MBTA To Cut Down Green Line "B" Branch Stops?

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

Moderators: CRail, sery2831

MBTA To Cut Down Green Line "B" Branch Stops?

Postby NH2060 » Thu Oct 16, 2014 9:52 pm

Fair use quote:
Next Thursday, MBTA officials will convene at the Boston Public Library to discuss a proposal that would consolidate four trolley stops in the BU area – Boston University West, St. Paul, Pleasant Street, and Babcock Street – into two, according to a release from State Senator Will Brownsberger.

http://www.boston.com/news/local/massac ... story.html

As a side note THIS I found interesting (Again, fair use quote below):
Ridership on the Commuter Rail and Green line, on the other hand, is dropping.

Try telling that to those fighting their way through all the standees to the door for their stop. I'm certainly not convinced ;-)
NH2060
 
Posts: 1437
Joined: Thu Feb 25, 2010 4:44 pm

Re: MBTA To Cut Down Green Line "B" Branch Stops?

Postby Adams_Umass_Boston » Thu Oct 16, 2014 10:18 pm

There could be many reasons the Green Line is having lower ridership. I wonder how much "lower" really is?

With Government Centers closure, I no longer ride the Green Line to work. I have been taking the Orange Line to Back Bay and walking. I see the same people I use to see on the Green Line, now on the Orange Line with me in the mornings.
I am sure there are other reasons too. Maybe more people are biking?
User avatar
Adams_Umass_Boston
 
Posts: 869
Joined: Tue Apr 20, 2004 11:26 am
Location: Eastie

Re: MBTA To Cut Down Green Line "B" Branch Stops?

Postby millerm277 » Fri Oct 17, 2014 12:08 pm

Adams_Umass_Boston wrote:There could be many reasons the Green Line is having lower ridership. I wonder how much "lower" really is?


It's people who don't think critically about the Bluebook data. There is a 40-45% drop in ridership at BU East and Blandford St between the 2006/7 counts and the 2010/11 counts, and less severe, but also huge drops at virtually every other college-heavy station that was measured in 2006/7. (Stops that don't cater to college students and were measured in 2006/7, like most of the D, Brigham Circle and Longwood Med showing modest gains). It's blatantly obvious that isn't from "ridership loss", they just took their ridership data when the colleges weren't in session.

Note that if you're looking at the 2010 Bluebook, that only the *'d stations were new measurements, the rest were 1995 data that's not very useful.

It's rather unfortunate that the first time they've actually done the whole system since 1995 appears to be very flawed as a result.
millerm277
 
Posts: 87
Joined: Thu May 24, 2012 1:47 am

Re: MBTA To Cut Down Green Line "B" Branch Stops?

Postby Matthew » Sat Oct 18, 2014 9:43 am

I agree with the Bluebook skepticism, however, the "dropping ridership" claim is not based on the Bluebook: it comes from the MBTA monthly ridership reports based on AFC data (Ari's analysis here). I think it's reasonable to question whether or not the AFC data is complete, what survey methods they may use to fill it out, and how comparable it is year-over-year. But there does seem to be a trend since a few years ago of dropping ridership on the Green Line, which I also find puzzling because I see plenty of crowds on there myself. But maybe...
Matthew
 
Posts: 86
Joined: Tue Nov 29, 2011 12:20 pm

Re: MBTA To Cut Down Green Line "B" Branch Stops?

Postby ns3010 » Mon Oct 20, 2014 6:11 am

100% in support of this. There's no reason to have all those stops so close together.

I don't really understand why they're discussing closing all four and constructing (I would guess two) new stations. I feel like it would be cheaper, easier, and just as efficient to just close St. Paul and Babcock and call it a day.
User avatar
ns3010
 
Posts: 1961
Joined: Sun Dec 21, 2008 12:53 pm
Location: MP 226.5

Re: MBTA To Cut Down Green Line "B" Branch Stops?

Postby bostontrainguy » Mon Oct 20, 2014 9:35 am

And while you are at it, drop Fenwood Rd and Back of the Hill on the E line. Makes no sense to have these stations, which are ADA inaccessible, just steps from alternative ADA compliant stations. Both of these stations are unnecessary and dangerous for passengers to use.

But, the real issue that slows things down is the fare situation. The Greenline should go "cashless" with only Charlie Cards as method of payment. Put up "Charlie Card ATMs" at the stations and allow boarding at the front door and exiting at the back. The people who pay by cash slow things way down. Did you know the fareboxes accept pennies? Try waiting behind someone in the cold who is inserting pennies.

The front door only policy is pretty much unenforceable and slowly disappearing, and the fare boxes are often not working correctly. They also have trouble reading Charlie Tickets and bills. "No Cash Accepted" stations are a good first step. Fare gated stations would be fantastic at least at the really busy ones.

But I applaud the T for combining some of these stations. I don't think that Blanford is really necessary either.
bostontrainguy
 
Posts: 900
Joined: Sun Oct 23, 2011 11:14 am

Re: MBTA To Cut Down Green Line "B" Branch Stops?

Postby The EGE » Mon Oct 20, 2014 10:08 am

Whatever two stations come out of this should be fully handicapped accessible. Think BU East, but imagine if they didn't kneecap the platform width by adding those trees alongside them.

You can't build those platforms on top of existing platforms easily - you have to have the passengers elsewhere. There was a temporary BU East/Central station on the Cummington/St. Marys block while they built the two BU stations. So it may be easier to build platforms where there currently aren't. Just east of the Babcock Street and St Pauls Street crossings might be the best

bostontrainguy wrote:Did you know the fareboxes accept pennies? Try waiting behind someone in the cold who is inserting pennies.

Wait, seriously? That's unexpected. The normal fare machines in stations don't.


bostontrainguy wrote:I don't think that Blanford is really necessary either.


Kenmore is set pretty far east in the square, the distance between there and BU East is about 2200 feet. Blandford is a heavy ridership draw - usually within the top third of the Bluebook counts for the B. You've got HoJo, SMG, The Towers, Bay State Road residences, and Cummington Street classroom buildings all right there. Blandford will look a lot better with signal priority once you stop losing 30 seconds there for a worthless grade crossing on every trip.
"Give me an unobstructed right-of-way and I'll show them how to move the earth!"
User avatar
The EGE
 
Posts: 2452
Joined: Wed Feb 16, 2011 6:16 pm
Location: Waiting for the C Branch

Re: MBTA To Cut Down Green Line "B" Branch Stops?

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Mon Oct 20, 2014 10:29 am

They're apparently considering extemely long platforms at mid-block stations splitting the difference half-and-half, which is stupid. Would mess up the stop spacing, and if it's signal prioritized the timings are a lot more precise with stops at the actual traffic light instead of trading one BU West that's neither here nor there for two.


This is roughly the stop spacing today, imprecisely measured to the nearest 50 feet. from crosswalk entrance to platform to crosswalk entrance to platform:

Kenmore-Blandford: 1400 ft. subway entrance-to-single crosswalk
Blandford-BU East: 900 ft. single crosswalk-to-Granby St. crosswalk
BU East-BU Central: 500 ft. Cummington St. crosswalk-to-single crosswalk
BU Central-BU West: 1900 ft. single crosswalk-to-single crosswalk
BU West-St. Paul: 550 ft. single crosswalk-to-single crosswalk
St. Paul-Pleasant St.: 750 ft. single crosswalk-to-single crosswalk
Pleasant St.-Babcock St.: 750 ft. single crosswalk-to-single crosswalk
Babcock St.-Packards Corner: 1000 ft. single crosswalk-to-single crosswalk


So to square it up closer to a consistent average you'd probably want something like this:

Kenmore-Blandford: 1400 ft. subway entrance-to-single crosswalk
Blandford-BU East: 900 ft. single crosswalk-to-Granby St. crosswalk
BU East-BU Central: 500 ft. Cummington St. crosswalk-to-single crosswalk
BU Central-St. Paul - 2400 ft. single crosswalk-to-single crosswalk
St. Paul-Babcock 1400 ft. single crosswalk-to-single crosswalk
Babcock-Packards Corner: 1000 ft. single crosswalk-to-single crosswalk


Now...keep in mind that BU has long wanted to shift Central over to BU Bridge, and that the city and state have long been mulling changes to the Bridge intersection. So if that intersection gets compacted to a single-point with protected left-turns instead of that very dangerous, taffy-stretched double light at Carlton St. and the Bridge, it opens up a chance to shift Central to the east side of the Bridge intersection. Possibly with elimination of the Carlton grade crossing, making Carlton right-turn only, and making a U-turn at St. Mary's the more orderly way of getting to Storrow eastbound. That's how the >2000 ft. outlier gets closed.

So with that in mind as a trailer that all official stakeholders have previously expressed support for. It would be a tack-on project coming later so maybe 2 years where the stop spacing is wildly out-of-sync, but Central would eventually shift and re-space to:

Kenmore-Blandford: 1400 ft. subway entrance-to-single crosswalk
Blandford-BU East: 900 ft. single crosswalk-to-Granby St. crosswalk
BU East-"new" BU Central: 1600 ft. Cummington St. crosswalk-to-single crosswalk ==OR== 1200 ft. Cummington St. crosswalk-to-2nd Central crosswalk installed at east end of platforms nearest Carlton St.
"new" BU Central-St. Paul - 1400 ft. Bridge crosswalk-to-single crosswalk
St. Paul-Babcock 1400 ft. single crosswalk-to-single crosswalk
Babcock-Packards Corner: 1000 ft. single crosswalk-to-single crosswalk

Now that's a nice and well-balanced line that doesn't require much alteration other than whacking West and Pleasant. It just may have to come in a 1-2 punch because of the Central factor and BU Bridge intersection factor.



Unfortunately BU doesn't seem to be leaning there with these public meetings so we may get something that resembles a whole lot more 'stretched' BU West and 'stretched' Pleasant with an over-long gap to Packards for sole sake of bookending the BU Arena and athletic facilities vs. a build that's going to focus square on the B for B's sake.
F-line to Dudley via Park
 
Posts: 7102
Joined: Fri Mar 11, 2005 7:26 pm
Location: North Cambridge

Re: MBTA To Cut Down Green Line "B" Branch Stops?

Postby MBTA3247 » Thu Oct 23, 2014 8:34 pm

I was present at tonight's meeting. The plan is to combine BU West and St. Paul Street into a new stop between Amory St and St. Paul St, and combine Babcock Street and Pleasant Street into a larger Pleasant Street stop that would span the entire block between Pleasant and Babcock Streets. Both stations would have platforms long enough for 3-car trains centered in the block, with entrances on either end. Fences and barriers would prevent people from entering the stations mid-block to improve safety. The new platforms would be fully ADA-compliant, and modestly wider than the existing platforms for wheelchair access and increased capacity (about 18" from the existing roadway will be given to the T to accommodate this). They will also have several benches and 150-foot canopies.

The existing platforms will be ripped up. Landscaping is TBD, but the Green Line operations manager who was present said any landscaping would definitely not include trees.

Budgeted cost is $8.4 million.

Signal priority is not included with this project, but the project doesn't do anything that would preclude it being added later.

I brought up the possibility of using center platforms with faregates (which would permit all-door boarding) instead of side platforms. They said that option had been considered and rejected due to cost and disruption. They did, however, mention that another team at the T is working on other ways to permit all-door boarding on the Green Line.

The stop consolidation project is separate but closely related to an upcoming project to rebuild that section of Comm Ave. The latter project will proceed first because, as mentioned above, the T needs an additional 18" of ROW for the new platforms.
"The destination of this train is [BEEP BEEP]" -announcement on an Ashmont train.
User avatar
MBTA3247
 
Posts: 2592
Joined: Tue Jul 11, 2006 6:01 pm
Location: Milton

Re: MBTA To Cut Down Green Line "B" Branch Stops?

Postby diburning » Fri Oct 24, 2014 1:29 am

Center platforms with gates are a good idea, but would be a logistical nightmare for a surface stop. If they put fare gates there, they'll have to put fare vending machines in. If they put fare vending machines in, they'll have to have a CSA at all times to assist, and to bust people for going around the fare gates via the RoW. A higher ridership station might justify these costs, but for a lightly to moderately used surface stop, it's not ideal.
User avatar
diburning
 
Posts: 2964
Joined: Sat Feb 09, 2008 7:37 pm
Location: Practicing safe CSX by using Three-Step Protection

Re: MBTA To Cut Down Green Line "B" Branch Stops?

Postby bostontrainguy » Fri Oct 24, 2014 9:46 am

MBTA3247 wrote:The stop consolidation project is separate but closely related to an upcoming project to rebuild that section of Comm Ave. The latter project will proceed first because, as mentioned above, the T needs an additional 18" of ROW for the new platforms.


I will say that the redesign and "beautification" of the eastern end of Comm Ave looks nice, but reducing the roadway from three to two lanes has resulted in massive traffic jams including the mess near the BU bridge which often backs up and blocks the trolleys (two lanes reduced to one here). I think that we will some day regret the decisions we are making to reduce travel lanes (e.g., Comm Ave., BU Bridge, Longfellow Bridge) in a city already checked with traffic.

And if you think the answer is "just take the Greenline", it's already overcrowded and people are often left on the platforms as packed trains pass by.
bostontrainguy
 
Posts: 900
Joined: Sun Oct 23, 2011 11:14 am

Re: MBTA To Cut Down Green Line "B" Branch Stops?

Postby bostontrainguy » Fri Oct 24, 2014 9:54 am

diburning wrote:Center platforms with gates are a good idea, but would be a logistical nightmare for a surface stop. If they put fare gates there, they'll have to put fare vending machines in. If they put fare vending machines in, they'll have to have a CSA at all times to assist, and to bust people for going around the fare gates via the RoW. A higher ridership station might justify these costs, but for a lightly to moderately used surface stop, it's not ideal.


The fastest and easiest plan would be a "cashless" Greenline. Put Charlie Card ATMs at the stations. You would have to buy a loaded Charlie Card to use on the trains. Board through the front door only, or add card readers at the back doors. No cash accepted, period. That would be the quickest easiest way to greatly speed things up.
bostontrainguy
 
Posts: 900
Joined: Sun Oct 23, 2011 11:14 am

Re: MBTA To Cut Down Green Line "B" Branch Stops?

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Fri Oct 24, 2014 11:36 am

This shouldn't be such a hard thing. They were planning Proof of Payment from the start until their insane fear of fare evasion forced them to back off and double down on front-door only boarding. Other transit systems have been doing it, but they won't budge. The inefficiency is totally their own making, and totally in their own heads.

Stick 1 Charlie vending machine at each renovated station (and keep churning through the renovations to keep deploying it). Card tap surfaces at the rear doors, tickets at the front door, adequate signage directing passengers. Every trolley equipped with security cams at the rear doors (onboard security cams not exactly a rare or expensive thing these days). Digital video recorded during the operator's shift gets uploaded over WiFi at the carhouse. Home office random-samples a selection of each day's rear-door boardings on the B, C, D, and E to check for fare evasion. Not every run gets checked, but they make sure that the recordings they look churn through all stops and every hour of service on the PoP routes...say, at least once every 2 weeks so there's no blind spots. Assign a staff of plainclothes transit police on rotating shifts through random-sampled runs, and use the security cam recordings to concentrate extra enforcement on target any lines, stations, or time slots that have elevated levels of fare evasion per the tapes.

All it is is applying the technology they said would be applied years ago, and using basic Statistical Sampling 101 on the rear-door security cam recordings to cover the system without blind spots and shape-shift their enforcement accordingly. Once passengers know the plainclothes officers will be handing out fines for fare evasion, they automatically get conditioned not to try it. Conditioned better than they are today, when an overstressed dwell and too-long front door boarding queue puts enough pressure on the operator that you've got par chance of being waived aboard without paying. I honestly think if they just listened to the analytics other PoP-employing transit agencies applied at playing the odds on evasion vs. targeted enforcement and dropped their zero-tolerance paranoia...they'd pocket MORE money. By virtue of the lines being much more on-schedule and easier to board that more people stop avoiding the GL branches like the plague. Front-door boarding is one of the big reasons the ridership's down here while it's up everywhere else. The timeframe for the decline coincides pretty well with their stepping up this zero-tolerance policy and clogging up the schedule with even longer dwells.

This is easy; it's really all in their heads.



Bonus: if PoP and random-sampled enforcement works well on the Green Line, it works well for opening all doors on heavy-ridership buses too. This is a much bigger deal than just de-clogging the B, and a much bigger thing their own fare evasion paranoia is holding back systemwide.
F-line to Dudley via Park
 
Posts: 7102
Joined: Fri Mar 11, 2005 7:26 pm
Location: North Cambridge

Re: MBTA To Cut Down Green Line "B" Branch Stops?

Postby Diverging Route » Fri Oct 24, 2014 1:09 pm

F-Line, I couldn't agree more.

But the POP enforcement has to be visible, publicized, and have zero-tolerance. Word will get around quickly it's just not worth the risk.

A few months ago in SFO's central MUNI subway, uniformed police were checking as people exited fare control. No POP, it's a $110 fine. In just a few minutes, I saw five fines - to tourists, businessmen, kids, and homeless. Lost your pass? Citation. No cash? Citation. Didn't know? Citation. No ID? "Come with me..."

The added advantage is a safer system (both perceived and real) because of the more visible patrols.

And to keep this on-topic, a faster, safer, and more revenue-producing ride along the "B" branch.
User avatar
Diverging Route
 
Posts: 1560
Joined: Sat Mar 13, 2004 3:35 pm

Re: MBTA To Cut Down Green Line "B" Branch Stops?

Postby diburning » Fri Oct 24, 2014 11:10 pm

Is there any legislation against fare evasion in MA? IIRC, the ticket for fare evasion is $15, and is a civil fine that has little to no repercussions if unpaid. (I have never seen an actual ticket, so this is just going by my assumption). I have a coworker who had been issued a ticket even though she had paid her fare. She challenged the ticket, and they dismissed it without any sort of evidence needed (she was ready to present her charlie card for date/time verification, but they never checked it)

Of all of the transit systems in the US that I've ever been on that use POP, (San Diego MTS, Los Angeles Area Metrolink, Greater Cleveland RTA), I have only had my ticket checked on GCRTA. I realize that this is a small sample size, but I don't think the MBTA is very far off with being concerned about people gambling with the POP system.

The Riverside line is sort of a POP system. There are card validators at the stations that print a validation ticket to board through the rear doors. I'm assuming that these are used primarily during rush hour as during off-peak, only the front doors open unless the car is packed, and if the rear doors open, the operator makes the people entering from the rear go up to the front to either pay their fare or show their validation ticket.

Unless they roll this out on the entire B branch (good luck fitting the little shacks on narrow platforms such as Warren st or Harvard Ave), it's probably not going to work.
User avatar
diburning
 
Posts: 2964
Joined: Sat Feb 09, 2008 7:37 pm
Location: Practicing safe CSX by using Three-Step Protection

Next

Return to Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA)

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 5 guests