Silver Line (10 years of history) Discussion

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Re: Silver Line (10 years of history) Discussion

Postby Elcamo » Fri Aug 10, 2012 7:15 pm

Going into Boston with a measuring tape and noteback tommorrow, will hopefully come back with measurements of the stations as is on the Green Line where this could potentially be implemented (unless I find this info on the web tonight). I believe that given the enclosed nature of the stations, and the close proximity to road acess, they could potentially be made in different modular segements, and then assembled directly on top of the current platforms during non revenue hours, one station at a time.
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Re: Silver Line (10 years of history) Discussion

Postby ferroequinologist » Fri Aug 10, 2012 10:34 pm

Elcamo wrote:Going into Boston with a measuring tape and noteback tommorrow, will hopefully come back with measurements of the stations as is on the Green Line where this could potentially be implemented (unless I find this info on the web tonight). I believe that given the enclosed nature of the stations, and the close proximity to road acess, they could potentially be made in different modular segements, and then assembled directly on top of the current platforms during non revenue hours, one station at a time.


Google earth has pretty precise imagery and a measuring function. Looking at it, some of the stations are pretty tight, but I don't see why these would take up any more space than a current platform. There are places space would be problematic though, such as Newton Center, where the old station building is quite close to the tracks. The D would really by the only place with such issues--having a quick look around elsewhere, there should be enough room for quick installation if you closed a lane of Huntington Ave, Comm Ave, or Beacon St. Does anyone know how much these things cost or what the installation process is? I also am not sure they're a good idea for some stations on the D. A lot of them are in pleasant outdoor areas, and putting people in a glass box would be less nice. I wouldn't mind missing out on the outdoors of the median of a major road, but I like waiting for a train outside in some of the D stations.

However, the person above was talking about putting these on island platforms. That'd save some money on buying these things, but rerouting the tracks would be expensive enough to make it not worth it, and you'd probably need a cessation of service of some sort to do it. The whole idea of these is that they're self-contained so people can't just walk in without paying, so putting them on an island doesn't help any. If, like you're saying, these would just get plunked on existing platforms it'd be a pretty quick improvement.

Anyway, to bring this back to the Silver Line, I think the likely issue is space--these'd eat up a whole lot of sidewalk space. There may just not be enough room for these along Washington St. However, you could put them in some places, such as Dudley, South Station, and the Airport. If these'd go on the sidewalk, I don't think Boston's sidewalks are wide enough. These'd also be practical on some other major bus routes. It's doable for some of the larger stops on the 28, 32, 57, 71, and 73 maybe. Whether or not that's practical depends on how much these things cost though.
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Re: Silver Line (10 years of history) Discussion

Postby MBTA3247 » Fri Aug 10, 2012 10:46 pm

The problem with most of the surface stops (except on the D Line) is that there is no room at all in the right of way for those fancy fare-controlled platforms (at some stops, one or both platforms wouldn't even be able to fit a single faregate at the end). The only places where I could see that being possible to mitigate is on the C Line and the B Line between Packard's Corner and Warren St; the former would require eliminating a lot of parking spaces (and we all know how well that would go down), and the latter might be doable if they think ahead when that section of Comm Ave gets rebuilt with the tracks in the middle.
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Re: Silver Line (10 years of history) Discussion

Postby The EGE » Fri Aug 10, 2012 11:10 pm

Center island platforms would make it a lot more doable. Even on the thin stations, have room for one ADA-wide faregate.
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Re: Silver Line (10 years of history) Discussion

Postby ferroequinologist » Fri Aug 10, 2012 11:39 pm

MBTA3247 wrote:The problem with most of the surface stops (except on the D Line) is that there is no room at all in the right of way for those fancy fare-controlled platforms (at some stops, one or both platforms wouldn't even be able to fit a single faregate at the end). The only places where I could see that being possible to mitigate is on the C Line and the B Line between Packard's Corner and Warren St; the former would require eliminating a lot of parking spaces (and we all know how well that would go down), and the latter might be doable if they think ahead when that section of Comm Ave gets rebuilt with the tracks in the middle.


The EGE wrote:Center island platforms would make it a lot more doable. Even on the thin stations, have room for one ADA-wide faregate.


How wide are the ADA faregates? My intuition tells me that they're quite a bit narrower than the current side platforms, in which case putting these things on the existing side platforms would be fine. Looking at google earth, it seems the C platforms are significantly roomier than the B platforms, so perhaps starting with, say, Coolidge Corner would make the most sense. The B line platforms look to be about 8' wide, which is enough for an ADA gate but the whole setup would probably be a bit tight.
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Re: Silver Line (10 years of history) Discussion

Postby The EGE » Sat Aug 11, 2012 12:25 am

Many B line platforms are about 3' wide - and a foot of that is taken up by the edge of the trolleys.
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Re: Silver Line (10 years of history) Discussion

Postby The EGE » Sat Aug 11, 2012 1:15 am

I just went and measured on Google Maps. These are the widths of the transit reservation on the B line (C and inner E are similar, although the C often has very wide sections with landscaping).

Blandford: 46
BU East: 47
BU Central: 47
BU West: 35
St Paul: 37
Pleasant St: 35
Babcock St: 37
Packards Corner: 34
Harvard Ave: 32
Griggs St: 35
Allston St: 32
Warren St: 31
Washington St: 37
Sutherland Rd: 40
Chiswick: 30
Chestnut Hill Ave: 31
South St: 30
BC/Lake St: 27 feet wide (with left turn lane) immediately next to Lake Street, and 37 feet wide east of the turn lane. The station is being moved to limit the number of times trains need to cross Comm Ave.

Type 7s and Type 8s are 104" (8' 8") wide, and I think it's safe to assume the Type 9s and beyond will as well. Let's say for the sake of argument that the total distance from the edge of pavement to the edge of the platform will be 128": 6" clearance plus 4" fence plus 10" clearance plus 104" tram plus 4" clearance. That's 256" (21 feet 4 inches) taken up by the trams.

When I rode Lima's Metropolitano line (a very well-done BRT line that's designed for drop-in rails for a subway upgrade), it had some fabulously well-thought-out platforms: http://newworldreview.com/wp-content/up ... itano2.jpg

The platform walls, which include doors which automatically open when a bus stops, are no more than 6" thick. Add two of those, we're at 22' 4". If we can finagle 2 extra feet on a few platforms (by reducing the extra-wide 13' traffic lanes to a standard 12' or 11') - for a 32" wide transit reservation - then we can have a platform nearly 10 feet wide. That's enough for rush hour passengers - easily wide enough for a standard Charliegate plus an ADA, or 2 to 3 standards.

There's absolutely no reason they can't do center platforms with pre-paid fares. You get ADA compliance, faster boarding, 100% fare collection, and a huge safety upgrade because you don't have passengers on a narrow strip between cars and trains. It also makes the argument easier for combining stations - a pre-pay platform could handle the 5000-6000 passengers at a BU East + Central station. There's a handful of stations where platform length between cross streets is an issue, but they can be the last to get upgraded while you eliminate traffic crossings, or move the station a bit.
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Re: Silver Line (10 years of history) Discussion

Postby ferroequinologist » Sat Aug 11, 2012 11:15 am

The EGE wrote:Many B line platforms are about 3' wide - and a foot of that is taken up by the edge of the trolleys.


Looking on google earth, the narrow ones are about ~5' wide, with some space taken up by trolleys. That is too narrow for ADA faregates on either side.

The EGE wrote:There's absolutely no reason they can't do center platforms with pre-paid fares. You get ADA compliance, faster boarding, 100% fare collection, and a huge safety upgrade because you don't have passengers on a narrow strip between cars and trains. It also makes the argument easier for combining stations - a pre-pay platform could handle the 5000-6000 passengers at a BU East + Central station. There's a handful of stations where platform length between cross streets is an issue, but they can be the last to get upgraded while you eliminate traffic crossings, or move the station a bit.


So it seems center platforms would work for all, but adding this to side platforms would be too tight on the B, and possibly elsewhere. Thanks for doing the research. I guess the issue there would be cost--it'd require some service outages to move the tracks to make center platforms. Perhaps they could hire tons of guys and move the tracks and platforms over a few days, then make the center platforms pre-pay gradually, putting pre-pay side platforms on the C, D, and E where it's feasible. Doing some arithmetic in my head, I think 30' is about the limit for a pre-pay center platform, and 40' is about the limit for side pre-pay platforms.

I had a look at some other places on the Green Line. Looking at ridership figures, the places on the C where this would help the most are St Mary's St and Coolidge Corner. St Mary's St has a funny shape. It might actually be easier to put in side pre-pay platforms than a center one. Coolidge Corner has platforms on opposite sides of Harvard St, with loads of space for side pre-pay platforms (which wouldn't require moving tracks and tearing up a busy intersection). So there you wouldn't even need to put in islands assuming you keep the platforms across the street from each other.

On the D stations on the higher end of ridership, Fenway and Longwood are both roughly ~37' wide, Brookline Village is ~38' wide, and Brookline Hills is ~40'. Resevoir has got plenty of space. Newton Center might be pretty tight, since there's the station building right next to the platform. On the E, Northeastern and Museum are both roughly 40' wide, which might be enough for side pre-pay. Longwood is hard to measure because it's got a weird platform shape, but it seems to be roughly 32' at minimum. That's enough for a center pre-pay platform. Brigham, though, has offset platforms and at both places the total width is only around 28', which may be too tight for any pre-pay platform.

Anyway, the amount of space you'd need for these probably bodes ill for the Silver Line, since there's no way there's enough room for pre-pay along Washington St. It's also kind of unfortunate that the line that could use this the most, the B, has the least space to actually do it.
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Re: Silver Line (10 years of history) Discussion

Postby Matthew » Sat Aug 11, 2012 11:40 am

I think these ideas are unrealistic. Can you imagine the passenger flow problem with these type of platforms? Boarding passengers lining up trying to push through one or two fare gates at the same time other people are trying to leave? Most likely the fare gates would simply be held open for rampant fare dodging. And the expense of constructing these things?
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Re: Silver Line (10 years of history) Discussion

Postby ferroequinologist » Sat Aug 11, 2012 12:09 pm

Matthew wrote:I think these ideas are unrealistic. Can you imagine the passenger flow problem with these type of platforms? Boarding passengers lining up trying to push through one or two fare gates at the same time other people are trying to leave?


Yeah, passenger flow might be an issue. But given that people could wait for trains on the platform, it wouldn't be nearly as bad as the existing flow problem of having people get in and out of the Green Line cars. It wouldn't be ideal, but it'd be far better than the status quo flow-wise. Having people try to leave, enter, and pay Green Line cars through a couple doors with steps is a much worse situation than having people pay through a couple gates then wait on the platform for a train to come. It's a huge improvement in flow.

Besides, depending on design, you could probably have at least a couple gates at each end of the pre-pay area, with maybe a few more facing towards crosswalks if there's space. There would certainly be more gates than there are doors of Green Line trains.

Matthew wrote:Most likely the fare gates would simply be held open for rampant fare dodging. And the expense of constructing these things?


The issue with the fare gates being held open or having multiple people go in at once exists everywhere on the T system. Fare dodging is a far larger problem on the Green surface lines than at the existing gates. It wouldn't eliminate the problem, but it would help it, not make it worse.

As for cost, these are pre-fab. They'd be more expensive than regular shelters thanks to the electronic door controls, but they're still a pretty modular inexpensive design. The improvement in station dwell times and reduction in fare dodging might make it worthwhile.
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Re: Silver Line (10 years of history) Discussion

Postby Matthew » Sat Aug 11, 2012 1:06 pm

I'm just imagining Harvard Avenue with large crowds entering/leaving the newly combined center platform area.

Also a center platform would preclude split stations; placing the platform after the traffic signal on both directions.

Underground stations all have (costly) station attendants (in principle) to look after those extremely expensive fare gates. I cannot imagine doing that for surface stations in any reasonable way.
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Re: Silver Line (10 years of history) Discussion

Postby ferroequinologist » Sat Aug 11, 2012 2:04 pm

Matthew wrote:I'm just imagining Harvard Avenue with large crowds entering/leaving the newly combined center platform area. Also a center platform would preclude split stations; placing the platform after the traffic signal on both directions.


You could always have two separate pay-area stations for split stations. The flow problems would still be an improvement over the current problems getting on/off the train. If you had split island platforms, there could be several gates for large surface stations (such as Harvard Ave), a vast improvement over the current bottleneck at the car doors. For Harvard Ave specifically, two side-platforms offset would probably be the way to go, though you could fit a decent size island platform where the outbound platform currently is. The setup wouldn't be ideal, but it's far better than the current system, which results in long dwell times (people having to wait in line to get on) or fare-dodging (people slipping on if the back doors are opened to let people out).

Matthew wrote:Underground stations all have (costly) station attendants (in principle) to look after those extremely expensive fare gates. I cannot imagine doing that for surface stations in any reasonable way.


They sometimes do, but that doesn't have to be the case. Lots of subway systems have fare gates in outer areas without permanent attendants. In a post-token era, it's good to have but isn't a necessity. If you put this in on an entire line, it might even be possible to not have a person in the second car whose only job it is is to open and close doors, though I don't know the details on how Green Line doors work.

Regarding the Silver Line, does anyone know if such a setup would work in Dudley? You could have a big prepay area for all the bus lines terminating there, reducing dwell times. Hell, you could put something like this in at a lot of the big bus transfer stations--Ruggles, Forest Hills, Wonderland, etc. It's been a while since I've ridden the bus out of one of those places, but I imagine dwell times are atrocious.
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Re: Silver Line (10 years of history) Discussion

Postby diburning » Sat Aug 11, 2012 8:09 pm

Why not have a traffic flow pattern where one end is entry/exit, while the other end is exit only? They could use those barred revolving "doors" that some subway stations such as Park St use to provide an exit-only path. Or, they could just make it so that the entry is on one end, and the exit is on the other, and anyone attempting to go the wrong way simply wouldn't go anywhere (for example a one-way charlie gate) but would have an alternative emergency exit in case of emergency.

It worked for the subway system back when there were turnstyles. There would be multiple exits, while there is only one entrance. An enclosed center platform isn't really all that different from an underground side platform subway station in terms of size.

They don't even need to build anything remotely as fancy as that glass tube design above, just 3 walls to enclose the platform and one wall with doors to protect the platform from people walking around the walls.
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