Which was the better Orange Line, the Sw Corridor or the EL?

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Which was the better Orange Line, the Sw Corridor or the EL?

Postby ithjames » Sat Jan 08, 2005 11:45 am

I hear so much about the EL and all its glory, although I never actually had the opportunity to ride on it. Both Orange Lines had thier advantages, the Southwest Corridor has more stops and covers more neighborhoods but the EL seemed to really serve the South End and Roxbury and the stops were centrally located too. So I'd to hear from those who rode both Orange Lines as to which one was the better line?
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Postby CSX Conductor » Sat Jan 08, 2005 4:16 pm

Definately the El !!! Because there were less stops and a better view. :-)

Also there seemed to be alot less problems during snow accumulation because there was really no place for it to accumulate whereas the SW Corridor is right on the ground and the snow can built up in switches etc.
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Postby Charliemta » Sat Jan 08, 2005 4:18 pm

The former "El" lines were much better located to serve neighborhoods and businesses. The Charlestown "el" served the Navy Shipyard really well and the City Square area, plus Charlestown as a whole much better than the current Orange Line. Same with Roxbury and Dudley Square.

The new Orange Lines were planned in a time (the 60's and 70's) when Boston BRA and MBTA planners held up suburbia as the model for remaking the areas adjoining downtown. They tried to make Charlestown and Roxbury into suburban like areas, with lots of empty spaces and new transit lines located far away from high density neighborhoods. Plus, the use of existing rail corridors for the new Orange Lines enabled construction of surface transit lines rather than expensive tunneling under city streets.

The stations on the north Orange Line bypassing Charlestown were spaced far apart in the belief that the line would be primarily there to serve the outer suburbs (Reading, etc.). By the 1970's, however, it was clear that the Orange Lines would not be extended out to Route 128. So, by the late 1970's when the south Orange Line in the SW Corridor was planned and built, stations were spaced closer together than the line to the north of the Charles.

The Orange Line route through Charlestown was poorly located, again following the planners concept at the time of Charlestown as an auto-oriented low density suburb. The tunnel under the Charles is poorly located. There’s no reason I know of that it couldn't have been located a lot closer to City Square, with a station below ground next to Chelsea St. and Rutherford Ave. (just across Rutherford from City Square). The Community College Station could have been shifted north a few blocks to space out the stations evenly.

The South End and Roxbury would have been served much better by simply replacing the aging elevated with a new, aesthetically pleasing elevated structure in the same location, similar to the one pictured in my avatar from Vancouver, BC. The SW corridor location is very poorly located, too far from Roxbury and Dudley Square, and too close to the Huntington Ave. Green line.
Last edited by Charliemta on Sat Jan 08, 2005 4:24 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby CSX Conductor » Sat Jan 08, 2005 4:21 pm

Charliemta wrote: The SW corridor location is very poorly located, too far from Roxbury and Dudley Square, and too close to the Huntington Ave. Green line.


But between Forest Hills & Stony Brook it is good that it is not too far from the old Green Line E route because many locals can walk the short distance to the Orange Line as opposed to taking a bus and transferring to the Green Line. :wink:
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Postby efin98 » Sat Jan 08, 2005 4:55 pm

While the old Washington Street El was a vital link to areas that desperately needed transit, the same isn't true of the Charlestown El.
The Navy Yard just ain't what it used to be, ridership in Charlestown is not much overall and not enough to justify routing the new Orange Line via the streets of Charlestown. It's a straight shot from North Station on to Community College. Costs would have been enormous to locate the line farther east to better serve Charlestown, the area is so dense with population that getting land to build the station and the tunnel would have been cost prohibitive. Simple solution: build adjacent to land already owned by the MBTA in the form of BET and land already owned by the state(Bunker Hill Community College/ former prison land). Local ridership might not be much but the ridership brought in by the college outnumbers whatever ridership locals in Charlestown would brought in. Ride the 92 or 93 sometime and see, outside of rush hour ridership just isn't there. Can't say the same for riders getting on and off at Community College throughout the day.
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Postby Charliemta » Sat Jan 08, 2005 5:09 pm

The tunnel under the Charles would only need to have been shifted a few hundred feet so that it would still be located west of Rutherford, but adjacent to it on the no-mans empty land between Rutherford Ave. and I-93. There would have been no need to tunnel under Charlestown at all. A City Square station could have been built just west of Rutherford and just northwest of the ramps leading from Chelsea St. to the Central Artery. The only additional cost would have been for the additional station. This station also could have been a good bus stop and transfer point to the Orange Line for busses coming from the Tobin Bridge into downtown.

It's just poor use of a new transit line to route it away from an established area such as Charlestown, when the line could have been routed to serve that area without too much aditional cost. In the coming decades the area around I-93 and the Navy yard will eventually be heavily developed, and should have been served by a City Square station.

As for the SW corridor, I think Roxbury really got screwed. The old "El" location served that community very well. The new one doesn't.
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Postby ithjames » Sat Jan 08, 2005 9:00 pm

Charliemta wrote:As for the SW corridor, I think Roxbury really got screwed. The old "El" location served that community very well. The new one doesn't.


I agree, Roxbury did get screwed over. At least you can still access the South End from the Southwest Corridor although different parts of the South End. Ruggles and Roxbury Crossing were lousy locations for trains stops in Roxbury.
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Postby Robert Paniagua » Sat Jan 08, 2005 10:34 pm

Definately the El !!! Because there were less stops and a better view. :-)

Also there seemed to be alot less problems during snow accumulation because there was really no place for it to accumulate whereas the SW Corridor is right on the ground and the snow can built up in switches etc.


Same here, I really LOVED the aboveground portion. It rocked the house, was the best and it even provided decent views of the Boston Skyline (Prudential and Hancock Bldgs) from Egleston and Green Street. Big mistake in taking it down, should have been still there today.........
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Postby CSX Conductor » Sat Jan 08, 2005 10:37 pm

Plus less congestion on Wash. St. because there weren't as many buses running on the 49 route at that time. :wink:
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Postby Robert Paniagua » Sat Jan 08, 2005 10:39 pm

That's true, not like today, now Washington Street is clogged with buses, it should have been a light rail extension of the Green Line.......
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Postby efin98 » Sat Jan 08, 2005 11:39 pm

Charliemta wrote:The tunnel under the Charles would only need to have been shifted a few hundred feet so that it would still be located west of Rutherford, but adjacent to it on the no-mans empty land between Rutherford Ave. and I-93.


Can't be done. Bunker Hill Community College is sitting directly in the way of the proposed line. And while it looks empty, take a closer look. The lead ins to the Tobin Bridge are there, along with the leads to the Prison Point/Gilmore Bridge and Rt. 99/Rutherford Ave. The closer you get to City Square the more narrower the land is, with residential property abutting Rutherford Avenue on the north side.


There would have been no need to tunnel under Charlestown at all. A City Square station could have been built just west of Rutherford and just northwest of the ramps leading from Chelsea St. to the Central Artery. The only additional cost would have been for the additional station. This station also could have been a good bus stop and transfer point to the Orange Line for busses coming from the Tobin Bridge into downtown.


One problem, the leads from the Tobin Bridge all but kill that idea as the bridge empties right into the area you are talking about. There would have been no way of changing the offramps and onramps without affecting the traffic flow and screwing up bus service. And that's just the traffic from the Tobin, traffic from Rutherford Ave. alone would prevent your plan from happening as it all but narrows Rutherford Ave. to at most two lanes each way around the new Orange Line area.


It's just poor use of a new transit line to route it away from an established area such as Charlestown, when the line could have been routed to serve that area without too much aditional cost.

As someone who has personally witnessed the change in City Square pre and post Big Dig that is not only incorrect it's just plain wrong. What you are proposing screws up City Square and that section of Charlestown AND screws up not only traffic patterns in Charlestown but in Chelsea and into Somerville AND would leave that important section of Charlestown a no man's land for the duration of service on the Orange Line. At least with the Big Dig it lasted only three years and was quickly returned to normal.

And regarding ridership: Ridership is the exact same amoun if not more due to the realignment AND if you look at a map the Community College station is only TWO SHORT BLOCKS from the old Thompson Square station. I've walked that distance between the two dozens of times, it's so short it's a joke. I walk a farther distance from my home to get on a bus that passes through that area, and if people in Charlestown don't want to walk to the station that's their loss, more room in the station for me.

In the coming decades the area around I-93 and the Navy yard will eventually be heavily developed, and should have been served by a City Square station.


The Navy Yard, Yes. Around I93, No. Not in that part of Charlestown, not when things are squeezed in as is right now- and that's without the old I93 structures.
Last edited by efin98 on Mon Jan 10, 2005 4:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Pete » Mon Jan 10, 2005 2:07 pm

CSX Conductor wrote:
Charliemta wrote: The SW corridor location is very poorly located, too far from Roxbury and Dudley Square, and too close to the Huntington Ave. Green line.


But between Forest Hills & Stony Brook it is good that it is not too far from the old Green Line E route because many locals can walk the short distance to the Orange Line as opposed to taking a bus and transferring to the Green Line. :wink:


All those helpful signs pointing the way to the JP stops on the Orange Line from Centre St. and South St. make this doubly true.

Except that they don't exist and to someone unfamiliar with the area the Orange Line might as well be in Quincy.
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Postby ithjames » Sat Jan 15, 2005 4:04 pm

At least the Jamaica Plain stops from Jackson Square to Forest Hills were placed in better locations where there is high density and residential neighborhoods. However, Stony Brook, Green and Forest Hills are too close to where the Green Line "E" line used to go to.
Last edited by ithjames on Sun Jan 16, 2005 1:31 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby CSX Conductor » Sat Jan 15, 2005 10:16 pm

ithjames wrote:However, they are too close to the Green Line "E" line used to go through from Stony Brook to Forest Hills.


Empasis on "used to go".

And it is a bit of a hike from Stony Brook or Green St. to Centre or South Streets to catch the number 39 bus.
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Postby efin98 » Sat Jan 15, 2005 10:21 pm

CSX Conductor wrote:
ithjames wrote:However, they are too close to the Green Line "E" line used to go through from Stony Brook to Forest Hills.


Empasis on "used to go".

And it is a bit of a hike from Stony Brook or Green St. to Centre or South Streets to catch the number 39 bus.


If it's a hike to get from Stony Brook or Green Street to Centre Or South Streets then it used to be then as it is now since the 39 didn't move- it still follows the E's route.
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