BostonUrbEx wrote:While I'd rather see freight return to the East Boston Branch, I wonder if a busway is feasible. It would tie in nicely with the bypass road and avoid that nasty Boardman St traffic light. The 448, 449, and 459 could use it immediately. Inbound, get off the highway at Railroad Ave and turn onto the ROW there. Outbound would peel off and into the jughandle queue to get to the northbound side of the highway. I'd pitch a Silver Line proposal, but that'd be better off going up Eastern Ave in Chelsea and serving Broadway in Revere.
At any rate, the ROW should remain in the hands of the transportation realm.
It's not abandoned, it's OOS. And PAR never gave up its freight rights, so interstate commerce law protects them from having the line taken from them. It's also one of those perpetual free trackage rights holds from the B&M sale. The state can't terminate their trackage rights due to disuse; only PAR can abandon them. Nor does the state want to when Eastie is a Designated Port Area under Massport auspieces and the coming Harbor dredging will allow taller ships to Everett Terminal and Chelsea River. Unless Global finds another rail shipping angle it'll probably be the last of the 3 port industrial tracks in the city to be reactivated...but they'll definitely aren't ever going to throw away pre-existing freight access to any DPA's in the state. It's way too valuable at the 50-year level. You don't have to have an idea right now this second of how you'll re-use it for it to have value.
It's also completely useless as a bus corridor because the local stops those routes make on the outbound runs for the side streets on 1A would be completely inaccessible from the busway. They're already skipped on the inbound side. The 400's that run thru down 1A are the part of the North Shore route network that's forever broken because Blue Line to Lynn never got built. They're broken because the equipment siphon of sending 9 Lynn routes down 1A to downtown deprives the whole North Shore of frequencies. That doesn't get fixed until the Blue Line lets Lynn Terminal be a real terminal. A busway would do absolutely nothing to address the problem at hand, and would cost an obscene amount in floodproofing along that ROW that's literally 12 feet from a river with tidal effects. Probably wouldn't shorten the trip much at all from running express on 1A because the confined space also would make for very low speed limit.