Urban Ring

quadratdackel

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This is the rapid transit project that will form a ring around downtown, connecting the various spokes of our hub-and-spoke system slightly outbound, improving connectivity between the various neighborhoods, opening up new areas for development, and relieving transit congestion downtown. Providing better access to Longwood is a key driver right now. The plan is to phase this all in over the next decade or two, adjusting the plan as need be. Its current form is the Crosstown Bus routes. The route's supposed to look something like the thick white line in this:



with grade-separated (above or below ground) rapid transit approximately from Dudley to Sullivan. Here's the MBTA's page.

There's also an upcoming meeting:

The Urban Ring Citizens Advisory Committee will hold its next meeting on

Tuesday, July 25
4 to 6 PM
State Transportation Building, 10 Park Plaza
Conference Rooms 2-3, Second Floor

At this meeting, we will discuss the status of the Revised DEIR/DEIS, the process for selecting a consultant, issues and priorities that should guide consultant selection, and potential CAC subcommittees.

We appreciate your interest in this important project, and we look forward to your continued participation.

Thank you.

Ned Codd

Ned Codd, P.E.
Manager of Plan Development, Executive Office of Transportation
10 Park Plaza, Room 4150, Boston, MA 02116
Phone: 617-973-7473 Fax: 617-973-8035
Ned.Codd AT state.ma.us
I have very mixed feelings about this project. I agree with the intention to expand rapid transit, especially perpendicular to our current routes, but I don't think this is being implemented properly. However, a loop is not the right shape for a transit line. For example, we do not need a new high speed connection from Ruggles to Community College- the Orange Line already does exactly this. I think we should be more focused on making straighter lines that will get people places faster. So, something that runs through Cambridge just north of MIT (the Grand Junction right of way) should continue through Charlestown, stopping at the Navy Yard before going straight to Chelsea. Also, the phase-in of this project involves lots of short, disconnected lines, like the current CT busses. This setup pretty much guarantees that trips along this corridor will not be very fast due to the frequent transfering required.
 

ablarc

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The rumblings are ominous. I think we can trust them to blow it. They will labor mightily and bring forth...a bus.
 

justin

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This is a pie-in-the sky project. I don't think anybody seriously expects it to happen in the next 30-40 years.

justin
 

vanshnookenraggen

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It's this or the NS Link. We can't pay for both. My hats with the NS Link.
 

briv

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The NS link couldve been done cheaper than it will ever be back when a ditch from S. Station to N. Station was opened up for the Big Dig. It didnt happen then. Shamefully, it will never, ever happen.
 

vanshnookenraggen

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What's stopping us from getting a couple of deep bore drills and going under the highway? We dont NEED a Central Station. We need to get people from one side of Boston to the other without using cars.
 

KentXie

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If the Urban Ring ever do get underway is it going to be BRT or light rail or heavy rail?
 

justin

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vansh., I think the whole point of the rail link is the Central Station. Commuter rail serves to bring suburbanites to work downtown, and the biggest benefit of NSRL would be to distribute them more evenly and get them off the subway system. This is not such a huge benefit, relative to the cost; neither is the operational improvement of not running two separate CR systems, and the market for suburb-to-suburb trips just isn't big enough. So, while a nice idea, I wouldn't put it on top of my priority list.

As for not building it with the Dig, they actually started making provisions for it in the norther part of the tunnel, but then decided it would indeed be cheaper to bore it. Can't blame them for some cost-cutting.

CR will never be the main mode of suburban travel; the subway can at least aspire to be that in the urban context. That's why I'd go with the Urban Ring. It connects major centers of activity and remedies the biggest structural problem of the present system, its hub-and-spokes design. From the studies I've heard about, the demand on the Urban Ring would be so high that it would have to be heavy rail, at least the Wellington-Dudley segment, which is why it'll never be done.

justin
 

TheBostonian

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DarkFenX said:
If the Urban Ring ever do get underway is it going to be BRT or light rail or heavy rail?
In phases, starting with the CT1/2/3 buses, then BRT, then LR or HR. The proposals are somewhere online.
 

ckb

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Some people have noted that the N-S rail link may be more closely related to the Urban Ring in another way ... note that the Urban Ring plans all involve something like crossing the Charles on the rail bridge below the BU bridge, and following the train tracks known as the Grand Junction, which travel through cambridge behind MIT. As many of you may know, this section of track is the only link between the North and South sides of the commutter rail system (and is also used by Amtrak to get Downeaster trains to and from the north side to its facilities near Southampton St., as well as a small amount of freight (notably, refrigerator cars going to the Chelsea Produce Market).

For the Urban Ring to work as planned, using the Grand Junction corridor, some alternate route has to be created to link the two systems.

If busses are used, I suppose some sort of street running could be acceptable (especially in a restricted right of way) but you won't see light rail.

Despite the appeal of the existing Grand Junction ROW, I've never been a fan of that routing for the Urban Ring, anyway -- it is way too close to the center of the system. The transfer at Kendall is only 2 stops away from Park St! Instead, it should go through Lower Allston (new Harvard Campus) across to Harvard, down Kirkland/Washington to Union Sq. Someville, and onwards. I don't know how far onwards, though -- do we really need another bus/LRT system to the airport? Do Everett and Chelsea need a connection to the airport?
 

vanshnookenraggen

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My biggest beef with the UR is the BRT. I understand and agree that there should be improved bus transit around the city but I think that the T is relying too much on busses for the UR. Instead of 3 phases, maybe combine the first two. Atleast then you could get around the city on a bus while the politicians argue about who's gonna pay for the tunnel.

I also think that the current alignment may not be the best and I would love to see some studies with the UR connecting to Harvard, Allston, and South Boston. Maybe even build a line to the Airport. That would take a lot of traffic out of downtown.
 

quadratdackel

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I think us Boston people have an overly negative opinion of BRT due to how poorly the Silver Line functions. True, BRT has very real limitations- the vehicles don't run on tracks, so they must traverse narrow paths (read: tunnels) much more slowly than rail, and the busses generally have lower capacities than heavy rail (i.e. Orange/Red/Blue). However, BRT can work, and work well. See for example Curitiba, Brazil. But in order for BRT to work well, it needs sufficiently wide paths (unlike Silver Line Waterfront) and its own path, free of traffic and traffic lights (unlike Silver Line Washington Street).

Doing this along the Urban Ring would probably be a lot cheaper and faster to build than even above-ground rail. However, it would require commandeering a whole chain of roads, including their traffic lights, for the better part of the day. (During off-peak hours, congestion is less important, and roads could be shared with little cost to the BRT service.) It's hard to imagine us pulling off such a stunt. I think we're more likely to see another fragmented, slow-moving service like the Silver Line (or portions of the Green Line) unless we go all out and dig a huge tunnel and make the whole trip transfer-free.

...I went to an Urban Ring Citizens Advisory Committee meeting a while back. I felt a sense of inevitability in the room for the proposed routing. Whatever route brainstorm process (hopefully) occurred happenned long ago and doesn't look likely to be revisited, much like no serious rethinking of Silver Line Phase 3 (the tunnel connecting the two portions) seems to be taking place.
 

quadratdackel

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The Urban Ring Citizens Advisory Committee will hold its next meeting on

Tuesday, September 12
4 to 6 PM
State Transportation Building, 10 Park Plaza
Conference Rooms 2-3, Second Floor

At this meeting, we will introduce the designated consultant team for the RDEIR/DEIS, present the study approach and schedule, and discuss next steps in the study process.

We appreciate your interest in this important project, and we look forward to your continued participation.

Thank you.

Ned Codd


Ned Codd, P.E.
Manager of Plan Development, Executive Office of Transportation
10 Park Plaza, Room 4150, Boston, MA 02116
Phone: 617-973-7473 Fax: 617-973-8035
<Ned.Codd@state.ma.us>
 

quadratdackel

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The next Urban Ring Citizens Advisory Committee meeting will be held on
Tuesday, October 24th at 4 pm, 10 Park Plaza, Conference Rooms 2-3 on
the Second Floor.

Closer to the meeting, I will send out a draft agenda. Please call or
e-mail me if you have any questions.

Many thanks,


Regan Checchio
Public Affairs Manager
Regina Villa Associates
51 Franklin St., 4th floor
Boston, MA 02110
Ph: 617-357-5772 ext. 14
Fax: 617-357-8361
E-mail: rchecchio@reginavilla.com
 

Charlie_mta

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On another thread, the Harvard Univ. plan for development in Allston is being discussed.

In the Harvard plan, a light-rail Urban Ring route is being proposed, as shown on the following drawing as the heavy green route. It would basically go from the B.U. area up through the new Harvard development, on to Harvard Square, mostly in tunnel. I've added an extension to continue it on to tie into the proposed Green Line extension at Union Square, Somerville. I also show a dashed green line as a possible spur to Watertown Square, via Mt. Auburn Street and then following the Watertown Branch RR right-of-way to Watertown Sq.

The beauty of this proposal is that it could utilize the abandoned Red Line tunnel from Harvard Square to the old Bennet Street car barn (now Kennedy School of Government) at Mt. Auburn Street. It would also utilize the existing bus tunnel and station at Harvard Square, operating jointly with buses in that tunnel.

This route would also link the new Harvard campus with the old one in Cambridge, provide light rail service to Allston, and link Harvard Square directly to Longwood and B.U.

I think this is a better route than the one currently being proposed along the Grand Junction railroad. That route is too close in to really serve as an urban ring.

 

justin

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The 'abandoned Red Line tunnel' is pretty much a phantom crossing the air of the present Harvard station lobby. Even if there are a few yards of it left by KSG, you'd be hard-pressed to extend it under Harvard property.

If this tunnel is ever built (not in my liftetime), it will probably have to be bored from the other side of the river, under Boylston St. to a new deep station at Harvard Sq,

The two possible routings for urban ring aren't an either-or proposition; they would serve completely different markets. For a good time into the future, Kendall will be a bigger employment center than Harvard Sq. and, especially given the nature of the businesses there, needs a direct connection with Longwood at least as much. The tight urban ring will also do a much better job of relieving downtown congestion: someone going from MIT to Longwood, wouldn't use the outer routing and would keep going through Park St. instead.

A more feasible, medium-cost proposal to serve the new Harvard campus would start in a new tunnel at Harvard Sq., cross the river, stopping by the new campus,maybe in the neighborhood at N.Harvard & Cambridge, and continue underground to a tunnel portal by the rail yards south of the turnpike (where there's room for such a thing). Then it would join the existing Framingham tracks, cross the Green Line at Comm. Ave, the urban ring at Yawkey, Green Line again at Mass Ave., Orange at Back Bay, make another stop in Chinatown and then fly over the SS tracks and join the Fairmount line, connecting with the Red Line at Broadway (either a short tunnel or a long walkway). Either end of the line could also see some service terminating at S.Station, In fact, the demolition of the postal annex would present an opportunity to build a dedicated station for this service with a direct connection to a new Red Line headhouse at FPC. The new terminus could even be put underground as part of the redevelopment of the site, in anticipation of NSRL...

Fantasise on!

justin
 

Beton Brut

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The neighborhood meeting I alluded to in the "New Blue Line Cars" thread featured a piss-poor presentation about the Urban Ring by two rubes from the Executive Office of Transportation...They couldn't get their laptop to work, and the guy who spoke was about as convincing as a fifth-grader reading a shoddy book report after huffing rubber cement...I asked a couple of questions about the plans to tunnel under the LMA (deep-bore, possibly Dudley/Ruggles to Allston) and the alternative (running heavy-rail on the D-Line and extending the Orange Line out to 128)...Some "Errrrs" and "Ummms" and then they beat a retreat, due to the issues with the AV support for their presentation...

If these are the clowns responsible for carrying out public policy, I oughta move to Uganda...
 

underground

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The ch 5 6pm ran a teaser for the 11pm that included a story about the Urban Ring. Did anyone happen to catch it?
 

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