Melrose Highlands Reconstruction

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

Moderators: CRail, sery2831

Melrose Highlands Reconstruction

Postby BostonUrbEx » Mon Jul 08, 2013 8:01 am

Melrose Highlands is slated for reconstruction at some point. I do not know the full scope, but I do know forum member SM89 has heard it's already designed, and it's a matter of funding being found. It's not clear whether it is an MBTA project or City of Melrose project. The only components I know of is there is to be a pedestrian track crossing to be added and the outbound-side curbs (which have completely failed and are collapsing into parking spaces) are to be replaced.

In other [likely unrelated] news, construction has started at Melrose Highlands for unknown reasons. They started jackhammering at 6am this morning, creating several squares in the inbound platform. My guess is they're either adding a gaurdrail to keep cars off, or they're tearing down the B&M shelter and putting in a larger, modern shelter.
User avatar
BostonUrbEx
 
Posts: 3587
Joined: Thu Dec 03, 2009 9:55 pm
Location: Winn to MPT 8, Boston to MPN 38, and Hat to Bank

Re: Melrose Highlands Reconstruction

Postby octr202 » Mon Jul 08, 2013 8:47 am

Interesting - too bad I fell asleep on 204 this morning around Wakefield.

Wonder if this will include full-length high platforms? At some point, the MBTA needs to get the system into the later half of the 20th Century and start adding these where they can when they work on stations. As we know, many stations have challenges, but Highlands seems pretty easy to convert - straight, no immediately adjacent buildings, only has a crossing on one end, and no freight service.
Wondering if I'll see the Haverhill double-tracking finished before I retire...
Photo: Melbourne W7 No. 1019 on Route 78, Bridge & Church Streets, Richmond, Victoria. 10/21/2010
User avatar
octr202
 
Posts: 4142
Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2004 8:13 am
Location: In the land of the once and future 73 trackless trolley.

Re: Melrose Highlands Reconstruction

Postby BostonUrbEx » Mon Jul 08, 2013 9:56 am

Full length highs are 700-800 ft, which might be overkill. The current low-level + mini-high is something along the lines of 425 ft. The station could use a longer high level, that is for sure, as it is a station with the longest dwell times south of Wakefield. It also sees the most trains on the entire line, except for Reading (and tied with Wakefield).

If they're supposed to be adding an at-grade pedestrian crossing, though, then I'm doubting there will be a very lengthy high-level platform.
User avatar
BostonUrbEx
 
Posts: 3587
Joined: Thu Dec 03, 2009 9:55 pm
Location: Winn to MPT 8, Boston to MPN 38, and Hat to Bank

Re: Melrose Highlands Reconstruction

Postby octr202 » Mon Jul 08, 2013 10:15 am

Sorry - what I meant was that the station, if rebuilt, should have full-length high platforms for it's useable length. I seem to recall the T has a standard for nine car-length stations, but at some point it might be better to compromise on that at locations where it's unlikely to be necessary for some time to come. In particular, on the north side, it's likely that some lines will see the fleet turn over towards more double-deckers before the need for eight or nine car trains ever occurs.

If the plan is to keep the mini-high/low set up, that is unfortunate. The only way some of these frequent stop lines will ever see faster service is to cut the dwell times by having more doors open.
Wondering if I'll see the Haverhill double-tracking finished before I retire...
Photo: Melbourne W7 No. 1019 on Route 78, Bridge & Church Streets, Richmond, Victoria. 10/21/2010
User avatar
octr202
 
Posts: 4142
Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2004 8:13 am
Location: In the land of the once and future 73 trackless trolley.

Re: Melrose Highlands Reconstruction

Postby sery2831 » Mon Jul 08, 2013 12:02 pm

That station had recent work, why can't they do a mini high at Wyoming or Cedar Park instead?
Moderator: MBTA Rail Operations
User avatar
sery2831
 
Posts: 5127
Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2004 2:15 pm
Location: Manchester, NH

Re: Melrose Highlands Reconstruction

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Mon Jul 08, 2013 2:03 pm

octr202 wrote:Sorry - what I meant was that the station, if rebuilt, should have full-length high platforms for it's useable length. I seem to recall the T has a standard for nine car-length stations, but at some point it might be better to compromise on that at locations where it's unlikely to be necessary for some time to come. In particular, on the north side, it's likely that some lines will see the fleet turn over towards more double-deckers before the need for eight or nine car trains ever occurs.

If the plan is to keep the mini-high/low set up, that is unfortunate. The only way some of these frequent stop lines will ever see faster service is to cut the dwell times by having more doors open.


They do 800 footers for new construction everywhere except where physically constrained. Even lines like Fairmount, just to be sure. It's probably easier to bid out for only one prefab spec.

On the Reading Line the only ones that are constrained are Wakefield and Malden Ctr. Wakefield can't go any longer than its current 450 feet because it's sandwiched between grade crossings. Unless they flipped the platforms 1 block over north of Chestnut or south of Albion. Malden is sandwiched between two bridges (and obviously since it's already high and doesn't get as many boardings as the others, nobody's idea of a priority). All other lows are fine to extend, and per Google Maps look like they have the room.

Reading would seem like the ideal place to try for a platform-construction version of the I-93 "Fast 14" project. Sell the towns on a max-pain/short-duration construction blitz. Close 1 track + platform for a summer, punt all Haverhill trains exceeding the reduced track capacity temporarily over to the NH Main, and do one side. Then flip to the opposite side. It'll control the mission creep that sends all these other station renovation/rebuild costs through the roof, will bring some economy of scale by prioritizing prefab platform sections/shelters/etc., there isn't enough parking to begin with at these stations for them to gorge themselves to excess on their institutional asphalt addiction, and all have direct street/grade crossing access to the platforms negating the need for expensive ramps and egresses. I bet they could finish the whole thing in 2 seasons flat--1 season if the towns let them work extended construction hours--and completely settle up one of their biggest ADA backlogs on the system. Plus a string of 7-8 level boarding stations would allow them to use the auto door coaches and switch them on/off at Ballardvale when they're back on the mini-high only clearance route.

Try the rapid construction job here and it'll probably enable them to move quickly at raising several other lows or mini-highs that fit the same profile: generic platform amenities, direct street/grade-crossing egress, no historic station buildings throwing special circumstances at the platform raising, same minimal parking. They could blast through most of the Rockport and Newburyport intermediates, Chelsea, Canton Ctr., Brandeis/Roberts, and several Needham Line stops with similar efficiency.


I really hope the patch job they're doing here is just a very basic cheapo job for emergency purposes only. It clobbers the Haverhill schedule to have such long dwell times at these dense-ridership inner stops that can't open all doors. And the platform length is an issue for as long as Haverhill thru service stays on this routing. It's going to be a car-hungry run at peak hours even with a fresh supply of bi-levels. Either they acknowledge that and get their house in order on Reading Line dwells, or they have to start punting a greater % of the schedule over to the NH Main so the slots on the schedule that have the highest outer-stop boardings can open all doors and make tolerable time.
F-line to Dudley via Park
 
Posts: 7111
Joined: Fri Mar 11, 2005 7:26 pm
Location: North Cambridge

Re: Melrose Highlands Reconstruction

Postby SM89 » Mon Jul 08, 2013 6:32 pm

I haven't heard anything recently on the Highlands project. When I went to the MAPC Melrose commuter rail corridor visioning meeting a few months ago, the Melrose planning department confirmed that it was designed, but they did not have the money to start construction. Both Wyoming Hill and Cedar Park were reconstructed in the past 3ish years, with both being designed by the city and paid for by the state. I believe they didn't opt for high platforms because the Highlands station is handicap accessible after the mini-highs were installed maybe 10 years ago. If you think about it though, the three Melrose stops span approx. 2 miles which is less than the distance from Wellington to Oak Grove on the Orange Line. The commuter rail here stops more frequently than the subway...

As for Reading, construction would be even easier than F-line described. Reading has 2 platforms, but only one track. There is just crushed stone where the other track should be and the "real" outbound platform is therefore not used. They could build the new outbound platform, move the track over, and then build the new inbound one; they are already used to single-track operations there. I think one of the issues though would be how to tie in the historic station building.
SM89
 
Posts: 347
Joined: Wed Nov 17, 2010 12:45 pm
Location: Mission Hill, MA

Re: Melrose Highlands Reconstruction

Postby octr202 » Tue Jul 09, 2013 8:19 am

Cedar Park had the parking lot re-done, but I don't think they did anything to the station itself. I can't recall any significant work at Wyoming - was it also parking lot work?

I didn't think there was any exemption in ADA for doing renovations w/o adding accessibility - but I'm not an expert on it.

All in all, Wyoming should really be closed (no offense to anyone who uses it). I don't think that Cedar Park could be "flipped" south (putting the entrance near Foster St), but perhaps some well placed public paths could make for pedestrian access to either Oak Grove or Cedar Park that could largely make up for the loss of Wyoming.
Wondering if I'll see the Haverhill double-tracking finished before I retire...
Photo: Melbourne W7 No. 1019 on Route 78, Bridge & Church Streets, Richmond, Victoria. 10/21/2010
User avatar
octr202
 
Posts: 4142
Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2004 8:13 am
Location: In the land of the once and future 73 trackless trolley.

Re: Melrose Highlands Reconstruction

Postby BostonUrbEx » Tue Jul 09, 2013 11:48 am

I honestly haven't the slightest clue what's up with yesterday's construction. They cut out a dozen squares along the edge of the inbound platform (from the mini-high to the bike rack) and today they're all patched with asphalt. They also cut several large circles into the platform near Franklin St, which were also filled with asphalt. I have no idea what the point was. Today's activity was merely two MBCR employees standing around talking.


As for closing Wyoming... Wyoming is much better situated as a station then Cedar Park is. If anything, Wyoming should be flipped across Wyoming Ave for unparrelled ridership reach as far as Melrose goes. A full regulation 800 foot high-level platform could fit between Wyoming Ave and West Foster St, with plenty of room in between the platform and each street for a very gentle wheelchair slope. There's also much less of a curve here than between W Foster and W Emerson. You could also shoe in a 700+ ft high-level if you flipped Melrose Highlands across Franklin St in order to net more walking passengers. By flipping Wyoming and Highlands you can eliminate Cedar Park, with much better results than you could get by just closing Wyoming and lengthening Cedar Park to the next street. Such a move is likely also the easiest way to convert Wyoming and Highlands to full highs, as you're only taking unused ROW (maybe a couple parking spaces, nothing major) and you don't have to close off active stations. For the most part you just plop down your precast platform pieces and plug it all together.
User avatar
BostonUrbEx
 
Posts: 3587
Joined: Thu Dec 03, 2009 9:55 pm
Location: Winn to MPT 8, Boston to MPN 38, and Hat to Bank

Re: Melrose Highlands Reconstruction

Postby octr202 » Tue Jul 09, 2013 12:49 pm

I like those ideas much better. Since I usually only pass through, I hadn't looked further out to see how the larger catchment works. Still keeps good pedestrian access (the beauty of denser suburbia) while getting rid of one station. Wyoming-Cedar Park...there, we even have a name.
Wondering if I'll see the Haverhill double-tracking finished before I retire...
Photo: Melbourne W7 No. 1019 on Route 78, Bridge & Church Streets, Richmond, Victoria. 10/21/2010
User avatar
octr202
 
Posts: 4142
Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2004 8:13 am
Location: In the land of the once and future 73 trackless trolley.

Re: Melrose Highlands Reconstruction

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Tue Jul 09, 2013 12:56 pm

You can also do a 1:1 trade of a consolidation in Melrose (if the locals don't fight it tooth and nail) with a sorely needed infill at Quannapowitt/128 between Wakefield and Reading. The line could hugely benefit from a 128-belt park-and-ride since it has no Anderson RTC analogue, the industrial park there is growing fast, the street access at that site is good, the 137 bus is right there serving the nearby residential density, and it would balance out the stop spacing on the line by filling the largest between-station gap north of Orange Line territory.
F-line to Dudley via Park
 
Posts: 7111
Joined: Fri Mar 11, 2005 7:26 pm
Location: North Cambridge

Re: Melrose Highlands Reconstruction

Postby BostonUrbEx » Wed Jul 10, 2013 9:44 am

Now (today) they're cutting holes in the outbound platform. I'm wondering if they're precutting locations for a future overhead shelter. Perhaps there's concrete underneath, which is harder to cut through the asphalt. This way they just chop up the asphalt patch and can later insert beams for new shelters.
User avatar
BostonUrbEx
 
Posts: 3587
Joined: Thu Dec 03, 2009 9:55 pm
Location: Winn to MPT 8, Boston to MPN 38, and Hat to Bank


Return to Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA)

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: dieciduej and 6 guests