MassDOT Capital Plan & Vision for MBTA 2024

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Re: MassDOT Capital Plan & Vision for MBTA 2024

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Thu Nov 06, 2014 1:43 pm

BostonUrbEx wrote:
octr202 wrote:Thanks for reminding me of a few things there. I keep forgetting that they'll likely hamstring these DMUs by making them high-platform only. Yes, Reading gets knocked in that case since it'll take a lot of work to raise all of those platforms.

It's just every time I ride an all-stops Reading local (like last night on 271 - 1 Rotem, 5 flats, two cars closed) slogging through those close-in stops, it just seems to scream for something more efficient.


In a similar vein...

Why is Wakefield not a high-level platform? There's not even a mini-high. The outbound platform could be made into a high-level very easily, I imagine, given the geography. The inbound side might be difficult, though, but they could move it to the other side of Albion St. There's plenty of room there. That would also mean the inbounds could clear Albion when stopping, eliminating that little traffic nightmare.

I mention Wakefield in particular because I recently saw the platform was swamped and it took a while to board. It would obviously be a higher priority than the Melrose stops.


That line's been ignored for eons...that's why there's no full-highs out there.

Wakefield's sandwiched between grade crossings with a puny 440 ft. platform, 5 cars max with both crossings fouled at once. That's not enough for current Haverhill rush hour sardine cans, let alone future growth. Throw in the necessary ramps from each crossing up to a full-high and it would shrink to ~380 and only be able to load 4 cars. The only fix there is to flip it to the other side of either the Chestnut or Albion crossings so it can get the full 800 ft. treatment.

Simple fix, but like everything else on the Reading Line somebody has to care enough to want to start tackling this state-of-repair and accessibility bucket list. None of the individual items--station ADA, Mystic Jct. fix, Wellington siding, Reading station DT--are all that individually expensive except for the signal system replacement. If they just got a a steady stream of mini-grants going they could pluck those items off individually and it wouldn't take that long to plow through it all. But it's apparently not sexy enough like building new parking capacity so there's never a peep.

Jeez...there's never a peep about diverting more (at least some more, if not all) thru Haverhills to the NH Main to get the arse-numbing travel times knocked back under an hour. That line can get travel times right smack at the league-average held by every non-Fitchburg and non-Worcester 495-oriented line with solely a routing change and trade-in of North Wilmington for Salem St. on the Wildcat...no schedule increases or additional capital improvements necessary. That obvious conversation isn't even whispered at any level.
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Re: MassDOT Capital Plan & Vision for MBTA 2024

Postby octr202 » Fri Nov 07, 2014 8:19 am

A couple stations on that line are puzzling. Why Highlands wasn't made full high is the one that really boggles the mind. I know it's not the busiest stop, but they built some fairly substantial mini-highs there. Obviously it would have cost more to go full high, but that station could have been done without anything more than ramps down to ground level as you have the grade crossing for pedestrian traffic to cross - no need to expensive footrbridges, and plenty of space to work with. That "lack of forward thinking" bit again.

Strangely I never thought of moving Wakefield south of the current location, but that does make a lot of sense. They can sorta make six car trains work at Wakefield by sitting on both crossings (outbound the first double actually ends up on the Chestnut St crossing), but as you say it's far from ideal. Dwell times at Wakefield are way too long - part of the reason that the express (215) really doesn't save much if any time. All of it's time savings get eaten up with long dwell times at Wakefield, Reading, and Andover while people trundle out just a few doors onto low platforms. Moving north of Chestnut puts the platforms close to the bulk of the station parking, but you have the challenge of the steep (in places) slope down to street level along North Ave, and you abut houses on the other side of the ROW. UrbEx's south of Albion looks much better (no abutters save for a parking garage and lumber yard, and 500' more distance to the next crossing). Might even be able to design it without a pedestrian bridge, but it probably should have one for better pedestrian access due to the station's passenger volume.

It's a shame that on more lines the MBTA hasn't been proactive about tackling future limitations as other work is being done. Tearing up a station for work? Go ahead and put in full highs now, even if it'll be years before the other stations near it get done.
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Re: MassDOT Capital Plan & Vision for MBTA 2024

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Fri Nov 07, 2014 9:05 am

octr202 wrote:A couple stations on that line are puzzling. Why Highlands wasn't made full high is the one that really boggles the mind. I know it's not the busiest stop, but they built some fairly substantial mini-highs there. Obviously it would have cost more to go full high, but that station could have been done without anything more than ramps down to ground level as you have the grade crossing for pedestrian traffic to cross - no need to expensive footrbridges, and plenty of space to work with. That "lack of forward thinking" bit again.

Strangely I never thought of moving Wakefield south of the current location, but that does make a lot of sense. They can sorta make six car trains work at Wakefield by sitting on both crossings (outbound the first double actually ends up on the Chestnut St crossing), but as you say it's far from ideal. Dwell times at Wakefield are way too long - part of the reason that the express (215) really doesn't save much if any time. All of it's time savings get eaten up with long dwell times at Wakefield, Reading, and Andover while people trundle out just a few doors onto low platforms. Moving north of Chestnut puts the platforms close to the bulk of the station parking, but you have the challenge of the steep (in places) slope down to street level along North Ave, and you abut houses on the other side of the ROW. UrbEx's south of Albion looks much better (no abutters save for a parking garage and lumber yard, and 500' more distance to the next crossing). Might even be able to design it without a pedestrian bridge, but it probably should have one for better pedestrian access due to the station's passenger volume.

It's a shame that on more lines the MBTA hasn't been proactive about tackling future limitations as other work is being done. Tearing up a station for work? Go ahead and put in full highs now, even if it'll be years before the other stations near it get done.


Well, also...the grade crossings make full-high installations a lot cheaper. You just need the ramps to the sidewalk. And if they wanted to flip stations to opposite sides of intersections they can even keep the old platforms in full service during construction. The only hard one is going to be Reading's existing platform because of delicateness of grafting a full-high onto the historic station building. It's been done many many other places around historic depots, but it's slower, pricier, and harder to design (but they can always do an outbound side platform real quick, shift the single track over, take as long as they need to on the depot side, then finish the long-overdue double track at the station).

Reading's just been that much of an afterthought. Absolute bupkis has been done with it since thru Haverhill service started in '79. I mean, jeez, it still has jointed rail That's embarrassing 2 months away from the year 2015. Inside-Framingham on the Worcester Line is probably ahead of it on dire infrastructure renewal needs, but it's pretty much the next Fitchburg at needing a total physical plant do-over. The demand is clearly there with how congested the line is, but it just doesn't work for the loads it has to carry.


This is something they could easily do a "rip-the-band-aid-off" blitz on. Sort of like LIRR did with its mass platform-raisings ahead of its high-boarding only coach purchase in the late-90's. Set it up like the community outreach on the I-93 "Fast 14" bridge replacement plan. Have the communities sign off on a short-term pain construction schedule for faster finish, then dangle the improved service carrot. Longer construction hours, maybe some single-tracking when they work one platform then another, more thru-Haverhill diversions to the NH Main, and so on.

And like LIRR's blitz, it's an excuse to ram through some stop pruning if that's necessary. The spacing between Wyoming Hill and Cedar Park is a little ridiculous. It's 2000 ft. platform edge to platform edge. Cedar Park gets a little more ridership, but the two clearly dilute each other. It's time to at least breach the conversation. Wyoming Hill is the one with the bus stop...Cedar Park's the only stop on the route that has no immediate bus routes. So maybe eliminate Cedar Park, do up Wyoming Hill because that's the better one for parking capacity, buses, and stop spacing from the end of the Orange Line. Line the amply-buffered west side of the ROW from W. Wyoming Ave. to W. Emerson with a chain-link fence and lit trail/cycle track (maybe even continue it to Lynn Fells Parkway by the high school for the Safe Routes to School Program).

The freed-up stop then gets traded in for an I.O.U. (when funding is available) for a Quannapowitt/Route 128 stop at long last. The 3rd center track at Reading used to extend further south of the 128 overpass, so a center island platform on that space south of the overpass fits it without having to deal with swampland EIS'ing. Footbridge to Quannapowitt Pkwy. where it splits Subaru of Wakefield and 128 Volvo. Car dealerships tend to be transient tenants that move every decade or two so those properties can easily be paid off for parking and TOD by the North Ave. exit. Bus route and abutting residential density keeps it from being a pure parking sink, and the Quannapowitt industrial park and nearby shopping makes it a long-term grower. It's sorely needed because that 93/128 Reading interchange is so very painful for reaching Anderson from the Lynnfield direction.


I would expect Melrose to pitch a fit about Cedar Park, but like with the LIRR stop consolidations you almost have to make their heads spin with a blitz of improvements to get them to hesitate enough on opposition to seal the deal. And definitely keep a firm hand. If it's the price of doing business for much-improved stations, accessibility, dwell times, future ins for Indigo, and streetscape improvements such as that rail-with-trail on available land...it's a tempting sell. Enough to make it worth breaching the subject if they're skilled enough at the messaging.
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Re: MassDOT Capital Plan & Vision for MBTA 2024

Postby BostonUrbEx » Fri Nov 07, 2014 10:01 am

Trust me, there's no way in hell Melrose will let Cedar Park go.

Your best bet is to flip Wyoming across E Wyoming St. Likewise, although Cedar Park doesn't quite reach Foster St, it comes close - flip that across Foster. You now have both stations overlapping in between E Wyoming and Foster.

There's approximately 1,150ft between Wyoming Hill and Cedar Park stations. Place 800ft high-level platforms squarely in the middle, equidistant from the streets on either side. This leaves 175ft on each side for ramps down to the sidewalks. There's also plenty of space to do this without losing parking on Berwick St, however, you may have to narrow Berwick St. Berwick St is a one-way but is wide enough for two-way traffic. Just make it one-way width and you can maintain all those perpendicular parking spaces. You could still run a trail-with rail from Oak Grove to W Wyoming and from Foster to W Emerson or Lynn Fells Pkwy.

In my opinion, this station location would be the absolute 100% best ever-possible solution. It's much more ideal for access to downtown Melrose.
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Re: MassDOT Capital Plan & Vision for MBTA 2024

Postby MBTA3247 » Fri Nov 07, 2014 5:50 pm

F-line to Dudley via Park wrote:The freed-up stop then gets traded in for an I.O.U. (when funding is available) for a Quannapowitt/Route 128 stop at long last. The 3rd center track at Reading used to extend further south of the 128 overpass, so a center island platform on that space south of the overpass fits it without having to deal with swampland EIS'ing. Footbridge to Quannapowitt Pkwy. where it splits Subaru of Wakefield and 128 Volvo. Car dealerships tend to be transient tenants that move every decade or two so those properties can easily be paid off for parking and TOD by the North Ave. exit. Bus route and abutting residential density keeps it from being a pure parking sink, and the Quannapowitt industrial park and nearby shopping makes it a long-term grower. It's sorely needed because that 93/128 Reading interchange is so very painful for reaching Anderson from the Lynnfield direction.

It'll be even more needed whenever they get around to replacing the 93/128 interchange.
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Re: MassDOT Capital Plan & Vision for MBTA 2024

Postby BostonUrbEx » Sat Nov 08, 2014 1:15 pm

MBTA3247 wrote:
F-line to Dudley via Park wrote:The freed-up stop then gets traded in for an I.O.U. (when funding is available) for a Quannapowitt/Route 128 stop at long last. The 3rd center track at Reading used to extend further south of the 128 overpass, so a center island platform on that space south of the overpass fits it without having to deal with swampland EIS'ing. Footbridge to Quannapowitt Pkwy. where it splits Subaru of Wakefield and 128 Volvo. Car dealerships tend to be transient tenants that move every decade or two so those properties can easily be paid off for parking and TOD by the North Ave. exit. Bus route and abutting residential density keeps it from being a pure parking sink, and the Quannapowitt industrial park and nearby shopping makes it a long-term grower. It's sorely needed because that 93/128 Reading interchange is so very painful for reaching Anderson from the Lynnfield direction.

It'll be even more needed whenever they get around to replacing the 93/128 interchange.


Why would it be more necessary? The two would sort of negate eachother. It should be either a) add a fourth lane, or b) don't add a lane and create a station. I have absolutely zero problems with elimination of conflict points/weaving/etc, but adding lanes is just ridiculous... It is a never ending cycle...

---

Anyway, back to Melrose... Created a walkshed map to visualize things for myself. I used 1500ft as the average maximum anyone is willing to walk to transit, which is approximately .25 to .333 miles. As you can see, downtown Melrose is much better served and there is no loss to the existing Wyoming Hills walkshed. Cedar Park itself is still within range especially if there's a rail-with-trail, which should be easy enough. The lost walkshed is perhaps the lowest density housing within the entire impact area, and even overlaps with a lake and the town's low-density industry (on Tremont St). Hopefully they'd be appeased with the rail-with-trail to W Emerson and perhaps beyond. Also in the map, I assume there'd be a shortcut ramp/stairs to Grove & Berwick from the outbound platform, to boost the shed up Grove and to give easier access to the lower end of downtown.

Map: https://maps.google.com/maps/ms?msid=21 ... 5,0.045447
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Re: MassDOT Capital Plan & Vision for MBTA 2024

Postby The EGE » Sat Nov 08, 2014 1:22 pm

Try that with half a mile (2640 feet) as your radius; that's a more common value for commuter rail (especially in super-walkable Melrose). I'll bet the Cedar Park walkshed gets entirely consumed by Wyoming Hill and Highlands.
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Re: MassDOT Capital Plan & Vision for MBTA 2024

Postby BostonUrbEx » Sun Nov 09, 2014 1:21 am

The EGE wrote:Try that with half a mile (2640 feet) as your radius; that's a more common value for commuter rail (especially in super-walkable Melrose). I'll bet the Cedar Park walkshed gets entirely consumed by Wyoming Hill and Highlands.


Huh, didn't realize the radius was quite that far for a walkshed. I'm in the process of updating it, so if anyone clicks on the link, it may look funky at the moment.
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Re: MassDOT Capital Plan & Vision for MBTA 2024

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Sun Nov 09, 2014 6:50 am

BostonUrbEx wrote:
The EGE wrote:Try that with half a mile (2640 feet) as your radius; that's a more common value for commuter rail (especially in super-walkable Melrose). I'll bet the Cedar Park walkshed gets entirely consumed by Wyoming Hill and Highlands.


Huh, didn't realize the radius was quite that far for a walkshed. I'm in the process of updating it, so if anyone clicks on the link, it may look funky at the moment.


In this case the thick bus coverage reinforces that as a metric as a cutoff point. The 131 up Main St. stops directly at Oak Grove, Wyoming Hill, and Melrose Highlands and swings 3 blocks from Cedar Park. The 136 and 137 stop directly at Malden Ctr., OG, WH, and Greenwood; and 3 blocks from both CP and MH. And the 132 stops directly at MC, OG, and WH en route to Stoneham. So given the route duplication and Wyoming Hill and Melrose Highlands being the ones with the most bus connectivity, that gives a pretty strong case for Cedar Park being not only duplicate but a ridership siphon from the other two where the native demand is 2 not 3 stops on that stretch. It's a pretty strong case for not even bothering to err on side of caution, just doing away with it, and exploring those ped connectivity enhancements.



Other dead-obvious ones.
-- Wedgemere. Going by the half-mile tolerable minimum, Wedgemere's also flagrantly too short and well-supplemented by buses. A siphon from Winchester Center not a native demand generator, so Indigo wouldn't matter...it would just siphon the same % from Winch. Ctr. not contribute an extra gear's demand. As much as the locals would fight that one, the case is pretty airtight.

-- Mishawum. Slightly larger catchment because of low density in office park land out in Woburn. Pathetic all-around demand. Simple bus route modifications to Anderson achieves equal-or-better. Useless on Indigo...in fact, it's probably to be just as dead no matter how many trains you force at gunpoint to stop there.

-- Hastings and Silver Hill. The deadest-obvious of 'em all. It's 3/4 mile from Kendal Green to H, 1.4 miles H to SH. In the bustling metropolis of Weston. Do it.

-- Prides Crossing. < 3/4 mile from Beverly Farms on road with adequate sidewalks. As with the Westons, no excuses...do it.

-- Plimptonville. 1.4 miles to Windsor Gardens and Walpole each, all 3 stops served by the 34E. No excuses...do it.



Other ones that are awfully borderline on catchment areas:
-- Canton Center. Given how utterly messed up the SCR skip-stop service plan is and how much it would maim transit at the existing stops it baffles me that they never considered consolidation of this one. Ped improvements on Sherman St., rail-trailing the abandoned (and very long) freight siding on Revere St. to the ex-Plymouth Rubber Co. improve the access within the catchment. Re aligning the NEC vs. Stoughton platforms at Junction south of the split instead of overlapping and fouling each other, making more Providence trains stop instead of skip the station, and salvaging more SCR slots that don't skip the Cantons altogether boosts service enough to be a better overall deal for the town. Reinstating the budget-cut 716 bus out of Mattapan with a Chapman St. + Sherman St. loop at Junction shores it up some more. SCR's clownshow just doesn't seem to want to breach this one even when their service plan is way more outright transit loss than a stop consolidation.

-- Fairmount vs. Hyde Park. Mind you, this doesn't matter at all until the headways at Fairmount reach consequential levels. So if they continue being dishonest about when/if Indigo headways will ever be seen it's moot, and the neighborhood is right to be skeptical. But if the 32, 33, and 50 buses were looped from Cleary Sq. to Fairmount there's no reason for Hyde Park to continue existing. The neighborhood will scream, but SCR will make all Stoughton trains vacate the station which will leave it with only 11 or 12 round trips per day. And there's got to be better things the Providence Line could/should be doing than carrying the load for that station so that number's going to keep declining.

-- Norwood Depot vs. Norwood Central. Sits right on that 1/2 mile catchment, both are 1 block from 34E bus stops, Depot's ridership is nearly half of Central's and it's skipped on several off-peaks. Demand has spoken here. Maybe fold Depot's parking capacity into a garage + TOD at Central and give them a grade crossing elimination at accident-prone Railroad Ave. Town would think about it if the right package were floated, and it would help keep the Franklin schedule nice and taut if branching (Foxboro) or extension (Milford? Blackstone/Woonsocket?) are in play.

-- Islington (minor relocation). Route 128 shears it off from Dedham Corporate so close catchment doesn't count unless there's a pedestrian bridge constructed over the highway. Gets decent ridership, but hard to access from the street. Might be better moving down a block to East St. @ Washington where it's accessible to more of the neighborhood, more of the area shopping, parkland, and Safe Routes to School. Would also re-balance the stop spacing to 1-3/4 miles to DC, 1-3/4 miles to Norwood Depot, and 2-1/4 miles to Norwood Central.

-- West Roxbury (minor relocation). Bellevue vs. Highland vs. W. Rox all come under the 1/2 mile minimum catchment and there's lots of bus duplication, but this is a corridor with real demand for a rapid transit line so usual commuter rail rules don't apply and would-be Orange Line stop spacing is in play. It is, however, and argument in favor of relocating West Roxbury station away from Highland where it'll do a better job on catchment on the Baker St./VFW Pkwy. end of the neighborhood by the VA Hospital, which is currently a bit under-served. Better stop location is behind the Shaw's and Catholic High School right by where Spring and Centre streets split. Would open up the Needham Line to a more varied bus route selection by roping in the 52 (Watertown-Dedham Mall) and the Dedham town bus that terminates at the VA Hospital. Neither are close enough to the current W. Rox stop. Of course...someone would actually have to care enough about the Needham Line and Boston's outer neighborhoods to make this happen, but this ain't an expensive adjustment in the slightest.
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Re: MassDOT Capital Plan & Vision for MBTA 2024

Postby Arlington » Fri Apr 17, 2015 2:35 pm

Toronto is kicking its plan for every-15 minute frequencies at peak times into high gear (it has been around for a while)

We need this in all those places originally sketched for DMUs.
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