Reasonable Transit Pitches

tysmith95

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Instead of trying to rebuild the newton commuter rail stations, squeeze in the green line and extend it through Cambridge down the grand junction line.

Could use Boston landing as the transfer stop where both CR and GL stop.
 

Charlie_mta

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Instead of trying to rebuild the newton commuter rail stations, squeeze in the green line and extend it through Cambridge down the grand junction line.

Could use Boston landing as the transfer stop where both CR and GL stop.
I don't think there's enough width to squeeze in two more tracks alongside the commuter rail tracks and Mass Pike through Newton. The 4-tracking of this rail line has been discussed before on AB, and as I recall, the consensus was there isn't enough room through Newton.
 

Koopzilla24

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There really should still be a Newton Corner Station with all the bus connections and Mass Pike connection. The interchange would need serious reconfiguring, which is being studied, for it to double as a park n ride but the potential for ridership is so much higher there than at the other Newton stations, and those are even decently used despite their level of service and condition. Its proximity to Newtonville is an issue for commuter trains but if they actually go ahead with the urban rail idea it'd be an ideal place for a stop. I say it should be restored there if they're going to reconfigure the interchange anyway and be served by the Worcester Line when it doesn't stop at the other Newton stations.
 

737900er

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There really should still be a Newton Corner Station with all the bus connections and Mass Pike connection. The interchange would need serious reconfiguring, which is being studied, for it to double as a park n ride but the potential for ridership is so much higher there than at the other Newton stations, and those are even decently used despite their level of service and condition. Its proximity to Newtonville is an issue for commuter trains but if they actually go ahead with the urban rail idea it'd be an ideal place for a stop. I say it should be restored there if they're going to reconfigure the interchange anyway and be served by the Worcester Line when it doesn't stop at the other Newton stations.
This isn't really the thread for this, but if we're going to have 15-minute headways on the B&A there isn't a choice but to have Newton Corner stop. In the past I've heard people say "if it's too hard just skip it", but you'd be really kneecapping the entire corridor by not including Newton Corner. I don't think a P&R facility is necessary and I don't think we want to be doing anything to encourage more cars through the "circle". Riverside will be the P&R kings which is why I do think it's worthwhile to actually build a terminating station there.

Newton Corner already holds its own for how bad the service is today. The 501/[502/503]/504 -- routes that's shouldn't exist in the first place and get stuck in traffic on the Pike -- are one of those secret corridors on the bus network that a lot of people don't realize exist unless you use them frequently. Similar to the comparison between Lynn and Quincy @Riverside wrote up a few weeks ago, possibly to an even bigger extent, the west side bus situation would be massively improved with better rail connections. This is from 2019, but if you look at the bus frequencies only at Peak, it's wild how much the MassPike lights up compared to every other corridor. The only corridors that saw more buses at peak than than the MassPike buses to Newton Corner were Roslindale Village to Forest Hills and Ruggles/Roxbury Crossing to Nubian
1674402415950.png

With trains every 15 minutes to Newton Corner, and all the other Newton stops, those buses could all be discontinued and allocated to do something else and the rest cut back to Newton Corner, building out the bus network in Brighton, Newton, Waltham, and Watertown. It would probably also make sense to extend the 71 to Newton Corner and put some kind of bus lanes on Centre/Galen. The west-side bus situation is exacerbated from a lack of garage (the 500s area all Albany routes), so there would would be a lot of potential to build out new corridors to feed into the other Newton stops on the B&A and on the outer D (which suffers from lack of bus connections, and would likely see some ridership decrease with better service on the B&A).
 

jklo

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This isn't really the thread for this, but if we're going to have 15-minute headways on the B&A there isn't a choice but to have Newton Corner stop.
Technically the Worcester line had 15 minute headways in 2019 as it was sending 4 tph at Peak.
 

Koopzilla24

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This isn't really the thread for this, but if we're going to have 15-minute headways on the B&A there isn't a choice but to have Newton Corner stop. In the past I've heard people say "if it's too hard just skip it", but you'd be really kneecapping the entire corridor by not including Newton Corner. I don't think a P&R facility is necessary and I don't think we want to be doing anything to encourage more cars through the "circle". Riverside will be the P&R kings which is why I do think it's worthwhile to actually build a terminating station there.

Newton Corner already holds its own for how bad the service is today. The 501/[502/503]/504 -- routes that's shouldn't exist in the first place and get stuck in traffic on the Pike -- are one of those secret corridors on the bus network that a lot of people don't realize exist unless you use them frequently. Similar to the comparison between Lynn and Quincy @Riverside wrote up a few weeks ago, possibly to an even bigger extent, the west side bus situation would be massively improved with better rail connections. This is from 2019, but if you look at the bus frequencies only at Peak, it's wild how much the MassPike lights up compared to every other corridor. The only corridors that saw more buses at peak than than the MassPike buses to Newton Corner were Roslindale Village to Forest Hills and Ruggles/Roxbury Crossing to Nubian
View attachment 33347
With trains every 15 minutes to Newton Corner, and all the other Newton stops, those buses could all be discontinued and allocated to do something else and the rest cut back to Newton Corner, building out the bus network in Brighton, Newton, Waltham, and Watertown. It would probably also make sense to extend the 71 to Newton Corner and put some kind of bus lanes on Centre/Galen. The west-side bus situation is exacerbated from a lack of garage (the 500s area all Albany routes), so there would would be a lot of potential to build out new corridors to feed into the other Newton stops on the B&A and on the outer D (which suffers from lack of bus connections, and would likely see some ridership decrease with better service on the B&A).
Data from TransitMatters suggests ridership is way down compared to pre-pandemic on the Newton routes despite 96% service. I imagine a lot of that is Newton folks going work from home or retiring.
I used to commute on the 501 a few months ago and it was packed in Brighton Center for the 7am hour buses before getting to Oak Sq. The bus typically remained 2/3 full after Back Bay so the demand seems there to get downtown. The only Boston Landing options in the same time frame were 7:07 and 7:45 not that that station is very accessible by bus. There was usually a 10min delay due to Mass Pike traffic on the 501. A combination of increased CR frequency and a Newton Corner station would indeed make the 504 and 501 entirely obsolete in their current form but they could be repurposed. The 501 could supplement the 64, serving Boston Landing between Lower Allston and Brighton, and the 504 could supplement the 52 to Newton Corner between Newton Center and Watertown yard. Or even extend the 504 to Waltham Center via Main St. and replace the 556.
1674413912169.png

504 Left, 501 Right. Extended the 501 to Central Square to complete the transit connection
 

TrolleybusFoaming

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Just to show off how fast the express buses are: I've found that, despite living in Newton Center, biking to Newton Corner and catching the 504 is actually the fastest way downtown during middays. Obviously I'm in the extreme minority here: for the vast majority of (peak) express riders, a train will be faster, even with a few extra stops.

the 504 could supplement the 52 to Newton Corner between Newton Center and Watertown yard. Or even extend the 504 to Waltham Center via Main St. and replace the 556.
Apparently we can't even get weekend service on the 52 in the BNRD, I think the Centre Street corridor is hopeless... /s
 

Teban54

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Data from TransitMatters suggests ridership is way down compared to pre-pandemic on the Newton routes despite 96% service. I imagine a lot of that is Newton folks going work from home or retiring.
I used to commute on the 501 a few months ago and it was packed in Brighton Center for the 7am hour buses before getting to Oak Sq. The bus typically remained 2/3 full after Back Bay so the demand seems there to get downtown. The only Boston Landing options in the same time frame were 7:07 and 7:45 not that that station is very accessible by bus. There was usually a 10min delay due to Mass Pike traffic on the 501. A combination of increased CR frequency and a Newton Corner station would indeed make the 504 and 501 entirely obsolete in their current form but they could be repurposed. The 501 could supplement the 64, serving Boston Landing between Lower Allston and Brighton, and the 504 could supplement the 52 to Newton Corner between Newton Center and Watertown yard. Or even extend the 504 to Waltham Center via Main St. and replace the 556.
View attachment 33360
504 Left, 501 Right. Extended the 501 to Central Square to complete the transit connection
Your proposed 501 largely duplicates the 86 aside from the Red Line connection, and I feel Harvard is a better connection point than Central. It might be easier to just have the 86 make a detour to Boston Landing.
 

HenryAlan

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I don't think there's enough width to squeeze in two more tracks alongside the commuter rail tracks and Mass Pike through Newton. The 4-tracking of this rail line has been discussed before on AB, and as I recall, the consensus was there isn't enough room through Newton.
From looking at Google Maps satellite view, I think you could fit four tracks as far as Newton Corner. If Newton Corner were to get a regional rail station, that might work as the end point for any Boston and Albany ROW green line branch.
 

Koopzilla24

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Your proposed 501 largely duplicates the 86 aside from the Red Line connection, and I feel Harvard is a better connection point than Central. It might be easier to just have the 86 make a detour to Boston Landing.
The idea is to get more trips per hour on the route as the 86 is the only bus on Chestnut Hill and Market Street since the BNRD has committed to leaving the 86 unchanged. The 86 is a long with many transit connections for people already, with most people not using it for local service but rather to go between Allston/Brighton/Cambridge/Somerville. I’m not sure how kindly they’d take to a Boston Landing detour further impacting the on-time performance of the bus. If still operating the 501 as a rush hour only bus, Alternatively it could zig-zag down Comm-Warren-Cambridge-N.Beacon, then continue the 64’s route to Oak Sq. Adds a rush hour one seat from Oak Sq. to Reservoir for anyone working at Longwood Medical.
 

Teban54

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since the BNRD has committed to leaving the 86 unchanged. The 86 is a long with many transit connections for people already, with most people not using it for local service but rather to go between Allston/Brighton/Cambridge/Somerville.
Minor note: The BNRD actually shortens the 86 to Harvard, with Harvard-Sullivan replaced by the T109.
 

Teban54

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From looking at Google Maps satellite view, I think you could fit four tracks as far as Newton Corner. If Newton Corner were to get a regional rail station, that might work as the end point for any Boston and Albany ROW green line branch.
If there is indeed width for 4 tracks there, I would rather have a Blue Line extension to Newton Corner (and possibly up to Watertown via a Galen St subway). Takes longer than a Green Line branch obviously, but probably better for the region and the network in the long term.
 
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Charlie_mta

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From looking at Google Maps satellite view, I think you could fit four tracks as far as Newton Corner. If Newton Corner were to get a regional rail station, that might work as the end point for any Boston and Albany ROW green line branch.
I like the idea of a Green Line branch to a new commuter rail/Green Line branch superstation at Newton Corner, along with a reconfigured Mass Pike interchange. It would be awesome to have high density TOD there as an adjunct to this as well.
 

Riverside

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Blue Line/Green Line to Newton Corner is a cool idea, but I think we can safely say that neither of them are Reasonable Transit Pitches:
Mod Edit: Use this thread for projects and ideas that are a) not official, and b) could happen relatively easily given the right bureaucrats giving it their attention. Be prepared for folks to dig into the pitch for need/viability/etc.
A Newton Corner infill on the commuter rail maybe could qualify, although as @Koopzilla24 pointed out, it would require a significant amount of construction and rearrangement beyond the confines of the ROW (and its airspace), which to me I think moves it to the margins of "Reasonable Transit Pitches." But if built, I agree that there would be a reasonable argument in favor of express trains/Worcester trains making a stop there.
 

Koopzilla24

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Blue Line/Green Line to Newton Corner is a cool idea, but I think we can safely say that neither of them are Reasonable Transit Pitches:

A Newton Corner infill on the commuter rail maybe could qualify, although as @Koopzilla24 pointed out, it would require a significant amount of construction and rearrangement beyond the confines of the ROW (and its airspace), which to me I think moves it to the margins of "Reasonable Transit Pitches." But if built, I agree that there would be a reasonable argument in favor of express trains/Worcester trains making a stop there.
If Newton Corner Improvements has a MassDOT projects page does that qualify it as reasonable? At least someone at the state level thought about it at one time.
 

Riverside

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Well, to be honest, the fact that the MassDOT project doesn't mention anything about the commuter rail line makes me less optimistic -- doesn't suggest it's on the radar.

Probably there's a semantic debate to be had about the meaning of "Reasonable Transit Pitch", and probably there are definitions where a Newton Corner infill fits the bill. But given the likely need to rearrange some of the road network at street level, I don't think it's a project that moves forward faster purely due to bureaucratic prioritization.
 

Equilibria

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Well, to be honest, the fact that the MassDOT project doesn't mention anything about the commuter rail line makes me less optimistic -- doesn't suggest it's on the radar.

Probably there's a semantic debate to be had about the meaning of "Reasonable Transit Pitch", and probably there are definitions where a Newton Corner infill fits the bill. But given the likely need to rearrange some of the road network at street level, I don't think it's a project that moves forward faster purely due to bureaucratic prioritization.
The current Newton Corner project is a low-hanging fruit thing aimed at restriping and signal improvements. A holistic study is coming later this year, and that probably will look at a rail station.
 

Riverside

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The current Newton Corner project is a low-hanging fruit thing aimed at restriping and signal improvements. A holistic study is coming later this year, and that probably will look at a rail station.
That would be awesome!
 

Aprehensive_Words

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While we're at it, why not add a station where North Beacon ducks underneath the Pike to connect w/ Birmingham Parkway?

It's about as far from Boston Landing (assuming an 800' standard platform whose eastern end is at North Beacon Street) as Auburndale is from West Newton, and it'd be far easier for buses and peds coming from the Arsenal area to access, not to mention the Faneuil Gardens housing development and that 1 million-square-foot biotech/housing development Trammel Crow proposed for the IHOP site nearby.
 

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