Green Line Expansion Beyond Lechmere

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Arlington
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Re: Green Line Expansion Beyond Lechmere

Post by Arlington »

So what's the best guess for the following milestones:
1) First ceremonial shovel of dirt
2) First real construction dig
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Re: Green Line Expansion Beyond Lechmere

Post by deathtopumpkins »

Arlington wrote:So what's the best guess for the following milestones:
1) First ceremonial shovel of dirt
2) First real construction dig
Depends how you define first. I count the retaining wall and bridge construction and site clearing and geotech boring that's already been done.

Also, wasn't there already a ceremonial groundbreaking a few years back?
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Re: Green Line Expansion Beyond Lechmere

Post by BostonUrbEx »

deathtopumpkins wrote:I count the retaining wall and bridge construction
They could easily end the project after this and say, "Look, we replaced some sub-par bridge decks for the commuter rail while improving clearances and drainage for the roadways below!" It's almost zero to do with GLX except for the fact they're replacing unused bridge decks instead of just removing extras.

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Re: Green Line Expansion Beyond Lechmere

Post by deathtopumpkins »

BostonUrbEx wrote:
deathtopumpkins wrote:I count the retaining wall and bridge construction
They could easily end the project after this and say, "Look, we replaced some sub-par bridge decks for the commuter rail while improving clearances and drainage for the roadways below!" It's almost zero to do with GLX except for the fact they're replacing unused bridge decks instead of just removing extras.
That would be true if they were replacing the commuter rail bridges 1-for-1, but they're adding track beds for the GLX in the process, turning 2-track CR bridges into 4-track CR+GLX bridges. The work is necessary for the GLX, and a least partially useless without it.
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Arlington
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Re: Green Line Expansion Beyond Lechmere

Post by Arlington »

Arlington wrote:So what's the best guess for the following milestones:
1) First ceremonial shovel of dirt
2) First real construction dig
To clarify: when will they start digging for Phase 2 (Lechmere, Union Sq, Brickbottom)

As noted, Phase 1 while useful to CR and motorists, wasn't really extending the GL. In music, it'd not even be a prelude. More like a jazz vamp 'till ready"...the band filling airtime waiting for the singer to start.
"Trying to solve congestion by making roadways wider is like trying to solve obesity by buying bigger pants."--Charles Marohn

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Re: Green Line Expansion Beyond Lechmere

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Re: Green Line Expansion Beyond Lechmere

Post by rmccown »

Noticed yesterday that the southern abutment just west of the BET was almost gone.

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Re: Green Line Expansion Beyond Lechmere

Post by Arlington »

And there's really been an impressive amount of action all the way out to College Ave (right now at Broadway they're moving the utilities off the bridge doing bridge demo). So while stations will have to wait until Phase 4 (after the yard is built in Phase 3), the ROW is getting all its bridges and retaining walls done now. IIRC work starts soon on retaining walls at College Ave. That means that Phase 4 really will be just stations (Gillman, Lowell, Ball Sq, College)
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Re: Green Line Expansion Beyond Lechmere

Post by F-line to Dudley via Park »

Arlington wrote:And there's really been an impressive amount of action all the way out to College Ave (right now at Broadway they're moving the utilities off the bridge doing bridge demo). So while stations will have to wait until Phase 4 (after the yard is built in Phase 3), the ROW is getting all its bridges and retaining walls done now. IIRC work starts soon on retaining walls at College Ave. That means that Phase 4 really will be just stations (Gillman, Lowell, Ball Sq, College)
Well, they can't simply hold the Lowell Line in a suspended state of disruption for 10 years and inch the utility relocation segment-by-segment. That's flat-out easier to do in a blitz. And any utility work that's dependent on retaining wall work the same.

The good news is Lowell gets a new bundle of fiber communications plant in the deal. South of Wilmington is still unmodernized B&M ABS signaling that didn't get the replacement the current CTC signals north of Wilmington into NH got during an early-80's renovation shutdown. Old and decaying copper here, with all the reliability aches and pains you'd expect. This at least knocks off several miles worth off a cable state-of-repair job they're going to have to attempt in the next 10 years regardless.

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Re: Green Line Expansion Beyond Lechmere

Post by Arlington »

The big recent news on the GLX is that Tufts is planning on a building atop the College Ave station, with the station integrated into its base (and Tufts assuming maintenance) and with a pedestrian bridge from some upper level of the building to cross Boston Ave and provide access to their hilltop.

I thought I'd re-post here the relevant part of "ceo"s post in the GLX impact on Lowell Line thread:
ceo wrote:I went to the GLX informational meeting on the Ball Square and College Ave station designs last night...
- The work on the Harvard St rail bridge will be done in late summer or early fall. Sound walls are going up next week.
- The reconstruction of the Broadway bridge will start in 2016 and run concurrently with the construction of the Ball Square station (and the other stations). It will be done one side at a time so as to not have to close Broadway.
- The Lowell Line will be single-tracked through the area for the duration. I don't know if this is just under the Broadway bridge or all of them. The new bridge will have a center pier that's right where the Lowell Line inbound track is now, so there's no room for two tracks until they've demoed the existing abutment and built the new one further back.
- Tufts is planning a new building that will be partially over the tracks and adjacent to the College Ave station, extending over to where their DPW garage is on College Ave. The GLX people are redesigning the station and plaza to accommodate this, in cooperation with the Tufts real estate office. (This was an opportunity to address a number of deficiencies in the old design, so they're happy about this.)
- Tufts wants to build a pedestrian bridge from up the hill on their main campus across Boston Ave to the station.
- The crossover will be south of the station, not north of it as in the earlier plans. This way they can reduce the length of the storage tracks after the station. Trains will arrive at and depart from College Ave on either track, like Alewife.
- Some people think it's the GLX's fault that Tufts tore down a building next to the corridor, increasing the noise level from the Lowell Line.
Here is how Ken of MGNA reported on the same meeting
Introduction
The project team has completed the designs of the first three stations that will be built: Lechmere in Cambridge, and Union Square and Washington Street in Somerville (scheduled to open in late 2017). It is now focusing on completing the designs for the four stations schedule to open in mid-2020: Gilman Square and Lowell Street in Somerville, and Ball Square and College Avenue in Medford.

This meeting was the first presentation on the Ball Square and College Avenue stations since a 60% design meeting in June 2013.

Ball Square Station
Ball Square Station will be located at the corner of Boston Avenue and Broadway at the Medford/Somerville line. Construction began this spring with the erection of a bridge next to the Broadway bridge to temporarily carry utility lines while the Broadway bridge is rebuilt (it must be widened to accommodate the Green Line tracks underneath, as well as the existing commuter rail tracks).

Among the significant changes to the Ball Square Station, now at 90% design:

+ The pedestrian access bridge from the Broadway bridge at the east end of the station has been reoriented to improve accessibility
+ The bicycle storage area has been moved to a more open area; plans call for room for 76 bicycles and additional bike racks outside
+ The traction power substation to the north of the headhouse has been downsized
+ A pedestrian egress path has been designed to the north of the platform and through adjacent property
+ FTA has approved the accessibility plan around the station
+ The station headhouse features metal, stone and glass materials; a second-level glass wall in a double-height space above the lower entrance will feature a painting as part of the GLX Integral Art Program.
+ Construction of the new Broadway bridge and the Ball Square Station is expected to take about four years, starting in early 2016 and continuing into early 2020

College Avenue Station
College Avenue Station will be located at the corner of College Avenue and Boston Avenue. The station plans are being revised as the project team continues talks with Tufts University, which began last summer, about a building that the university is considering constructing behind and partially over the station. The project team sees integrating the station into a larger footprint with the new Tufts building as an opportunity to improve the station and solve concerns raised by neighbors.

Among the design changes being considered are:

+ Relocating the proposed right-turn lane from College Avenue to Boston Avenue from the north of the large utility/water pipe to onto the College Avenue bridge, which would be widened by about 8 feet on the south side to accommodate three lanes of traffic
+ Creating a larger plaza on the corner of College Avenue and Boston Avenue, with the existing utility/water pipe being integrated into the plaza and featuring an art treatment
+ Improving station access by reducing the sidewalk grade from a slope of about 7.3% to 5%
+ Relocating and widening the proposed path from the Burget Avenue neighborhood to the station, constructing in a more straight line toward College Avenue rather than on a curving route atop a retaining wall in between the station and the existing Tufts maintenance building, which would be relocated
+ Relocating the bicycle storage area to the Boston Avenue side of the station

The proposed Tufts building would envelop the station, but the headhouse would gain circulation width and remain wrapped on three sides in glass, as previously designed. Tufts is considering a pedestrian bridge across Boston Avenue from the station to its upper campus. Tufts also has offered to maintain the station and the Burget Avenue path.

Next Steps
+ Another public meeting on the College Avenue Station is being planned for the last week in June (tentative date: June 25; time and location, TBD), with the GLX Project Team, Tufts, and the City of Medford collaborating on the presentation. At this meeting, more details and conceptual drawings for the station and the Tufts building will be presented.

+ A public meeting on the Gilman Square and Lowell Street Station designs will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, May 21, at the Center for the Arts at the Armory, 191 Highland Ave, Somerville.
"Trying to solve congestion by making roadways wider is like trying to solve obesity by buying bigger pants."--Charles Marohn

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BandA
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Re: Green Line Expansion Beyond Lechmere

Post by BandA »

Is Tufts buying or leasing the air rights, or getting them for free in exchange for "maintaining" the new station? Sounds shady.

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Re: Green Line Expansion Beyond Lechmere

Post by Arlington »

There actually is not that great a market for air rights over tracks and roads (most of the pike and the NEC have languished for decades, or, when decked, have been decked with public $). Only super-prime sites (eg across from the Hynes) end up attracting qualified projects.

The problem is that decking is so darn expensive and that being without a basement means mechanical stuff takes otherwise usable space above-deck. In the end, air rights are worth a whole lot less than "real" sites nearby.

Tufts, with an HVAC plant across the street, would be the high bidder in any auction, and still I can't see them needing to bid more than $1 because nobody else can affordably develop the site. It looks like a win for the T (better cheaper station), Tufts, neighbors (clustering / mitigating development) and Medford (tufts not reducuing the tax base as it grows)
"Trying to solve congestion by making roadways wider is like trying to solve obesity by buying bigger pants."--Charles Marohn

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Re: Green Line Expansion Beyond Lechmere

Post by The EGE »

Yeah, that sounds like a win for all involved; I'm sure Tufts isn't doing it solely out of the goodness of their hearts, but the university has definitely started being a very good neighbor for the T with GLX pushing closer to reality.

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Re: Green Line Expansion Beyond Lechmere

Post by Arlington »

"Trying to solve congestion by making roadways wider is like trying to solve obesity by buying bigger pants."--Charles Marohn

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Re: Green Line Expansion Beyond Lechmere

Post by Arlington »

Photo set now shows how Tufts College Ave station has changed from June 2013 (no air rights structure) to June 2015 (the proposed new Tufts TOD building will straddle the CR Lowell Line and also replace an existing maintenance building
"Trying to solve congestion by making roadways wider is like trying to solve obesity by buying bigger pants."--Charles Marohn

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