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Old 04-03-2009, 05:18 PM
 
Location: Springfield and brookline MA
1,243 posts, read 2,519,622 times
Reputation: 1217

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I know there are talks of a Springfield-Hartford -new haven line,but what about the rest of the region.Noho,greenfield,pittsfield,amherst and umass and all the burbs around springfield(like westfield,west springfield,agawam,holyoke,chicopee,and so on.)I think we need to start to do something in this region to help jump start our infrastructure.It would be more inticing for business to come here. it would help reduce our reliance on cars and also help open up the region.I lived in the D.C. area for 6 years and i never drove my car during the work week.i would walk about 1/2 mile to the nearest metro station and then walk about 6 blocks to work,stress free mind you.i just think we need to step up to the modern age and start getting serious about uplifting western mass.

BTW i grew up in west side and to all the springfield haters around here yes i agree it is not nirvana,but it is not hades either.i've never been robbed .beaten,shot at,car jacked had my house broken into or anything in springfield.
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Old 04-03-2009, 07:31 PM
 
Location: Somerville, MA
8,002 posts, read 16,055,973 times
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I think it'll be a while before you get commuter rail out there (though you SHOULD get it). I think the area would be better served at first by a rail connection to New York City via Hartford and possibly New Haven at the moment. A Boston connection would be nice (via Worcester), but I think it'll be a while before the MBTA is on board.

The MBTA is currently working on financing the Southcoast Rail Project which will connect Fall River and New Bedford to Boston via commuter rail. They're also wrapping up a connection from TF Green Airport to Providence (and on into Boston). I think that as far as Commuter Rail service goes, places like Portsmouth NH, Manchester NH, Plymouth MA, and Bourne/Wareham are all more likely to see commuter rail before Western MA. In fact, there's interest in extending the Fall River portion of the South Coast Rail to Newport RI once it's built (but that's so far off, it's a pipe dream at this point).

Furthermore, I think it's getting close to time for Boston to improve and expand its local subway network. The newest branch, the Silver Line is incomplete (it's also Bus Rapid Transit-or BRT- which I personally can't stand). They're also working on expanding the Blue Line to Lynn (and from Bowdoin to Charles/ MGH for a Red Line connection) and Expanding the Green Line out to Medford (another badly needed expansion). These are all projects that have been filed and are scheduled to start soon (in fact, the Green Line extension is supposed to be operational by 2011) or have started already (The Silver Line is a few phases along). The Orange line needs new cars and the Blue and Green just recently got a few but need more. Finally, Boston needs an Urban Ring of subway that circles around the center of the city and connects the branches (so one doesn't have to go ALL the way into Downtown to switch to another line).

Washington D.C.'s Metro is awesome (IMHO the best in the nation). Boston's subway expansions should be an effort to try and duplicate that system. Boston is often given credit for having one of the better subway systems in the U.S. (which it does have), but D.C.'s is truly world class (I used to live in Kensington, MD by the way).

However, Massachusetts commuter rail is already more extensive than D.C.'s (and most of the nation... only NYC and Chicago have more extensive commuter rail systems) and I think it'll be a while before they extend it that far West (unfortunately). It's a matter of financing. The state has to hand select the "priority" projects and at the moment, a Western MA commuter rail project isn't in the books due to the number of priority projects ahead of it.

A good idea would be to divide the transit systems. MBTA can operate the Commuter Rail, Public Commuter Bus and Ferries; and another entity (let's say.... BTA, Boston Transit Authority) could operate subway and city buses and local water taxis. That way MBTA wouldn't have to choose switching between financing subway or commuter rail improvements. It would be two separate budgets and allow a little more freedom in each. Most cities do it this way (NYC with MTA and Long Island Railroad or San Fran with BART, Muni, Caltrain, Ace, etc are a couple of examples) and it seems to be more effective.

Anyway, I hope they do connect Western Mass to Boston (and beyond), but I doubt we're likely to see it any time soon.

For what it's worth... I like Springfield a lot.
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Old 04-03-2009, 10:21 PM
 
1,270 posts, read 4,875,914 times
Reputation: 560
Smile Extend commuter rail to Springfield From Boston

I think since there's no Amtrak service to Springfield really

we should extend the boston commuter rail out to Springfield. Would be a good terminus for the line, esp with the new haven connections and bradley airport.
You might get more people commuting from Worcester-Metro West Boston, on the springfield line into work in SPringfield

--jeff--
Winchester, MA
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Old 04-03-2009, 10:22 PM
 
1,270 posts, read 4,875,914 times
Reputation: 560
Cool Springfield-Syracuse Commuter line - Springfield-Albany-Syracuse

Maybe a springfield line to Pittsfield-Albany as well connecting the two regions, maybe even ending at Syracuse?

---jeff--
Winchester, MA
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Old 04-04-2009, 08:01 PM
 
Location: Springfield and brookline MA
1,243 posts, read 2,519,622 times
Reputation: 1217
we have Amtrak service with daily runs to Boston.the station is located right on Lyman street. I am really hoping that if this crazy gas tax passes that MR Patrick will follow through on his word to bring commuter rail to this region.we have been ignored for far to long.
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Old 04-05-2009, 05:28 AM
 
Location: North Adams, MA
746 posts, read 3,179,162 times
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Nothing is impeding the economic development of Western Massachusetts - which for me includes everything from the Connecticut River westward - than its isolation from public transportation.

An interstate planning effort is needed, including input from both Hartford and Albany, to devise a practicable alternate to the Mass. Turnpike and Interstate 91.

There is one Boston Amtrak train each way to Springfield and Pittsfield, in the Berkshires, the Lake Shore Limited which runs between Boston and Chicago. I believe the Vermont Amtrak route which runs through Springfield from the north is converting to a bus. I take it westbound since that run originates in Boston and is usually timely. The eastbound run has never, ever, been anywhere near its published time in all the years I have attempted to use it. It is infuriating, it screws up plans, it is a scandal.

The train passes through Springfield and is heavily patronized by students and others from the area.

The only other option is the Bonanza/Peter Pan bus, but it enjoys a monopoly (they prevented a bus from running between North Adams and Boston by lobbying the intervening towns not to grant permission.) The Springfield bus depot is a filthy, ugly mess, and they often do not run on time. The buses I have taken have been close to full, so they are certainly making money. Or should be. Yet they have limited service, require changing buses and need competition.

It is a complicated problem, and while each of us is familiar with our local needs and local options, it is only with regional planning that some real answers could be found and implemented.

This nation was founded on the principle of e pluribus unum and only in a unified, comprehensive approach do we stand a chance of getting things moving.
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Old 05-07-2009, 08:08 PM
 
Location: Chicopee, MA
40 posts, read 148,028 times
Reputation: 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by western mass and love it View Post
I know there are talks of a Springfield-Hartford -new haven line,but what about the rest of the region.Noho,greenfield,pittsfield,amherst and umass and all the burbs around springfield(like westfield,west springfield,agawam,holyoke,chicopee,and so on.)I think we need to start to do something in this region to help jump start our infrastructure.It would be more inticing for business to come here. it would help reduce our reliance on cars and also help open up the region.I lived in the D.C. area for 6 years and i never drove my car during the work week.i would walk about 1/2 mile to the nearest metro station and then walk about 6 blocks to work,stress free mind you.i just think we need to step up to the modern age and start getting serious about uplifting western mass.

BTW i grew up in west side and to all the springfield haters around here yes i agree it is not nirvana,but it is not hades either.i've never been robbed .beaten,shot at,car jacked had my house broken into or anything in springfield.

There is a major plan to create a commuter rail from chicopee, westfield, holyoke, Northampton, pittsfield, etc... up to vermont. this would solely be separate from Amtrak. If you want to know more let me know and ill provide the answers.
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Old 05-08-2009, 02:54 AM
 
Location: Springfield and brookline MA
1,243 posts, read 2,519,622 times
Reputation: 1217
i know of a plan to start a commuter rail project from springfield to new haven,but the rest of what you are talking about was just a political ploy by the governor to get votes for his gas tax.telling the people what they want to hear.
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Old 05-08-2009, 05:19 PM
 
Location: Boston, MA
1,856 posts, read 3,418,591 times
Reputation: 1801
I am a big railfan and public/alternative transportation enthusiast and wholeheartedly go with any sort of commuter rail plan for Western Mass. The questions are who is going to fund it, who is going to run it, and who besides you and me is going to support it?

Forget the state government. They're always going to be in a fiscal mess and I sometimes believe that somebody up at Beacon Hill is always getting the state into a fiscal mess so that that somebody can keep his/her job and enjoy tax paid perks.

Forget private companies too. The days of the Boston and Albany and the New York, New Haven, and Hartford are sadly long gone and I don't see CSX or any other present railroad company to have enough capital to run a commuter rail system.

The federal government is strapped too. Amtrak is forever losing money on most of its stock despite being overpriced in my opinion and has run out of good but inexpensive ideas. The Springfield-New Haven line is a great idea that is long overdue but I think they will be too financially exhausted to build another line afterwards.

That leaves the common citizens like you and me. Only if all of the common citizens gather together and agree to pour in heavy funding can such a project go on. Some rural and suburban folk fear the urban ghettos appearing in their towns though and others will be disrupted by frequent trains moving about. We have such arguments over here in Metro Boston all the time.

All in all, a noble idea but just not feasible in the near future. Maybe triple the toll fees on the Mass Turnpike and turn Interstate 91 into another expensive toll road and then we're talking (no just kidding!)
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Old 05-12-2009, 12:32 PM
 
Location: Newton, Mass.
2,954 posts, read 11,041,456 times
Reputation: 1489
Quote:
Originally Posted by lrfox View Post
Washington D.C.'s Metro is awesome (IMHO the best in the nation). Boston's subway expansions should be an effort to try and duplicate that system. Boston is often given credit for having one of the better subway systems in the U.S. (which it does have), but D.C.'s is truly world class (I used to live in Kensington, MD by the way).

However, Massachusetts commuter rail is already more extensive than D.C.'s (and most of the nation... only NYC and Chicago have more extensive commuter rail systems)
Though it's clean and mostly efficient, I am not really a fan of DC Metro as a city subway. You mentioned living in Kensington, MD and in my mind Metro is more effective as a commuter rail for nearby suburbs than as a subway for residents of the District itself. Partly because DC is more spread out and hillier than much of Boston and NYC, most DC residents don't really live within an easy walk of a Metro station and rely instead on buses. I lived in three different places within DC and not once was I within a mile of a Metro stop. When I moved to Bethesda (Grosvenor) in the suburbs, I then had easy Metro access.

I lived for a year in Paris, which has one of the best systems in the world. In Paris they have the Métro, which is a city subway (with 14 lines in a city comparable in size to Boston, but much denser) and they also have the R.E.R. (Réseau express régional, or Regional express network). This has four main lines, each of which splits into different branches in the suburbs. Rather than running into a central terminus in the central city (like North or South Station), these lines, like the DC Metro lines, stop in suburban towns, run across the city, making stops at various points along the way, and then continue out to the suburbs on the other side.

Paris RER Map

Plan metro=

The DC system always struck me as a Paris-style R.E.R. without having the Paris-style Métro. Even conceived of in those terms the R.E.R. is much more extensive than the DC Metro.

Long term, better intercity and commuter rail to places like W. Mass, Portsmouth, etc. will be key. Right now, if I had to pick my top 5 projects for Boston (after the Fall River/New Bedford line), they would be:

-Just run the commuter rail frequently enough to make them a viable option for more people. A couple of weeks ago I had a friend drive me from Porter to Waltham because there's no train between 8PM and 11PM on Saturday night. On some lines the weekday mornings and weeknights are as bad.
-Extend the Green Line west from Lechmere across Somerville to West Medford as has been promised for years
-Extend the Blue Line to Lynn
-Extend the Red Line past Alewife, running above the Route 2 median like the Air Train in New York, to at least 128, like Riverside, to give people an option short of driving all the way to Alewife in traffic just to find the garage full.
-Look into some more express commuter trains. Metro North in NYC runs two trains on each line; one makes the first 10 stops or so while the second whizzes past those stops and only makes the stops beyond that. This speeds up the trip from far-flung locales considerably.

A technicality: the MTA (Metropolitan Transportation Authority) now runs the subway and the New York-state based commuter rails in NYC. The subways and city buses are run by the "MTA New York City Transit" division and the MTA also oversees Long Island Bus, the LIRR, the Metro North Railroad (which could be extended up to Hartford and Springfield-it already goes to New Haven, Waterbury, and Danbury). NJ Transit is a separate agency.
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