Reasonable Transit Pitches

Tallguy

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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.
Transitmatters agrees with you and has suggested an infill station there
 

F-Line to Dudley

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Boston & Albany had a local stop at Faneuil until 1959 (same year Newton Corner was also whacked), and was featured on the famed 1945 rapid transit expansion map on the B&A's proposed rapid transit co-tenant. The constraint with doing it on Regional Rail today is that it starts bordering on too many stops for a 2-track only railroad of very mixed traffic profile, and the number of crossovers required to mix locals with expresses starts slowing the whole works down inside of Route 128. Newton Corner I think we can agree is a must-have because of the density and sheer number of bus transfers there. Faneuil would be borderline, especially given that the 64 bus stops across the parking lot from Boston Landing. But definitely worth an official study at some point if the dev environs around Faneuil are going to be significantly upsized.

 

Arlington

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Every once in a while, I enjoy testing old proposals to see if they're still reasonable. Here's my list of capital-intensive yet not crazy pitches: (so they're on the "if Biden & Healy work together on infrastructure" kinda list)
  • Blue: Red-Blue Connector
  • Infill Red: Morrissey Boulevard (Braintree branch)
  • Infill Orange: Medford St in Malden (halfway between Wellington & Malden)
  • GLX2: Mystic Valley Parkway (From Tufts)
  • GLX3: Kent Street(from USq)
  • OLX: Roslindale & West Roxbury
 
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737900er

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Every once in a while, I enjoy testing old proposals to see if they're still reasonable. Here's my list of capital-intensive yet not crazy pitches: (so they're on the "if Biden & Healy work together on infrastructure" kinda list)
  • Blue: Red-Blue Connector
  • Infill Red: Morrissey Boulevard (Braintree branch)
  • Infill Orange: Medford St in Malden (halfway between Wellington & Malden)
  • GLX2: Mystic Valley Parkway (From Tufts)
  • GLX3: Kent Street(from USq)
  • OLX: Roslindale & West Roxbury
I think the one "frequently proposed pitch" that's actually falling down the list is HRT to Mattapan. With all the attention on Fairmount, that starts to look less and less mission critical.
 

Riverside

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Every once in a while, I enjoy testing old proposals to see if they're still reasonable. Here's my list of capital-intensive yet not crazy pitches: (so they're on the "if Biden & Healy work together on infrastructure" kinda list)
  • Blue: Red-Blue Connector
  • Infill Red: Morrissey Boulevard (Braintree branch)
  • Infill Orange: Medford St in Malden (halfway between Wellington & Malden)
  • GLX2: Mystic Valley Parkway (From Tufts)
  • GLX3: Kent Street(from USq)
  • OLX: Roslindale & West Roxbury
I think all are reasonable (except maybe OLX, though I can't really put my finger on why I feel less sure about that one). I'd add electrification of and frequent service on the Fairmount, though I agree that adds another variable in terms of rolling stock acquisition.
 

Teban54

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  • OLX: Roslindale & West Roxbury
OL+1 to Roslindale definitely belongs to this list since the ROW has width for triple tracks until Roslindale, but going to West Roxbury requires OL to eat Needham Line, thus also necessitating GL Needham branch (or something else). While both extensions are doable, I think they do require some expense.

And T under D.
Given that the Bus Network Redesign calls for SL1/3 to use D St to access the highway ramps and skip Silver Line Way station, this appears to be less doable now.

A few other items I would add to the list are E branch extension to Hyde Park and a few BRT/dedicated bus lanes corridors (though some of them are already under planning; Blue Hill Ave may be the main one that's not under some official T planning yet).
 
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Koopzilla24

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I'd add electrification of and frequent service on the Fairmount, though I agree that adds another variable in terms of rolling stock acquisition.
Is there any possibility of acquiring second-hand rolling stock for the short term? Shore Line East was able to lease M8s from MetroNorth but they already had the necessary maintenance facilities. Maybe the MBTA could hop on that lease idea or do something similar with another city, but I can only think of Chicago as an option. I don't know where maintenance could occur other than the Southampton Amtrak Yard with the 5-year timeline on the South Side Maintenance Facility and it not specifying the ability to service electric locomotives or EMUs (I'd assume it would). Also, would there be any meaningful trip time benefit from using ACS-64s on current coaches in the short term?
 

F-Line to Dudley

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Is there any possibility of acquiring second-hand rolling stock for the short term? Shore Line East was able to lease M8s from MetroNorth but they already had the necessary maintenance facilities. Maybe the MBTA could hop on that lease idea or do something similar with another city, but I can only think of Chicago as an option.
Metra Electric's fleet is 1.5 kV DC. Completely incompatible with the 25 kV AC overhead we have, and not retrofittable. Ditto LIRR's retiring M3's; those are 750V DC third-rail.

I don't know where maintenance could occur other than the Southampton Amtrak Yard with the 5-year timeline on the South Side Maintenance Facility and it not specifying the ability to service electric locomotives or EMUs (I'd assume it would).
Southampton is at-capacity and doesn't have any bandwidth to spare for the T. You'll have to wait for the Readville heavy maint facility.

Also, would there be any meaningful trip time benefit from using ACS-64s on current coaches in the short term?
Amtrak's not going to have spare Sprinters for another 5+ years it takes to get the ALC-42E fleet and Airo power cars in-service. If they have any spares to lease, it's not enough quantity to cover all Providence Line service and strip out the padding required in that schedule for running diesels. Throwing just a couple electrics into the mix doesn't meaningfully change the service levels or travel times; you need enough units to go whole-hog electric with that schedule before it can change.
 
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Aprehensive_Words

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Listening to the Globe's transportation reporter talk to WBUR's morning podcast yesterday (link) made me wonder: At what point do different heavy rail expansions become much closer to "reasonable" pitch territory due to the ways they can free up bus resources?

Obviously, it's not enough to alleviate the crisis any time soon, and the worst of the crisis will likely be mitigated if the Carmen's Union and the T can get off their duffs and work out a new contract that doesn't have stupidly low starting salaries. But we also live in a world where the American population is going to start stagnating or even shrinking if we don't reform and open up our immigration system -- a trend that the general migration towards the Sun Belt makes worse up here in Massachusetts. That's all to say, it smells like there's an argument to be made that rail expansion is also a strategic imperative for the T if it wants to preserve existing service, and a strategic imperative for the commonwealth if we want to use mode shift to take a bite out of our carbon emissions -- especially when it comes to maximizing the impact of regional rail.

Assuming you accept my framing, what do you think would give the best bang for the buck? BLX to Lynn comes to mind as the most low-hanging of the fruit out there, but are there other projects that might work? The Mattapan/Roxbury bus network's orientation towards Ruggles and employment patterns towards Longwood make me think the other "easy" thing (high-frequency Fairmount Line service) might not be so impactful absent "hard" projects like a rail-based Urban Ring.
 

F-Line to Dudley

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What about Fairmount?
Fleet fragmentation by individual line? That's a logistical nightmare for southside ops.

Besides, the MR-90's are from 1995, haven't had a midlife overhaul yet, and have been sitting out-of-service for 2-1/2 years. Having to put them through full rebuild would jack up the cost of acquisition immediately. And that's assuming they haven't already been scrapped (Exo was soliciting scrap bids last year).
 

Riverside

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Fleet fragmentation by individual line? That's a logistical nightmare for southside ops.

Besides, the MR-90's are from 1995, haven't had a midlife overhaul yet, and have been sitting out-of-service for 2-1/2 years. Having to put them through full rebuild would jack up the cost of acquisition immediately. And that's assuming they haven't already been scrapped (Exo was soliciting scrap bids last year).
I mean, to be clear, I was thinking of it as a short-term solution — just to get some sort of electric trains running through Dorchester. Day 1 electrification is only going to be one or two lines anyway, so we will probably need to live with some operational kludges along the way.

But, yes — if they’ve been scrapped, it’s a moot question anyway.
 

737900er

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Listening to the Globe's transportation reporter talk to WBUR's morning podcast yesterday (link) made me wonder: At what point do different heavy rail expansions become much closer to "reasonable" pitch territory due to the ways they can free up bus resources?

Obviously, it's not enough to alleviate the crisis any time soon, and the worst of the crisis will likely be mitigated if the Carmen's Union and the T can get off their duffs and work out a new contract that doesn't have stupidly low starting salaries. But we also live in a world where the American population is going to start stagnating or even shrinking if we don't reform and open up our immigration system -- a trend that the general migration towards the Sun Belt makes worse up here in Massachusetts. That's all to say, it smells like there's an argument to be made that rail expansion is also a strategic imperative for the T if it wants to preserve existing service, and a strategic imperative for the commonwealth if we want to use mode shift to take a bite out of our carbon emissions -- especially when it comes to maximizing the impact of regional rail.

Assuming you accept my framing, what do you think would give the best bang for the buck? BLX to Lynn comes to mind as the most low-hanging of the fruit out there, but are there other projects that might work? The Mattapan/Roxbury bus network's orientation towards Ruggles and employment patterns towards Longwood make me think the other "easy" thing (high-frequency Fairmount Line service) might not be so impactful absent "hard" projects like a rail-based Urban Ring.
One of the biggest bang-for-buck projects in terms of concrete has to be Newton Corner and a second West Newton platform. Just building the stations and running diesel trains every 15 minutes at peak could kill the 501/504 (which pretty much overlap the 57, although the 501 works in a strange way) and cut back the 505 to West Newton. Even under BNRD 501, 504, and 505 are planned to be operated every 15 minutes at peak.

I'd also add OLX to Roslindale to the list. The Roslindale Village-Forest Hills segment is overserved, and not having to run all the bus routes on the southwest side to Forest Hills could provide room for network rationalization.

1675355188735.png
 
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Riverside

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One of the biggest bang-for-buck projects in terms of concrete has to be Newton Corner and a second West Newton platform. Just building the stations and running diesel trains every 15 minutes at peak could kill the 501/504 (which pretty much overlap the 57, although the 501 works in a strange way) and cut back the 505 to West Newton. Even under BNRD 501, 504, and 505 are planned to be operated every 15 minutes at peak.

I'd also add OLX to Roslindale to the list. The Roslindale Village-Forest Hills segment is overserved, and not having to run all the bus routes on the southwest side could provide room for network rationalization.

View attachment 33771
If memory serves, I think one of the old Blue Books listed the number of vehicles per route — could be a useful reference for quantifying this.
 

jklo

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and running diesel trains every 15 minutes at peak
They do (or did). They just don't stop. You'd have to get rid of the express trains on the Worcester Line. And while I approve of that, I reckon you would get some pushback.
 

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