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Old 11-10-2013, 10:17 AM
 
3,938 posts, read 3,850,932 times
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I've been going into Boston for awhile now but I get a sense in terms of development that there is so much focused towards the central parts of boston (state house, south station, waterfront etc) and not nearly as much in other areas.

When most people tell me they are going into Boston they end up driving to Braintree or one of the Quincy red line stops (except the Center since it is closed) taking it up and back and that's about it. The redline hugs the coast going to JFK/UMass. There is so much of Dorchester, West Roxbury, Mattapan, Roslindale, Hyde Park etc that there's no rail access to. Sure there's bus service but frankly rail tends to work better because it isn't subject to traffic jams, accidents, you can sit or stand and there are various vendors at stops etc.

Not everyone can afford or operate a car and although there is the commuter rail that often times is just a morning and evening back and forth, it isn't nearly as frequent as the subways.

Some of this uneven growth might lead to further divides if people cannot travel and it is not treated as a city equally.
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Old 11-10-2013, 08:27 PM
 
1,097 posts, read 1,406,451 times
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There's a number of factors at play here.

Boston subway and commuter rail services are largely based on history. That is, no one is building new rail cuts through the city, service expansions of recent decades have been utilizing existing, intact, rail ROW.

The Red Line wasn't built by modern Boston to serve the most people possible. The Red Line exists where it does because that's where passenger service has run largely since the 1800s when the Old Colony RR built it, and it's been on that specific route (with minor changes) from downtown to Ashmont since 1929. The Braintree branch is a newer extension, but still, ROW from the 1800s (which is also how the Old Colony CR lines get into the city).

The Washington Street Elevated is gone, and not returning, and it's very unlikely anyone has the financial stomach to build an entirely new underground subway line through the city to serve the poorest part of the city, that would be billions of $.

As such, there is only one possibility in the region you are talking about, the Fairmount/Indigo Line. This has been a proposal for years and is slowly coming to fruition. The MBTA has just built 3 (1 more coming eventually) new stations there, and is planning to increase service in the future to have a more rapid transit-esque frequency on it. At the moment, they're constrained by South Station capacity, lack of equipment, etc. So to put it more directly: The situation there has greatly improved from a couple of years ago, and is set to improve further in the next few years.

There is a vast amount of reading you could do on the topic of the Fairmount/Indigo Line, all sorts of studies and proposals.
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Old 11-11-2013, 11:42 AM
 
Location: Massachusetts
5,945 posts, read 6,751,495 times
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Are there any proposals for extending this Fairmount MBTA line into the suburbs with large parking facilities similar to Braintree red line and Newton green line? I know there was talk of developing the Westwood/Dedham corridor into a business hub some years back when Legacy Place was built.
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Old 11-11-2013, 04:15 PM
 
Location: Boston, MA
1,684 posts, read 3,208,487 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 495neighbor View Post
Are there any proposals for extending this Fairmount MBTA line into the suburbs with large parking facilities similar to Braintree red line and Newton green line? I know there was talk of developing the Westwood/Dedham corridor into a business hub some years back when Legacy Place was built.
There may be proposals in the air but the problem with anymore expanded South Side service is that South Station simply cannot accomodate any more trains at peak hour without expanding. I'm a frequent South Side commuter rail passenger and on certain days, traffic is so delayed that the MBCR ends up canceling a train or two (usually the Fairmount Line). There is a grand plan to purchase the US Postal facility next door and add more tracks but that will be years in the making.

Of course, the MBCR can reroute more trains from the Attleboro/Stoughton and Franklin/Forge Park lines onto the Fairmount Line but that would mean bypassing Ruggles and Back Bay, two relatively busy stations. The MBCR and the MBTA would never do that because of the loss of income. At the moment, the Fairmount corridor has potential but simply does not have enough existing development to take precedence over the main corridor.
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Old 11-11-2013, 04:23 PM
 
1,097 posts, read 1,406,451 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 495neighbor View Post
Are there any proposals for extending this Fairmount MBTA line into the suburbs with large parking facilities similar to Braintree red line and Newton green line? I know there was talk of developing the Westwood/Dedham corridor into a business hub some years back when Legacy Place was built.
Well, the Fairmount Line goes to Readville. If it keeps going further, it's called something different (ex: a few Franklin Line trains go via the Fairmount line).

I don't think it's likely that the frequent service proposed for Fairmount will go past Readville any time soon, extending it out along the whole Franklin Line seems excessive (for now), and the only other place to go is the already busy NEC.

And there wouldn't be any great place to turn around trains otherwise (ex: going one or two stops further) without a large expense. As it is, Readville is accessible enough from Blue Hill Ave, IMO. I'd expect more parking going in AT Readville itself though.
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Old 11-11-2013, 05:08 PM
 
7,001 posts, read 6,707,358 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by millerm277 View Post
As such, there is only one possibility in the region you are talking about, the Fairmount/Indigo Line. This has been a proposal for years and is slowly coming to fruition. The MBTA has just built 3 (1 more coming eventually) new stations there, and is planning to increase service in the future to have a more rapid transit-esque frequency on it. At the moment, they're constrained by South Station capacity, lack of equipment, etc. So to put it more directly: The situation there has greatly improved from a couple of years ago, and is set to improve further in the next few years.

There is a vast amount of reading you could do on the topic of the Fairmount/Indigo Line, all sorts of studies and proposals.
Are people actually using this? It sounds to me like just another money pit where incompetent/irresponsible politicians can say they care about the poor, without seeking policy that is results based.
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Old 11-11-2013, 08:38 PM
 
Location: New England
628 posts, read 797,410 times
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The MBTA is already years behind on extending the Green Line out into Somerville and Medford, which was a promise that had to be made to get federal approval of the Big Dig project, and of course the holdup is the familiar lack of $$$ (or actually lack of $$$$$$$). Then there was the idea of a new subway under Cambridge down to Kenmore, and that's another dream. If you're suggesting a new subway line in the southern neighborhoods, you might as well be asking for a railroad to the moon.
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Old 11-11-2013, 08:47 PM
 
1,097 posts, read 1,406,451 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by massnative71 View Post
Are people actually using this? It sounds to me like just another money pit where incompetent/irresponsible politicians can say they care about the poor, without seeking policy that is results based.
At present? The 2 of the 3 new stops only opened in July, the frequency was only slightly increased recently (still way below planned/useful), and the fare was also only recently cut to reasonable levels ($2). So the answer is it's still very early on and it's hard to judge, given that previously the line had a completely useless frequency, and was 3x the price of a bus (~$6), which would likely have been hard to justify for any resident in the area. Ridership statistics are not available for since those significant changes have gone into effect, so the answer thus far is mostly that we don't know with a touch of "they weren't riding the old service, which was useless and absurdly priced."

I don't think there's any question that if they established the proper frequency for it (Every 15-20 minutes give or take) at Subway fares, that it would see plenty of use. It's a well populated area with major traffic issues that slow down busses.

The poor people in question are currently paying $ for their buses, for many of them a train would clearly be a better option.

Anyway, what was done for the project cost $80 million, a significant portion of which was for bridge replacements + track/signal work that were necessary anyway, as the line is also used to take traffic off the SW Corridor, which given the long-term increased demand from Amtrak and other CR branches, is only likely to become more necessary.

So for the $30-60m that it cost thus far, I think it's a good improvement. And as soon as capacity becomes available in South Station/equipment becomes available, it's ready for proper rapid transit type service as intentioned, and would serve a large swath of city. Compare that to the $1 billion cost of the Green Line Extension if it's ever fully built.
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Old 11-12-2013, 11:21 AM
 
3,798 posts, read 2,800,544 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by millerm277 View Post
At present? The 2 of the 3 new stops only opened in July, the frequency was only slightly increased recently (still way below planned/useful), and the fare was also only recently cut to reasonable levels ($2). So the answer is it's still very early on and it's hard to judge, given that previously the line had a completely useless frequency, and was 3x the price of a bus (~$6), which would likely have been hard to justify for any resident in the area. Ridership statistics are not available for since those significant changes have gone into effect, so the answer thus far is mostly that we don't know with a touch of "they weren't riding the old service, which was useless and absurdly priced."

I don't think there's any question that if they established the proper frequency for it (Every 15-20 minutes give or take) at Subway fares, that it would see plenty of use. It's a well populated area with major traffic issues that slow down busses.

The poor people in question are currently paying $ for their buses, for many of them a train would clearly be a better option.

Anyway, what was done for the project cost $80 million, a significant portion of which was for bridge replacements + track/signal work that were necessary anyway, as the line is also used to take traffic off the SW Corridor, which given the long-term increased demand from Amtrak and other CR branches, is only likely to become more necessary.

So for the $30-60m that it cost thus far, I think it's a good improvement. And as soon as capacity becomes available in South Station/equipment becomes available, it's ready for proper rapid transit type service as intentioned, and would serve a large swath of city. Compare that to the $1 billion cost of the Green Line Extension if it's ever fully built.
If the Democrats practiced what they preach all Boston neighborhoods would have adequate rapid transit before rich communities like Cambridge (red line/green line/bus/Porter commuter rail), Somerville (orange line/red line/bus) and Medford (bus/commuter rail) would receive even more service.
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Old 11-13-2013, 12:16 AM
 
Location: south central
606 posts, read 910,046 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AtkinsonDan View Post
If the Democrats practiced what they preach all Boston neighborhoods would have adequate rapid transit before rich communities like Cambridge (red line/green line/bus/Porter commuter rail), Somerville (orange line/red line/bus) and Medford (bus/commuter rail) would receive even more service.
Rich communities like Cambridge, Somerville, and Medford?!
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