better Bus proposals to drop Eliot St. service could pave the way for some neighborhood enthusiasm, but I think it's going to be hard to overcome 1,000 yard signs that say "SAVE OUR GREENWAY" in Upper Falls.

Newton had some enthusiasm for this before, but it's mostly fallen back on the MBTA not having much interest. It's too bad, since I think Newton could almost fund the whole thing themselves if they wanted to. A one-stop extension to Upper Falls would be straight, flat, pre-graded, and cheap as hell.
 

mass88

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MassDOT is redoing Needham St in the next couple of years, so the current arrangement won't coexist with this project.

Building more road is not the answer - building a Green Line branch next to this development is the answer. I wish the City of Newton were serious about that, but they punted and built a trail on the ROW so now the neighborhood will revolt against the train.
Building a green line branch, while nice, is not the answer to traffic in this area. They need to expand (modestly) and make the road infrastructure more efficient in the area. You have a large business park adjacent to this area and adding a green line branch is not going to make a large dent in the number of cars that flood this area.

A green line stop does not address the flood of cars coming from the suburbs.
 

Equilibria

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Building a green line branch, while nice, is not the answer to traffic in this area. They need to expand (modestly) and make the road infrastructure more efficient in the area. You have a large business park adjacent to this area and adding a green line branch is not going to make a large dent in the number of cars that flood this area.

A green line stop does not address the flood of cars coming from the suburbs.
Beyond the induced demand argument, there is currently a road network in the area, while there is no transit. I don't have hard data, but I'm reasonably confident that the impact on local throughout capacity is pretty significantly higher with transit than with an extra turn lane here and there.

By the way, Highland/Needham is already being fully rebuilt through the area, and the junction with 128 just gained C/D roads, new ramps, and a whole new exit to Kendrick. I don't think you can argue that the road capacity is being ignored.
 

mass88

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Beyond the induced demand argument, there is currently a road network in the area, while there is no transit. I don't have hard data, but I'm reasonably confident that the impact on local throughout capacity is pretty significantly higher with transit than with an extra turn lane here and there.

By the way, Highland/Needham is already being fully rebuilt through the area, and the junction with 128 just gained C/D roads, new ramps, and a whole new exit to Kendrick. I don't think you can argue that the road capacity is being ignored.
I am not suggesting that transit is not needed in this area, because it is. Especially once this residential project is complete. The 128 add-a-lane project, while very necessary to expand and upgrade the road infrastructure in this area, did not touch the stretch of Highland Ave starting at the Staples intersection and running all the way to Winchester Street in Newton. It's good to hear there's a project on the books that will hopefully address the road issues in this area.
 

DAVE

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At least it looks like the 59 is getting doubled frequency at Needham street, which is essentially the same section this proposed glx would fill. If we can get more everett-like pro-bus municipal decisions then we could get even better and needed service improvements.
 

Equilibria

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City of Newton response to proposed transportation mitigation by Northland:

http://www.newtonma.gov/civicax/filebank/blobdload.aspx?BlobID=96257

They're... um... not buying this magic shuttle thing. However, they seem fatalistically willing to let Northland off the hook in exchange for $275,000 in study funding pertaining to possible transit on the Upper Falls Greenway corridor (read: Green Line Extension to Needham).

In my opinion, that's not good enough. They should get a commitment from Northland to build at least the Green Line station behind their development now, with some wiggle room based on what recommendations the study makes (Green Line is the only idea that makes sense there, regardless of the prior MAPC study focusing on a busway). Not that they'd build white elephant platforms, but they'd be legally-obligated to fund it if it happens.

Given that the Planning Department saying the right things about first-mile/last-mile issues and shuttle frequency and not competing with MBTA service, I'd hope for a bit more toughness in their approach after they say all of that.

Without the Green Line this project doesn't work. With the Green Line (and as a catalyst for the Green Line) this project is a huge step forward for Newton. It's really that simple.
 

Equilibria

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APPROVED. RightSize is talking referendum, but I doubt that happens. They'll get distracted when Riverside is approved in a couple of weeks.

Site plan at approval:


Recommend thread title change to "Northland Newton | Needham Street at Oak Street | Newton".

EDIT - Globe coverage:


1575388274505.png
 
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vanshnookenraggen

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Re: Central Subway capacity. Worst case scenario you could add another branch to the D to serve Upper Falls which would turn back at Kenmore Sq.
 

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