CRail wrote:1.) There is no dilusion of service, especially since West Station to the Seaport is also a concept included in the plans (you don’t really think a red line test track is the end goal for track 61 do you?). Plus, there’s another driving factor which is the overcrowding of South Station, which your ever so thorough analysis ignores.
West Station to the Seaport is an even bigger joke than using the GJ! Come one, do you seriously think it's possible to get a train from Back Bay to Track 61 without absolutely fouling everything? Track 61 joins the Old Colony lines facing south. Building a wye there so trains could turn north instead would be nearly impossible due to the South Boston Bypass and the red line shops being right there. Then to get to the wye connecting to the NEC you'd have to cross all of the Old Colony and Fairmount, plus Amtrak moves to and from Southampton St. Then to get to the Worcester line tracks, you'd have to cross the NEC at grade. Using Track 61 for a Seaport - Back Bay shuttle (which is what I've heard proposed instead of West Station) would require either fouling the entirety of the south station approach, or massively disruptive construction to build a tunnel or giant flyover. Because you have to cross EVERYTHING.
And a far better solution for access to the Seaport is just improving the existing Silver Line, which is already a nice easy transfer at South Station.
And no, I didn't mention South Station, because I wasn't writing a "thorough analysis". (I'm also pretty tired of you acting like you're "God of the MBTA" on here and anyone who disagrees is an idiot. This post is full of such unnecessary condescension. I know it's hard, but it is possible to disagree with someone without snarkily insulting them!)
South Station is irrelevant here. Sending a handful of Worcester line trains to North Station via the Grand Junction will do absolutely nothing to relieve congestion at South Station, which will still need to be expanded. Say you send a generous 4 Worcester trains to North Station. Okay, now you've opened up 4 slots at South Station. Hardly a meaningful expansion.
2.) Transferring to the subway alone takes a few minutes. Then there’s waiting for the train, and then there’s riding the train. Since any responsible contributor to society will allow the greatest amount of time reasonably necessary to get to work that’s an additional 20-30 minutes of commute time. The value of a one seat ride is not in the comfort and convenience of not having to get up, it’s the minimizing of how much a variable your commute time is. Certainly in my mind, uncertainty is far more a detractor in a mode of transportation than elapsed time. I’d rather know my ride will take 40 minutes than somewhere between 20 between 60.
Trust me, I know. I used to commute from the north shore to Kendall (commuter rail, green line, red line, shuttle bus). Having to transfer sucks. HOWEVER, commuter rail to red line at South Station is one of the easiest possible transfers. Red Line trains are the most frequent of all the subway lines, running every 4.5 minutes at peak, and it's only one transfer. If that's so brutal having to transfer, then why aren't you crying about the north side needing direct access to Kendall, since getting there from North Station requires 2 transfers? We'd all prefer a one seat ride. We'd all prefer our commute times to be as predictable as possible. But you have to balance the needs of the few with the needs of the many, and if someone commuting on the Worcester Line works in the Seaport (for example), switching their train to go to North Station instead makes their commute now require several transfers instead of one. And anyone going to Back Bay is now going significantly out of their way to transfer to the Orange Line.
So essentially in your quest to give Worcester riders a one seat ride to Kendall, you've taken away the one seat ride to Back Bay or downtown (it's a 20 minute walk from North Station to State St - I do it on foot, but I know plenty of people who hop on the Orange for 2 stops), and changed the Seaport from a two seat ride to a 4 seat ride (CR -> OL -> RL -> SL). Kendall is only one of many final destinations in Boston, and more people are better served by sending trains to South Station and having Kendall passengers transfer.
3.) Drastically slimming automobile capacity for bike lanes and other mode of transport accommodations has a much greater impact on traffic than having to wait an extra light cycle for a train to go by 10-20 times a day. We aren’t talking long slow freights that take 20mins to pass, we’re talking short passenger trains (really short if they’re shuttles) whisking through at significantly upgraded track speeds. The up to 6 daily moves the line sees now (I understand Amtrak doesn’t traverse the line daily anymore since they have a facility in Maine now) are probably a greater impact to traffic patterns than a more fequent but less obtrusive passenger trains. It’s ridiculous to undermine the impact of the currently necessary Red Line transfer while exaggerating the impact of a bunch of grade crossing activations.
No it really, really doesn't. The majority of new bike lanes going in are not taking away any vehicle capacity. This is a tired claim that's been repeated ad nauseam and is patently false. As for "other modes of transport accommodations", you'll note I was talking about the impact on BUSES, not private automobiles.
6 daily moves is fairly generous for the GJ right now. I'd say 4, tops. And of those 4, 2 are usually in the middle of the night (Keolis), and CSX runs one way at night, the other way during the evening rush (assuming they're not running late, which they usually are). The existing movements are irrelevant because they're at night, not during rush hour.
And no matter how much you upgrade the tracks, the gates are still going to be down for at least a minute for each train, which is still going to noticeably delay the buses on Mass Ave and Cambridge St. Couple this with how much it increases trip times for anyone NOT heading to Kendall, and I guarantee you've lengthened more people's commutes by a greater factor than you've saved anyone's.
Finally, if you're talking about shuttles rather than Worcester trains, you've completely undermined your previous point, because you're still requiring people to transfer! They're just transferring to a shuttle instead of to the red line. Still a one seat transfer, only marginally faster than today. Although this does eliminate the downside of forcing everyone else to go to Kendall too.
4.) Yore also only looking at the advantages from the south side. This completely ignores the fact that the city of Cambridge operates a rather expansive bus operation from North Station to that measly single employment center (which, by the way, in the last 10 years went from a few little shortie school bus bodied vehicles to a fleet of full scale 40’ transit buses). Imagine the impact this rail connection would have on the bus loads of people that currently sit in gridlock traffic on these buses every day.
Of course I'm only looking at this from the south side! Because we're talking about Worcester trains! The E-ZRide shuttles are irrelevant, unless you're now suggesting removing the Kendall stop and proposing everyone destined for Kendall ride to North Station then backtrack on a shuttle? That would be significantly longer than riding to South Station and taking the red line! And I fail to see how this would relieve any congestion on the E-ZRide shuttles, unless you want people who arrive at North Station from north side trains to then transfer to an outbound Worcester line train to go the one stop to Kendall? Those would have to be awfully frequent trains to make that more appealing than the existing E-ZRide shuttle, which would be impossible given the single track on the Grand Junction.
Also, it's worth noting that E-ZRide is very poorly integrated with the T. I would have loved to ride it when I was doing my North Station-Kendall commute a few years ago. Would have saved a lot of time. But if your employer doesn't join the program (which costs money - and my employer didn't join), then you have to pay $2 each way to ride it, exact cash only. That would have meant I needed to make sure I had 4 $1 bills every day when I left the house, which would basically have required me to go find a convenience store that would let me make change every couple of days and carry around a giant wad of $1's. I deemed it worthwhile to save myself the hassle and the $4 a day and take the T instead (since it's included in my commuter rail pass anyway). I suspect that many other people do the same.
5.) I’m evidently not the only one that sees it this way. Currently the GJ only accesss yard tracks on the Cambridge end, the switch to the main tracks is already at the junction waiting to be cut in. This is part of the GLX project, but it would be foolish to think it isn’t also a provision for currently impossible service expansions. Passenger service on this corridor has been included in several different project plans which initiated with a busway and have thankfully morphed into talks of rail service. This includes West Station proposals and the long talked about “Indigo” service. You might think it’s a non-starter, but you’re apparently outnumbered by those who actually have a say in the matter.
I'd say you're not the only one who sees it that way, but that doesn't mean it's actually going to happen. Lots of people would like to see lots of infeasible things. If people "who actually have a say in the matter" (by the way - do you?) really do want this, why have we never gotten anything more than a politician talking about it or a brief throwaway feasibility study? Kendall has been booming for 20 years now. If this were actually a good idea then it would have moved forward by now.
I'll believe it when I see it, and I'm sure I'm not the only one.
EDIT: I know you (and other people) like to complain about F-Line's "novels", actually read his post. He probably does an even better job of breaking this down than I do.