Minuteman Corridor Transit Possibilities

Discussion relating to commuter rail, light rail, and subway operations of the MBTA.

Moderators: CRail, sery2831

Bramdeisroberts
Posts: 397
Joined: Sat Feb 15, 2014 2:45 pm

Minuteman Corridor Transit Possibilities

Post by Bramdeisroberts » Thu Apr 18, 2019 1:28 pm

charlesriverbranch wrote:
Arlington wrote:- GLX to Alewife via Porter
Why do Porter and Alewife need the Green Line when they already have the Red Line?
Because once you get the Green Line to Alewife, extending it to Arlington Heights and eventually to Lexington or Bedford now becomes a real possibility. Furthermore, it adds rail transit to the incredibly dense and corridor between Alewife and Union Square that is currently served only by Porter, and you'd very likely see Southwest Corridor passenger volumes pretty quickly.

rethcir
Posts: 263
Joined: Fri Nov 30, 2007 9:51 am

Re: Green Line Expansion Beyond Lechmere

Post by rethcir » Thu Apr 18, 2019 3:10 pm

I don’t think it’s worth bringing the GL to Porter, unless it will be replacing the CR stop. But stops at Wilson Square and maybe Conway Park (near Aeronaut and Market Basket) would certainly have ridership that might be too far from union or Porter. Keep in mind you can get from Porter to North Station in 10 minutes by CR and hopefully it will get electrified sometime in the next few decades.

User avatar
Disney Guy
Posts: 862
Joined: Thu Apr 19, 2007 9:10 am
Location: Nashua, NH

Re: Green Line Expansion Beyond Lechmere

Post by Disney Guy » Fri Apr 19, 2019 11:31 am

Would a light rail from Alewife to Lexington really make sense in the middle of Mass. Ave. and other streets? Or would the bike and hiking trail through Arlington Hts. be taken back to put in light rail? Is light rail quiet enough that residents who opposed the Red Line going through Arlington Hts. would not object to light rail in what is now the bike trail?

A corridor without stop requests every fifth of a mile, without left turning private cars in the way, without lots of traffic signals, is desperately needed to make light rail a success.

Any corridor feature of bus rapid transit that is not chosen will adversely impact light rail along the same route comparably. So a reasonably accurate preview of a light rail on Mass. Ave. could be done using BRT. Compared with light rail, the biggest disadvantage of BRT is labor, in the form of number of operators. Should passenger volumes be great enough, the BRT could be converted to light rail. (If the whole thing is a flop then it is quietly discontinued leaving no large and unusual infrastructure that has to be removed.)
(To the theater stage manager) Quit twiddling the knob and flickering the lights while the audience is entering and being seated. (To the subway motorman) Quit twiddling the knob and dinging the doors while passengers are getting off and others are waiting to board.

FatNoah
Posts: 1062
Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2004 8:10 am

Re: Green Line Expansion Beyond Lechmere

Post by FatNoah » Mon Apr 22, 2019 7:41 am

... a reasonably accurate preview of a light rail on Mass. Ave. could be done using BRT.
I used to be a daily 77/79 rider when I lived in Arlington. I live in Winchester now and tried to be a 350 rider. Traffic kills both of those routes for me. The 77 is done in by traffic in Cambridge and the 79/350 by traffic getting into and out of Alewife. Whatever is done, access to Alewife needs to be thought out. Selling BRT or even light rail would be hard in Arlington, where the recent Mass Ave improvement in East Arlington showed how unwilling anyone is to give up a lane on that road.

Arlington
Posts: 4070
Joined: Wed Jun 02, 2004 7:51 am
Location: Medford MA (was Arlington MA and Arlington VA)

Re: Green Line Expansion Beyond Lechmere

Post by Arlington » Mon Apr 22, 2019 9:33 am

I am pretty sure Arlington is going ahead with a permanent AM inbound bus lane (taking all parking until 10am)
"Trying to solve congestion by making roadways wider is like trying to solve obesity by buying bigger pants."--Charles Marohn

bgl
Posts: 36
Joined: Mon Jan 09, 2017 3:40 pm

Re: Green Line Expansion Beyond Lechmere

Post by bgl » Mon Apr 22, 2019 3:12 pm

Disney Guy wrote:Would a light rail from Alewife to Lexington really make sense in the middle of Mass. Ave. and other streets? Or would the bike and hiking trail through Arlington Hts. be taken back to put in light rail? Is light rail quiet enough that residents who opposed the Red Line going through Arlington Hts. would not object to light rail in what is now the bike trail?

A corridor without stop requests every fifth of a mile, without left turning private cars in the way, without lots of traffic signals, is desperately needed to make light rail a success.

Any corridor feature of bus rapid transit that is not chosen will adversely impact light rail along the same route comparably. So a reasonably accurate preview of a light rail on Mass. Ave. could be done using BRT. Compared with light rail, the biggest disadvantage of BRT is labor, in the form of number of operators. Should passenger volumes be great enough, the BRT could be converted to light rail. (If the whole thing is a flop then it is quietly discontinued leaving no large and unusual infrastructure that has to be removed.)
The noise wasn't what killed the Red Line going through Arlington decades ago. It also makes little sense to me to do that as light rail when the Red Line is the obvious choice and has pretty much a pre-prepped plan for it.

Bramdeisroberts
Posts: 397
Joined: Sat Feb 15, 2014 2:45 pm

Re: Green Line Expansion Beyond Lechmere

Post by Bramdeisroberts » Mon Apr 22, 2019 8:09 pm

The question is whether building a Green Line Extension extension from Union to Alewife would be cheaper than all of the extensive bridgework and the likely tunnel between Alewife and Arlington High School that you'd need to make a red line extension work. And that's ignoring the fact that a RLX through Lexington Center to Bedford would be an absolute non-starter without even more miles of tub and/or tunnel running.

The Minuteman route is a former heavy rail ROW with lots of closely spaced overpasses, underpasses, and level crossings, and the passenger volumes that it'd generate really don't justify spending the billions that a heavy rail expansion would cost, particularly when Light Rail's compatibility with level crossings makes the most sense for that ROW in the first place, particularly out to Bedford, and since it's light rail, building layover yards at Arlington Heights and Bedford Depot will be that much easier. Extending the Green Line from Union to Alewife should be chump change compared to building tunnels in Arlington and Lexington Centers.

And street running ANYTHING hasn't made sense since Kennedy was president.

FatNoah
Posts: 1062
Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2004 8:10 am

Re: Green Line Expansion Beyond Lechmere

Post by FatNoah » Tue Apr 23, 2019 7:47 am

I am pretty sure Arlington is going ahead with a permanent AM inbound bus lane (taking all parking until 10am)
That's awesome! I hope it happens. If the problem of getting to Alewife for the 79/350 could be solved, that would make those buses even more attractive options.

User avatar
BandA
Posts: 2859
Joined: Thu Oct 11, 2012 11:47 am

Re: Green Line Expansion Beyond Lechmere

Post by BandA » Thu Apr 25, 2019 12:36 am

You don't have to build a GLXX from Union to Alewife. You could build a stand-alone line like the Mattapan High-Speed Line running along the the Minuteman, with occasional street running or street-adjacent. You could also do heavy-rail with catenary like the Blue Line used to do. Remind me, is there enough ROW in most places on the Lexington Branch to accommodate double-track + busy bikeway + safety wall in between?

If you really want to cheap out, you could do single-track along the Lexington Branch + bikeway, and another rail street-adjacent. Prevailing direction would be on the branch with slower reverse-trips running street-adjacent. Direction would swap mid-day, with LED signs at all stops saying which way was active. Even cheaper (maybe), BRT instead of trolley, with the reverse-trips running on-street.

l008com
Posts: 1074
Joined: Sun Oct 23, 2005 5:22 am
Location: Stoneham, MA

Re: Green Line Expansion Beyond Lechmere

Post by l008com » Thu Apr 25, 2019 1:28 am

I think it would be a very tight fit through arlington and most of lexington, running doubletrack PLUS a full bike route.
And the minuteman is a bikeway that actually works as a commuter bikeway, so I think it's almost impossible to expect them to ditch it and revert back to trains. They'd make a real case that it's so effective as a commuter bikeway, it doesn't make sense to spend billions turning it back to a commuter railway. Probably the least likely bike route to go back to rail. I could imagine tunneling up to the mass ave crossing in arlington as a red line extension, while leaving the minuteman intact, but I doubt it ever gets past that.
Last edited by CRail on Thu Apr 25, 2019 6:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Unnecessary quote removed.
My New YouTube Channel (Give It Time):
John's Train Videos

FatNoah
Posts: 1062
Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2004 8:10 am

Re: Green Line Expansion Beyond Lechmere

Post by FatNoah » Thu Apr 25, 2019 8:56 am

Remind me, is there enough ROW in most places on the Lexington Branch to accommodate double-track + busy bikeway + safety wall in between?
Agree that there's not nearly enough room and I can't imagine the fits that would be pitched by abutters AND trail users. Probably the only way to get the extension done would be to cut and cover the entire way. Perhaps doing so along the bike path rather than along Mass Ave. Both would disruptive and expensive, though. As good an idea of getting RL to 128 is, I don't see it happening in my lifetime.

rethcir
Posts: 263
Joined: Fri Nov 30, 2007 9:51 am

Re: Green Line Expansion Beyond Lechmere

Post by rethcir » Thu Apr 25, 2019 9:58 am

I think it would make a lot of sense to take 2 lanes from underused Route 2 and express the RL out to another major collector station. (maybe swing up to the Burlington Mall on an el). Would take a LOT of traffic off the roads, and you wouldn't have the alewife backups so much.

User avatar
BandA
Posts: 2859
Joined: Thu Oct 11, 2012 11:47 am

Re: Green Line Expansion Beyond Lechmere

Post by BandA » Fri Apr 26, 2019 12:21 am

Route 2 has some significant grades between Alewife and 128.

Charliemta
Posts: 337
Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2004 7:51 pm

Re: Green Line Expansion Beyond Lechmere

Post by Charliemta » Fri Apr 26, 2019 11:13 pm

An elevated light rail line, double-tracked cantilevered on single posts would totally preserve the Minuteman Trail, plus pass over street crossings. It could go from Alewife all the way to Bedford, and maybe Burlington Mall.
"The penny candy store beyond the El
is where i first fell in love
with unreality.....
Outside the leaves were falling as they died.
A wind had blown away the sun."
----Lawrence Ferlinghetti

l008com
Posts: 1074
Joined: Sun Oct 23, 2005 5:22 am
Location: Stoneham, MA

Re: Green Line Expansion Beyond Lechmere

Post by l008com » Sat Apr 27, 2019 12:01 am

Charliemta wrote:An elevated light rail line, double-tracked cantilevered on single posts would totally preserve the Minuteman Trail, plus pass over street crossings. It could go from Alewife all the way to Bedford, and maybe Burlington Mall.
If you were going to go that route, it would probably be cheaper to put the rail line at ground level and elevate the bike route. But this is probably the least likely option to actually happen.
My New YouTube Channel (Give It Time):
John's Train Videos

Return to “Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA)”