Reasonable Transit Pitches

DominusNovus

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If it isn't a direct, then there's no way you're getting more than a shuttle bus from Springfield Union. It is legit disruptive to CSX to have to keep clear the outermost yard track closest to the fairgrounds when that's the part of the yard that sees the most intensive switching operations. Too big a pain for running a dinky, so if going to the negotiating table with CSX it's pretty much whole-train specials or bust to make it worth anyone's while. A bus is easily going to beat a dinky anyway when all the reverses and safety pauses for hand-throw yard switches are tallied up. The value of the service is more in its "specialness" than efficiency, since the on-the-ground progression from Springfield Union to the fairgrounds-facing side of the yard is clunky as hell (big freight yards being a very atypical destination for passenger trains). But you can bake a Big E week concession into the whole set of deal-making that transfers ownership of the Springfield-Worcester B&A into state hands with "Pimp My Yard" funding going the other way. That's a very small price to pay for CSX having to put up with additional interference several days per year that ends up constraining their switching activity to a smaller part of the yard, so they'll likely go for it if the rest of the self-serving items in the package are lucrative enough. Also. it's an immediate and tangible "Show-me" to Western MA voters re: the value of the Inland Route project to have that yearly pomp-and-circumstance to trot out for PR's sake.
For clarification, I was thinking a train from Boston to Springfield, and then contract out a Peter Pan bus for those last two miles, as the “half ass” solution. Not a shuttle train on the last part (it sounds like my post may have led you to read it that way). Not a fan of that as a solution anyway - hence calling it half ass.
 

cden4

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There actually already are bus shuttles from Union Station to the Big E run by King Ward.

There is also a PVTA bus line that runs down Memorial Ave, the R14, although the schedule isn't great.
 

DominusNovus

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There actually already are bus shuttles from Union Station to the Big E run by King Ward.

There is also a PVTA bus line that runs down Memorial Ave, the R14, although the schedule isn't great.
Interesting. I wonder if there’s a noticeable increase in the CT rail lines to SPG during the Big E.
 

F-Line to Dudley

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Interesting. I wonder if there’s a noticeable increase in the CT rail lines to SPG during the Big E.
Probably not this year because most Hartford Line schedules terminate in Hartford with only skeletal service continuing to SPG. That will backfill over time as more equipment comes online, the stations + track work north of Hartford wraps, promised new bus connection services come online, and (hopefully) the starting contest with MassDOT over construction of a layover yard gets resolved. It was always expected to be a slow grower because of all the moving parts still works-in-progress well after Day 1.

I would not be surprised in the slightest if they needed to boost schedules during the Big E after that point where everything is built and cranking. I vividly remember from my youth in Central CT how the first day/week of school was well-attended, but then every class ended up losing a chunk of its enrollment for the duration of the fair. It's big, it's on-the-brain, and it's a way of life for folks in the CT River Valley.
 

F-Line to Dudley

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^^Timely news item.^^
 

DominusNovus

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(Not strictly transit itself)

Is there any good way to turn the area around Quincy Adams Station into good proper TOD? I’m in the area all the time, and on paper, it sounds great. There’s retail, apartments, offices, and the T station. But everything is still very unfriendly to pedestrians. The bird’s nest of onramps and Burgin Pkwy don’t help.

The best I got is to build a bunch of skyways over Burgin, but that feels like more of a bandaid solution.
 

DominusNovus

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Is there an official location that the MBTA prefers for a hypothetical Neponset infill station on the Red Line?
 

George_Apley

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I don't think there are any official plans or proposals to infil the Braintree line with a station in Neponset. Quick search didn't find anything, but I could be wrong.
 

ssresident

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(Not strictly transit itself)

Is there any good way to turn the area around Quincy Adams Station into good proper TOD? I’m in the area all the time, and on paper, it sounds great. There’s retail, apartments, offices, and the T station. But everything is still very unfriendly to pedestrians. The bird’s nest of onramps and Burgin Pkwy don’t help.

The best I got is to build a bunch of skyways over Burgin, but that feels like more of a bandaid solution.
A developer has proposed office and storage for the parking lot. https://www.patriotledger.com/news/20190708/storage-facility-proposed-for-parking-lot-by-quincy-adams-station
 

DominusNovus

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Cool, though I’d be amazed if Quincy needs another storage facility two blocks away from another new one. Wish I heard about this earlier, I would have gone to the community meeting in a heartbeat (I live down the street from the Councillor in the story). I think a footbridge would make things so much better. As would forcing traffic from Burgin that is going the onramp to use the onramp before the intersection.

You know, I wonder if someone could convince the Home Depot there to move to the now-vacant Lowe’s site across the street.
 

F-Line to Dudley

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I don't think there are any official plans or proposals to infil the Braintree line with a station in Neponset. Quick search didn't find anything, but I could be wrong.
Didn't City of Boston finally stick this on the long-range wishlist about a year ago?

It hasn't been full-on studied before, but that infill has made regular appearances on Universe of Projects -type listings in the past so does have some perpetual degree of traction at the official level.
 

DominusNovus

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Didn't City of Boston finally stick this on the long-range wishlist about a year ago?

It hasn't been full-on studied before, but that infill has made regular appearances on Universe of Projects -type listings in the past so does have some perpetual degree of traction at the official level.
Are there any specific sites being considered in particular?
 

tysmith95

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I think victory road would make sense, you could probably have some TOD in the area.
 

F-Line to Dudley

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Depends highly on what they do with the road network, which is probably going to go hand-in-hand with what you do to redev that piece of auto-centric strip mall hell on Morrissey bookending the diverging halves of Freeport St. The biggest available space with the widest all-around access is smack in the middle of the Morrissey Blvd. rotary behind the Dunkies. The footbridges provide good ped access even if a moderately lane-dieted Morrissey is still a heavy-traffic road, and you could easily graft on busway turnouts in the middle. It also conveniently sits dead-center of the strip mall redev in eyesight of every developer looking to make bank on this stretch. And it probably has the lowest construction costs since the unused/unsable grass rotary median can have the embankment widened for a station with large % of dirt pouring instead of near-exclusive retaining wall construction at much higher cost for most of the narrower-profile sites elsewhere along the rail embankment.

However, the interface with all surrounding roads has to be substantially un-fucked. Freeport St. is partially cut off from the south and runs as a half-frontage to the north. That needs a huge cleanup. So does the incoherent array of I-93 ramps where every direction hits a different street; those need to be consolidated as much as possible within space allowances, with a goal of getting at least 1-2 ramps off of side streets with excessive turns. And you do have to have something resembling a coherent plan to re-knit the strip mall area as a walkable city neighborhood, because that'll influence the shape of the road diet heavily. Best-case scenario is this can become a miniature Fellsway-like stretch with intracity-packed density. Worst-case is a "prettier" auto hell.

Next-best option is closer to Port Norfolk by the Neponset Rotary, though private property taking would be nearly guaranteed because of the tight confines. That area is maximally spaced from the next-nearest stop, a more attractive mix of dense residential and scuzzy commercial to organically interweave, and traps more buses. But there's very little space, and this is a stop that needs to have a busway on it.


The area by Victory Rd. has more slack space, but would require land-taking from the Army National Guard 164th...which isn't going to play well. It's good for trapping buses, but big question mark on whether the strip mall redev is going to have enough back-facing access to really open up that station site to Morrissey/Freeport. It's tucked in behind side streets otherwise and isn't very open to the whole neighborhood since Victory is such a narrow, twisting little cowpath. And it's very close to the Fields Corner station catchment, while the other two sites reside in much starker transit catchment gaps.


I'd put betting odds on the rotary site in a shotgun marriage with some really big redev plans for the strip malls and a parkway diet. It's got the location-location-location thing going for it, as well as a slab of unused grassland that's already in state hands while all other sites have icky eminent domain issues to net space for an appropriate facility. Business issues will probably drive the addition of this infill heavily, so the anchoring to the strip mall redev in a prominent location touching all sides of the car-hell Morrissey stretch in need of a makeover is going to get lots of developer attention. Whereas the Victory Rd. site behind the plaza might be seen as one individual developer's pet "backdoor" transit stop, but isn't going to get all the money looking to redev that neighborhood flocking to it like the central location would. Demerits are obviously the marooning on a rotary island between screaming traffic, and the incoherent road interfaces all around. That's a deterrent even with the footbridges. Many T stops exist in high-speed traffic locations, but degree of parkway diet and intersection/ramp trimming that accompanies the redev will determine if accessibility is going to suffer.

The other locations I just can't see working on such tiny strips of land. As above, you need a simple/functional busway here, and even the narrowest-profile one is going to blow out the space allowances at Victory Rd. and most anywhere in Port Norfolk making private property acquisition a mandatory prerequisite. There's a lot of "coulds" to debate, but in reality property acquisition gets high negative weightings in scoping studies so that's going to punish these two sites' ratings pretty severely regardless of whatever public sentiment has to say. Maybe Victory Rd. less stinky since the Nat'l Guard is a single gov't tenant, but still not a move the state's going to have all that much enthusiasm for.
 

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