Why can't the MBTA maintain anything? & Pigeons

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

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Re: Why can't the MBTA maintain anything? & Pigeons

Postby highgreen215 » Mon Mar 31, 2014 12:27 pm

Congratulations to the people in Acton! Those structures are the definition of the word "eyesore".
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Re: Why can't the MBTA maintain anything? & Pigeons

Postby The EGE » Mon Mar 31, 2014 1:00 pm

The MBTA learned from their mistakes with the Worcester infills and South Attleboro (all of which were built extremely quickly - SA to compensate for Pawtucket/Central Falls not reopening, and the Worcester infills due to Greenbush delays).

Looks at what's been built since then. Lawrence (which I believe was a mostly-RTA project) is pretty classy. The Greenbush Line stations are simple, functional, and a little smarter than the Old Colony Lines - fences and shelters are coated in black rather than bare metal. Fairmount Line stations are back to bare metal railings, but the concrete ramp structures and their shelters are built to last. T.F. Green Airport and Wickford Junction also seem well-built, as part of larger RIPTA parking projects.

The overpass at Littleton is much better quality, and much nicer looking, than the 2000-era stations. Same with Yawkey. The situation in Acton was not with the quality of the station, but the layout. The MBTA had planned an island platform; the current design based on town input is very similar except that it has island platforms instead.
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Re: Why can't the MBTA maintain anything? & Pigeons

Postby harshaw » Mon Mar 31, 2014 1:15 pm

The EGE wrote:The MBTA learned from their mistakes with the Worcester infills and South Attleboro (all of which were built extremely quickly - SA to compensate for Pawtucket/Central Falls not reopening, and the Worcester infills due to Greenbush delays).


OT, but I have read in multiple places that these stations were built to compensate for delays in Greenbush (almost as an apology??) and now they are immensely popular.

The south Acton location is more visible than the worcester line stations which for the most part are not visible to most townspeople.
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Re: Why can't the MBTA maintain anything? & Pigeons

Postby bostontrainguy » Mon Mar 31, 2014 2:41 pm

The EGE wrote: The situation in Acton was not with the quality of the station, but the layout. The MBTA had planned an island platform; the current design based on town input is very similar except that it has island platforms instead.


I don't believe that is correct. If memory serves me, the basic station design was based on the Ashland station shown here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ashland_(MBTA_station)

I think people even went by bus to see it.

As you can see, the design is similar in style (or lack thereof) to the Canton Jct monstrosity and the people had the good sense to say no f'ing way.
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Re: Why can't the MBTA maintain anything? & Pigeons

Postby BigUglyCat » Mon Mar 31, 2014 3:46 pm

bostontrainguy: you cut off the close parentheses in your link. it should be http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ashland_(MBTA_station)
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Re: Why can't the MBTA maintain anything? & Pigeons

Postby MBTA F40PH-2C 1050 » Mon Mar 31, 2014 4:07 pm

South Attleboro is in dire need of repairs soon, I give the stairs just a couple more years before replacement
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Re: Why can't the MBTA maintain anything? & Pigeons

Postby SM89 » Mon Mar 31, 2014 6:07 pm

Relating back to the original post. I too have wondered why North Station has all of those horrible floor patches. Did they not have enough spare tiles?

And with Government Center, what was the purpose of that dilapidated drop ceiling anyway? Looked fine above when I peered through the missing panels.

And they can't so much as replace a toilet paper holder at Oak Grove after idk how many years. They've had a roll roped to the handicap bar for ages.
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Re: Why can't the MBTA maintain anything? & Pigeons

Postby Adams_Umass_Boston » Mon Mar 31, 2014 8:07 pm

Wood Island too had awful platforms. First it had tiles that caused what some riders referred to as tile eruptions. The cold and heat combined with the sand they tossed down in the winter would cause them to expand up and make mini volcanoes. The closed the station down for two months and removed the titles and put in some blue rubber stuff. It did not work right the first time and they had to close it and try again. Was still no good, and after another closing they just left it bare concrete.
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Re: Why can't the MBTA maintain anything? & Pigeons

Postby SM89 » Tue Apr 01, 2014 8:48 am

Why can't they just set aside a couple thousand per year per station? They could replace lighting, paint, signs, etc on an as needed basis. Whatever needs to be done for routine maintenance. Idk why it always has to be a huge procurement.
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Re: Why can't the MBTA maintain anything? & Pigeons

Postby typesix » Tue Apr 01, 2014 12:01 pm

One area which the T is forced to maintain better than before the arrival of the LRVs, is Green line track. Articulated cars don't like to stay on crap track.
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Re: Why can't the MBTA maintain anything? & Pigeons

Postby jbvb » Tue Apr 01, 2014 1:59 pm

Maintenance got identified as the first thing to cut when you're in it for the short term a long time before I was born - McGinnis did it to the B&M and the NH, MBAs have done it to milk cash out of businesses of all kinds. Originally, the idea didn't have much traction with politicians, because maintenance jobs were a primo patronage venue. But that was when "All the Bridges Rusting" was a slightly shocking title for a science fiction story. Now the construction lobby has the hook set, and rather than feeling any kind of ownership, the voting public has been encouraged to view it as best addressed by going, cap in hand, to some bigger fish to beg funding for a replacement (and hope it arrives before the structure becomes unsafe).

But there's also 'mandate' and 'design standard' stupidity. My own example: Haverhill's platform sheds got peaked metal roofs. Then they needed rails to keep ice from sliding off and killing customers. But the rails were designed by someone lacking imagination about New England winters, and now they've been partly torn off the roof, leaving leaks. Untouched for something like 3 years now. Another: Malden Center has a low area outside the west entrance. The drain that's supposed to keep a puddle from forming has been full to the grating with sand for 12 years now. One winter I saw one of the Hispanic contract station cleaners sweeping water away, so I Wrote To The Top, asking "whose job is fixing this?" The T discontinued the program before I got an answer.
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Re: Why can't the MBTA maintain anything? & Pigeons

Postby FP10 » Tue Apr 01, 2014 3:14 pm

It upsets me to no end to see millions upon millions poured into stations, only to have them looking just as bad, if not worse than they did pre-renovation in just a few years. Kenmore looks TERRIBLE. So does North Station. I assume they used stainless steel because it is easy to clean, but it appears a rag has never once touched it.

I had an idea to address this problem I posted on another forum. I'll cross-post it here:
I wish the T would follow the MTAs lead and bring the stations back to near their as-built condition. If you look at any old pictures of the underground stations, they looked amazing with plain white tile. Not only does it look clean, but white tile is timeless, unlike the majority of the subsequent renovations they have undergone, as well as their new construction. Arlington and to a lesser extent Copley did this, while Kenmore did not. Kenmore, IMO, already looks dirty and dated, and its been less than a decade. A consistent (and timeless) headhouse design would also be great.

The problem is that branding doesn't matter much when the stations leak like a cave and are covered in grime and soot. What I really think the T could use would be "station managers", where one person is in charge of the ops of their respective station. They would be in charge of making sure the station is clean, reporting (and getting fixed) maintenance issues, making sure potential retail space is used, lobbying for reopening entrances, making sure CSAs are doing their job, etc. Similar to how the chain retail world works, where you have managers trying to outdo each other and lobbying corporate for upgrades, etc. It would have to be a position with a competitive culture, to encourage the managers to outdo each other. The employees could come from the existing CSA pool, they wouldn't have to be new hires. The T loves to blow a ton of money renovating a station, and then leave it to rot with barely any cleaning or maintenance. I just see tons of waste (potential / closed retail spaces, passageways/entrances that would be convenient for commuters but are not opened, employees not doing their jobs, dirt and filth, etc) that could be changed if there was someone who "owned" the station, vs the current system.


A few subsequent (condensed) comments:
I don't know how feasible it is from a financial perspective. Maybe instead of managing one station each you have someone that manages the stations on the lines, or on each branch, and they run a crew dedicated to that line. Again, not sure of the feasibility of this, but I like the competition and the ownership aspect of it. Force people to have some pride in their work.

I think this would be a great, innovative way to get people invested in the station. If I saw the same person, day in and day out at my "home" station and I knew they were working to make theirs the best, it would make me feel more pride and I'd want to give them ideas.
"even a money tree would draw opposition in Boston "
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Re: Why can't the MBTA maintain anything? & Pigeons

Postby Rbts Stn » Tue Apr 01, 2014 3:25 pm

joshg1 wrote:How about an electric strip along horizontal surfaces to shock the pigeons away?


Because little Zach is going to climb up there when ma and pa are busy on their phones and will get a shock and although society might be better for it, we all will get sued.
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Re: Why can't the MBTA maintain anything? & Pigeons

Postby bostontrainguy » Tue Apr 01, 2014 7:36 pm

I will admit that someone seemed to have their thinking caps on when they designed the "new" Riverside Station. I was there the other day and noticed that the roofs are basically clean simple arches without horizontal structures and the station is mostly pigeon-free. There are a few small openings that obviously some smaller birds visit, but generally the design is much smarter regarding the pigeon problem.

Why isn't this a standard requirement everywhere?
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Re: Why can't the MBTA maintain anything? & Pigeons

Postby CRail » Tue Apr 01, 2014 9:09 pm

In part because everywhere isn't in Newton.
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