The R Line: Boston's Regional Connector and Neuron Station

F-Line to Dudley

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Accidentally landed on this Youtube today and I am shellshocked. What a magnificent concept!!!!!!

Based on the blink-and-you'll-miss-it spider map shown at around 1:28. It's. . .
  • Urban Ring Southwest quadrant...at least the Brookline Village-to-Nubian via Longwood part, but no Kenmore
  • Urban Ring Nubian-JFK spur, traced out faithfully...but not the South Boston "mainline" SE quadrant
  • 66 bus to Harvard instead of Urban Ring NW quadrant BU-Kendall + Harvard spur...and a weird bulb-out to Boston Landing instead of West Station
  • 86 bus Harvard-Sullivan, almost verbatim...via Union Square instead of Kendall
That's...uhhh...a pretty wack routing. Bizarre co-mingling of the studied-out Urban Ring with some sort of "mid-ring" (66/86) that's not remotely the same thing for what demand (Kenmore, BU, Kendall) it omits. And sprouts some of the early-2000's most warmed-over and pollyanaish "perfect BRT" talking points on streets woefully short of the functional width for implementing that. But more bizarrely it spends very little time talking about its own transit concept before waxing poetic for several minutes on real estate development at the 5-story stations with medical offices and greenspace, greenspace, greenspace. Cool and metaverse-y graphics...but seemed like the stock footage was driving the narration more than the conceptual development of the actual transit line.


From the video description it says this was a design school project. I'm not sure I'd read much more into it than that given how deeply it goes off its own script with shiny-ball stuff, and where it seems to misconstrue very very well-studied transit demand like the core Urban Ring routing.
 

shmessy

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Based on the blink-and-you'll-miss-it spider map shown at around 1:28. It's. . .
  • Urban Ring Southwest quadrant...at least the Brookline Village-to-Nubian via Longwood part, but no Kenmore
  • Urban Ring Nubian-JFK spur, traced out faithfully...but not the South Boston "mainline" SE quadrant
  • 66 bus to Harvard instead of Urban Ring NW quadrant BU-Kendall + Harvard spur...and a weird bulb-out to Boston Landing instead of West Station
  • 86 bus Harvard-Sullivan, almost verbatim...via Union Square instead of Kendall
That's...uhhh...a pretty wack routing. Bizarre co-mingling of the studied-out Urban Ring with some sort of "mid-ring" (66/86) that's not remotely the same thing for what demand (Kenmore, BU, Kendall) it omits. And sprouts some of the early-2000's most warmed-over and pollyanaish "perfect BRT" talking points on streets woefully short of the functional width for implementing that. But more bizarrely it spends very little time talking about its own transit concept before waxing poetic for several minutes on real estate development at the 5-story stations with medical offices and greenspace, greenspace, greenspace. Cool and metaverse-y graphics...but seemed like the stock footage was driving the narration more than the conceptual development of the actual transit line.


From the video description it says this was a design school project. I'm not sure I'd read much more into it than that given how deeply it goes off its own script with shiny-ball stuff, and where it seems to misconstrue very very well-studied transit demand like the core Urban Ring routing.
Yes. The word used was “concept”. ;)
 
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Charlie_mta

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I watched the video, and am I missing something, or is this just a concept for building a massive elevated BRT station at Brookline Village over Route 9, plus office space and rooftop park? Also it looked like a BRT route would utilize this that follows a route of a kind of an outer Urban Ring? Okay, BRT routes are a good thing and I hope to see more and more of them happen, but this elevated station is a bit much for BRT. I could see something like this for an elevated LRV line. Also on a political/NIMBY note, this station would have a snowball's chance of getting built at this location (i.e., shadows, noise, intrusion, massiveness of scale, etc).
 

shmessy

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Once again, people are getting hung up on the nuts and bolts as if this is something purported to being shovel-ready. Please note the different defintions of "Concept" and "Plan".

This is merely a CONCEPT. Agreed. I, too, can't see this "Neuron Station" in that particular Brookline Village location. Let's step away for a second from the "What size bolt are you using" focus. This would be a nice concept for a Kent Larson at MIT City Science Group to be asked about.

Many of our hospitals are downtown or in very dense urban areas. The vast majority of those patients (and doctors, etc) are from the suburbs or beyond. Just look at the 14 hour traffic shitshows in those locatons. Why not have a Ring line (once again, concept now) with massive medical centers above 2 or 3 of the perimeter stations? This would preserve the inner downtown from more congestion and allow faster entry/egress to the medical centers. The shitshow around Beth Israel/Deaconess, Mass General, Childrens/Dana Farber, etc. is a huge inefficiency.

I took the pie in the sky video for what it was. An IDEA piece. The problem is that this video maker tried to get specific when he really shouldn't have. So, the particulars he put out are ripe for the picking. Understood. Going forward, however, the healthcare/mass transit ring station concept is a very intriguing one for any 21st and 22nd century city.
 

Charlie_mta

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I get that. Actually, back in the early 1900s, super-node elevated stations were built at Sullivan Sq and Dudley Sq, albeit without the medical or rooftop park component, but the concept was similar in that you have a large multi-story elevated transportation node that included additional office space etc. I'm all for elevated transit lines, and with super-node stations where appropriate.
 

JimInProv

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Here's a photo of the old Sullivan Square elevated station. Looks a lot like the R-Line station proposal.

I remember in the 1970s waiting for buses in the lower level of Sullivan Station. The trolleys were long gone. It's too bad the station was demolished.
 

BeyondRevenue

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Wait... was there a baby in that bathwater?
I get it shmessy. The concept of over-street development should be on the table... especially for how many pedestrian impassible streets there are. I can think of tons of suitable places where I'd rather walk through a productive warm building than be frozen/soaked/windblown on an pedoverpass.

Though, as per usual, the designers 'Ring' is neglectful of Everett and Chelsea (because they don't get sick?) and uses The Ring merely as a lever to talk about the shiny-shiny. Yet another design student unwittingly pandering to affluenza.
But honestly, you have to expect the knives to come out on aB for anything that looks as vaporware-y as this. We're too hurt, man. So many grand plans... slain before they got off the vellum.

It ain't you man. It's the vid.
 

shmessy

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Also a concept where somebody thought of access demographics:

View attachment 20807

I mean...if we're talking about "idea" pieces...the idea here is pretty thoroughly pre-existing.

The idea that was compelling was the health centers at stations along the ring and how that could greatly improve efficiency of movement in what hopes to be denser cities of the future.

But once again, thank you for the nuts and bolts on the ring. No one was putting any real value on that particular student’s mapping version of the ring.
 
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shmessy

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Wait... was there a baby in that bathwater?
I get it shmessy. The concept of over-street development should be on the table... especially for how many pedestrian impassible streets there are. I can think of tons of suitable places where I'd rather walk through a productive warm building than be frozen/soaked/windblown on an pedoverpass.

Though, as per usual, the designers 'Ring' is neglectful of Everett and Chelsea (because they don't get sick?) and uses The Ring merely as a lever to talk about the shiny-shiny. Yet another design student unwittingly pandering to affluenza.
But honestly, you have to expect the knives to come out on aB for anything that looks as vaporware-y as this. We're too hurt, man. So many grand plans... slain before they got off the vellum.

It ain't you man. It's the vid.
Absolutely, BR. Hell, I’m even fine with the health centers being BELOW the stations. Simply the concept of moving the traffic clusterfuck machines that are our patient medical centers out of the downtown core and to mass transit heavy centers along a periphery ring is an urban efficiency concept that is intriguing.

The vid’s ring map is as much a real blueprint as the Starship Enterprise. The actual layout would be for the nuts and bolts experts to work on in the future. I have no idea why someone would actually want to debate the videomaker’s haphazard guess on mapping. It’s the urban planning medical center at ring periphery superstations concept that intrigued.
 

JS38

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Mini Transbay dropped onto end of Route 9, lol wut...
 

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