Worcester Streetcar

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benboston
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Worcester Streetcar

Post by benboston » Mon Feb 25, 2019 4:46 pm

I think that a Streetcar in Worcester would be extremely beneficial to the fast growth in Worcester. Streetcars have been found to boost economic development, for example, in Portland, Oregon which would be extremely beneficial for adding onto existing momentum that exists in the city. The city is expected to reach a population of 200,000 soon which hasn't been the population of Worcester since the 1950s when there were still streetcars in Worcester's streets. Additionally, the city of Worcester has a very poor bus network, with infrequent buses; a streetcar on the other hand, would allow for better travel throughout the city. Here is a link to a map of a possible streetcar network in Worcester. Please comment on what you think. https://drive.google.com/open?id=1gjkdc ... sp=sharing

troffey
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Re: Worcester Streetcar

Post by troffey » Mon Feb 25, 2019 5:49 pm

I'd argue for a slightly more ambitious network:
-Extend the University Line west along Route 9 to South High School and North/East along Gold Star Boulevard...either out to the old Greendale Mall or ideally all the way out to Quinsigamond Community College.
-Extend the Medical Line west from Union Station along Pleasant Street, past Elm Park. Turn North on Flagg Street to Assumption College. Extend the east end of the line either north to the shopping complex alone Route 70, or across the river into Shrewsbury (which would require a new bridge and thus might not be as possible).
-Add a fourth line originating (Park Line) from the Shoppes at Blackstone Valley in Millbury, follow Route 146 up to Holy Cross, follow the Airport Line to Park Ave, bang a right and follow Park Ave to a short turn along Gold Star Boulevard.
-Conversely, the Park Line could run all the way northeast along Gold Star to Quinsigamond CC, which allows the University line to shoot up Salisbury Street to Assumption, and ignore the Medical Line extension...there is a lot of residential along Pleasant/Flagg streets but not a lot of commercial destinations.

TomNelligan
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Re: Worcester Streetcar

Post by TomNelligan » Mon Feb 25, 2019 9:17 pm

benboston wrote:I think that a Streetcar in Worcester would be extremely beneficial to the fast growth in Worcester.
And where exactly would the the pile of money needed to pay for it come from? Neither the Commonwealth nor the city awash in cash at the moment.
Additionally, the city of Worcester has a very poor bus network, with infrequent buses
That is in large part because the WRTA doesn't have the funding to support better service. It's all about the money, Mr. Boston.

CRail
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Re: Worcester Streetcar

Post by CRail » Tue Feb 26, 2019 9:28 am

I didn’t realize funding was secured before proposals were presented. I’ve always thought it went the other way around.
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Lentinula
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Re: Worcester Streetcar

Post by Lentinula » Tue Feb 26, 2019 1:08 pm

If nothing else, bus ridership and frequency along the main street corridor from Webster square, through downtown, and even up N main towards Greendale could be a solid argument towards fixed service.

The hub-and-spoke system they have for the busses right now is awful, even limited streetcar running down the central corridor could help redesign the farther reaching routes and all funnel into the high-frequency core service.


Also man, they would do well to link the airport to union station by rail.

maybe this could be a way to finally link the large but completely isolated college student populations in the city? WPI-Becker-Clark is a straight shot, and it would not be difficult to imagine tying Woo state, Quinsig, Holy Cross, and the Medical school in too. Mass college of Pharmacy is already right downtown so any proposal will tie them in nicely.

jaymac
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Re: Worcester Streetcar

Post by jaymac » Tue Feb 26, 2019 2:56 pm

Maybe construction projects can happen instantaneously and painlessly -- generally -- in Sim City or Forge of Empires, but in real cities with real streets with real traffic and even if a few hundred million should get dropped on The Heart of the Commonwealth, building and maintaining a street-rail system on streets already close to, at, or beyond capacity will be anything but instantaneous or painless.
Adequately funding and effectively managing buses is a far more flexible and far less disruptive approach.
To again reestablish my streetcar creds, I grew up in Jamaica Plain and rode Type 4s, Type 5s, and all the varieties of PCCs, and I'm glad I did. Pretty much anything other than an island ROW is asking for lack of public support, and unless major demolition takes place in Worcester, there's no land available for island ROWs.
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benboston
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Re: Worcester Streetcar

Post by benboston » Tue Feb 26, 2019 5:44 pm

The money can come from a real-estate tax that is put on buildings that are within a certain distance from the corridor. This is how the Portland Streetcar was funded. Streetcars boost construction because unlike buses when there is physical infrastructure nearby (rails and wires) people see that and the land value goes up. Also, Worcester is growing fast so they need to have an effective way of moving people around to prevent congestion and to attract even more people to the city.

CRail
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Re: Worcester Streetcar

Post by CRail » Tue Feb 26, 2019 6:14 pm

MOD NOTE: Nobody here has fiscal control of state or federal funds, nor does anyone need to to have an idea. If people can discuss electrifying the entire commuter rail system without being scoffed at by everyone then people can discuss streetcar conversions. The fact of the matter is political climates change, and we've been experiencing a rather swift change in the last decade or so. If you don't like the idea you don't need to participate in the conversation. Further challenging arguments on the basis of government funding will be removed.
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QB 52.32
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Re: Worcester Streetcar

Post by QB 52.32 » Fri Mar 01, 2019 5:49 am

Accessing Worcester Airport via Airport Drive as shown on the map would require a cog steetcar as the grades are 30-40%. You would have to come in either from the other end of Airport Drive or via Main Street/Goddard Blvd and even then I think you'd be dealing with 10-20% grades over a long pull.

HenryAlan
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Re: Worcester Streetcar

Post by HenryAlan » Fri Mar 01, 2019 2:18 pm

I don't see a lot of advantage in sending it to the airport unless there is a significant need case for the service along the route. Worcester airport will never become a significant regional air travel solution due to fog. Making it more accessible won't make it more successful. Otherwise, the plan looks pretty good. I think the streets are wide enough to consider an LRT reservation for at least some of it, rather than street running. It might require taking a lane of traffic or some parking or a combination, but a well run and speedy street car will reduce car trips enough to make up for the capacity reduction.

benboston
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Re: Worcester Streetcar

Post by benboston » Mon Mar 04, 2019 8:09 pm

QB 52.32 wrote:Accessing Worcester Airport via Airport Drive as shown on the map would require a cog steetcar as the grades are 30-40%. You would have to come in either from the other end of Airport Drive or via Main Street/Goddard Blvd and even then I think you'd be dealing with 10-20% grades over a long pull.
I have made some changes to the map so that the streetcar/LRT now approaches the aiport by way of Goddard Blvd, and it continues down Main St to the Hanover Theatre stop, where the airport line terminates. The University Line now continues straight Southbridge St, after splitting at the Hanover Theatre stop, all the way to the Holy Cross stop, where it terminates.

Rbts Stn
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Re: Worcester Streetcar

Post by Rbts Stn » Tue Mar 05, 2019 9:49 am

QB 52.32 wrote:Accessing Worcester Airport via Airport Drive as shown on the map would require a cog steetcar as the grades are 30-40%. You would have to come in either from the other end of Airport Drive or via Main Street/Goddard Blvd and even then I think you'd be dealing with 10-20% grades over a long pull.
Just a quick aside. Lombard Street is a 27% grade. Airport Drive is likely too steep for many rail options, but there just aren't many roads with a 30% grade anywhere. At 10% you start to get warning signs.

RenegadeMonster
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Re: Worcester Streetcar

Post by RenegadeMonster » Tue Mar 05, 2019 2:05 pm

What kind of grades are there in San Francisco? I bet there are some comparable grades there so we know they can come up with some kind of solution that works.

Lentinula
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Re: Worcester Streetcar

Post by Lentinula » Tue Mar 05, 2019 3:20 pm

I really like the layout, and I think serving Webster square is a good call, but I can't help but wonder if a straight shot from Tatnuck/Worcester state to the Canal district (Green street or Kelley Square) wouldn't be worthwhile. Canal seems to be the hottest destination in town these days, I know I'd take that route often.

And for the airport, with the new CAT III system it seems MassPort has their sights on higher volumes, and with 3 new airlines taking up residence in the last 2 years it seems like they're pushing it pretty hard. Logan is out of space, I think its finally to the point where tackling the fog could be economical.

MBTA3247
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Re: Worcester Streetcar

Post by MBTA3247 » Tue Mar 05, 2019 5:41 pm

Quickly looking at Goddard Blvd on Google Street View, it doesn't strike me as being an exceptionally steep road. There are probably sections of the B Line which are steeper. If Airport Drive is too steep for the final leg to the airport, it looks like there's plenty of undeveloped space on the east side for a light rail line to ditch street running and take a long, looping approach with moderate grades.
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