River Works MBTA station - potential residential development

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River Works MBTA station - potential residential development

Postby johnpbarlow » Fri Mar 11, 2016 9:11 am

http://www.bostonglobe.com/business/2016/03/10/getrain/KYt0KvY1zo3dqbAfllO7oK/story.html

I was wondering what the current ridership at the Lynn River Works MBTA rail station was. I didn't know that GE employment at Lynn plummeted from 13,000 to 3,000 over the course of 30 years.
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Re: River Works MBTA station - potential residential develop

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Fri Mar 11, 2016 10:45 am

2014 Blue Book tracks it at 56 boardings per day, and it's stayed stable within that range for at least a couple editions of the Blue Book. Of course, the Blue Book isn't all that useful as a apples-to-apples comparison of commuter rail stops because Riverworks is still off-limits to the general public. Despite lots of past talk of changing that, negotiations with GE have never gotten over the hump re: public access around their plant security fences. There's good reason to believe that there is considerably larger demand to be served if things like a straight-shot public access driveway to Lynnway could be squared, since the buses parade by all day long in front of the Auto Mall. That's what this developer has been trying to do for months. It's not the first article that's been written on this with Patsios putting up a firm advocacy. It does, from his tone, sound like he's starting to get frustrated by the cold shoulder from the state.

Can't find one of the old articles, but Patsios outlined his vision of eventually putting his own money towards a brand new station--"Lynnport"--with full-length full-high platforms and kiss-and-ride access. Would be positioned ~100-200 ft. north of the current Riverworks shelter to stay clear of the turnout for the MOW yard and any future reanimated GE freight sidings. Opening the as-is, non-ADA station to the public was the necessary first step to the planning. And Patsios was indeed talking about paying for it himself...at least the platforms + up-and-over access ramps, with state limited to track work. Though it wasn't clear from the sound bite he gave in that article what he was thinking that entailed in terms of the all-crucial direct money split to get it done. So his frustration is understandable when he can't get so much as a human response to basic Step #1 at the existing platform. There's no way forward for anything if the state and GE don't want to talk about that.
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Re: River Works MBTA station - potential residential develop

Postby YamaOfParadise » Fri Mar 11, 2016 1:18 pm

Overall, though, it does sound like a pretty sane idea; a lot of times the developer folk can be a bit... overambitious without the kind of substance to back that ambition up. Seems like a good thing for Lynn, and a good TOD plan. Hopefully the fact that GE is moving HQ into the area will be advantageous towards them wanting to talk about making this work. This development and GE going to Eastie should be an opportunity to bring work into River Works, too.

Dunno what to think about the mention of the Blue Line, though, besides that they obviously should at least plan for its build in the future.
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Re: River Works MBTA station - potential residential develop

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Fri Mar 11, 2016 1:49 pm

YamaOfParadise wrote:Overall, though, it does sound like a pretty sane idea; a lot of times the developer folk can be a bit... overambitious without the kind of substance to back that ambition up. Seems like a good thing for Lynn, and a good TOD plan. Hopefully the fact that GE is moving HQ into the area will be advantageous towards them wanting to talk about making this work. This development and GE going to Eastie should be an opportunity to bring work into River Works, too.

Dunno what to think about the mention of the Blue Line, though, besides that they obviously should at least plan for its build in the future.


It is a huge number of housing units he's building right onsite, so on captive audience alone it's a big ridership shot in the arm to get public access at the existing stop given the generally good train frequencies. He can deliver enough of a ridership boost just with his own high-rises and access to the nearest Lynnway bus stop through his driveway to more than make it worth their while to open the existing stop and justify the ongoing conversation on what comes next. The rest depends a lot on how much development in West Lynn writ-large starts to develop. Tons of potential, tons of nice-looking proposals hugging the waterfront in the catchment area of this stop. Still a long ways to go on proving Lynn's chops at executing on its redev plans. They're coming from a more remedial place than a lot of other industrial cities in Eastern MA that bottomed out a decade earlier and are starting to get their redev planning legs under them through a few years of successful repetition.

They'd be stupid not to keep the dialogue going, however. It's not every day you get a developer come knocking saying "I want to build you a full-service train station with my own money" with absolute sincerity, and have it be believable. Prefab 800 ft. island platform, up-and-over access, and a kiss-and-ride at a cost-controlled $12M or so is probably money Patsios figures will pay him back handsomely over time with rising rents at all the residential and commercial units he's going to control in a transit-accessible neighborhood. They don't have to get ahead of themselves by any means--it's all in due time--but starting the ball rolling by squaring public access to the existing stop and letting it percolate a few years is no-brainiest of no-brainers when those hundreds of new residential units go out for lease in 2-3 years.


RE: the Blue Line...that's Seth Moulton's cause célébre (as is Lynn redev in general). Clearly it's not going to happen anytime soon, but Moulton sees toughening up the city's advocacy into the well-oiled machine that STEP in Somerville has been for GLX as the key for building up momentum. And he's probably right. Lynn coming from that more remedial place in terms of planning experience has meant that their prior BLX advocacy has been a little uneven and easy to divide/conquer by a reluctant state. Tightening up that ship for the long game of applying pressure over time is the only way it'll ever get done, and the local pols (who never stopped advocating for it) seem to be listening for advice on how to sustain that long game. Whatever happens happens, but learning the advocacy ropes in any form will do them a lot of good, even for things in no way related to BLX. So in that sense, BLX is just the high-profile bait and conversation-starter for getting people generally involved and well-embedded in advocating for Lynn. STEP, after all, isn't just about GLX; they led the charge on the Assembly Sq. Orange infill and are pushing hard for the teardown of the McGrath Highway eyesore (which they're likely going to succeed at). So a tougher transit advocacy in Lynn will lead to lots of good things, even if BLX doesn't ultimately end up one of them.
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Re: River Works MBTA station - potential residential develop

Postby BandA » Sun Mar 13, 2016 8:34 pm

As an existing, open station, I would assume ADA would be grandfathered until they upgrade the station. So as long as they don't improve the platforms or shelters, can't they just use it as-is? And the "T" would have no say whether someone boarding is a GE employee or a resident of the new development or someone walking in.
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Re: River Works MBTA station - potential residential develop

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Mon Feb 20, 2017 6:28 am

http://www.itemlive.com/news/gearing-up ... e-lynnway/

Deal coming soon from that residential developer to open up River Works to the public?

[Patsios] said his team recently reached a milestone deal with the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) to expand the use of the nearby MBTA River Works Station at the GE plant on Western Avenue. Today, the T only stops at the factory on the Newburyport/Rockport Line for GE employees. But under an agreement in the works with MassDOT, the station would be expanded for all commuters, including the new residents at the Patsios project.
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Re: River Works MBTA station - potential residential develop

Postby Arlington » Mon Feb 20, 2017 5:47 pm

If the future Blue from Wonderland to Lynn needs to run via Riverworks, is the necessary 4-track-plus-platform ROW width reserved (or being reserved) as part of this? I'd hate to see it as fatally pinched as the old ROW BRB&L gets in Point of Pines.
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Re: River Works MBTA station - potential residential develop

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Tue Feb 21, 2017 8:47 am

Arlington wrote:If the future Blue from Wonderland to Lynn needs to run via Riverworks, is the necessary 4-track-plus-platform ROW width reserved (or being reserved) as part of this? I'd hate to see it as fatally pinched as the old ROW BRB&L gets in Point of Pines.


Yes...absolutely. The Eastern is quadded here for sidings to GE on *both* sides of the ROW: to the plant and T MOW yard (north) and to the fuel tanks (south), with other long-ago ripped out yard tracks fattening out the T property lines further and spreading the two middle mainline tracks far apart. Patsios' eventual plan for an all-new "Lynnport" ADA stop shifts River Works 200+ ft. north outside the security fence and drops an island between the mainline tracks (shifted a few feet further apart). It isn't allowed to foul the siding switches because that MOW yard is very much active and future GE plant biz is a going concern. At most it may cannibalize the southerly fuel tank siding because GE's kept that unused years longer than the plant siding (not much tank capacity to begin with to make PAR much money or save GE much money with ship-by-rail). But the dirt-road access driveway is on his property and will host the station kiss-and-ride, sidewalk, and ramps for the up-and-over platform access. It will not shave any of the extra T-owned southerly property because there's no financial reason for him to acquire it; he already owns all the necessary egress space on his own parcel. Therefore the ROW's always going to remain over-wide in this spot with unused slack.

Any BLX alignment (Eastern Route from Revere or P-o'-P) would grab the southerly 2 tracks of the ROW upon touchdown in Lynn, with commuter rail keeping the northerly 2 tracks. Therefore, the most natural accommodation is going to be for BLX to outright swallow the Lynnport platforms (chopped back or fenced off to 6-car BL consist length from 800 ft. CR consist length) while 2 realigned CR tracks off a replacement bridge flank the north, preserve access to the GE plant siding, and bypass the station en route to the Central Sq. superstation. Not that you really need a superstation here to begin with at an intermediate; the Lynnport flip to Blue serves 95% of the local demand, with CR schedules only having major patronage at the big bus terminal (a la Malden Ctr. superstation).
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Re: River Works MBTA station - potential residential develop

Postby Arlington » Tue Feb 21, 2017 12:52 pm

^ Great, thanks! Come to think of it, I agree that they'll only need a BL at Riverworks/Lynnport and the superstation should be at Lynn Center
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