South Station expansion/Post Office land deal is off for now

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South Station expansion/Post Office land deal is off for now

Postby Choo Choo Coleman » Wed Jan 06, 2010 4:36 pm

From today's Boston Globe

http://www.boston.com/business/ticker/2 ... _deal.html

January 6, 2010 02:41 PM

By Noah Bierman and Casey Ross, Globe Staff

A complex deal to redevelop the US Postal Service's massive facility in Boston and expand commuter rail service at neighboring South Station has fallen apart.

Massachusetts Transportation Secretary Jeffrey Mullan announced today that the deal "will not move forward," which could significantly delay the MBTA's efforts to expand rail service to southeastern and central Massachusetts.

The Postal Service had planned to relocate to South Boston and hand over the mail-sorting facility to a private developer that was planning to build a large mixed-used complex on the 16-acre site. That redevelopment would have also cleared the way for the MBTA to acquire more land in the area to add tracks for expanded commuter rail service.


The article if very vague on details. I wonder if rumored plans to try and expand the South Boston Convention Center screwed things up or maybe the state couldn't afford it.
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Re: South Station expansion/Post Office land deal is off for now

Postby BostonUrbEx » Wed Jan 06, 2010 4:46 pm

It doesn't mention this project at all:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_Station_Tower

Is that completely unrelated?
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Re: South Station expansion/Post Office land deal is off for now

Postby jscola30 » Wed Jan 06, 2010 9:00 pm

booooooooooo


Wonder if the newly formed Mass Dot had anything to do with this "Oh this is too expensive but all these road projects are so much better.."

honestly, I could be way off I apologize in advance
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Re: South Station expansion/Post Office land deal is off for now

Postby jamesinclair » Wed Jan 06, 2010 9:07 pm

BostonUrbEx wrote:It doesn't mention this project at all:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_Station_Tower

Is that completely unrelated?


That is a separate project. It would expand the south station bus terminal, but change nothing on the train level (except covering it)
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Re: South Station expansion/Post Office land deal is off for now

Postby trainhq » Wed Jan 06, 2010 10:13 pm

I worked on that project a few years ago. It would have required major work right on top of the train area, and the installation of some very large locomotive ventilation fans. It involved a hotel, some condominiums , and some offices.
I was sort of wondering if the people involved could get the $$$ to get it done. Now, apparently, they can't. I believe this
is coincidental with the decline in the commercial real estate market.
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Re: South Station expansion/Post Office land deal is off for now

Postby madcrow » Fri Jan 08, 2010 5:04 pm

Good. Now the state has an excuse to gracefully back out of the ridiculous South Coast rail extension, seeing as there is now no chance of there being room for the trains at the Boston end. I'm all for expanded rail transit, but not for wasting money.
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Re: South Station expansion/Post Office land deal is off for now

Postby cytotoxictcell » Sat Jan 09, 2010 6:07 pm

nah as long as deval patrick is the governor and Kristen egan is still the manager of the south coast rail project it will happen no matter what. I dont see how the mbta can afford it with there billions of dollars of debt. I hope deval is not re-elected and the new governor shuts down the south coast rail project.
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Re: South Station expansion/Post Office land deal is off for now

Postby bierhere » Sat Jan 09, 2010 9:22 pm

Its my hope that the South Coast rail never get built, I do think that purchasing the post office needs to happen and that the state needs to find money for it. This is a once in a lifetime chance to expand South Station for whatever purpose, whether its for Amtrak, MBTA.
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Re: South Station expansion/Post Office land deal is off for

Postby Ron Newman » Wed Dec 15, 2010 3:17 pm

Why would you hope that it never gets built?

Boston is connected to most of its other satellite industrial cities by rail -- Lynn, Salem, Gloucester, Haverhill, Lawrence, Lowell, Waltham, Leominster, Fitchburg, Worcester, Providence, Brockton. I don't see a good reason why Taunton, Fall River, and New Bedford should continue to be left out of this list.
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Re: South Station expansion/Post Office land deal is off for

Postby SM89 » Wed Dec 15, 2010 3:40 pm

The cost and benefit is the biggest issue. Sure it would only be fair to connect these cities to Boston, but it's not the most economically feasible thing to do.
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Re: South Station expansion/Post Office land deal is off for

Postby BostonUrbEx » Wed Dec 15, 2010 4:13 pm

Ron Newman wrote:Why would you hope that it never gets built?

Boston is connected to most of its other satellite industrial cities by rail -- Lynn, Salem, Gloucester, Haverhill, Lawrence, Lowell, Waltham, Leominster, Fitchburg, Worcester, Providence, Brockton. I don't see a good reason why Taunton, Fall River, and New Bedford should continue to be left out of this list.


Jimm is just spamming links. The post earlier had a subtle link to a dodgy website, but it's been removed now. He doesn't actually have anything to say.


Anyways, I think the difference is, service to all of those cities was still in existence when it came under MBTA control. Except Brockton, which of course came with the restoration of Old Colony services. Fall River and New Bedford ridership and time/distances cannot justify their service. Taunton service is acceptable, but lets cut it there. Everything south of Taunton is massively bloated and unreasonable. Just plop an East Taunton Station where Rt 24 and Rt 140 converge and buses/cars can feed into the system there.
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Re: South Station expansion/Post Office land deal is off for

Postby Fred Rabin » Thu Dec 16, 2010 10:34 pm

Providence is not a satellite city.
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Re: South Station expansion/Post Office land deal is off for

Postby jck » Fri Dec 17, 2010 9:56 am

Ron Newman wrote:Why would you hope that it never gets built?

Boston is connected to most of its other satellite industrial cities by rail -- Lynn, Salem, Gloucester, Haverhill, Lawrence, Lowell, Waltham, Leominster, Fitchburg, Worcester, Providence, Brockton. I don't see a good reason why Taunton, Fall River, and New Bedford should continue to be left out of this list.


The cost projections are extraordinarily high, and the ridership projections are extraordinarily low. There are many, many projects that should be built before this one.
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Re: South Station expansion/Post Office land deal is off for

Postby boblothrope » Mon Dec 20, 2010 3:28 pm

Choo Choo Coleman wrote:
The Postal Service had planned to relocate to South Boston and hand over the mail-sorting facility to a private developer that was planning to build a large mixed-used complex on the 16-acre site. That redevelopment would have also cleared the way for the MBTA to acquire more land in the area to add tracks for expanded commuter rail service.


Have the people planning the South Station expansion taken a look at current operating practices? I suspect they could find ways to turn trains significantly faster, to get more capacity out of the existing tracks.
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Re: South Station expansion/Post Office land deal is off for

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Mon Dec 20, 2010 5:58 pm

boblothrope wrote:
Choo Choo Coleman wrote:
The Postal Service had planned to relocate to South Boston and hand over the mail-sorting facility to a private developer that was planning to build a large mixed-used complex on the 16-acre site. That redevelopment would have also cleared the way for the MBTA to acquire more land in the area to add tracks for expanded commuter rail service.


Have the people planning the South Station expansion taken a look at current operating practices? I suspect they could find ways to turn trains significantly faster, to get more capacity out of the existing tracks.


Not really. You have 13 platform tracks for 9 MBCR lines and 3 Amtrak lines (2 of them running very frequently). And more importantly, 13 platforms for 9 mainline tracks heading into the station from the NEC, Worcester, Fairmount, and Old Colony lines with a very quick line split a few hundred feet from the platforms (5 NEC+Worcester tracks abruptly peeling westbound with 4 Fairmount+Old Colony tracks continuing southbound). This keeps trains segregated to certain platform berths within ~2 tracks of the mainline track it comes in/out on, because that's less time spent crossing over tracks and fewer trains that have to be held while one is crossing over. While it is possible for any train to use any platform, it gums up the whole works to have one cutting across multiple crossovers and cutting across another line's lead tracks. This is why Old Colony trains are never on the Atlantic Ave.-side platforms and Worcester trains never next to the Post Office. The highest-risk area for collisions is within yard limits, as last month's Washington Union Station MARC--Amtrak fender-bender that hosed the entire NEC can attest. You wouldn't be able to have multiple trains entering or exiting South Station at the same time if any platform were fair game; you'd have backups as only one can move from the platforms at once. You can move 'em simultaneously if the concurrent arrivals/departures are on lines that are never at risk of crossing over each other's oncoming paths within yard limits. i.e. an Old Colony and a Worcester train can go in at the same time since they'll be several tracks apart at all times, and probably an NEC train too sandwiched in the middle if the right combo of platforms are unoccupied. The current setup is the single-most efficient way of maximizing headways.

What the extra tracks allow is for punting the Old Colony and Fairmount berths onto the additional platforms for breathing room in the expansion space, and then letting the NEC and Worcester line spread out to take up almost all of the existing platforms. That keeps the line segregation intact while opening up more platforms for rapid-transit level Fairmount service, substantially increased Worcester service, enough NEC slots just to keep up with current growth, and then the future capacity for Fall River/New Bedford via NEC, Millis via NEC, and Cape via Old Colony (the capacity bump would be enough for all those services, whether they ever get built or not). To juggle just the Worcester, Fairmount, and NEC increases within current track capacity is going to mean crossing more trains over during rush hour, and the more they do that the fewer trains they'll be able to simultaneously move within yard limits. Past that sort of tipping point increased traffic actually limits capacity.
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