T claims Arborway restoration "nearly physically imposs

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T claims Arborway restoration "nearly physically imposs

Postby jwhite07 » Mon May 17, 2004 1:43 pm

Sigh. Here we go again.


"We're committed to moving the project forward. The goal is to get it done''. -- Mike Mulhern, as quoted in the Boston Herald, November 8, 2001

So much for that commitment, huh?

It's interesting to note that the majority of the issues offered up as excuses for the supposed "nearly physically impossible" nature of streetcar operation here in Boston are directly based on illegal actions (violating Snow Emergency parking restrictions, double parking, parking in bus or streetcar stops, loading zone violations, etc). Heck, aside from all of the other laws being broken with such impunity, there's one law that exists solely to allow streetcars to operate without undue delay: "No driver shall stop, stand, or park a vehicle... upon any roadway in such a manner as to obstruct the movement of any streetcar, bus or railroad train."

The REAL problem here is that the City has no ability or desire to enforce the traffic laws in a comprehensive enough fashion that the free flow of traffic (of all modes) through that corridor will be restored to everyone's benefit. They're not going to support a project that requires them to put that much effort forth, even if it is to enforce laws that have been on the books for years. The MBTA, on the other hand, is currently star-struck with glitzy buses (and so short of capital funding because they're wasting it elsewhere), and they're desperate to wiggle out from underneath the commitment they are legally responsible for because that would mean the end of pet projects like Silver Line Phase III.

So what if John Q. Public loses out in the end... aren't we used to it by now?
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Postby FatNoah » Mon May 17, 2004 3:12 pm

The bottom line is that the T wants busses. Two things about the article really stood out to me.

1) The assertion that the same number of people would take the bus as the trolley. That may be true, but where's the evidence of that? Did ridership change after trolley service was discontinued?

2) "Bus service could be improved on the route with global-positioning satellite devices to prevent bunching, Schimek said." Yes, it could be...if done properly...just like the Silver Line.

The points about traffic congestion are valid, but I've been stuck behind and articulated bus on Centre St. that couldn't get around a double-parked car. Let's face it, on that stretch of road, poor parking and double-parking are going to slow a bus down too.

Finally, the T has managed to run a fairly reliable streetcar system for decades. It has yet to implement a bus service that anyone could call "equivalent".
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Postby trainhq » Mon May 17, 2004 3:32 pm

I think the way T sees it is simple; it isn't going to matter what they send
down there, it's going to stuck in traffic no matter what, buses or light
rail. Service will be lousy no matter they do. So if the service is going
to be lousy anyway, it may as well be lousy and cheap. From their
point of view, it doesn't make much sense to spend 50 - 100 million,
get lousy service, and screw up the rest of the Green Line operations
too. It would be nice if they could clear all the traffic off the Arborway ROW and just run light rail and pedestrians, but that will never happen.
And for that matter, neither will Arborway restoration.
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Postby jrc520 » Mon May 17, 2004 4:15 pm

oy vey. I know that I for one intend to be there on the first run, with my baseball bat. Hell, I plan on riding all day with it, just to give them a hand :wink: :wink:

Maybe we need a special squad of railfans, armed with bats and whatnot, to help keep things running :P

P.S. In case you are wondering, the bat's to break the driver's side window, so I can put the car in N and roll it to a side street. No one will be injured on my watch - unless they earn it :wink:
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Postby TomNelligan » Mon May 17, 2004 8:10 pm

Streetcars ran on Centre St. and South St. in Jamaica Plain for roughly a century without triggering any of the dire consequences to society that are threatened in that report. As Mr. White has noted, the real issue is parking enforcement or lack thereof. When the trolleys were running south of Heath St. loop, people just knew enough not to double park on the tracks. With proper enforcement of existing laws, they would again learn not to do so.
Lots of other cities successfully deal with street-running light rail, both heritage systems like San Francisco and Philadelphia, and new systems like San Diego and Portland. It shouldn't be that big a deal.
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Postby Cotuit » Mon May 17, 2004 9:54 pm

This is like second grade. Basically the T is saying Boston drivers can't play by the rules, so we all have to be punished. Put your heads on your desks.

Postby typesix » Tue May 18, 2004 3:08 pm

The March/April 1987 issue of Rollsign dedicated to the El's farewell stated that according to some T workers, by not re-opening Arborway line, the T hoped that more residents would be forced to use the new Orange line.
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Postby CS » Thu May 20, 2004 9:31 am

Simply disturbing. I hope they don't get away with this one as I look forward to riding a type 7 down Centre street in 2006.
ITS A STREETCAR! What's the big deal? Put the tracks in the ground and let's go! We solved the station problems, now let's cut the excuses and get to work.

I wish they came up during the Guest Series though... :D
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Postby Xplorer2000 » Fri May 21, 2004 9:53 am

Heck, the tracks are in place, they just need rehabbing...... The problem with the "T" is that they're about two playbooks behind the rest of the world...... The G.A.O in Washington has already put its "kiss of death" on B.R.T. and yet Mitt and his Minions just keep plowing blindly along like the proverbial Lemmings headed for the cliff, and nothing is going to stop them from dragging the rest of us down with them. This is just another example of their obsessive compulsion with buses and roads.... they probably figure they can use/loot the money they "Save" from not restoring the line to offset the lack of funding to finish their precious Silver Lie, since the Feds gave Phase III a "Not Recommended" rating. As has also been previously mentioned, most of the problem boils down to enforcement, of the refusal/inability of the city to enforce its traffic laws(heck, if it did , the fines alone along that stretch could knock a huge dent in the cities deficit...LOL!!!! :wink: ). Kinda makes you miss Bill Weld in a way....at least he was fairly pro-public transit, as Republicans go, probably because he actually lived here most of the time, unlike Mitt , who only remembered / acknowledged he was from Massachusetts when it suited him to....like election time.

Postby Otto Vondrak » Fri May 21, 2004 12:35 pm

If they start running the streetcars again, the drivers will learn how to share the road. Going to park on the tracks? Dont worry, we'll tow you away to a safe spot in an impound lot somewhere. They learned a hundred years ago, they can learn again.

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Postby trainhq » Tue May 25, 2004 3:23 pm

The sad thing about this Arborway thing is that a reasonable compromise
really is possible; they could run the trolleys as far as Center St. on
Huntingdon, upgrade the 39 bus to CNG and send it further downtown
so the folks on Center and South could have one-seat rides downtown,
and let the folks on the south end of South St. take the Orange line.
That would be pretty good service overall, considering that the Orange
Line is only a few blocks over as well. It would certainly be about as
good a service as anyone else in Boston has.

But the problem is that both sides are determined to have their own way.
The proponents are determined to get full restoration, since they claim the big dig settlement requires it. The T can smell the tide shifting in their favor, and they're determined to kill the whole thing so they can save $$$, even though some of it is clearly feasible. The upshot of it is that
it probably none of it will get built, and the people in J.P. will be stuck with lousy bus service. That's what happens when people are pig-headed; they
come home with nothing.
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Postby FatNoah » Wed May 26, 2004 8:55 am

Hey, I think the MBTA should just do it. After all, they've admitted that it is physically possible. (Note that "nearly impossible" implies that it is indeed possible)
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Postby Pete » Mon Jun 28, 2004 5:50 pm

The MBTA is famous for finding impossibility wherever it suits them. It's like an imaginary friend. Just wait until they come out with a substandard fare system. They'll say a truly cutting edge one was impossible, given the constraints. Don't infer too much credibility from these statements. Rather, hold them to the truth. Be vocal in disproving their claims.
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I think that we are forgetting something.....

Postby juni0r75 » Sun Sep 26, 2004 7:18 pm

Unless things have changed since the last time I checked, the Mass. DEP shot down any other alternative to fixing the Arborway transit issue other than that of streetcars. As I understood it, the MBTA does not have a choice in this matter at this point, and if they try to quash or wriggle out of this, they will end up in court with the CLF suing them for being in breach of the Big Dig Environmental mitigation agreement. So no matter what the T and the Herald try to pull, I think that you will see Arborway being completed eventually.

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