West Station discussion

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

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Re: West Station discussion

Postby dbperry » Thu May 21, 2015 10:28 pm

BandA wrote:
dbperry wrote:
bostontrainguy wrote:
c): Well not quite impossible. There is an abandoned right-of-way that wyes off of the MBTA's "Test Track" behind the Riverside carhouse and goes west across existing bridges over Interstate 95/Route 128. Now it would then have to run through a golf course . . . but it is possible :)


And I found out that if you go snowshoeing at the golf course, you can hike all the way out to the end of the golf course and cross over 128 on those bridges and walk right up to the fence at the back of the Riverside car barn! This path is off limits for the cross country skiers, and access to the bridges isn't advertised, but if you follow the "snowshoe" only path you will come to the embankment for the old route. Didn't see any signs of fences or "no trespassing" signs either, and the path was clearly worn down by previous snowshoers on the day I was there.

Dave

I think you are talking about the Upper Falls branch. Bike trail would be awesome there (how to shield against golf balls?)


Ah ha! Not the Upper Falls branch - that connected the Highland Branch (now the Green Line "D" line) to Needham Junction. The LOWER Falls branch is what I was snowshoeing on, and what bostontrainguy was talking about.
viewtopic.php?f=126&t=59184

And check it out - bostontrain guy is right. It is a straight shot from where the Lower Falls branch crosses Route 128 to where it could rejoin the B&A mainline right on the Weston-Wellesley town line. Would only have to take out 2-3 golf course fairways and the one nice big house just east of the mainline - the only house in Weston at the end of Crestwood Drive in Wellesley. And there is already a bridge over the Charles River right there too - granted, it is a little bridge for golf carts, but it's something! And since it would involve work in Newton, Weston, AND Wellesley, it will be a breeze to get 'community buy-in!'

Sorry. Please resume West Station discussions...
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Re: West Station discussion

Postby CRail » Fri May 22, 2015 1:23 am

deathtopumpkins wrote:You do realize that since 2006 there hasn't been a Turnpike Authority, right? And that since 2006 the T has been folded into the state DOT right alongside MassHighway, right? (Admittedly the T does have more autonomy than other DOT divisions though)
You talk as if these are distinct, competing entities.

MassDOT did not become a thing until 2009, and Massachusetts Highway Department and Turnpike Authority both existed separately until then. Even as they all exist now under the MassDOT umbrella, they still function quite separately (there is even still departmental distinctions between the Pike and what was MHD), especially the "Rail and Transit" division vs. the "Highway" division. As such, they most certainly are competing entities, as they all have to compete for the same state funding. Highway vs. Transit is an ongoing political battle and has been for decades, and one most certainly does act without consideration for the other, if never even to spite the other.
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Re: West Station discussion

Postby dbperry » Wed Jun 03, 2015 4:05 pm

File name says May 2015 update, but cover page says February 26, 2015. Either way, I've never seen it before, and I don't think it has been shared on this thread previously.

https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B0Mv_n6 ... JsdUk/edit

Lots of pretty pictures, interesting track and road diagrams, and alternative designs for us to debate...

I found it here, which somehow showed up in my Twitter feed:

https://www.facebook.com/events/1087469997934072/

Dave
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Re: West Station discussion

Postby rethcir » Wed Jun 03, 2015 10:09 pm

It just seems rather pointless and in fact worse than no-build unless there is a firm commitment to DMU/EMU service. Especially with New Balance station opening up just up the road.
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Re: West Station discussion

Postby dbperry » Thu Jun 04, 2015 10:30 am

rethcir wrote:It just seems rather pointless and in fact worse than no-build unless there is a firm commitment to DMU/EMU service. Especially with New Balance station opening up just up the road.


Agreed 100%. 0.8 miles between two stations on commuter rail is crazy. I'm not even sure that spacing makes sense for subway or other forms of rapid transit.

And if (as with Boston Landing station), private / non-MBTA funds are contributed to West Station, I'll bet there will be quite a bit of political pressure to have the long distance trains stop at this station, even with DMU service. Ugh.
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Re: West Station discussion

Postby BandA » Thu Jun 04, 2015 11:21 am

This is really a long overdue replacement for the "A" Watertown trolley, missing these 47 years.

Historically there were stations at Cottage Farms and Allston. The Allston station as you can see is right next to busy Cambridge St, and Cottage Farm was presumably near the busy Cottage Farm aka BU Bridge. So excellent access to major crossing streets, whereas West Station and Brighton Landing are not as well positioned as the historical stations.
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Re: West Station discussion

Postby Bramdeisroberts » Thu Jun 04, 2015 11:59 am

dbperry wrote:
rethcir wrote:It just seems rather pointless and in fact worse than no-build unless there is a firm commitment to DMU/EMU service. Especially with New Balance station opening up just up the road.


Agreed 100%. 0.8 miles between two stations on commuter rail is crazy. I'm not even sure that spacing makes sense for subway or other forms of rapid transit.

And if (as with Boston Landing station), private / non-MBTA funds are contributed to West Station, I'll bet there will be quite a bit of political pressure to have the long distance trains stop at this station, even with DMU service. Ugh.


That seems like it would hinge on the kind of development going in at Beacon Park. If it's more office development a la Boston Landing, then I could totally see the political pressure to add at least some LD stops. If it ends up being half as Academic/Residential-oriented as it looks like it would be, then LD service could be much less of a priority.

In a perfect world, we get clock-facing indigo service to Riverside, with a shuttle to North Station via Kendall and the GJ, and LD service stops only at West Station and Back Bay, leaving every other station inside Riverside as Indigo-only, but I'm not sure how politically feasible that would be.
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Re: West Station discussion

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Thu Jun 04, 2015 3:51 pm

Bramdeisroberts wrote:
dbperry wrote:
rethcir wrote:It just seems rather pointless and in fact worse than no-build unless there is a firm commitment to DMU/EMU service. Especially with New Balance station opening up just up the road.


Agreed 100%. 0.8 miles between two stations on commuter rail is crazy. I'm not even sure that spacing makes sense for subway or other forms of rapid transit.

And if (as with Boston Landing station), private / non-MBTA funds are contributed to West Station, I'll bet there will be quite a bit of political pressure to have the long distance trains stop at this station, even with DMU service. Ugh.


That seems like it would hinge on the kind of development going in at Beacon Park. If it's more office development a la Boston Landing, then I could totally see the political pressure to add at least some LD stops. If it ends up being half as Academic/Residential-oriented as it looks like it would be, then LD service could be much less of a priority.

In a perfect world, we get clock-facing indigo service to Riverside, with a shuttle to North Station via Kendall and the GJ, and LD service stops only at West Station and Back Bay, leaving every other station inside Riverside as Indigo-only, but I'm not sure how politically feasible that would be.


West is always going to be a very slow grower, because the land isn't even available for development until the Pike-straightening project is done. Then Harvard has to actually populate that clean sheet of land. Which if it's anything like the rest of their Allston campus development...projected vs. actual pace of build tends to be a wee bit over-optimistic. So it'll get there...I just wouldn't read too much into any master plan documents being circulated today about when the ridership-generating buildings are going to start popping up on BP. At minimum it's going to have to be graded on a curve...tack on +5 years to Harvard's current projections.

The key for selling this station when it's built is to temper the initial expectations. i.e. "Y'all don't freak out that the first-year ridership sucks and start screaming 'BOONDOGGLE!', because this is just the first piece of a 10-year plan." Sort of like how it's way way too early to make any verdict on Wickford Jct.'s microscopic ridership because the station pre-dates the service levels and the TOD hitting their stride by so many years. They have to really articulate the patience messaging clearly to avoid those knee-jerk reactions. It's a good, solid investment...but it is entirely a future investment because of the lag time between the transit infrastructure being set up and the buildings + people popping up.


Whereas I think New Balance is going to be a much quicker grower with how far along the developments around Market St. are. NB headquarters and that massive WGBH headquarters don't even have to wait for Indigo; there's enough suburban commuters to those large employers to float a modest Worcester/Framingham schedule of stops there right from the get-go. And those two anchor HQ's are hardly the last tall corporate structures that are going to get erected in walking distance of that stop before decade's end.
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Re: West Station discussion

Postby Charliemta » Thu Jun 04, 2015 6:40 pm

dbperry wrote:File name says May 2015 update, but cover page says February 26, 2015. Either way, I've never seen it before, and I don't think it has been shared on this thread previously.

https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B0Mv_n6 ... JsdUk/edit

Lots of pretty pictures, interesting track and road diagrams, and alternative designs for us to debate...

I found it here, which somehow showed up in my Twitter feed:

https://www.facebook.com/events/1087469997934072/

Dave


Looks like on the "Track Layout Under Viaduct" page of the report (on your first link), there are two tracks planned for the Grand Junction crossing of the Charles River. That's a great development.
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Re: West Station discussion

Postby dbperry » Thu Jun 04, 2015 7:16 pm

Bramdeisroberts wrote:In a perfect world, we get clock-facing indigo service to Riverside, with a shuttle to North Station via Kendall and the GJ, and LD service stops only at West Station and Back Bay, leaving every other station inside Riverside as Indigo-only, but I'm not sure how politically feasible that would be.


+1; love it.

Charliemta wrote:Looks like on the "Track Layout Under Viaduct" page of the report (on your first link), there are two tracks planned for the Grand Junction crossing of the Charles River. That's a great development.


I noticed that also. Does current bridge have capacity for two tracks? Was ROW along GJ ever double track? Can that work?

BandA wrote:This is really a long overdue replacement for the "A" Watertown trolley, missing these 47 years.


Interesting perspective - hadn't thought of that. DMU service along this corridor does fill that "A" gap pretty nicely.
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Re: West Station discussion

Postby Cosmo » Thu Jun 04, 2015 7:34 pm

dbperry"
[quote="Charliemta wrote:
Looks like on the "Track Layout Under Viaduct" page of the report (on your first link), there are two tracks planned for the Grand Junction crossing of the Charles River. That's a great development.


I noticed that also. Does current bridge have capacity for two tracks? Was ROW along GJ ever double track? Can that work? [/quote]
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Re: West Station discussion

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Thu Jun 04, 2015 7:41 pm

dbperry wrote:
Charliemta wrote:Looks like on the "Track Layout Under Viaduct" page of the report (on your first link), there are two tracks planned for the Grand Junction crossing of the Charles River. That's a great development.


I noticed that also. Does current bridge have capacity for two tracks? Was ROW along GJ ever double track? Can that work?


Yes, it was...the entire distance until the 1940's. Both the Storrow overpass and the Charles Bridge are double-track width, and all of MIT's back-alley easements are revokable if 2nd track is needed. Including under the air rights building at Main St. Not that there's ever going to be a need for that unless it gets traded in off the RR and becomes an Urban Ring light rail line at any point in the very distant future.
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Re: West Station discussion

Postby dbperry » Mon Aug 10, 2015 7:06 pm

Documents from the June public meeting available here:

http://www.massdot.state.ma.us/highway/ ... ments.aspx

Direct link to the presentation:

http://www.massdot.state.ma.us/Portals/ ... 061715.pdf

The concept has been chosen; 3 variations on that concept are shown in the presentation as potential alternatives.
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Re: West Station discussion

Postby boblothrope » Wed Aug 12, 2015 12:10 pm

dbperry wrote:Documents from the June public meeting available here:
http://www.massdot.state.ma.us/Portals/ ... 061715.pdf


My reaction: ugh.

No road access from the south, not even for transit buses. Pedestrians could end up with endless zigzag ramps to get up to the station.

For the Pike interchange, they're replacing free-flowing flyovers with service roads. That means really long red lights at each of the many intersections. To make up for the lost capacity, they threw more lanes at the problem. So pedestrians will have to walk across a total of 8 surface lanes at the service roads, plus an overpass over the 6 mainline Pike lanes, plus the 4 station tracks and 7 yard tracks.

How long will that trek through no-man's land take? Wasn't the point of this project to reconnect the halves of Allston to each other and to the station?

They want intercity and Logan Express buses to stop there. Who exactly would use such a connection, with few walkable destinations, little local transit, and no parking? If there was a big demand for intercity buses to stop at a commuter rail transfer station, why aren't buses doing it at West Newton today? Do they know how many people make such a connection at Anderson?

How much will this 3-level monstrosity cost? There isn't a single dollar-sign in the whole presentation.
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Re: West Station discussion

Postby Rockingham Racer » Wed Aug 12, 2015 1:01 pm

Yes the Logan Express connection seems redundant, since you can get the Silver Line to the airport at South Station, IIRC.
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