Alewife

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Alewife

Postby gprimr1 » Tue Jul 30, 2013 11:14 am

I went to Alewife today to take the Red line into Boston. I was incredibly impressed with the station. It's how I imagine user friendly public transit. Drive right up, park, and get on the train. And unlike the Green and Blue lines, the redline seems to fly towards Boston instead of crawl. Very impressed all around. Now let's see how long it'll take to get out tonight.
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Re: Alewife

Postby newpylong » Tue Jul 30, 2013 2:55 pm

Wait until you see how fun it is to get onto Route 2 and out of town :)
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Re: Alewife

Postby gprimr1 » Tue Jul 30, 2013 3:07 pm

Yeah, I'm trying to go to Ayer. :/

It could use direct access to a controlled access highway.
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Re: Alewife

Postby Gerry6309 » Tue Jul 30, 2013 3:43 pm

gprimr1 wrote:I went to Alewife today to take the Red line into Boston. I was incredibly impressed with the station. It's how I imagine user friendly public transit. Drive right up, park, and get on the train. And unlike the Green and Blue lines, the redline seems to fly towards Boston instead of crawl. Very impressed all around. Now let's see how long it'll take to get out tonight.

You must have fallen asleep leaving Harvard Sq. There is a 10 mph curve on a line designed for 45 mph operation.
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Re: Alewife

Postby gprimr1 » Tue Jul 30, 2013 8:57 pm

I think I do remember that, but still compared to the Green and Blue, it seemed fast.

Yes, the drive out was not so good. They could def stand to make some improvements to that exit.
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Re: Alewife

Postby boblothrope » Wed Jul 31, 2013 2:41 pm

Is driving out of the Alewife garage any faster now that you pay for parking on foot in the lobby, and they've (mostly) finished the bike path construction which temporarily narrowed the ramp to 2 West?
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Re: Alewife

Postby gprimr1 » Wed Jul 31, 2013 9:19 pm

I don't have a frame of reference for it. I would say I spent 15-20 minutes in line.

The big issues seemed to be

1.) Where the traffic coming from the station turns right but also has to mix with the traffic coming from the road in front of the station

2.) The lack of road markings on portions of the road. (Like white lines)

3.) The complex signal you have to pass through to access route 2.
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Re: Alewife

Postby theseaandalifesaver » Thu Aug 01, 2013 12:13 am

[quote}[quote="gprimr1"]I went to Alewife today to take the Red line into Boston. I was incredibly impressed with the station. It's how I imagine user friendly public transit. Drive right up, park, and get on the train. And unlike the Green and Blue lines, the redline seems to fly towards Boston instead of crawl. Very impressed all around. Now let's see how long it'll take to get out tonight.[/quote]

Keep in mind that Alewife was designed as a station that commuters from the western part of the state could drive to and easily commute into the city MUCH unlike how the present day Green Line and Blue Line we planned out.
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Re: Alewife

Postby gprimr1 » Thu Aug 01, 2013 8:45 pm

That is true.

I didn't plan my hotel selection well. It was a beautiful hotel, but it was in Revere, and the rail lines around that area are north-south and this time of year, north/south lines are hard to photograph.
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Re: Alewife

Postby joshg1 » Mon Aug 26, 2013 11:59 pm

Prepay at Alewife all depends on when you get to the machine. I don't know what the line up is like in the morning, but in the afternoon/evening it's awful- no faster than paying at a booth. Not that any speed up in paying matters when you have to wait 15 minutes for a break in the line of bicycles.

My 2¢- grade separation for bikes, and a rebuilt Alewife Brook Pkwy/ Route 2 junction. In 1980, no one but a few fanatics thought there would be a cycling boom like this.
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Re: Alewife

Postby Disney Guy » Tue Aug 27, 2013 9:03 am

Often there is no choice in making the transit terminal really convenient for long distance commuters. Where existing railroad tracks run and end, where land is available for parking garages and access roads, that limits where the station can be.

Alewife is so far in that it is more of a place to park for cheap as opposed to avoid traffic, much of which traffic was not avoided on the way in to Alewife. Some Metrowest to Cambridge commuters feel they might as well drive the rest of the way rather than transfer to a train for a short ride.

When the Riverside Line (Green Line branch) opened, I-90 (Mass Pike) ended almost right there, the part going into Boston hadn't been built yet. . So having to jog a mile on 128 to get to Riverside was not that big an issue. Riverside was intended to also attract commuters coming in from afar. Each transit line in from the suburbs has a fairly narrow wedge shaped region to attract commuters from because having to go out of your way to get to a station is a big disincentive. Wonderland (Blue Line) is not blessed with superhighways although Routes 1 and 1-A could be turned into a blastway right to Wonderland by retiming all the traffic lights in from Rte. 128 and I-95.

Not quite on topic but Charlotte NC's light rail southern end environs has some of the characteristics of Riverside in that commuters on I-77 that goes downtown have to jog a mile (on I-405) to get to the transit terminal. The Worcester Airport could also compete better with Logan Airport in Boston if some of the roads leading to it were made into blastways.
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Re: Alewife

Postby boblothrope » Wed Aug 28, 2013 3:12 pm

Disney Guy wrote:Alewife is so far in that it is more of a place to park for cheap as opposed to avoid traffic, much of which traffic was not avoided on the way in to Alewife. Some Metrowest to Cambridge commuters feel they might as well drive the rest of the way rather than transfer to a train for a short ride.


Alewife is right at the end of the Route 2 freeway. If you're going to have one big car-oriented station, that's a good place for it (though I'd rather see multiple smaller stations closer to where people are really coming from).

The problem is the traffic light where Route 2 intersects Alewife Brook Parkway. There were supposed to be flyover ramps, but they were never built due to local opposition. For a while the 1930s rotary remained, and then they built the modified star we have today.

Here are some news stories from the time:
http://www.thecrimson.com/article/1988/ ... -plan-for/
http://www.thecrimson.com/article/1990/ ... esponding/

The other big problem with Alewife is train congestion getting into the station at peak times. It was bad to begin with, and then after the 2009 derailment, they lowered the speed limit to 10 mph (formerly 25) for trains crossing over. Someone told me the crossover wasn't designed for the level of service it sees. But I don't understand why it would get built that way, since they knew that Alewife would be the end of the line for the foreseeable future.

Disney Guy wrote:When the Riverside Line (Green Line branch) opened, I-90 (Mass Pike) ended almost right there, the part going into Boston hadn't been built yet. . So having to jog a mile on 128 to get to Riverside was not that big an issue.


That was a temporary situation from 1959 to 1965, when the full Pike was completed.
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Re: Alewife

Postby Disney Guy » Wed Aug 28, 2013 8:23 pm

One criticism of the 1990's era plans to upgrade the Route 2 and Route 16 interchange near Alewife Station was that it would not speed up traffic flow but rather move the choke point (bottleneck) somewhere else.

But it would improve the morning commute for T commuters. Currently traffic backs up on Route 2 west of (before) Alewife. If the plans moved the backup further east, say onto an elevated roadway over Fresh Pond Parkway, then T bound traffic could get out of the traffic stream and into the Alewife Station more easily. And with more commuters won over by the T, the backup would be smaller.

By the way, if a third outbound train approaches Alewife and there is an empty block just after Alewife inbound, is the train currently loading in Alewife sent out immediately without waiting for the bell (for scheduled time)?
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Re: Alewife

Postby boblothrope » Thu Aug 29, 2013 2:35 pm

Disney Guy wrote:By the way, if a third outbound train approaches Alewife and there is an empty block just after Alewife inbound, is the train currently loading in Alewife sent out immediately without waiting for the bell (for scheduled time)?


From what I've observed, when train traffic is saturated, the bell rings as soon as the train has arrived on the other track.

The problem is the amount of time it takes to turn a train: going over the crossover and into the station, waiting for passengers to clear so the doors can temporarily close (on the older trains where the doors must close before the driver leaves the cab), the driver walking to the other end, and leaving the station and going across the crossover.

The NYC subway's designers knew 100 years ago that every second counts for this stuff, so they put crossovers *immediately* next to the end of the platform. But Alewife's crossover is a bit up the track around a curve, and the 10 mph speed limit for diverging moves only makes it worse.
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Re: Alewife

Postby Robert Paniagua » Fri Aug 30, 2013 6:49 pm

gprimr1 wrote:Yeah, I'm trying to go to Ayer. :/

It could use direct access to a controlled access highway.


Actually, in fact, The Red line WAS Supposed to continue past Alewife along the median strip of the never-built Route 3 freeway, then just shy of 128, turn off Route 3 to get to Bedford. Or unless it was to continue to the Burlington Mall.
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