Transit & Covid-19

whighlander

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I’m sure there is a short answer for this, but is there a particular reason the pike needs to be 8 lanes? A while ago someone made the observation that the pike will be reduced in capacity for a decade or more for all the various projects along it, including this one. Why not commit to making the reduction permanent? They aren’t going to wait for RUR to make the “temporary” decade long reduction and that traffic going to adjust to the reduced capacity.
Fattony -- Post-COVID-19 there is less demand for Transit and more demand for individual vehicles of all types -- hence today you build out the Pike and Storrow / SFD fully -- in the future you could always repurpose the outer lanes
 

F-Line to Dudley

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Fattony -- Post-COVID-19 there is less demand for Transit and more demand for individual vehicles of all types -- hence today you build out the Pike and Storrow / SFD fully -- in the future you could always repurpose the outer lanes
What does COVID recovery on the backside of 2020 have to do with a project that--because of these interminable cripple-fight -induced delays--won't be shovel-in-ground for *at least* 5 more years? Dear God, 5 years if we're lucky at the rate this is going. Spuriousest of reaches, there.
 

whighlander

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What does COVID recovery on the backside of 2020 have to do with a project that--because of these interminable cripple-fight -induced delays--won't be shovel-in-ground for *at least* 5 more years? Dear God, 5 years if we're lucky at the rate this is going. Spuriousest of reaches, there.
F-Line you are right about the 5+ years -- but I doubt that transit ridership gets back to February 2020 levels by February 2035
 

meddlepal

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Asian and European countries seem to have better discipline than America.

I'm in the process of looking for a decent car lease precisely because I have zero interest in getting on a train and inhaling recycled garbage air until there is a safe and well tested vaccine in place for this thing.

I've lived car free for a decade now and I'm someone who has actively resisted owning a car as much as possible. Oh well..., but I'm also sure I'm not the only one thinking about this.
 

F-Line to Dudley

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Asian and European countries seem to have better discipline than America.

I'm in the process of looking for a decent car lease precisely because I have zero interest in getting on a train and inhaling recycled garbage air until there is a safe and well tested vaccine in place for this thing.

I've lived car free for a decade now and I'm someone who has actively resisted owning a car as much as possible. Oh well..., but I'm also sure I'm not the only one thinking about this.
To be fair, the largest share of super-spreader idjits corresponds more strongly to people who never ever wash their hands before or after gripping the family SUV's steering wheel than anyone riding transit. Difference in self-awareness being fully optional vs. (for now) non-optional.
 

George_Apley

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Yeah if anything, transit is looking quite safe if you take precautions. Not looking like a major virus transfer risk based on data from cities in Europe and Asia.
 

jlichyen

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Seems to me that the greater threat to transit rebounding is less the concerns over COVID-19 and more that all the state and local govt budgets are already starting to shit the bed... How do you keep people on the trains if you can't afford to keep the trains running?
 

HenryAlan

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Asian and European countries seem to have better discipline than America.

I'm in the process of looking for a decent car lease precisely because I have zero interest in getting on a train and inhaling recycled garbage air until there is a safe and well tested vaccine in place for this thing.

I've lived car free for a decade now and I'm someone who has actively resisted owning a car as much as possible. Oh well..., but I'm also sure I'm not the only one thinking about this.
I normally bike commute, but that's been on hiatus for a few weeks as I recover from a surgical procedure. This forced me on to the 'T, after not having ridden it in well over six months. The trains (both commuter and rapid transit) seem quite safe. Good social distancing, good mask adherence. By the time they get crowded, I'll be pretty comfortable with being on them, especially as we see more and more data based evidence that transit is not a significant contributor to infection spread. Buses seem a bit less comfortable to me so far, as they are quite crowded. I think we need to get more buses on the road if we want people to ride in them.
 

ra84970

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It seems like the basic "danger" variables that CDC contemplates in all of its guidance is based on activity, duration and proximity. That is Activity x Duration x Proximity = Sars-Cov-2 transmission/infection with COVID-19. Some additional subvariables/considerations are masks and their relationship to activity and of course risk categories that the potentially infected may be in from effects of COVID-19. And overall, CDC (and thus state guidance) is to encourage people to minimize all of these variables to a certain threshold. Looking at the office guidelines, it looks like these thresholds are typical speaking, up to 15 minutes, no closer than 2m/6ft.

On the other hand, while travelling, looking at these variables and imagining what the risks are on buses and rapid transit, I don't think any single or series of potentially-infected strangers is likely to be closer than 6 feet, for 15 minutes, speaking to you or at a point where they're shedding virus and are extremely infectious. To be honest, it seems more likely that you'll be travelling with a potentially-infected person who is speaking with you for at least 15 minutes, in a range closer than 6 feet during your whole trip.

On the other hand looking at risks on commuter rail or other forms of longer-distance transit, it seems likely that you may be seated within 6 feet of a potentially infected person for a duration of longer than 15 minutes. The question is whether they're a light/heavy breather or otherwise shed more virus because they're at their peak shedding moment. This is also in addition to a case where you're travelling with someone who doesn't know they have COVID-19.
 

Vagabond

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I normally bike commute, but that's been on hiatus for a few weeks as I recover from a surgical procedure. This forced me on to the 'T, after not having ridden it in well over six months. The trains (both commuter and rapid transit) seem quite safe. Good social distancing, good mask adherence. By the time they get crowded, I'll be pretty comfortable with being on them, especially as we see more and more data based evidence that transit is not a significant contributor to infection spread. Buses seem a bit less comfortable to me so far, as they are quite crowded. I think we need to get more buses on the road if we want people to ride in them.
I've felt fine on the T (with a mask and a bottle of soap) as well so far - I think it partly has to do with them smelling like bleach... and partly because a T ride is normally pretty short (with a low-risk contact identified as "contact in a closed environment with a COVID-19 case for less than 15-30 min or at a distance of more than 6 feet") so it's not like you are in close contact for extended periods of time. That clearly will change as offices reopen, but from my anecdotal experience, lots of offices are waiting for others to be the guinea pigs first before full reopenings, with many engineering colleagues waiting to either Sep 1 or Jan 1 before reopening.
 

F-Line to Dudley

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Hey, if social distancing is the tipping-point decision that finally gets us ordering 2 x 2 seating CR cars on this next 200-car replacement procurement, I'll take it. 3 x 2 seating sucks balls for a whole litany of practical reasons, but if this is the actual reasoning that shakes us loose from But We've Always Done It This Way™ -ism, circumstances FTW!
 

whighlander

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Asian and European countries seem to have better discipline than America.

I'm in the process of looking for a decent car lease precisely because I have zero interest in getting on a train and inhaling recycled garbage air until there is a safe and well tested vaccine in place for this thing.

I've lived car free for a decade now and I'm someone who has actively resisted owning a car as much as possible. Oh well..., but I'm also sure I'm not the only one thinking about this.
Meddlepal -- Asian and European countries the people are so used to it that they almost like transit - - in the US it is a matter of toleration versus the unpleasantness of alternatives

When I was working on an early AI for media project in Central Square in Cambridge about 20 years ago -- I explored nearly all the possible ways to get from Lexington to Cambridge Central Sq area:
  1. Walk along the Minuteman Commuter Bikeway to Alewife then Red Line to Central and then a walk of a few blocks to the work site
  2. -- pleasant, a bit long in time and obviously weather dependent
  3. Bike along the Minuteman Commuter Bikeway and then along streets in Cambridge -- much the same as walking and T
  4. Drive to Cambridge and look for parking relatively nearby then walk to place of work -- could be longer depending on the traffic and weather
  5. Drive to Alewife and the Red Line -- critically dependent on timing -- in those days Alewife garage filled before 8:00 AM
  6. Walk to one of relatively near T bus stops -- bus to Alewife or Harvard depending on the route, time of day and day of the week -- more or less convenient depending on the day, time, weather
I settled on 6 for weekdays and 5 on weekends although there were times when working late the decision on when to quit the project among my team had to be made based on the last bus available

Same kind of decisions were involved in the mid-90's on a project in Stamford CT where most times I took Amtrak to avoid the 3 hr drive although there were concessions that had to be made on the work based on the schedule of the trains through Stamford including Metro North to NH

So -- the COVID-19 situation and work at home has just given the always "only loosely committed to Transit" commuter a chance to review the options and the still-relatively light traffic and low gasoline prices has pushed a lot of folks over to the drive side
 

F-Line to Dudley

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So -- the COVID-19 situation and work at home has just given the always "only loosely committed to Transit" commuter a chance to review the options and the still-relatively light traffic and low gasoline prices has pushed a lot of folks over to the drive side
Again...are you willfully oblivious to the actual transit re-increase counts? Like NYC Subway passing the 2 million mark when they're not even in Phase 3 reopening yet and over two-thirds of offices are still nonfunctional? That's months faster than anyone ever anticipated, to the point where NYCT finds itself in a pickle over all its COVID-repacked construction schedules for line shutdowns and having their temp bustitutions suddenly completely overwhelmed.

Can you attribute any countable metrics whatsoever to your dearly-held belief that the exact opposite is happening? Still waiting.
 

whighlander

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Again...are you willfully oblivious to the actual transit re-increase counts? Like NYC Subway passing the 2 million mark when they're not even in Phase 3 reopening yet and over two-thirds of offices are still nonfunctional? That's months faster than anyone ever anticipated, to the point where NYCT finds itself in a pickle over all its COVID-repacked construction schedules for line shutdowns and having their temp bustitutions suddenly completely overwhelmed.

Can you attribute any countable metrics whatsoever to your dearly-held belief that the exact opposite is happening? Still waiting.
F-line -- I didn't make up the concerns -- they have been expressed in recent polls of the public's attitude to commuting -- see for example

Poll Of Mass. Residents Finds Sharp Shift In Commuting Attitudes Amid Pandemic


May 27, 2020
Matt Murphy, State House News Service

The survey results, released on Wednesday, also found that 67% of respondents would be at least somewhat uncomfortable with riding the MBTA during peak morning and evening commuting hours, speaking to the challenges facing employers as they ask workers to return to the office.

Of those surveyed, 16% said they used public transit for most or all of their trips before the pandemic, but only 10% said that would continue to be the case.
 

ra84970

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Again...are you willfully oblivious to the actual transit re-increase counts? Like NYC Subway passing the 2 million mark when they're not even in Phase 3 reopening yet and over two-thirds of offices are still nonfunctional? That's months faster than anyone ever anticipated, to the point where NYCT finds itself in a pickle over all its COVID-repacked construction schedules for line shutdowns and having their temp bustitutions suddenly completely overwhelmed.

Can you attribute any countable metrics whatsoever to your dearly-held belief that the exact opposite is happening? Still waiting.
I'm of a similar line of thinking. Looking at the fundamentals of economic activity, transportation system capacities, and case studies from not just Europe or Asia, but Anglo-America ... all else being equal, there's nothing pointing to transit ridership being permanently diminished by COVID-19. (I mean, unless you go full SEPTA and use this as your opportunity to try to bust unions, change your operations models, further delay necessary repairs, and put yourself on a path to cratering your regional rail system so that it takes nearly 12 years for ridership to recover...but that's another story.)

Street and highway capacity hasn't changed because of COVID-19 response. So, while predicting how long it will take for full economic recovery to happen, I just don't see a long-term trend away from the ridership status quo pre-COVID-19. In this region, there's only so much capacity to meet travel demand before transit relieves the pressure off the street and highway network.

For me, it's all about economic activity. So far the fundamentals of economic activity in the region haven't changed, rather, they've shifted in ways that appear to be temporary in the 5-, 10-, 20- year time horizon.
 

F-Line to Dudley

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F-line -- I didn't make up the concerns -- they have been expressed in recent polls of the public's attitude to commuting -- see for example


You didn't say anything about "concerns". EVERYONE has concerns. You said that people have surveyed the options and made a choice.

That's not concern...that's action. I'm asking you to provide evidence for the action you keep claiming is actively and pervasively taking place.


Look...up to you if you keep overestimating your goalpost-moving skillz as if subtle shiftery like that isn't going to be immediately detected and pounced-on after years and years of aB being conditioned to look for exactly that kind of disingenuity. No skin off my back if you prefer to keep stepping on your own rakes. But if you're going to try to tank useful ongoing discussion with this tactic, be prepared to get called out to put up or shut up at grounding this truthiness in something real. This isn't 2010 where derail-bait still gets a benefit of the doubt.
 

Lrfox

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I rode the Red Line yesterday for the first time since the outbreak. Davis-Park-Davis standard peak commute. I know ridership is down significantly, but I wasn't expecting the train and stations to be THAT empty. I guess running at normal frequencies is having the intended effect of spacing people out. I appreciate it from a rider's perspective, but can't imagine it's sustainable.

Also, Park and Davis were both far cleaner than I think I've ever seen them. The cleaning has to be going pretty well, but I'm also imagining the lack of foot traffic doesn't hurt.
 

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