Reasonable Transit Pitches

bigeman312

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Assuming the Needham Line still exists:
  • A-K, Wachusett/Littleton <—> Stoughton
  • B2-K, Haverhill <—> Stoughton
  • B1-J, Lowell <—> Providence/Wickford Junction
  • C-J, Reading <—> Providence/Wickford Junction
  • D-F, Newburyport/Beverly <—> Framingham/Worcester
  • E-F, Rockport/Beverly <—> Framingham/Worcester
  • G short turn, Beverly <—> Needham
  • H/I short turn, Salem <—> Foxboro/Franklin
  • L/M/N short turn, Woburn <—> Middleborough/Fall River/New Bedford
  • O/P short turn, Waltham (Route 128)/Porter <—> Kingston/Greenbush
 

Koopzilla24

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The NSRL reassessment suggests a Franklin Line short turn at Dedham Corp. Not sure why though.
 

bigeman312

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Are there ridership projections for NSRL by line? My hypothesis is that north side lines receive a larger bump in ridership, proportionally, than south side lines would, as adding a one-seat ride to South Station and Back Bay is a bigger gain than North Station ( … and Porter?).
 

jklo

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Are there ridership projections for NSRL by line? My hypothesis is that north side lines receive a larger bump in ridership, proportionally, than south side lines would, as adding a one-seat ride to South Station and Back Bay is a bigger gain than North Station ( … and Porter?).
Destination wouldn't be Porter, it'd be Kendall.
 

Koopzilla24

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Are there ridership projections for NSRL by line? My hypothesis is that north side lines receive a larger bump in ridership, proportionally, than south side lines would, as adding a one-seat ride to South Station and Back Bay is a bigger gain than North Station ( … and Porter?).
https://www.mass.gov/doc/chapter-6-7/download

From the 2019 Reassessment study. Chapter 7 is the benefits analysis.
 

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Koopzilla24

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Thanks! This study came to the same conclusion. 75% increase to the North Side and 34% increase to the South Side.
I think most of that is from the 1seat to Ruggles. Northeastern, MassArt, Wentworth, MCPHS, Harvard Medical, and to top it all off the LMA. A lot of LMA staff comes through Ruggles station as-is.
 

bigeman312

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I think most of that is from the 1seat to Ruggles. Northeastern, MassArt, Wentworth, MCPHS, Harvard Medical, and to top it all off the LMA. A lot of LMA staff comes through Ruggles station as-is.
I wouldn't assume that most of the increase is from access to Ruggles. For that to be true, the increase driven by access to Ruggles would have to outnumber the increase driven by one-seat access to South Station, Back Bay, etc, COMBINED! More likely, no single station's access is responsible for most of that increase. But it certainly may be true (I don't have the data to back up such a claim) that a plurality of the increase is driven by access to Ruggles.
 

Blackbird

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Saw that one lane in each direction of Huntington Ave until Brigham is now a bus lane for the 39. Got me wondering 2 things:

First, wouldn’t it be more efficient for the 39 to only run between Forest Hills and Heath Street? It doubles the green line for the whole stretch to Back Bay and that length of street can get really congested.

The second thing is: how difficult would it be to install cameras along bus lanes and fine drivers by plate if they drive in it? Didn’t seem like there was any enforcement, and I’ve noticed the same for the bus lanes on Mass Ave in Cambridge.
 

Riverside

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First, wouldn’t it be more efficient for the 39 to only run between Forest Hills and Heath Street? It doubles the green line for the whole stretch to Back Bay and that length of street can get really congested.
Alas, it would not: basically all of those riders disembarking at Heath would pile on to E Line trains, which already don't have capacity. Besides, lots of 39 riders are heading toward Longwood, Northeastern, and Prudential anyway:

1673105529434.png


So it's actually more efficient to run the 39 and save the seats on the E for riders going beyond Copley.
 

bigeman312

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Alas, it would not: basically all of those riders disembarking at Heath would pile on to E Line trains, which already don't have capacity. Besides, lots of 39 riders are heading toward Longwood, Northeastern, and Prudential anyway:

View attachment 32738

So it's actually more efficient to run the 39 and save the seats on the E for riders going beyond Copley.
100% agreed. To add on to this, what would be even more efficient would be a dedicated transit corridor past Brigham Circle, along Huntington Ave, that would be used by both Green Line trains and buses (T39, T47, 65, 85).
 

Blackbird

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Alas, it would not: basically all of those riders disembarking at Heath would pile on to E Line trains, which already don't have capacity. Besides, lots of 39 riders are heading toward Longwood, Northeastern, and Prudential anyway:
Guess the main flaw in my plan was overestimating the E train’s capacity. But you’re right, the system as is probably couldn’t accommodate the 39 riders.

Still, besides maybe the 57 between Packards and Kenmore, I can’t think of any bus routes in the city that are equally redundant.

100% agreed. To add on to this, what would be even more efficient would be a dedicated transit corridor past Brigham Circle, along Huntington Ave, that would be used by both Green Line trains and buses (T39, T47, 65, 85).
Might as well considering it’s already there for most on Huntington. And driving on the tracks is such a nightmare anyway.

It’d be complicated, though, considering that the bus lane and stops are currently on the outer lane leading up to Brigham. It’d need to switch to the inner lane to line up with the street running green line. I also envision things getting tricky at the South Huntington/Route 9 intersection.
 

Teban54

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Saw that one lane in each direction of Huntington Ave until Brigham is now a bus lane for the 39. Got me wondering 2 things:

First, wouldn’t it be more efficient for the 39 to only run between Forest Hills and Heath Street? It doubles the green line for the whole stretch to Back Bay and that length of street can get really congested.

The second thing is: how difficult would it be to install cameras along bus lanes and fine drivers by plate if they drive in it? Didn’t seem like there was any enforcement, and I’ve noticed the same for the bus lanes on Mass Ave in Cambridge.
The first draft of the bus network redesign (BNRD) tried to do basically what you said. The T39 was essentially cut back to Brigham Circle, but paired with what's essentially the 47 to go via Brookline Ave and BU bridge to Central Sq Cambridge and Union Sq Somerville.

However, that proposal received so much controversy that they reverted the plan in the final draft, which has the T39 continue its existing route to Back Bay, and a resurrected and restructured T47 from Ruggles to Union Sq Somerville.

So unfortunately, your suggestion is clearly impractical in real life. Some reasons were highlighted by others above, but I don't think that's all.
 

Blackbird

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So unfortunately, your suggestion is clearly impractical in real life. Some reasons were highlighted by others above, but I don't think that's all.
Care to elaborate? If the E train had a higher capacity and ran more frequently, I think it’d be a no brainer. But a massive crowd at Heath or Brigham trying to jam into a single car through the front entrance after waiting 15min in the elements is definitely not ideal.
 

Teban54

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Care to elaborate? If the E train had a higher capacity and ran more frequently, I think it’d be a no brainer. But a massive crowd at Heath or Brigham trying to jam into a single car through the front entrance after waiting 15min in the elements is definitely not ideal.
The BNRD didn't give specific reasons for why they canceled the planned amendment of the T39, but a while ago it was pointed out here that the 39/E transit corridor has existed for so long that it has already impacted residence and employment decisions. Someone could have decided to stay in JP when they get a job in LMA or Back Bay for the direct connection, and may have stayed there for decades.

Even if someone does want to transfer to the Green Line eventually, doing so at Copley gives you access to 4 branches instead of just 1. And of course, losing the 39 means you miss out on the Orange Line connection (backtracking to Forest Hills notwithstanding).

The 39 can also often be even faster than the E until the latter hits the subway. I've seen people at Riverway not boarding the E and instead taking the next 39.

To make it politically feasible to reroute the 39, I imagine it has to be a world outlined in the Green Line Configuration proposals, where you have a D-E connector so that you can run two or more branches on Huntington instead of just one, a subway at least to Brigham Circle to improve travel speed significantly, and 3 min frequencies during peak hours.
 

737900er

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Alas, it would not: basically all of those riders disembarking at Heath would pile on to E Line trains, which already don't have capacity. Besides, lots of 39 riders are heading toward Longwood, Northeastern, and Prudential anyway:
One nuance I noticed when considering the T39 proposal , which I think you're getting at, is that the E looks very different than the other branches in terms of demand throughout the day. If you look at the ridership entering the Central Subway (entering Kenmore for B, C, D and entering Copley for E) the E is the lowest of all the branches at morning inbound peak.

1673205501934.png
1673213648837.png

I pulled the 2018 data because I don't trust the 2019 numbers

The 39's ridership looks much more like a traditional radial bus, so if it was cut back, those passengers would mostly get on at (relatively) low ridership time. The real problem is that the PM Peak on the E is the highest point on the entire Green branch system:
1673206476705.png


One thing the Profile diagram doesn't illustrate that well is how the vast majority of passengers on the 39 have exited by the time it leaves Prudential. A huge number get off in the shared section of the E.
1673212789932.png



To be clear, I don't think the 39 should be truncated today. However, I think the main reason not to cut it back (or send it somewhere other than Back Bay/Copley) is that it fulfills too many OSRs, rather than being a significant capacity drag on the E.
As @Teban54 notes, big changes to the Huntington branch are needed to change the 39. I think the T39 -- sending the 39 somewhere other than Back Bay -- was a great idea but decades ahead of its time.
 
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Teban54

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@737900er Great data, thanks!

View attachment 32768
I pulled the 2018 data because I don't trust the 2019 numbers
I would have never guessed Prudential and Symphony (especially the latter) would have more boardings than the LMA stops. Same for the streetcar section combined. Is ridership to LMA lower than I thought?

The 39's ridership looks much more like a traditional radial bus, so if it was cut back, those passengers would mostly get on at (relatively) low ridership time. The real problem is that the PM Peak on the E is the highest point on the entire Green branch system:
With the E's ridership profile diagrams in mind, that may not be too big of a problem. The E's PM peak ridership is more geared towards entering the Central Subway, whereas passengers riding the 39 back home would probably transfer from the E leaving the Central Subway.

Even then, I think capacity may still be an issue. Here's the 39's ridership by trip in the Better Bus Profile:
Inbound ridership starts high and is highest from 6:00 AM to 9:00 AM, with most trips exceeding 60 boardings and some trips with over 90 boardings (see Figure 4). Midday ridership generally ranges from 45 to over 80 passengers. PM peak ridership per trip is generally 60 to 70 passengers. Ridership then drops off rapidly beginning at about 7:00 PM, declining from 30 passengers per trip to around 5 passengers per trip towards the end of service.

Outbound ridership starts with lower volumes, increasing to 30 to 40 passengers during the AM peak (see Figure 5). From 11:00 AM to the beginning of the PM peak it grows from around 40 passengers per trip to over 60. PM peak ridership is then extremely high with most trips carrying more than 80 passengers and one trip carrying more than 110 passengers. Evening ridership declines from around 50 to 70 passengers at 7:00 PM to fewer than 20 around midnight.
The 39 ran 5-min average frequencies during AM peak pre-Covid. The E's frequency is actually slightly worse than that, and can't be increased easily due to the Central Subway's capacity limits. Dumping 60+ passengers to each E train is questionable, even if ridership on inbound E is lower than outbound during AM peak, and even if many passengers get off at LMA.

One thing the Profile diagram doesn't illustrate that well is how the vast majority of passengers on the 39 have exited by the time it leaves Prudential. A huge number get off in the shared section of the E.
View attachment 32767
Gotta admit, I had no idea Forest Hills would have this many boardings. 1/3 of all boardings, and 2/3 of peak number of passengers onboard. Although it does appear that this combines both AM peak and PM peak inbound trips (and all other times), so the 2180 boardings at Forest Hills also includes up to 900 that will alight in Jamaica Plain: these are probably PM riders transferring from OL.

Here's the excerpt from the Better Bus Profile. I tried to analyze this (e.g. how many passengers alighting at LMA are from Forest Hills), but the combined data is too messy to be useful.
• Just over one third of all Route 39 inbound riders (2,180) board at Forest Hills Station. This is by far the highest boarding stop on the route (no other stop reaches 400 daily boardings).
• Both boardings and alightings are very high along South Street and Centre Street, with a total of 1,440 boardings and 900 alightings.
• A total of 870 passengers board and 360 alight along South Huntington Avenue. The VA Hospital stop along this section is one of Route 39’s lowest ridership stops.
• Ridership activity increases along Huntington Avenue. The two stops before the Longwood Medical area serve 510 boardings and 670 alightings.
• The three stops that serve the Longwood Medical Area serve a total of 620 boardings and 1,420 alightings. The highest ridership stop is Huntington Avenue at Fenwood Avenue, which is the stop closest to the Brigham and Women’s Hospital complex off of Francis Street (190 boardings and 730 alightings).
• A total of 210 passengers board and 760 alight at the remaining three stops on Huntington Avenue, two of which serve Northeastern University.
• A total of 70 passengers board and 350 alight on the jog over to Boylston Street via Belvidere Street and Dalton Street.
• A total of 52 passengers board and 310 alight at the two stops on Boylston Street before Copley Station.
• 30 passengers board and 480 alight at Boylston Street at Dartmouth Street, which is the stop closest to Copley Station.
• 510 passengers alight at the final stop at Back Bay Station.
 

JeffDowntown

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@737900er Great data, thanks!


I would have never guessed Prudential and Symphony (especially the latter) would have more boardings than the LMA stops. Same for the streetcar section combined. Is ridership to LMA lower than I thought?
A lot of transit commuters to LMA use the MASCO shuttle, so would not show up on the LMA area E boardings.
 

Koopzilla24

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I wouldn't assume that most of the increase is from access to Ruggles. For that to be true, the increase driven by access to Ruggles would have to outnumber the increase driven by one-seat access to South Station, Back Bay, etc, COMBINED! More likely, no single station's access is responsible for most of that increase. But it certainly may be true (I don't have the data to back up such a claim) that a plurality of the increase is driven by access to Ruggles.
I honestly forgot about Back Bay despite using the station every day myself. I’d think Ruggles would have greater demand than SS due to better access to further connections and jobs but Back Bay completely subverts that. This is on the assumption of a 2-Track NSRL on the study recommended South/Congress alignment.
 

Teban54

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I honestly forgot about Back Bay despite using the station every day myself. I’d think Ruggles would have greater demand than SS due to better access to further connections and jobs but Back Bay completely subverts that. This is on the assumption of a 2-Track NSRL on the study recommended South/Congress alignment.
Also, South Station offers much better connectivity to the Financial District than North Station (you can just walk there instead of taking OL and then walking).
 

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