Salem & Beverly Parking Garages Underutilized

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Salem & Beverly Parking Garages Underutilized

Postby NH2060 » Fri Sep 18, 2015 1:38 pm

From The Daily News Of Newburyport:
A year after their openings, the garages are a little more than half full on a daily basis. Salem’s 700-space facility has averaged 413 vehicles per day, while Beverly’s 500-space garage has averaged 260, according to data from the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority.

http://www.newburyportnews.com/news/reg ... cc1e5.html
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Re: Salem & Beverly Parking Garages Underutilized

Postby Bramdeisroberts » Fri Sep 18, 2015 2:26 pm

I could have guessed that, they're both garages in the middle of congested urban and semi-urban areas with awful road access to anywhere outside of both town's core business districts. Add the ridiculous parking garage costs to the hassle of getting into and through downtown Salem or Beverly during morning rush hour, and it's no wonder they're struggling to attract ridership.

Giant park-and-rides belong next to highways and major suburban thoroughfares, NOT in the middle of busy downtowns. It's urban planning 101, but don't tell the T that...
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Re: Salem & Beverly Parking Garages Underutilized

Postby merrick1 » Sat Sep 19, 2015 6:18 pm

How full should a garage be? When I'm going to take the train I want to be sure that there will be plenty of parking available. I once nearly missed the train at 128 because I had to hunt for a space.
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Re: Salem & Beverly Parking Garages Underutilized

Postby Disney Guy » Sat Sep 19, 2015 7:36 pm

My numbers.

Eighty five percent full and the garage/lot is not underutilized.

Ninety seven percent full excluding spaces too small to get in or out of and the garage is at capacity although the sign out front might not have the "full" light on.
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Re: Salem & Beverly Parking Garages Underutilized

Postby deathtopumpkins » Mon Sep 21, 2015 7:12 am

I still don't quite think they were a waste though. That's still way more vehicles parking than either station had before, which likely means an increase in ridership, and it's nice to have the capacity there for the future.

Plus, while yes, park and ride stations usually belong in a more suburban area along a highway, Salem and Beverly are still surrounded by other towns that don't have rail service (e.g. Marblehead, Danvers, Peabody, Essex), which likely generates some of that park and ride usage.
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Re: Salem & Beverly Parking Garages Underutilized

Postby rmccown » Mon Sep 21, 2015 8:43 am

Disney Guy wrote:My numbers.

Eighty five percent full and the garage/lot is not underutilized.

Ninety seven percent full excluding spaces too small to get in or out of and the garage is at capacity although the sign out front might not have the "full" light on.


Yet the Litleton lot constantly has people parking on the grass, medians, and at the end of each row. THATS over capacity.
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Re: Salem & Beverly Parking Garages Underutilized

Postby Scalziand » Mon Sep 21, 2015 9:09 am

Yup, 85% is the capacity factor that planners aim for for parking facilities.
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Re: Salem & Beverly Parking Garages Underutilized

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Mon Sep 21, 2015 9:46 am

deathtopumpkins wrote:I still don't quite think they were a waste though. That's still way more vehicles parking than either station had before, which likely means an increase in ridership, and it's nice to have the capacity there for the future.

Plus, while yes, park and ride stations usually belong in a more suburban area along a highway, Salem and Beverly are still surrounded by other towns that don't have rail service (e.g. Marblehead, Danvers, Peabody, Essex), which likely generates some of that park and ride usage.


They wouldn't need to slam the downtowns of Salem and Beverly with cars if those outer towns had anything resembling tolerable bus service. They don't. Infrequent, and with the Zone fares on the Eastern Route inside of Route 128 being the most off-scale to the high end of any line on the CR system it's not worth the cost for enough people to pay a bus fare so they can pay for an overpriced CR fare. This has needed action for decades, but their solution was to build gigantic overpriced parking sinks in downtown instead. And, well, who couldn't have predicted that it's a very inefficient and not at all cost effective way to serve demand.


This is, in a nutshell, the argument for real Indigo service on the Eastern Route. Recalibrate all the Zone fares to something a lot more equitable on the mainline, such that Zone 1A goes out to Lynn and Swampscott + Salem are absolutely no worse than a 2 and Beverly absolutely no worse than a 3. Run more frequent train service. Run more frequent connecting buses. Run more branchline service, especially on Newburyport, so the parking sink can be at the actual 128-crossing stop at North Bev. Might want to someday pick up the Peabody/128 proposal that got a top rec in their own North Shore Transit Improvements Study instead of burying it like a dirty secret, since North Shore Mall has the acreage to handle lots and lots of cars and provide real relief on Routes 114 and 62 before they clog the hell out of Salem and Bev downtowns.

Have they proposed any one of those measures, even the cheapest/least-invasive ones? Of course not. That 2024 Indigo fantasy map that looks increasingly unlikely to ever happen fizzes out at Lynn, which does bupkis for the car dependency on the North Shore and bupkis for increasing the transit catchment because everyone riding a bus into Lynn will just stay on that bus into Wonderland and take the cheaper and more frequent Blue Line transfer same as ever. And they're gerrymandering the proposal so they don't have to touch the artificially high/unfair Zone fares at Swampscott thru Beverly.

Captain Obvious can't point the problem and recommended courses of action any more clearly or starkly.
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Re: Salem & Beverly Parking Garages Underutilized

Postby deathtopumpkins » Mon Sep 21, 2015 10:42 am

Encouraging more bus-to-train passengers is not the answer though, unless the T fundamentally changes the fare structure. No one who owns a car (and let's face it, almost everybody up there outside of Salem proper does) is going to pay an extra bus fare and deal with the inconvenience of waiting for a bus that may or may not make it to the station in time when they could just drive. Now it would be a little more enticing if there were free transfers between commuter rail and other modes like bus. But there will always be people who refuse to ride the bus, or don't live close enough to a stop, etc.

I might agree that the garages are unnecessary if the proposed North Shore Mall branch gets built, but both downtowns could arguably use more public parking anyway, so they could easily be repurposed. And I don't see the mall branch ever happening anyway. It makes too much sense for the T.
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Re: Salem & Beverly Parking Garages Underutilized

Postby BandA » Mon Sep 21, 2015 4:03 pm

station miles zone fare
Auburndale, 10.2mi 2 $6.25 = .62/mile
Newtonville, 8.1mi 1 $5.75 = .71/mile
Worcester, 44.2mi 8 $10.5 = .24/mile

Swampscott,12.8mi 3 $7.00 = .55
Lynn, 11.5mi 2 $6.25 = .54
Salem, 16.8mi 3 $7.00 = .42
Beverly, 18.3mi 4 $7.50 = .41

Waltham, 9.9mi 2 $6.25 = .63
Fitchburg, 49.6mi 8 $10.50 = .21

Providence, 43.6mi 8 $10.50 = .24

Needham Hts, 13.7mi 3 $7.00 = .51

For comparison, Metro-North Commuter Rail New Haven to Grand Central:
Stamford, 33mi $14.50 = .44 / mile
New Haven, 72.3mi $21.75 = .30


Auburndale is right near Riverside green line (which is in Auburndale at Rte 128), fare is only $2.10 for a longer, slower route. Newtonville has buses on the 1/2 hour at rush hour for $3.65, and Waltham has express buses at $5.25 and slow local buses at $1.60. So, the "Eastern" lines are not out of line compared to some other commuter rail lines. But demand for commuter rail is suppressed by cheaper bus and "rapid" transit lines. If you lowered the CR fares you would probably overfill those garages in Salem and Beverly that we were talking about!
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Re: Salem & Beverly Parking Garages Underutilized

Postby The EGE » Mon Sep 21, 2015 4:38 pm

Zone 1 and 2 fares are far too high compared to rapid transit fares. Yes, the T would see some revenue loss from cheaper passes, but imagine what ridership would look like with $3 fares most places inside 128.
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Re: Salem & Beverly Parking Garages Underutilized

Postby Gerry6309 » Mon Sep 21, 2015 5:12 pm

The EGE wrote:Zone 1 and 2 fares are far too high compared to rapid transit fares. Yes, the T would see some revenue loss from cheaper passes, but imagine what ridership would look like with $3 fares most places inside 128.

The revenue from fares inside 128 comes nowhere near the cost of running the service. Rapid transit fares do much better, however the cost of extending rapid transit is enormous. Damned if we do and damned if we don't!
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Re: Salem & Beverly Parking Garages Underutilized

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Mon Sep 21, 2015 5:20 pm

BandA wrote:station miles zone fare
Auburndale, 10.2mi 2 $6.25 = .62/mile
Newtonville, 8.1mi 1 $5.75 = .71/mile
Worcester, 44.2mi 8 $10.5 = .24/mile

Swampscott,12.8mi 3 $7.00 = .55
Lynn, 11.5mi 2 $6.25 = .54
Salem, 16.8mi 3 $7.00 = .42
Beverly, 18.3mi 4 $7.50 = .41

Waltham, 9.9mi 2 $6.25 = .63
Fitchburg, 49.6mi 8 $10.50 = .21

Providence, 43.6mi 8 $10.50 = .24

Needham Hts, 13.7mi 3 $7.00 = .51

For comparison, Metro-North Commuter Rail New Haven to Grand Central:
Stamford, 33mi $14.50 = .44 / mile
New Haven, 72.3mi $21.75 = .30


Auburndale is right near Riverside green line (which is in Auburndale at Rte 128), fare is only $2.10 for a longer, slower route. Newtonville has buses on the 1/2 hour at rush hour for $3.65, and Waltham has express buses at $5.25 and slow local buses at $1.60. So, the "Eastern" lines are not out of line compared to some other commuter rail lines. But demand for commuter rail is suppressed by cheaper bus and "rapid" transit lines. If you lowered the CR fares you would probably overfill those garages in Salem and Beverly that we were talking about!


The people who board at those stops do not care what their per-mile cost is. They have no idea how many mileposts out their stop is. That's math without relevance to a rider in the real world.

Thw only thing that matters here is that Swampscott and Salem are the only Zone 3's that reside inside 128, Beverly is the only Zone 4 that resides inside 128, Lynn--a humongous bus terminal serving the entire North Shore route network--is crippled by a Zone 2 that discourages any transfers, and it's the only line on the system that skips completely over Zone 1 straight from 1A to 2.

That is FAR off-scale for the commuter rail network. The furthest off-scale of any line. That inequity keeps people on the North Shore from leaving their cars because it's simply not worth it to get gouged that way. The poor garage utilization and poor bus utilization on the North Shore is an artificial problem of their own creation because they won't address the Zone inequity.
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Re: Salem & Beverly Parking Garages Underutilized

Postby Gerry6309 » Mon Sep 21, 2015 10:28 pm

F-line to Dudley via Park wrote:
The people who board at those stops do not care what their per-mile cost is. They have no idea how many mileposts out their stop is. That's math without relevance to a rider in the real world.

Thw only thing that matters here is that Swampscott and Salem are the only Zone 3's that reside inside 128, Beverly is the only Zone 4 that resides inside 128, Lynn--a humongous bus terminal serving the entire North Shore route network--is crippled by a Zone 2 that discourages any transfers, and it's the only line on the system that skips completely over Zone 1 straight from 1A to 2.

That is FAR off-scale for the commuter rail network. The furthest off-scale of any line. That inequity keeps people on the North Shore from leaving their cars because it's simply not worth it to get gouged that way. The poor garage utilization and poor bus utilization on the North Shore is an artificial problem of their own creation because they won't address the Zone inequity.


Bus operators gouge even higher fares than the train from Newburyport to Boston, yet the lot on 95 fills, and the one at Newburyport Station doesn't. What gives here? Convenience must be worth more than the fare.
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Re: Salem & Beverly Parking Garages Underutilized

Postby Arborwayfan » Tue Sep 22, 2015 10:05 am

I think that 50% use a year after opening is good. Room for growth in the future. If it were maxed out, or close, right away, it would have been too small to begin with.

Maybe big park and rides don't belong in town, but that's better than the Old Colony alternative of skipping most of the downtowns and only having park and rides. And if someone suggested having both park and ride stations and downtown stations, we'd be off on a minute discussion of how many seconds each station stop would add to the trip.
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