You should concern yourself with those things, because they're quite literally what gets this project from Point A to Point B. Not every recurring proposal is going to demand a full study write-up to get any action, but the nature of this one does because the only extant GJ traffic modeling data is based on a unidirectional peak-only service. Bi-directional and all-day is a totally new ballgame. To make the actionable decisions that actually get it built, you do have to bury your nose in fresh-collected documents on:
-- ...whether the northside terminal district can handle this many TPH to-AND-from that direction when this shuttle proposal is so different from that unidirectional proposal
-- ...ID'ing what crossings need DTMF switches timed to what settings, new signal blocks aligned to what...and what it'll cost to purchase the hardware at those installations that supports bi-directional instead of unidirectional service.
-- ...figure how that shuttle service fits into grander CR Future schemes about multiple Indigo routes sharing the terminal districts and/or coexisting at West Station.
-- ...provide City of Cambridge with documentation on how their multimodal city-controlled streets are going to be affected and what city signal streamlining the state is and isn't going to pay for.
-- ...be able to re- fastrack the West Station build after the recently announced 20-year delay so it can actually be put out to bid for prelim design that transforms it from pretty...but very imprecise...Adobe Illustrator concept renders to picks of Alternatives A, B, or C that can proceed with every measured dimension, quantity of steel-and-concrete, and drainage structure accounted for in a construction budget.
That isn't going to happen here without a paper trail and a heaping document dump of train-sim modeling. Stuff like detailed traffic sim's aren't zero-cost or zero-schedule, so nothing about this comes closer to fruition by being scrawled into some wall about how "they really mean it this time, man". Really meaning it this time means doing the drudgery to find the precise train meets and establish what it'll entail to juggle them. New service of that scope isn't going to get any closer without that necessary prelim research, whether that fact thrills one's own imagination or not.
In no way is this such a jet-black and blinding-white world of extremes that showing intent and showing proof are diametrically opposed forces to getting something done. There's a big difference between filling in blanks that are prerequisites to Step 1 vs. "re-study the study for studying's" waste. Do what's necessary, not overboard, is the lesson in balance there. They don't need to contemplate their navel on whither a Kendall infill this time. They do need to establish achievable frequencies at what pain threshold for Mass Ave./Broadway crossings and the terminal district, and what any required mitigation will cost. Train-sim stuff, not rehashing employment demographics. Of course they don't have excuses for deferring any paper action 10 years or claiming such a data collection will cost $50M to perpetuate another generational vaporware scam like South Coast FAIL. But the CR Future panel will be delivering its urban rail recs in mid-2019, and the GJ will go OOS for 2+ years in '21 or '22 for the Pike megaproject construction. It's not a failure of polite civilization to call for the shuttle study that fills in those prerequisite blanks, fund it before FY19, commence it when the CR Future recs are delivered, put an 18-month deadline on it, then be shovel-ready for prelim work while the GJ is out-of-service. You don't know what the cost & construction itemization is until you collect that data, so how does a sequence like that not put us closer to having nice things?
They also shouldn't let an "unspoken" promise written in crayon on that wall carry the water because we've seen gruesomely, repeatedly what implied commitments have gotten us with: "Equal of Better" Roxbury transit, trolleys to JP Center by 2000, and all that nice transit signal priority circuitry Brookline installed years ago for the C Line on a flimsy verbal I.O.U. that got thrown back in the town's face. Or, more relevantly, with West Station build going from being touted simultaneous with the Pike realignment to suddenly punted out 20 years on a Friday afternoon pre-Xmas news dump. BOTH extremes--paper for paper's sake and praying for good intentions and instant gratification without having it in writing--tend to lead to nowhere fast in a majority of the cases. The real world is somewhere in the middle, and that equilibrium is mind-numbingly different for every individual project. Yes, that means some of the work done to make this thing A Thing™ in the real world is going to entail killing a few trees with boring train-sim printouts done by an outside contractor, and factoring a bunch of crossing queue counts so an unruly stakeholder City Council can be kept abreast of the mitigation options for its street signals. Because unfilled blanks are just that: statements that can't be answered at all until the necessary blanks are filled. You fill blanks with actionable data, not wild guesses where the wrong guesses end up the most surefire way to kill, delay, or cost-blow a project to death.
You're right about one thing: if the whole transpo construction world got flattened into those kinds of diametrically opposed extremes, we'd never have any nice things because extremes are surefire death in the public service sphere. I'll gladly take un-exciting shades of grey and exactly the right amount of neither too-little nor too-much paper pushing, and concern myself with that being the straightest path to a real-world transit build that does its advertised job. But to each his own.
Last edited by CRail on Mon Jan 08, 2018 10:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Unnecessary nesting quotes removed.