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Old 08-08-2019, 06:37 PM
 
Location: Boston, MA
1,869 posts, read 3,445,427 times
Reputation: 1812

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Just released today:

MassDOT Releases Study Detailing Congestion Impacts and Trends, Recommends Series of Next Steps | MassDOT Blog

It's mostly Boston centric and with good reason because much of the traffic congestion is happening around Greater Boston. Some of the recommendations sound good but knowing the old New England small town/old traditions mentality that pervades our region, I really don't know how they can get done.

Anyone else have thoughts?
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Old 08-09-2019, 05:18 AM
 
Location: Somerville, MA
1,051 posts, read 857,779 times
Reputation: 1302
I skimmed through it yesterday. Most of what is in there has been identified and advocated for by various special interest groups for years. The big takeaways are build more housing near transit, more affordable housing, push jobs to gateway cities, fix and increase transit throughput, and reconfigure highways with managed lanes or new tooling schemes.

The managed lanes idea seems like a good one. Kind of like the HOV lanes we have except you start charging single occupant vehicles. The report notes that congestion pricing and tolling will require changing laws in MA, so that seems like a tough sell.

There are some great charts/diagrams that show the peak hours of inbound/outbound congestion as well as typical commute times. Some of them show how much it has changed in a few years.

End of the day the report doesn't show anything new. It just puts it on paper and ties all of the topics together. It will require billions in spending and major coordination to fix the issues. People won't take the T if it is slow and failing, so then they'll drive. If they drive the roads will be gridlocked 14hrs a day. People will leave. Short of some infrastructure bills at the federal level I don't see any of this ending well.
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Old 08-09-2019, 05:19 AM
 
1,755 posts, read 754,057 times
Reputation: 2046
My only hope is that with the new wave of transplants, comes new ideas about transportation. US in general is too car centric. We need better public transportation period. That should be action item number 1.


Also, I dont' know the real numbers, But Uber and Lift did their own reports and estimated that in Boston 3-5% of vehicles on the road were theirs. I would estimate it's much higher.



This is a failing company which just reported another $5 Billion loss. thats right $5 Billion. I still scratch my head at why this new culture of entitled people would take a $20 Uber over a $2.70 train ride. I get it, the MBTA is terrible yadda yadda. Let's invest. Uber is the enemy not the friend.

Last edited by GeePee; 08-09-2019 at 05:48 AM..
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Old 08-09-2019, 07:45 AM
 
160 posts, read 55,541 times
Reputation: 227
I really think electrifying the commuter rail to at least 128 and putting up more collector garages at the terminals would be transformative to traffic around here. IMHO it's the next "big dig" we should be pursuing.
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Old 08-09-2019, 07:54 AM
 
726 posts, read 397,186 times
Reputation: 1054
Quote:
Originally Posted by GeePee View Post
Uber and Lift did their own reports and estimated that in Boston 3-5% of vehicles on the road were theirs. I would estimate it's much higher.
Absolutely. Whatever the number is, within the urban ring the ride sharing companies create an amount of congestion disproportionate to their actual share of vehicles due to their operating profile. The way Uber/Lyft circle for rides, stop in traffic, block bike lines and driveways, etc. has an outsized ripple effect with traffic.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BosYuppie View Post
I really think electrifying the commuter rail to at least 128...
Yes! The recently updated rail vision options supported by Governor Baker is the first time I have seen full conversion to EMUs seriously proposed as an option. Converting the MBTA commuter rail system to full electric has the potential to make a real impact which other proposed bandaids will not.
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Old 08-09-2019, 08:26 AM
 
Location: Somerville, MA
1,051 posts, read 857,779 times
Reputation: 1302
Quote:
Originally Posted by GeePee View Post
Also, I dont' know the real numbers, But Uber and Lift did their own reports and estimated that in Boston 3-5% of vehicles on the road were theirs. I would estimate it's much higher.



This is a failing company which just reported another $5 Billion loss. thats right $5 Billion. I still scratch my head at why this new culture of entitled people would take a $20 Uber over a $2.70 train ride. I get it, the MBTA is terrible yadda yadda. Let's invest. Uber is the enemy not the friend.
Never underestimate the mommy and daddy money. My tenants had cosigners and I nearly got sent into orbit after getting back their info. Grad student, orders food every night, uber everywhere, brand new car in the driveway to go home once a month. Truckload of brand new Jordan's furniture. Far from uncommon these days.

Then there's all the "I'd never own a car in the city!!!11! Go back to Acton you suburbanite!!" types who still use uber to go all over the place, but can afford it since they don't pay insurance or a car payment.

The only time I take uber is when I know I'll be out partying. Going to Brookline or Brighton and waiting for a bus that never shows up to connect to red/green that only comes every 20mins can be a nightmare. Meanwhile driving there would just be 20min itself. There are still tons of people who own cars who use uber all the time.
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Old 08-09-2019, 09:21 AM
 
160 posts, read 55,541 times
Reputation: 227
Uber/Lyft is a pretty critical need for those of us on the margins of the transit system. I'm near busses and the CR, but the schedules off-peak just can't get me where i'd want to go on the weekend if I don't want to drive myself (either where I'm going to be drinking or where the parking is not feasible - so Boston/Camberville or the airport). It's made my current neighborhood livable for me in a way that it probably wouldn't have been 15 years ago before the advent of ridesharing. For example, I lived in Medford back then, and to get a Medford cab to come pick you up would be like an hour wait. (The city-based cab pickup regulations really helped foster the hostile environment that allowed Uber to come in and gain popular acceptance)

Frequent rapid service on my CR line would probably get me out of a few ubers a month/keep them off the road. Another thing that would help would be if Uber would invest in some vans/short busses for cheaper, more efficient packing of people in the uberpools. (basically, reinvent the city bus with intelligent routing)
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Old 08-09-2019, 09:26 AM
 
1,755 posts, read 754,057 times
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I do agree that Uber is vital in suburbs and under served areas. But I constantly see them in locations that there is clear MBTA access. Jeez, I know someone who takes a raideshare to work Monday - Friday and live 2 min walk to Forest Hills.
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Old 08-09-2019, 10:41 AM
 
Location: Somerville, MA
8,102 posts, read 16,165,914 times
Reputation: 9458
Quote:
Originally Posted by GeePee View Post
I do agree that Uber is vital in suburbs and under served areas. But I constantly see them in locations that there is clear MBTA access. Jeez, I know someone who takes a raideshare to work Monday - Friday and live 2 min walk to Forest Hills.
Yeah, when I first moved to Somerville, I had a roommate who urber/lyfted to work near BU when we lived a 5 minute walk from the Red Line. He wasn't making a ton of money (hence the roommate situation), and I would wager that with surge pricing (9-5 job), traffic, and the distance covered, he spent more on Uber/Lyft in 3 days than I did in a month on my T pass. I get that the time required for the T on that route isn't great, but it's ridiculous to spend that money on rideshare daily. He also was an avid biker, but got lazy.

Apart from a rideshare tax that funnels money into transportation improvements, I wish the state would require Uber/Lyft to provide comprehensive data as part of the agreement to allow them to operate. The T could use this information along with its own data to form a better picture of what transit patterns look like in the Boston area (and statewide). That info can be used to adjust frequencies on certain routes, add new routes, add express routes, etc.
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Old 08-09-2019, 02:03 PM
 
Location: Somerville, MA
8,102 posts, read 16,165,914 times
Reputation: 9458
As a daily rider, I totally understand the cynicism. The cynic in me has always believed little would be done to fix the system until there was a ripple effect that impacted the people in power and also the people who don't use it. We're at that point. Traffic is prohibitive for many. It goes without saying that frequent, fast commuter rail service, and reliable rapid transit service that gets people where they need to be would greatly reduce the dependence on our most choked roadways. This is finally being acknowledged even by the people who don't rely on transit.

From a political (and selfish) standpoint, Baker does not want his administration to be remembered by the T's collapse (and I still don't place the blame entirely at his feet). If he has any aspirations beyond retiring from public life after this term, he needs to be able to point to demonstrated improvement.

From an economic standpoint, employers will struggle to attract talent to a place that's both overpriced and woefully deficient from a transit standpoint. Many employers moved here partly because it's a good city for transit. So they have a vested interest in improving this system.

The optimist in me believes we're about to actually have some change. But we'll see.

Last edited by CaseyB; Yesterday at 06:19 AM.. Reason: response to deletion
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