On (temporary) track for Longfellow Bridge

Discussion relating to commuter rail, light rail, and subway operations of the MBTA.

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Postby Pete » Sat Feb 19, 2005 5:41 pm

efin98 wrote:Enough with this garbage. Mulhern's bias towards buses has absolutely nothing to do with the Red Line's temporary tracks so drop it. You are piling on about something that has nothing to do with the article nor the Red Line. Mulhern is doing the only thing he can do with the Red Line so don't give him any of the crap you guys are flinging. Would you prefer that the Red Line be cut off for months on end like the bridges down in New York were? How about extremely limited service and disruptions every weekend like the Blue and Orange Lines?

Enough is enough. You guys are acting like trolls whenever you hear his name in the news regardless of what it is. Give it a rest.


I agree that it's not so simple as saying Mulhern's remarks originate from a real preference for buses.

But the comments here aren't unique to this board. Anyone I've encountered who is frustrated with his overall anti-rail agenda has seized the opportunity to say, "there he goes again."

Mulhern bears a large portion of the responsibility for this. He's made his positions clear in the past and has largely himself to blame for the reputation that precedes him and arouses this sort of talk. I don't have a lot of sympathy for him.
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Postby efin98 » Sat Feb 19, 2005 7:45 pm

Pete wrote:Mulhern bears a large portion of the responsibility for this. He's made his positions clear in the past and has largely himself to blame for the reputation that precedes him and arouses this sort of talk. I don't have a lot of sympathy for him.


Where it involves him directly then yes, he deserves the criticism. However blaming him for all of the troubles with the rail projects not getting done, the Silver Line, most of the mess with the Arborway Line etc. is garbage. Most of what he is blamed for here came about well before he was promoted and even before his predecessor was promoted or hired. How about blaming those who are truely at blame and not using Mulhern as the scapegoat for everyone's frustrations all the time!!!


bierhere wrote:If you did it one track at a time, you would be single tracked between Park and Kendal ? (I'm not sure where they have switches on the Red Line ). This would cause significant delays.


That's probably why they went with the temporary tracks and single laned roadways rather than single tracking. You lose the automobile traffic but considering that there are alternatives east and west of the bridge for those who don't want to use the Longfellow during the period of the diversion tracks it made more sense.

We will have to wait and see how much time is lost with the diversion tracks, I doubt it's more than a minute or two each way as the line already goes slow over the bridge...
efin98
 

Postby ckb » Sat Feb 19, 2005 8:09 pm

I agree that we might be too quick to jump down Mulhern's throat on this one, but I can follow Pete's logic and see why so many railbuffs (and transit buffs, and daily commutters in the know) feel the way they do. My read of the article was that he was noting that there weren't any final plans, and all options were on the table, including shuttle bus service.

I think shuttle bus service is an awful idea just for the lack of appropriate places to park a bus in Charles Circle and the significant amount of time it would take the buses to traverse streets to Park St.

Further, I don't think that losing a lane of traffic to temporary tracks would cause much traffic jamming ... only when the rest of the city (Storrow Dr., etc.) is jammed up does the Longfellow back up. And they'll probably have to make it one lane in each direction anyway when rehabilitating the automobile lanes.

A tunnel under there? Forget it.
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Postby Pete » Sat Feb 19, 2005 8:58 pm

efin98 wrote:Where it involves him directly then yes, he deserves the criticism. However blaming him for all of the troubles with the rail projects not getting done, the Silver Line, most of the mess with the Arborway Line etc. is garbage. Most of what he is blamed for here came about well before he was promoted and even before his predecessor was promoted or hired. How about blaming those who are truely at blame and not using Mulhern as the scapegoat for everyone's frustrations all the time!!!


Let's not be so quick to exonerate him. I've been in meetings with Mulhern where he expressed explicitly his personal feelings on some of these issues, and there was no qualifying involved.

I'm not blaming him for all the shortcomings of the T that he has inherited. I'm blaming him for his own words and actions.

He's a public official. His remarks are subject to criticism based on the record of what he's said and done before. You may not feel like the criticism is just, but it's certainly to be expected.
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Postby modorney » Sat Feb 19, 2005 9:26 pm

One idea I have is to put in one temporary track, leaving three automobile lanes. Then one track can be shut down and rebuilt, then the other track.

For autos, operate with two lanes in the primary commute direction, and one in the reverse commute direction. All lanes would be separated by a barrier, and tow trucks would be ready, for the occasional stalled car.

It would take some creative signaling and movable barriers on each end.

Trains would have two tracks, commuters would have two lanes, only the reverse commuters would have one.
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Postby Stephen » Sat Feb 19, 2005 9:34 pm

I think it would be really tough to call one direction the primary commute direction. In many ways the traffic using the Longfellow to get from Storrow (and the western burbs) to the Kendall Square area of Cambridge is just as heavy as the traffic going into Boston for work.

I think the idea of cutting it down to one lane each way for car traffic, while a pain for the cars, would provide the best subway/car balance.

My two cents.
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Postby efin98 » Sat Feb 19, 2005 11:23 pm

Pete wrote:Let's not be so quick to exonerate him. I've been in meetings with Mulhern where he expressed explicitly his personal feelings on some of these issues, and there was no qualifying involved. I'm not blaming him for all the shortcomings of the T that he has inherited. I'm blaming him for his own words and actions.


If he says or does something that deserves the criticism then pile it on, but he has gotten flak that is not justified nor is it warrented. If the folks ranting about how anti-rail Mulhern is were receiving the same criticism from folks who didn't like that they were pro-rail they would be raising holy hell. Keep it in perspective, criticism works both ways.

He's a public official. His remarks are subject to criticism based on the record of what he's said and done before.


Criticism when it is due is perfectly fine, but criticising him just because he is a public official isn't. Nor is criticism because he once worked in some department isn't. Would people be as vocal if he was a former accountant? or a former track worker? or a former lawyer? No, they wouldn't

You may not feel like the criticism is just, but it's certainly to be expected.


Yes, when it is warrented. When it is not warrented it is garbage and should not happen. It just cheapens the point people are trying to make...


Stephen wrote:I think it would be really tough to call one direction the primary commute direction. In many ways the traffic using the Longfellow to get from Storrow (and the western burbs) to the Kendall Square area of Cambridge is just as heavy as the traffic going into Boston for work.

I think the idea of cutting it down to one lane each way for car traffic, while a pain for the cars, would provide the best subway/car balance.

My two cents.
- Stephen


Cambridge is just as much of a destination for travellers as Boston is, but I think that the closeness of the Mass Ave. Bridge and the Science Park dam bridge is what allowed the lanes to be lost in favor of the Red Line. Redundancy, best to have it and use it than have it and avoid using it.
efin98
 

Postby Pete » Sun Feb 20, 2005 12:56 am

efin98 wrote:Criticism when it is due is perfectly fine, but criticising him just because he is a public official isn't. Nor is criticism because he once worked in some department isn't. Would people be as vocal if he was a former accountant? or a former track worker? or a former lawyer? No, they wouldn't.


No, you're right, but that's not what I'm talking about. That's not criticism. That's just silly. Once you get off the message boards, I don't think many people take that kind of talk seriously. I'm talking about people looking at what he says under extra scrutiny because of things he's done and said as general manager.
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Postby efin98 » Sun Feb 20, 2005 5:48 pm

Pete wrote:
efin98 wrote:Criticism when it is due is perfectly fine, but criticising him just because he is a public official isn't. Nor is criticism because he once worked in some department isn't. Would people be as vocal if he was a former accountant? or a former track worker? or a former lawyer? No, they wouldn't.


No, you're right, but that's not what I'm talking about. That's not criticism. That's just silly. Once you get off the message boards, I don't think many people take that kind of talk seriously. I'm talking about people looking at what he says under extra scrutiny because of things he's done and said as general manager.


That's what I am talking about too, but I am mostly talking about when the criticism is used against him because of what he did in the past before he came to power and where he originally came from. It's that basis that is being exploited by people far and wide and to a degree by you as well.
efin98
 

Postby Otto Vondrak » Sun Feb 20, 2005 6:38 pm

I've always enjoyed riding over this bridge on my visits to Boston. If the repairs call for complete shutdown, that would be similar to the repairs to the Manhattan Bridge here in NYC- that took more than ten years of re-routes and no train service.

Is it possible to photograph trains on the Longfellow Bridge? Are there sidewalks on that bridge? Never noticed before. Might be interesting to photograph the bridge before repair work begins.

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Postby Ron Newman » Sun Feb 20, 2005 8:08 pm

It's easy to photograph trains on the Longfellow. There are sidewalks on both sides, but the north sidewalk is wider. Both sidewalks are heavily used by pedestrians and sometimes by bicycles.
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Postby efin98 » Sun Feb 20, 2005 10:14 pm

Otto Vondrak wrote:I've always enjoyed riding over this bridge on my visits to Boston. If the repairs call for complete shutdown, that would be similar to the repairs to the Manhattan Bridge here in NYC- that took more than ten years of re-routes and no train service.

Is it possible to photograph trains on the Longfellow Bridge? Are there sidewalks on that bridge? Never noticed before. Might be interesting to photograph the bridge before repair work begins.

-otto-


The Manhatten Bridge and the Williamsburg Bridge construction projects are prime reasons why the MBTA is doing the diversions. New York has redudancy for the rail lines whereas the MBTA does not, and even still with that redundancy there are many troubles with those projects that would probably multiply up here.


And if you photograph the bridge and the the trains going over it you could get great shots from the Esplanade in addition to bridge itself. It looks much nicer to have the bridge in it's entirety with the trains going over it than up close and personal IMHO...Also, staying on public property under anoter agency's jurisdiction is probably a huge help as well...:wink:
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Postby Otto Vondrak » Mon Feb 21, 2005 11:30 am

I wouldn't DREAM of taking photos of the T from T property... ;-)

Is there a timetable in place for this work to start? It wasn't very clear in the article what they intend to do.

-otto-
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Postby Ron Newman » Mon Feb 21, 2005 1:43 pm

Besides the Esplanade in Boston, the Cambridge river bank is also a good place to photograph the Longfellow Bridge and the Red Line. Near the bridge, part of Memorial Drive and its adjoining sidewalk actually swing out over the river.
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Postby efin98 » Mon Feb 21, 2005 9:27 pm

Otto Vondrak wrote:I wouldn't DREAM of taking photos of the T from T property... ;-)

Is there a timetable in place for this work to start? It wasn't very clear in the article what they intend to do.

-otto-


Odds are it's this spring or summer, probably the latter to take advantage of the downswing in Harvard and MIT related ridership...
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