Semass said:Here we have a public meeting on the stations. I wonder what the recommendation will be? As these three go, so goes urban rail as it will telegraph the T's seriousness. .
I was at the public meeting last night, for the presentation and as much of the Q&A as I could stay for. TL;DR: exactly what HelloBostonHi said, and I hope you don't have any vision of increased service on the inner Worcester line in the next fifteen years, minimum.Last I heard with Newtons, the preferred alternative was a single platform at each but designed to not preclude a future second platform at each station, basically plans for two platforms but only designing and constructing one at each. Unless there has been significant pressure on the MBTA since then I don't expect the directives from the MBTA have changed since I last spoke with the designer of the preliminary design for those stations...
This was my first transit-related public meeting, I went in prepared to be disappointed, and I still managed to be underwhelmed. From the (late) start, it was obvious (as someone who has followed the process fairly closely) that the presenter was leading us towards the one-platform design as the preferred alternative. The entire process was run with the assumption that the only service increases currently on the table would be adding the reverse-peak trains. Everything else was casually dismissed with the bullet point "plan does not preclude future Urban Rail Vision".
They have three single-sided platforms scoped at something in the low-mid $40M range total (done in ~2024), three double-sided platforms at $43M per station (done in ~2027), and three island platforms at something like $75M per station (done in ~2030, would require stations to be closed for much of the construction period). Island platforms were eliminated almost immediately. Single vs. double was generally presented as "they're the same solution, but one gets you reverse peak trains and costs $80-some million more, so we're doing the cheaper one". The $43M per station number was compared against other similar projects, but only within the MBTA system and only a selection at that (e.g. did not include Lansdowne or Boston Landing).
The crowd questions were a mixed bag, but the general consensus seemed to be that it was pretty sad that they couldn't manage at least one double-platform station to add some sort of minimum viable reverse-commute option for the city. The co-chair of the commission on disability... I'm sure he's a very nice gentleman, but if my best friend gave a ten minute speech/rant during the Q&A of a packed session that was going to run double the posted time, I'd have words with said friend, so it's hard not to criticize. (He also went for a dig at TransitMatters during said rant, incidentally.) There were about ten city councilors and state rep Khan there, many of whom had some short questions but all of whom clearly already knew how the winds were blowing.
Hats off to the gentleman who got up about half an hour into Q&A and basically said, "I don't really have a question, but all these people are saying nice things, so I just want to say as politely as possible, everything you've said tonight is shortsighted and kind of BS, right?" I started the clap for that one. There were some other critical questions coming in at the end, but I had to take off around 7:30 (with no sign of things slowing down and a baby that needed to get to bed).
The PPT will be posted online at some point, and someone in the audience was taking video, though who knows if that shows up. Time to go send some futile messages to my elected officials.