Red-Blue Connector

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Re: Red-Blue Connector

Postby Choo Choo Coleman » Fri Nov 04, 2016 6:10 pm

An interesting blog post that talks about the Red/Blue Connector and how MassDOT deliberately inflates project estimates to avoid having to build not only this extension but anything else (see N/S Rail Link, etc)

http://amateurplanner.blogspot.com/2016 ... ion_7.html
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Re: Red-Blue Connector

Postby StefanW » Mon Oct 02, 2017 6:05 pm

This recent article raises a very interesting idea... turn the Suffolk Downs area into a "campus" for companies (Amazon in particular) and leverage that to expand the Blue Line in both directions.

https://commonwealthmagazine.org/economy/attract-amazon-fix-t/

Personally I doubt that Amazon would want to be outside of the Boston core by that much, but stranger things have happened.
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Re: Red-Blue Connector

Postby rethcir » Mon Oct 02, 2017 8:16 pm

Jim Aloisi can’t let a good megaproject rumor go by without writing a few hundred words about it.

The North Shore may make the most sense for Amazon, the housing market there could use a boost. But this would be a nightmare commute for anyone living in one of the currently desirable metro west suburbs. Barring red line extension or Worcester line electrification.
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Re: Red-Blue Connector

Postby Charliemta » Mon Oct 02, 2017 10:57 pm

How about providing a direct DMU line from the west suburbs via the Grand Junction and up the rail line to the Suffolk Downs/Amazon area? Maybe run a spur right into that area? That would provide the service for the west suburb commuters.
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Re: Red-Blue Connector

Postby Backshophoss » Mon Oct 02, 2017 11:15 pm

The painful memories of the cost over runs on the "Big Dig",and the debt service saddled on MBTA,makes MassDOT think TWICE about
tunnel building from the get-go. There might be a Coast Guard requirement that tunneling be BELOW a certain depth to clear an occasional
low rudder or Keel dragging in the sludge on the bottom.
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Re: Red-Blue Connector

Postby deathtopumpkins » Tue Oct 03, 2017 7:44 am

Backshophoss wrote:The painful memories of the cost over runs on the "Big Dig",and the debt service saddled on MBTA,makes MassDOT think TWICE about
tunnel building from the get-go. There might be a Coast Guard requirement that tunneling be BELOW a certain depth to clear an occasional
low rudder or Keel dragging in the sludge on the bottom.


The Red-Blue Connector wouldn't be tunneling under any water...
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Re: Red-Blue Connector

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Tue Oct 03, 2017 7:55 am

Charliemta wrote:How about providing a direct DMU line from the west suburbs via the Grand Junction and up the rail line to the Suffolk Downs/Amazon area? Maybe run a spur right into that area? That would provide the service for the west suburb commuters.


Two big caveats with that:

-- The Wonderland CR stop that was proposed on the Eastern Route in a number of cursory studies projected out to extremely poor ridership every way they looked at it. Too far a walk across a windswept parking lot to make for a halfway-useful Blue Line and bus transfer, and frequencies on the Eastern Route are not quite good enough--even at peak when the line has near system-best frequencies--to make up for the access deficiencies of the rail line being located on the wrong side of the neighborhood for tying anything together. Believe me...they've tried every way of looking at it. It's one of those zombie proposals that keeps coming up because it looks superficially good. But multiple dives into the ridership numbers have thrown cold water repeatedly on the prospect.



-- They never bothered to study whether the grade crossings on the Grand Junction can handle Indigo Line service levels when the Patrick Administration announced that great big Indigo spider map as a naked ploy to lure the 2024 Olympics to Boston. Based on the traffic counts at (#1 most problematic) Broadway and (#2 most problematic) Mass Ave. from the Worcester-North Station peak-only commuter rail study...the cure is probably going to be worse than the disease at 15-minute bi-directional Indigo headways. The 1 and CT1 buses alone carry more daily riders than pretty much the entirety of the Indigo map, so it gets ugly quick if all manner of Mass Ave. traffic gets backed up to the bridge and Central Square because the gates are down all the freaking time.

Honestly, the Worcester study itself--5 peak-direction trips in the AM, 5 peak-direction trips in the PM--looked like a whole lot of surplus-to-requirement, because the only reason those peak-only trips drew patronage is because Orange and Red are so screwed up under peak load. Travel times all non-peak hours of the day were better transferring direct to Orange at BBY to get to North Station, and direct to Red at SS to get to Kendall...rather than taking the one-seat on an upgraded Grand Junction to North Station and a Kendall infill stop. The route is that slow under ideal conditions because of the curves, crossings, and likely station stop in the middle at Kendall. So the study concluded that it was unwise to dilute midday Worcester frequencies by forking the route at Allston, and was just better to stiffen all-day frequencies to BBY & SS and work the transfers (which will get better off-peak to NS because Steve Wynn is paying for more after-hours Orange frequencies as part of the public-private deal for his Everett casino). The moral of that story/study is: FIX ORANGE AND RED AND EVERYTHING WORKS. If the subway can merely have its resiliency improved to run on-time under peak load, there's no need whatsoever to run commuter trains on the Grand Junction because 2-seat > 1-seat on raw travel time and transfer options.

And guess what: Red/Orange aren't going to be fixed long-term unless you tackle the crowd-control problems at DTX and Park from people trying to make the double-transfer to get between Red and Blue. So, really, this shiny bauble a lot of pols/planners see in the Grand Junction ends up being a reaction to the crapitude that is Orange/Red suffering under load + the dire need to increase general Worcester Line frequencies + the absence of any movement on Red-Blue slowly choking the Big Four downtown transfer stations to death with excessive dwells. If they eat their peas taking care of state-of-repair, crowd control at the downtown transfers, and upping frequencies on the whole layer cake of B&A schedules (expresses, locals, and new Indigo-Riverside service)...most of the Grand Junction's mission statement disappears as a result. Build Red-Blue and the transfers loosen up enough to pretty much absorb all future demand from re-gunking up Red/Orange and putting the prospect of Grand Junction directs back on the table.

That's not to say there's zero passenger use for that line. Get enough B&A growth above-and-beyond today after they've done their work stiffening all-day frequencies to SS and the peak-directs study might become more attractive for the general portfolio of rush-hour transit options. And certainly if the Inland Route happens it's very easy to string up a daily New York-Portland train that reverses at North Station and serves a niche of thru traffic by splicing together primary route demand overchurning @ Boston for the Inland and Downeaster halves of route. With the costs of rehab pretty low, it doesn't take much to make it generally useful. But it's not a perma-solve for the subway imploding; we already have in hard numbers that on-time subway frequencies + increased CR frequencies are superior on travel time and demand. And it's quite likely that Gov. Patrick jumped the gun way, way far at the prospect of Indigo trains on the GJ when the grade crossing traffic backups look ugly enough at those proposed frequencies to actually deprive more riders of transit by backing up the buses.
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Re: Red-Blue Connector

Postby Bramdeisroberts » Tue Oct 03, 2017 12:16 pm

I've thought for a while now that if I was the T and had unlimited money, that it would make sense to extend the Blue Line west via Charles MGH, building the station under Charles Street between Bowdoin and the Red Line station, with the Blue Line then hooking south and continuing to Kenmore, paralleling the Central subway on an ROW running either underneath Storrow or under Commonwealth Ave via Storrow and Beacon. At Kenmore, build a new Blue Line station under and slightly east of the existing Green Line one and have the Blue Line continue out along the D Branch trackage, either directly or via a dog-leg to Brookline Village via Brookline Ave and the Longwood Medical Area. Finally, build the spur to Needham Center via all the new development on the West Newton/Needham border.

There, now you've unloaded the Pike of a bunch of inside-128 traffic and completely unloaded the Central Subway of all cross-city traffic (as Govt CTR<->Kenmore on the Blue would have at most 2-3 intermediate stops), while connecting three of the most dense areas of job activity with the western suburbs, the airport AND the entire Red Line via a single transfer, not to mention whatever ends up being built at Suffolk Downs and any extensions to Lynn/Salem.
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Re: Red-Blue Connector

Postby jonnhrr » Wed Oct 04, 2017 1:48 pm

Seems to me replacing the D beyond Kenmore with heavy rail would be a non-starter. Unless it was done Cleveland-style running both Green and Blue over the same tracks with high + low platforms at the common stations (assume Blue would run express and skip some stations). Probably NIMBY opposition with building high level platform stations especially with the MBTA edifice complex propensity.

I would say just get the red-blue done as that is the piece we really need and make provision for a future expansion down Storrow Drive in a future Phase 2 if and when the state hits the jackpot.

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Re: Red-Blue Connector

Postby BandA » Wed Oct 04, 2017 3:39 pm

Lots of interesting stuff. I don't see use of the Grand Junction for CR as having any relation with Red-Blue connector, unless you build that blue line extension west suggested by Bramdeisroberts(call it RBWx!)

Do the current MBTA plans for the Blue Line "Charles/MGH under" allow for extension west under Storrow Drive?
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Re: Red-Blue Connector

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Wed Oct 04, 2017 5:05 pm

The only reason "Riverbank Subway Redux" would ever happen is if Greater Boston reached a self-consensus that Storrow Drive needs to be torn down between Kenmore and Copley on grounds that it's an induced demand trap and that severing the city from the Esplanade was a great mistake that needs rectifying.

Then and only then would this Blue extension be considered, because the terms of engagement for tearing down the parkway would likely have a required transit mitigation trade-in as part of the sell job. In that case:

-- Embankment Rd. between Beacon St. and MA 28/I-93 stays (but probably lane-dropped from 6 to 4 lanes), as that's a car artery that has natural (not induced) demand not replicated by the Mass Pike.

-- Soldiers Field Rd. stays between the Pike and the Kenmore exit because there's no direct Pike exit to Kenmore/BU/Comm Ave.

-- The eastbound carriageway of Storrow between Kenmore and Embankment along the Back St. retaining wall is given over to the Blue Charles-Kenmore extension ROW because Kenmore-Copley is the fully induced-demand portion of the parkway that the under-capacity Pike can easily absorb. The deep-cut EB ramps under Mass Ave. and the auto tunnel by the Copley exit also become Blue property.

-- Waive Pike intra-city Pike tolls (i.e. the westbound-only Allston exit goes free) as compensation so you can get between the current Allston tolls and I-93 without getting dinged in Allston. This is only fair, since you're consolidating what was a free parkway. Obviously all tolls starting Allston to points west remain stet.

-- The westbound carriageway of Storrow is retained as a speed-restricted 2-lane park access road with frequent at-grade crosswalks from each side street. Call it "Storrow Lane" or whatever, since you do need at least some sort of official vehicle access around the water. Have DCR wield the hammer at traffic restrictions so nobody ever thinks to use it as a shortcut, and close it off on weekends.



Now...with that settled, here's how you'd build Blue.

1. Red-Blue's study design has tail tracks spreading wide around the wedge-shaped Charles platform to avoid the pilings from the Red Line viaduct above. 2 ways to extend: (1) take the tail track that stubs out in front of the Charles Circle CVS (i.e. "inbound" to GC) and extend cut-and-cover under the Embankment Rd. offramp, then take the tail track way over on the other side that stubs out in front of the hotel in the ex- Charles St. jail and take a wider loop underneath Charles Circle to meet up. Or...(2) extend the CVS-side tail track as a 2-track tunnel under the offramp and convert Charles Under into 2 side platforms instead of a center wedge, relegating the opposite-side tail track to just MOW storage. You would choose (2) despite its extra disruptiveness at the station if the distended loop the hotel-side tail track makes in Option (1) creates some sort of schedule imbalance...but you'd hope that (1) works well enough because it's a lot cleaner and less intrusive to not have to modify Charles Under station at all. I doubt for only reaching Kenmore that the extra time chewed up by an outbound train making the wider sweep under Charles is consequential enough a schedule imbalancer to worry about, so (1) is probably A-OK.

2. Cut-and-cover shallow under Embankment Rd. eastbound to the auto tunnel portal. You're busting down Embankment to 4 lanes anyway because it now terminates at Beacon St. with significantly lower volumes, so space comes available for the tunnel by compacting the roadway layout.

3. Recycle the auto tunnel as a subway tunnel. This requires undercutting the concrete tunnel floor to increase vertical clearances for Blue Line cars, but since the several feet thick roadway base is not needed for tracks laying on top of a rock ballast base you can easily jackhammer up the floor to net a proper-clearances trackbed. Re-waterproof the tunnel. Plunk an intermediate station--"Esplanade"--where the tunnel goes wide for the Copley exit and repurpose most of the exit ramp incline as the concourse to the surface. This will be a heavy-use station being right by the Public Gardens and State Capitol, and being nearly 1700 ft. from the Arlington entrance on the other side of the Gardens.

4. From the west portal of the tunnel, take the current stone Back St. retaining wall and re-pour it as a concrete tunnel wall that then pokes a couple additional feet over the roof as a squat retaining wall. Dig down the Storrow EB roadpack at shallow depth such that you can frame the subway tunnel in a simple box against that Back St. retaining wall. The tunnel box would basically be two-thirds below the level of the current Storrow pavement, and one-third above the Storrow EB pavement but still a few feet below Back St. Top it off with gently sloping dirt and grass, sidewalks, and the side-street pedestrian and (limited) car access points from the Back Bay street grid to "Storrow Lane" on the WB carriageway. You would choose this kind of not-completely-subsurface box tunnel design (which is MUCH cheaper than cut-and-cover) because it creates a de facto seawall against Charles Basin flooding. The top of the subway tunnel poking slightly above current elevation of the Storrow pavement keeps the subway tunnel dry and free from the cost of having to install pricey active pumping, while the rebuild/reappropriation of the Back St. retaining wall and several-foot overtop of the subway roof provides much better flood protection for the whole of the Back Bay than the current porous stone retaining wall. This is an important 'get', and combining the wall + tunnel structures into one passive barrier brings bigtime economy-of-scale to the project. Think about how much doing that helps immediately rein in the rate-of-rise in flood insurance premiums for Back Bay brownstone owners, and it's easy to see where this project ends up paying back its up-front investment back into the economy way faster than most public works megaprojects of similar scope.

5. Use the EB deep cut underneath the Mass Ave. bridge to descend the tunnel to deeper depth for passing underneath the Muddy River, and use the wide area by those parallel ramps to put the next intermediate station: "Beacon/Mass Ave." (or whatever you want to geographically call it). Entrance is a not-too-far 1450 ft. from Hynes, but hits the #1/CT1 and is a much closer walk to the subway from MIT main campus than Central or Kendall despite the walk across the bridge. Just cap it off and pour dirt on top. It's 200 ft. in from the riverbank, so the dirt backfill underneath the Mass Ave. bridge on the former EB side is enough flood protection.

6. Start curving the tunnel so you're on a trajectory to trace a diagonal line from corner of Back St./Charlesgate E. to corner of Beacon St./Charlesgate W. Tunnel under the Muddy River by shivving a subterranean roof shield under the riverbed to prevent surface disruption. This starts the more expensive length of tunneling than the really shallow, semi-surface run + tunnel/cut recycling that got you from Embankment Rd. to Mass Ave.

7. Cut-and-cover deep under Beacon St., reaching depth 1 level below GL-Kenmore by Raleigh St. Settle any building mitigations on this block (Beacon is wide enough here that this really shouldn't be a big issue, but obviously any Old Boston structures are delicate for adjacent cut-and-cover work).

8. Put Kenmore Under following Beacon St. such that it's slicing diagonally under the Green level + Green loop at a tolerably narrow angle to limit the amount of required structural underpinning. One of the huge lessons from the failed Silver Line Phase III BRT tunnel build was how much structural underpinning was required at Chinatown: double-deck BRT platforms underneath a 110-year-old Orange station underneath an extremely narrow street intersection...and that design proved absolutely lethal to the project cost and engineering feasibility. You must minimize the footprint of those structural underpinnings to a tolerable minimum to have a realistic chance at handling these priciest parts of the project. Thankfully, if you keep to a simple 2-track island with generous-throughput egresses to the upper level (for a Sox game surge crowd) you've got a risk-minimizing trajectory for Kenmore Under that doesn't chew up too much $$$ having to underpin too broad a swath of the 1932 station upstairs. Put a side pump room down here to actively pump out both levels of the station in an emergency. The Blue extension doesn't incur much risk of the 'storm drain' effect because of the way you built it along the Charles Basin as de facto strengthened seawall, but the Green-D portal is still as big a risk as ever from the Muddy River and now incurs a much-elevated risk of any intrusion down the portal to Kenmore draining straight into new Kenmore Under first. If the sandbags or other fortified portal-blocking measures fail, you will need rigorous pumps at the station for the second line of defense now that you've added the a second level to the 'drain'.

9. Tail tracks stubbing out just beyond the footprint of Kenmore Upper upstairs. Would be easiest to keep it going straight under Beacon, stubbing out before the depth of the C/D tunnel makes for another underpinning job. Not a big deal any which way.



STOP here. Swallowing the D would be a waste of capacity because Brookline and Newton just don't chuck in enough ridership for 6-car HRT vehicles vs. 2-3 car LRV's. Going further would mean mounting a major Blue-specific flood protection project at the Fenway portal. And you will not be able to branch at Newton Highlands to convert the outer half of the Needham Line to rapid transit after escalating SW Corridor congestion forces a non-optional mode switch; those grade crossings on the Needham Branch won't work with HRT like they will just fine with LRT, and branching that far out of town will make headway management on Blue at-large too much more difficult. If you ever do figure out a westward trajectory in the next 100 years, the tail tracks are angled so you can shoot down to the D portal or turn off Beacon underneath the Pike to angle for some other trajectory into Allston. All bases covered, even though you have no idea today where or IF that will be.

You do amazing things simply providing Kenmore with HRT load relief and a fast 3-station shot from the Orange-Green-Red transfer stations downtown, because it frees up so much extra Green Line Central Subway capacity for tying together additional service patterns on the west end. For example, doing up the Urban Ring as real light rail pinging Lechmere-Kenmore on the Grand Junction with a short Comm Ave. subway extension to BU Bridge tying it in, and doing up the Allston-Harvard UR spur as another proper Green branch off that BU Bridge subway junction between the B and Ring mainline. Basically, Blue-Kenmore gives you the bandwidth to completely reimagine Green around various Ring-utilizing 'circuit' patterns and wider variety of branch frequencies by freeing up so much load on the Arlington-Kenmore trunk of the Central Subway. Those options, especially the UR-related ones, may collectively move more total riders than the Blue extension...but it was the Blue extension that served up the load-shifting that enables that whole universe of flexible new Green routing options.

-------------------------

Of course, ^^^^ALL^^^^ of this is contingent on Boston agreeing to a Storrow teardown, with transit trade-in as a mandatory condition of that parkway teardown. Under no other circumstance will you ever have the convergence of factors that pushes Blue past Charles near the top of the transit megaproject priority pile alongside completion of the Silver Line Phase III tunnel linking the Transitway with downtown/Back Bay (hopefully as light rail and not BRT this time), North-South Rail Link, the Grand Junction and/or Airport legs of the Urban Ring (again...hopefully as light rail), or certain long-coveted linear extensions of the HRT lines into the inner suburbs. The ROW acquisition isn't anywhere close to cost effective unless you can claim the Storrow EB carriageway and auto tunnel, do that shotgun marriage with beefed-up Charles Basin flood protection, and have the unique set of political deal-making that mandates "If we're taking away the road, it must be replaced by something that can move equivalent masses of people or we can't make Legislative sausage out of this." It's a very narrow and specific set of conditions that put this transit build on the table at all vs. never in any form...but if those narrow conditions re: Storrow trade-in are put in motion Blue-Kenmore will debut near the top of the priority pile out of political expediency.

It's not hard to imagine these conditions being met someday. It's just not going to be soon. We are not anywhere near ready as a region for making the Storrow Decision by the 2020's. We're still in the late stages of debate & acceptance about downsizing down less-impactful and clearer-cut induced demand roadways like the Forest Hills Casey Overpass (believe it or not, the opposition to tearing down that now torn-down bridge hasn't totally moved on), Bowker Overpass, McGrath Highway, or putting Morrissey Blvd. on an overdue lane diet...though all of those are tipping strongly towards downsize. Storrow's a much bigger debate than all of those put together. We might very well reach the comfort level someday of agreeing that it's expendable between Kenmore and Copley...but I doubt that reaches universal-enough consensus to act on before 2030. So whither Storrow and whither Blue as a trade-in is a fully legitimate debate...but not one that's going to be had by anyone in power seriously and out-in-the-open for at least another 15-20 years. And thus Blue past Charles is totally out-of-sight/out-of-mind as a possibility until then because the ROW and political opportunity don't exist until Storrow teardown hits critical mass.

In the meantime...lots and lots of work to get done just dragging Blue down the street from Bowdoin to Charles with the obvious Red-Blue build that should've been done 10 years ago and MUST be done to save Red and the Big Four transfer stations from choking on their own overload in years we can count on two hands.
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Re: Red-Blue Connector

Postby Bramdeisroberts » Wed Oct 04, 2017 8:15 pm

That's an awesome breakdown for how a line that I very much think ought to be built WOULD be built.

Though if you're not swallowing the D, then I'd build it down Brookline Ave to Longwood, with a simple stub station at Brookline Ave and Longwood Ave.

Now, you've got a direct connection between Longwood and MGH, that also connects to the airport as well. As for tunneling, over the past decade or so the cost of bored tunneling has dropped significantly, to an extent that it might make sense to consider boring from Cambridge street to just a little bit past Yawkey Way, going cut-and-cover for the last 1.5 miles or so.
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Re: Red-Blue Connector

Postby MBTA3247 » Wed Oct 04, 2017 10:03 pm

Bramdeisroberts wrote:Though if you're not swallowing the D, then I'd build it down Brookline Ave to Longwood, with a simple stub station at Brookline Ave and Longwood Ave.

I would offer an alternative routing beyond Kenmore: extend the subway part or all of the way under the former A line, to further relieve pressure on the B and 57 bus.
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Re: Red-Blue Connector

Postby BandA » Thu Oct 05, 2017 12:07 am

Storrow Drive isn't going to be removed until we have flying cars like the Jetsons or if the Mass Pike gets rebuilt with higher capacity. Maybe Storrow Drive will get double-stacked underground with deep transit below just like the N-S raillink.
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Re: Red-Blue Connector

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Thu Oct 05, 2017 7:14 am

MBTA3247 wrote:
Bramdeisroberts wrote:Though if you're not swallowing the D, then I'd build it down Brookline Ave to Longwood, with a simple stub station at Brookline Ave and Longwood Ave.

I would offer an alternative routing beyond Kenmore: extend the subway part or all of the way under the former A line, to further relieve pressure on the B and 57 bus.


...in that case the diagonal angling underneath the GL level would have you shooting down Beacon or Brookline Ave. for a block then banging under the Pike/B&A to get to BU Bridge then Allston. The only straight-up subway extension through Blandford-BUE-BUC is through the B trolley portal, but you can do pretty much whatever you want with either mode once they cross each other at BU Bridge. If, say, you extended the B subway under the reservation to hook in Urban Ring LRT off the Grand Junction ans and spit out a new B surface portal at St. Paul St., you would have another one of those engineering-attractive narrow diagonal angles to underpin "BU Bridge" superstation and fling lower-level Blue out to West Station and any points beyond in Allston. So just keep in mind how that golden engineering rule of structural underpinnings works when you're stacking tunnels: the narrower the angle the better.

I don't expect anything whatsoever Blue to happen west of Kenmore in another 50 years, but the map is covered for century-level provisions.

BandA wrote:Storrow Drive isn't going to be removed until we have flying cars like the Jetsons or if the Mass Pike gets rebuilt with higher capacity. Maybe Storrow Drive will get double-stacked underground with deep transit below just like the N-S raillink.


No...it's long been a debate with community activists and planners. The midsection really is an induced demand trap and the Pike (when not under construction like it is now) is perennially under-capacity between Allston and Copley. It's just not a widespread debate yet with the populous. And probably won't be until people see what road diets end up positively accomplishing to other notorious MDC-era warcrimes like the Bowker ramps, McGrath Hwy., and Morrissey Blvd. in improving their surroundings. But it's a big leap to apply the same to Storrow, which has traffic levels higher than any of those others. This is why it's probably going to take another 20 years before that becomes a debate widespread enough to make the daily papers and build up enough momentum for an actionable study.

However, we probably will be having that debate because the movement to tear down surplus-to-requirement urban highways is reaching critical mass and this--while not an urban interstate--is a pretty bad one that routinely makes those national "Tear This Road Down!" lists of candidate projects. But because it'll take another 20 years before we're ready to have a substantive debate about whither teardown, it's beyond prediction today whether there's going to be a consensus on tearing it down. Every region is different. I think the debate will be real, vigorous, and close when it gets going...but no one can predict how it's going to tip or whether it's going to congeal into a consensus after being hashed out.

Since, as described, the BLX-Kenmore ROW does not physically exist without downsizing Storrow...there's nothing to talk about now or for the next 2 decades until the region is ready to settle that Storrow debate. So while Blue's not a "foamy" project because that debate's likely to happen, it is an entirely hypothetical project today that shouldn't be on anyone's 20-year vision plan because it'll take that long to get the prerequisite debate over Storrow going. And then that debate has to reach a conclusion, and we don't know what that'll be. Just keep that in mind. There's a specific set of prerequisite conditions that give this BLX proposal a footprint to exist at all, and a unique set of urgency pushing BLX as a transit trade-in IF AND ONLY IF those conditions are met and the ROW footprint is created. But if they're not met, and the final choice is to not tear down Storrow...that's it: there's no BLX footprint, no plausible alternative routing for it, and it never existed as a viable project. What we're describing here in this thread is just the mechanics of how it would be built if those Storrow prerequisites were met, and the transit trade-in got front-burnered. It's beyond anyone's scope to predict whether those prerequisites are actually going to be met after the region slugs out its Storrow debate...and RR.net unfortunately isn't for prognosticating about driving habits in the 2030's. So we have to constrain this topic around tight "if ____, then _____" boundaries because without that self-control this can sail straight to fantasyland in a hurry.
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