Lynn GE Property - Private Commuter Rail Stop?

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Lynn GE Property - Private Commuter Rail Stop?

Postby StefanW » Tue Nov 22, 2016 10:19 pm

http://www.bankerandtradesman.com/2016/11/next-chapter-life-lynn-ge-property-emerges/

bankerandtradesman.com Steve Adams wrote:A proposed 1,260-unit housing development at the 65-acre former General Electric Gear Works property in Lynn would include residents-only access to a commuter rail platform two stops from Boston's North Station.
Developer Lynnway Assoc. LLC is pitching a $512 million, 1.5-million-square-foot redevelopment including six residential buildings. Swampscott developer Charles Patsios acquired the property in 2014 for $7.6 million, three years after GE shut down the factory that had produced military vessel components since World War II.
The developers are negotiating with the MBTA to provide "controlled access" to the River Works stop on the MBTA commuter rail's Rockport line, according to a draft environmental impact report recently filed with state regulators.
MBTA spokesman Joe Pesaturo confirmed that the plan is on the table.
"The state is open to options and would work collaboratively should any development proposals move forward which may lead to the 'flag stop' being considered for improvements," Pesaturo said in an email.
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Re: Lynn GE Property - Private Commuter Rail Stop?

Postby StefanW » Tue Nov 22, 2016 10:39 pm

The article also says:

bankerandtradesman.com Steve Adams wrote:...regular commuter rail service at River Works, which is an 8-minute ride to Boston...


That's a bit fanciful...
It's definitely not 8 minutes to Boston, even if a train skipped Chelsea and was considered in Boston once it entered the city limits near BET almost 1 mile out. :-)
My guess is a non-stop River Works to North Station would be at least 14 minutes based on the track speeds after FX.

Also I'm not sure if "regular" Commuter Rail service applies to a flag-only stop that is scheduled (as a flag stop) for 28 out of 67 weekday trains.
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Re: Lynn GE Property - Private Commuter Rail Stop?

Postby BostonUrbEx » Wed Nov 23, 2016 6:29 am

I wonder if this is a way to avoid ADA compliance. I can't think of any other reason for the change of plans.
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Re: Lynn GE Property - Private Commuter Rail Stop?

Postby MBTA3247 » Wed Nov 23, 2016 7:59 am

What plans are you referring to?

If they do any work to the station itself, that will trigger full ADA upgrades, whether the station is residents-only (which it shouldn't be, IMO) or not.
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Re: Lynn GE Property - Private Commuter Rail Stop?

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Wed Nov 23, 2016 8:10 am

Old news. This developer was making the rounds about this in Spring (I know we talked about it here with article-linkies back then, but board search is whiffing). First step is squaring property access with GE to use as-is River Works. And then when he gets the property built out Patsios wants to build a brand new, full-spec ADA station with 800-footer high-levels--"Lynnport"--a couple hundred feet up from RW and leverage public access through his own property. He went on-record as saying he's absolutely serious and willing to put up his own money for the station construction if the T will do the track work a la New Balance, since he's got more property holdings in the neighborhood to build and move housing units via the transit access. The T batted him away in Spring saying he had to prove the ridership would be there (X new housing units vs. current River Works???) and blah blah the MOW siding and future GE freight service, even though the station siting would be an up-and-over island away from the current turnouts. Patsios said that was the whole point of the access trial at existing RW: to establish some predictive value of what future demand curve his developements could serve by opening it up now and taking some of the mystery and speculation out of the Lynnport vision. Joe Pesaturo's statement at the time made it sound like it was a terrible burden on the agency to even return the phone call to Patsios.

I dunno...I'm normally skeptical about public-private station dev being real after so many prior TOD whiffs in this state. I was even skeptical of New Balance until that company walked the talk with its transit investment. But after a year of casually following this in the Lynn-local media I've grown pretty bullish that Patsios absolutely means what he says about financing a new CR station...because he's described in detail his own profit motives and how he'll get the ROI for his properties out of the investment he'd front for the station. The economics pretty much have been demystified. He just wants somebody in an official capacity to talk with him and GE about River Works access for this trial, and give a straight answer about what kind of thresholds have to be met before they seriously consider his Lynnport plan. He's been selling this vision door-to-door all year in Lynn and hasn't really wavered on it or had any holes start to open in his story. The access issues at RW may or may not be legit for opening it up to the full public, but he's certainly proven he's worthy of a meeting. Private developers wanting to self-finance upgraded transit facilities don't exactly grow on trees, so it's kind of important to acknowledge them when they step forward pitching something sensibly not-insane. RW has been on the permanent schedule...what, 45 years now? A TOD-enhancified ADA reboot is not exactly the stuff of wide-eyed foamers.
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Re: Lynn GE Property - Private Commuter Rail Stop?

Postby dbperry » Wed Nov 23, 2016 9:03 am

F-line to Dudley via Park wrote:I know we talked about it here with article-linkies back then, but board search is whiffing


https://www.bostonglobe.com/business/20 ... story.html

March 11, 2016
LYNN — Two stops north of Boston, commuter rail trains chug past a barren stretch of cracked concrete bordering the old River Works station here. The trains only stop for employees of the nearby General Electric Co. aviation plant.

There is no parking lot, no crowd of commuters clutching coffee. On any given day just 65 riders disembark at the private GE station along the Newburyport-Rockport line, according to the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority. GE employees going to work have to ask the conductor to stop, and returning home they flag the train down from a bare-bones platform, flanked by weeds and chain-link fencing.


It’s the only station of its kind in the system, dedicated to a single employer, and harks back to when thousands of workers flocked to the GE factories that once surrounded the stop.

.....

Now, a Swampscott developer who bought that 65 acres from GE is pressing to have the MBTA open the station to the public. Charles Patsios has proposed a nearly half-billion-dollar complex of 1,250 apartments that, with expanded transit service, could boost Lynn’s status as a community with quick access to downtown Boston.
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Re: Lynn GE Property - Private Commuter Rail Stop?

Postby Disney Guy » Wed Nov 23, 2016 10:05 am

But can and will the developer and other private entities rebuild and open the station to the public with no taxpayer money? That is, no federal or state or MBTA matching funds.

At any rate, a developer should make a positive contribution to the community over and above housing units built, jobs created, and/or more shopping opportunities provided. Upgrading the station could be such a contribution.

Also desirable would be bonding the station project so the public would not have to cover if the developer should fail or back out.
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Re: Lynn GE Property - Private Commuter Rail Stop?

Postby travelsoccerkid1 » Wed Nov 23, 2016 5:16 pm

I wrote a large portion of the transportation section of the DEIR submitted for the Lynn Gear Works project. When the development is first constructed, the station will remain private (like it is now). By keeping the station private, it does not need to be upgraded to current ADA standards. After the development is constructed and begins bringing in revenue, the current plan is to upgrade the station to full-fledged public use. Our traffic projections have taken this into account, and a portion of land has been set aside for future commuter rail parking.

An upgraded station is part of the mitigation plans to offset the increased traffic volumes produced by the development. Other improvements include traffic signal enchancements along the Lynnway and Commercial Street.
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Re: Lynn GE Property - Private Commuter Rail Stop?

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Thu Nov 24, 2016 7:01 am

Disney Guy wrote:But can and will the developer and other private entities rebuild and open the station to the public with no taxpayer money? That is, no federal or state or MBTA matching funds.

At any rate, a developer should make a positive contribution to the community over and above housing units built, jobs created, and/or more shopping opportunities provided. Upgrading the station could be such a contribution.

Also desirable would be bonding the station project so the public would not have to cover if the developer should fail or back out.


From what Patsios described, he would pay for everything except for any required track work above and beyond just spreading the mainline tracks around an island platform's width. T project managers would have to supervise all track-level platform construction just like they are at New Balance, but developer would cut the checks. The caveat about track work was only because lack of info from the T about the MOW siding and easements for a GE freight siding gave him no way of factoring in that cost. Given station siting a couple hundred paces north of the current RW platform it's well clear of the switches, but the T was giving conflicting statements that the derelict and mostly ripped-out easterly #4 track facing this redeveloped property was somehow a problem (then again, they were doing their darndest to table the conversation). I guess if they want to do something different like increase the size of the MOW yard to offset the space crunch at the BET tie piles, or keep some of the derelict siding to the GE fuel tanks...that extracurricular is on them.

Patsios reasoned he could pay for the station because all cost of the egresses and driveway were pre-baked into the site prep for the apartment buildings. They went for public-access capable design from Lynnway on the driveway with space for kiss-and-ride and bus loop in the back, side paths/cycle track landscaping , and enough rear buffering from the building to permit full open access. Don't think there's any parking baked in except for maybe a few mandated handicapped spaces and idling spots, but there's no need for that here with Lynn station having the garage. With all of that design being a cosmetic choice part-and-parcel with his site costs and not dependent on OK for the station for him to build that driveway and set aside the rear space...the only above-and-beyond cost is the generic-spec ADA platform + shelters and the up-and-over ramp access. Boring old prefab station structures...no headhouses or New Balance-like architectural feng shui. Since site access and parking are usually the most expensive line items for new construction, it's a mid 7-figure check at most for the underwriting of station structures. Again, if the T levies all kinds of special conditions about altering the MOW configuration or reinstating the derelict freight siding...they didn't speak up when asked, so it's their bag.


The plan should obviously get put through full scrutiny to make it check out, but even if there are some incidental costs they'd be crazy to pass up this gift. Their own much-overhyped, hastily-buried 2024 Indigo map had a full-upgraded River Works prominently featured on the North Station-Lynn dinky. Are they really going to say "No thanks", then pay twice as much out of their own pockets if very short-haul dense intra-128 service goes back on the table? Any T manager capable of seeing the forest through the trees is just going to say "Take the free throws" at this offer if it checks out top-to-bottom. It would leave Swampscott as the only mini-high station left to modify for running fast-turn service out as far as Salem with the automatic doors enabled. It would leave exempt Prides Crossing as the only non-ADA stop on the whole Eastern Route. Hell, eliminating all door trap flips south of Beverly will matter soon enough just on regular-old peak Rockburyport schedules as those trains get more uncomfortably overcrowded with each passing year. So why not take the opportunity to knock out the second-to-last low outlier--and the last non-ADA regularly scheduled stop--if somebody else is fronting the money?
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Re: Lynn GE Property - Private Commuter Rail Stop?

Postby jbvb » Mon Nov 28, 2016 4:56 pm

ETT #14, Oct. 30 1966, doesn't give times for Riverworks stops, but West Lynn (MP 10.67, yard) - North Station is either 15 or 17 minutes day in, day out.
ETT #21, Nov. 28 1976, lists RIverworks at MP 9.86. West Lynn is still 10.67. Weekday outbounds stopping at Riverworks get there in 16 min. Weekday inbounds ditto take 19 or 20 min. to North Station.

I never saw the (jet?) fuel tank farm spur get a car in all the time I've been riding the Eastern. I don't think GE has been able to ship or receive carload freight for maybe 20 years. The ROW in that area is at least 5 tracks wide (2 mains, middle, runners on each side existed into the 1970s).
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Re: Lynn GE Property - Private Commuter Rail Stop?

Postby jonnhrr » Tue Nov 29, 2016 2:31 pm

I don't know whatever happened to the "Blue Line to Lynn" proposals but not having heard anything for a while I assume it is currently a dormant issue. However should it be revived, is it possible that a routing to swing alongside the "Rockburyport" line would then result in a station for the Blue Line here as well as the CR? Would that be something that the station would be future proofed to allow for?

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Re: Lynn GE Property - Private Commuter Rail Stop?

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Tue Nov 29, 2016 3:28 pm

jonnhrr wrote:I don't know whatever happened to the "Blue Line to Lynn" proposals but not having heard anything for a while I assume it is currently a dormant issue. However should it be revived, is it possible that a routing to swing alongside the "Rockburyport" line would then result in a station for the Blue Line here as well as the CR? Would that be something that the station would be future proofed to allow for?

Jon


If you take what's currently 4 tracks + additional ROW slack space in front of GE, the Blue Line on any of the proposed routing Alternatives would touch down on the Lynn side of the river on the easterly side of the ROW (severing freight access to those GE fuel tanks that haven't been served in eons) while the RR tracks hug the westerly side (preserving full access to the MOW siding and GE plant freight). In that case Blue would most likely swallow "Lynnport" station whole and remove it from CR, since I doubt there'd be enough patronage for both modes here. Lynn/Central Sq. is the big bus terminal meriting a CR + BL superstation a la Ruggles + Malden on Orange/CR and Quincy Center + Porter on Red/CR. Lynnport CR platform would then be modified to:

1) chop down the island from 800 ft. (9-car CR consist) to 300 ft. (6-car Blue consist) length. Preferably re-centered on the existing up-and-over egress. Some legacy length of old CR platform could be railing-ed off and re-used for installation of secondary egress or vendor space if desired.
2) have continuous rapid transit -spec canopy installed over the full 300 ft. platform length, replacing the small intermittent CR-spec shelters. Nothing grand...just prefab like all the existing early-00's renovated outdoor Blue stations.
3) have trackbed filled in with several more inches of ballast so the shorter Blue cars can be brought up flush with the existing full-high platform edge.
4) have prepayment gates installed where the existing egress dumps onto the platform.

Pretty much a majority no-cost recycling of the station structures that were built for CR, with cosmetic mods for faregates and subway signage. The only significant cost item is installation of the continuous canopy, which isn't very significant a cost in the grand scheme when itemizations for recent new canopy installs at Assembly Square, rebooted Savin Hill, renovated Charles MGH, and all the 6-car extended outdoor Blue station renovations are compared. Rest of the heavy-duty work is just demolition of the hollow platform slabs for whatever length > 300 ft. is no longer needed for any station functions. You're probably talking no more than $3M in total cost to swap modes at Lynnport...maybe a little more if a second up-and-over egress is needed. If the plan for the upgraded CR station stays as an island configuration between the existing mainline tracks, whatever gets built will be fully and easily adaptable to the Blue Line should it ever come to town. Doesn't affect the CR station's planning in any tangible way...at least in terms of the private developer's station concept/configuration as we understand it right now.
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Re: Lynn GE Property - Private Commuter Rail Stop?

Postby BandA » Tue Nov 29, 2016 5:51 pm

Good idea to plan ahead for conversion. No reason to chop down an 800' to 300' - just leave it as-is, maybe block off the extra length with a fence.
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