Red Line Extension to Mattapan

BostonUrbEx

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I was figuring that extending it to Readville might be a bit too duplicative of future Dorchester Branch services, but the idea of possibly extending it to Dedham from there is intriguing. Somehow I don't think I ever considered RLX Dedham before, only OLX Dedham. Roslindale to Mattapan and Ashmont somewhat satisfies a circumferential market, and also beats out buses for people who need to get to one line or the other without going downtown. Perhaps BRT elements or streetcar reservations would be best suited to this circumferential routing.
 

F-Line to Dudley

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I was figuring that extending it to Readville might be a bit too duplicative of future Dorchester Branch services, but the idea of possibly extending it to Dedham from there is intriguing. Somehow I don't think I ever considered RLX Dedham before, only OLX Dedham. Roslindale to Mattapan and Ashmont somewhat satisfies a circumferential market, and also beats out buses for people who need to get to one line or the other without going downtown. Perhaps BRT elements or streetcar reservations would be best suited to this circumferential routing.
Cummins Hwy. seems ripe for dragging DCR kicking and screaming into a lane-drop, since it's only 4 lanes from Mattapan Sq. to Mt. Hope Cemetery with the entire west half to Rozzie Sq. being a wide 2-lane + bike lane + parking row boulevard. For consistency's sake they might as well just do up the whole thing in that setup since the 4-lane section serves no discernible load-bearing function before its cemetery lane drop. Stripe a bus+bike lane across the complete corridor and signal-prioritize (not that it has all that many lights to begin with) and I think you've got a zippy bus route on-the-cheap. If local vs. radial stop-spacing needs to be differentiated you could even badge a CTx route along there, since it might have that kind of demand profile if/when it ends up spanning a proper-Red HRT stop at Mattapan and a proper-Orange HRT stop at Rozzie.

Morton St. seems like the other that's screaming for circumferential BRT/CTx-like service between a proper-Red HRT stop at Milton, Morton on an RUR'd Fairmount Line, and Forest Hills. Or maybe even stretching further east to a Braintree Branch infill @ Neponset/Port Norfolk pinging to Milton pinging to Morton pinging to FH if the dip down Adams St. doesn't chew too much time on a limited-stop roster. It would almost form an "Outer Circumferential Urban Ring" arc that way. But while I think you can safely sunset the 4-lane portion of Morton St. between Lower Mills and Gallivan Blvd. for similar bus+bike lane re-striping, Gallivan to Arborway being State Route 203 and a pretty consequential/non- induced-demand car artery means transit optimization is going to be a lot harder on the rest of the corridor. Maybe you could drag the neighborhood kicking and screaming into giving up some parking spots near intersections to stripe some protected left-turn lanes for flow, but 4 travel lanes are kind of necessary across that corridor.

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RE: "RLX" to Hyde Park, one of the cost savers for further extension to Hyde Park is the fact that the approx. 3000 ft. of subway under River St. would have zero stations in it while slicing through hard-ass Blue Hills base bedrock down a fairly wide street of sub-3 story homes set well back from the sidewalk via sizeable front yards. It would be TBM-able at complete uniform dimensions, and short enough to require at most only 1 emergency exit shaft somewhere in the Rector Rd. vicinity. When stations, utility relocations, waterproofing and/or soil stabilization, building/traffic/surface mitigations, any mid-bore dimensional changes, and the calendar itself for duration of any of those construction mitigations are the usual-suspect cost bloaters that end up dinging up any subway construction...this one sidesteps all of those risks. The interface with Mattapan Station and the infill plunked behind Price Rite and Match Community Charter School at the Poydras St. portal would be cosmetically similar to the Shawmut-Ashmont tunnel...both in length and in the way each portal is framed by structurally detached stations. So nothing the least bit radical by local construction standards. It's additional tunnel feet to contemplate for sure, but it's "cheap" tunneling methods-wise and we like that here when there are so few local corridors left capable of supporting any within-cost burial whatsoever.

And of course Fairmount Line all points south of River St. is contiguous ex- quad-track, with Fairmount Station + Fairmount Ave. overpass and the Dana Ave. overpass already having reserved berths and only the first two Neponset River crossings needing their more recent-construction footings to be buffed out. Then some type of flyover/flyunder gets you across about 800 ft. of Readville Station expanse onto the other side of Sprague St. and the Dedham Branch ROW. A flyover which you may be building anyway just with a Phase I extension from Mattapan to Readville if the storage yard siting for replacing to-be-retired Codman Yard @ Ashmont happens to pick Readville Yard 5 on the Sprague side instead of tucking next to commuter rail in Yard 2 on the shores of the Neponset. Rest to Dedham Ctr. is all academic save for approx. 1000 ft. at the high school where you're either relocating an athletic field driveway and installing an overpass crossing of a track cut or dipping very slightly sub-surface with tunnel roof supporting the driveway on its current layout (probably the better choice since this is a wide swath where school-age kids need to cross on-foot in large numbers, and pinching them onto a single overpass would be inconvenient and less safe).
 

HenryAlan

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Cummins Hwy. seems ripe for dragging DCR kicking and screaming into a lane-drop, since it's only 4 lanes from Mattapan Sq. to Mt. Hope Cemetery with the entire west half to Rozzie Sq. being a wide 2-lane + bike lane + parking row boulevard. For consistency's sake they might as well just do up the whole thing in that setup since the 4-lane section serves no discernible load-bearing function before its cemetery lane drop. Stripe a bus+bike lane across the complete corridor and signal-prioritize (not that it has all that many lights to begin with) and I think you've got a zippy bus route on-the-cheap. If local vs. radial stop-spacing needs to be differentiated you could even badge a CTx route along there, since it might have that kind of demand profile if/when it ends up spanning a proper-Red HRT stop at Mattapan and a proper-Orange HRT stop at Rozzie.
The Cummins road diet is in the works, first couple of meetings have already happened and there is not any significant push back from residents. As for a bus/bike lane, yeah, I think that makes sense, but it's not in any of the plans I've seen, which feature parking protected bike lanes. I agree, a BRT connection between Rozzie and Mattapan Squares is probably the right solution if we ever get HRT to each end of that span.

 

Semass

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The RFQ for design/engineering services to 30% for the Mattapan Line Transformation is posted to the MBTA site.
 

bakgwailo

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The RFQ for design/engineering services to 30% for the Mattapan Line Transformation is posted to the MBTA site.
About time. I hope they were just paying lip service to things like improving Ashmont Station (they even floated platform to platform transfers). I haven't noticed much if anything having been done since the meetings. It was also pretty telling that in the public Q&A, it twice came up (once in Milton, once in Dot) for better synchronization between the trolleys and actual red line and the MBTA officials basically seemed like it had never dawned on them. Pretty simple low hanging fruit that could be done tomorrow, really, and it all seemed earth shattering to them in the meetings.

As for the RLX to Mattapan, I will say that it was floated in the Dot meeting, and the MBTA's chief engineer on the project immediately shot it down as not a viable path forward for the line. He went as far as to say there simply wasn't enough room in the ROW in the cemetery for two heavy rail tracks (akin to how they realized they couldn't do two continuous bus lanes). Take it with a grain of salt - but, anything other than hand me down Type-9s or a miracle expanded Type-10 order doesn't seem to be in the plans for decades.
 

Equilibria

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He went as far as to say there simply wasn't enough room in the ROW in the cemetery for two heavy rail tracks (akin to how they realized they couldn't do two continuous bus lanes). Take it with a grain of salt - but, anything other than hand me down Type-9s or a miracle expanded Type-10 order doesn't seem to be in the plans for decades.
Well, I measure the cemetery ROW at 32 feet in Google Earth, and the Blue Line up by Suffolk Downs in the same range (trees make it a little hard, but they're both in the 30-35 range). So I doubt that.

They didn't study it and in their minds it's too late now, so Mattapan was obviously always going to get the Type 9s.

It drives me bonkers sometimes how MBTA planning simply ignores low-hanging fruit like this, or Orange-Roslindale, or Green-Upper Falls. But South Coast F-g Rail gets green-lit. Politics!
 

HenryAlan

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But aren't Red Line trains wider than BL/OL trains? Sufficient for the Blue Line might well not be sufficient for the Red Line.
 

vanshnookenraggen

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It drives me bonkers sometimes how MBTA planning simply ignores low-hanging fruit like this, or Orange-Roslindale, or Green-Upper Falls. But South Coast F-g Rail gets green-lit. Politics!
The MTA does this too. It's these organization's inability to think outside the box caused by brain drain. Anyone who had a different idea is pushed out. It's why these organizations usuehave to be pulled kicking and screaming into a project spearheaded by a politician who, unfortunately, also doesn't know what they are really talking about most times.
 

Charlie_mta

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As for the RLX to Mattapan, I will say that it was floated in the Dot meeting, and the MBTA's chief engineer on the project immediately shot it down as not a viable path forward for the line. He went as far as to say there simply wasn't enough room in the ROW in the cemetery for two heavy rail tracks (akin to how they realized they couldn't do two continuous bus lanes).
That "engineer" must have a "BS" degree. Widening the footprint of the tracks 4 feet is certainly doable. A minor retaining wall might be needed. This heavy rail extension was being promoted by the MBTA in the mid-1960s. They would have built it, but stopped due to concerns from Carney Hospital about heavy rail car noise, Noise wall technology has improved since then. If the MBTA was all set to build it then, it is obviously buildable now.
 

jklo

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That "engineer" must have a "BS" degree. Widening the footprint of the tracks 4 feet is certainly doable. A minor retaining wall might be needed. This heavy rail extension was being promoted by the MBTA in the mid-1960s. They would have built it, but stopped due to concerns from Carney Hospital about heavy rail car noise, Noise wall technology has improved since then. If the MBTA was all set to build it then, it is obviously buildable now.
I could see laws making what they might have done in the 1960s not possible.
 

F-Line to Dudley

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I could see laws making what they might have done in the 1960s not possible.
In this case, probably not. Even the most pinched sections through the cemetery are well within the margin of error of the tightest-clearance HRT construction they were doing through the 1980's, which still informs their construction specs to this day. And in all such pinched cases finding the extra foot or two around a border fence to square it within that margin of error is too mundane a complication to address to write off with a blanket statement as impossible.

It's a seriously weak-sauce answer. These aren't the sorts of complications that justify wholesale-tabling even the idea of proceeding to a formal study. They're saying it now because a formal study won't back them up on their preordained conclusion to do nothing, and is overwhelmingly likely to spell out in irrefutable detail that these mitigations would be very small-potatoes to the project as a whole.
 

F-Line to Dudley

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It should also be duly noted that the High Speed Line was built over converted double-track or greater Old Colony RR ROW's that ran steam-haul commuter rail equipment with exactly the same width, turning radius, and clearance envelope as Purple Line equipment today, so it's absurd that there's anything intrinsic about it that precludes smaller Red Line cars when most of the line has been unaltered since the 1928 conversion. I don't think any of the actual NYNH&H steel heavyweight coaches that ran on the pre-'28 Shawmut/Mattapan branch shuttle service survived long enough to fall into T ownership in the 1970's, but southside commuter rail was indeed running near-identical make coaches inherited from ex-Penn. RR and built from 1908-26 as the mainstay Providence/Stoughton fleet way the hell until 1979...T-logoed, hasty purple-stripe decal and everything for the "modern" era. So it's inconceivable that anything technologically changed to wholesale-foul dimensions that started fully kosher for all manner of commuter RR equipment. And also, the Neponset Trail occupying the ex-Track 3 berth from the cemetery to a stub-out past Central Ave. stayed a fully active freight branch for the big Lower Mills factory with Conrail freights running directly alongside the trolleys during daytime service hours as late as 1988 with absolute no ill effects. If anything has changed with those clearances since the 1990 abandonment docket was processed, path construction in the last 10 years is what did it. But I very much doubt that as the path conforms pretty exactly to the freight trackbed that sat there disused until the early-'00s, with the fencing between the trolley tracks mostly pre-dating the freight abandonment by many decades.

The only major structure on the line that was designed for/after the '28 trolley conversion was the Shawmut Branch-to-Mattapan Branch flyover in the cemetery halfway to Butler where a formerly at-grade junction was grade separated to pass the trolleys over the freight stub/current Neponset Trail. And that ended up modding the geometry of the Mattapan Branch freight line more than it did the converted trolley ROW, as you can see from the little S-curve the trail does when passing under the trolley tracks and resetting its alignment to Butler. The ex-junction itself is in the middle of a fat overgrown tree barrier far from the nearest cemetery plot, so if there's anything substandard about this curve they have all the room in the world to do a curve-easing.

You definitely will have to bump about a block's worth of trail to install a center-island HRT platform at Milton Station, but the path spur over the Neponset rail bridge that used to be Lower Mills' freight siding is ready-serve for a 200 ft.-or-less Adams St. side detour that peels out from the would-be HRT station's headhouse and reconnects at the existing trailhead to the siding spur. A nothingburger mitigation if there ever was one. But I'm not seeing anywhere else where a fix would cause more than a six-figure at worst budget ding, because everything beyond the cemetery flyover was an in-situ conversion from full-blown RR clearances and the coexistence with freight Track 3 lasted 65 years almost to the 21st century on the tightest-packed and most densely-abutted half of the line.
 
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The EGE

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The Mattapan Line was explicitly built with a future Red Line conversion in mind, per the Boston Transit Department reports. Saying there's not enough room is a blatant lie.
 

Scott

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You will have subway trains in back yards and the at grade crossings will be a blight. Most people in Milton and Dorchester will still have to take a bus instead of a trolley to a heavy rail station. They won't support it
 

Scott

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...and I said most people will see little or no improvement in T service. Do you have a google map for that?
 

F-Line to Dudley

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You will have subway trains in back yards and the at grade crossings will be a blight. Most people in Milton and Dorchester will still have to take a bus instead of a trolley to a heavy rail station. They won't support it
"Most people?" Do you have a citation for that?

Since those very Dorchester/Milton residents you claim to speak for have asked that HRT conversion be one of the study options along with trolley improvements in this effort to set a course for the line's future, actual demand evidence does not back you up there on that blanket statement.


Also, the two grade crossings would be eliminated with rail overpasses in the event of a conversion, so blight or disruption is no issue there. Nor is blight of trains in the backyard any issue when there have already been all-day/every-day trains in the backyard through 91 years of trolleys and another 50+ prior to that of RR trains on that ROW. There is no shock-and-awe potential that trains which make noise could run there, because they've bloody been running there since before any buildings located a stone's throw from the line were ever built.
 

bakgwailo

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I will say that even in the Dot meeting, when the question was asked why full Red Line heavy rail conversion wasn't looked at/an option, it looked like the speaker was going to be mugged for even daring to suggest such a thing by their fellow residents. It wasn't a particularly popular idea.
 

Scott

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It does not take a citation to point out that eliminating 4 trolley stops will require people who now take the trolley to take a bus and fly-overs at Capen and Central Ave will never, ever be built
 

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