No Red Line north of Harvard on weekends

Recently, if you look out the windows on the Red Line between Harvard and Porter, you'll almost always find workers pressing against the wall to let a train by. In case the water-stained tunnel walls don't give it away: they're working on the corroded tracks as we speak. However, that may not be enough time to keep the tunnels in shape, and as The Globe explains:

The MBTA will close the Red Line north of Harvard Square on weekends from November through March to complete $80 million in repairs designed to keep trains from derailing, transit administrators said yesterday.

Starting Nov. 5, weekend service will stop to allow T crews to plug tunnel cracks and seal water leaks that have eroded the concrete track base and corroded power lines. Then crews will replace damaged track, supports, and electrical components.



Free tagging: 


I assume

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they'll be running shuttle buses. You could also take the 96, or take the 77 and walk a few minutes.



Can we have Rich Davey Back, Please

Why the hell didn't they do this in the summer? Do they think that nobody uses the T on weekends? What about all the people in these areas who don't have cars and can't bike in the winter snow?

NOVEMBER? I can't imagine the impact this will have on merchants in Davis and Porter - this is a real blow.

I think the people who run the T should be forced to commute using the T - maybe THEN they will do their planning of these things a bit better. This reeks of "person who drives car and makes decisions just doesn't get it".

Wrong people making decisions

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"I think the people who run the T should be forced to commute using the T - maybe THEN they will do their planning of these things a bit better."

This seems to be the problem. People who make decisions about the T do not take the T. Likewise it applies to many descisions about Boston. People who make decisions about things like the architecture, monstrosities like the Greenway, etc, do not live in Boston, and then the rest of us have to live with their bad decisions, their attempts to make Boston mirror a suburb. Open spaces and green spaces in the city are not the end all, be all. This type of bad decision making has gone on forever.

I don't think there's a good

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I don't think there's a good time to ever do this, but it's necessary. I agree that businesses in Davis and Porter will be hit, but the MBTA needs to keep its trains safe. The Alewife-Harvard stretch of track is notoriously iffy. When a train derailed at the Alewife switch a couple summers ago, the general consensus was that it was a long time coming.

My commute home just got a little more complicated, but I'm glad this issue is finally being addressed.


See the Globe article

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Actually, if you read the Globe article, it does explain why the 4-hour-ish downtime each night isn't sufficient for repairs of the magnitude they're planning.

Catacombs at Porter

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I suggest that Occupy Boston occupy the catacombs at Porter and hibernate for the winter

What does MBTA stand for?

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Maintenance Beyond Their Abilties
Money Being Thrown Away
Managed By Total Assholes
More Breakdowns Than Arrival
Make Believe Transit Authority


Nice expansion

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I like your expansions of the MBTA acronym! My favourites are the last 3.

I'm confused by one point here: Since the red line will be shut down on weekends until March, won't there be shuttle buses from Harvard to Alewife? Normally, when there is no service to an area by T, shuttle buses serve as substitutes The article mentions there won't be any weekend service on the RED LINE, north of Harvard, until March; but it doesn't say anything about not having bus service to transport people to those I'm confused why people are talking about driving and walking to areas north of Harvard.


There's at least five

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There's at least five references to buses in that article.

oh my god, I cannot BELIEVE

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oh my god, I cannot BELIEVE people sometimes. People complain about the T extending the Green Line, because "the T needs to fix its current infrastructure". Now the T is fixing its current infrastructure, and people are STILL complaining. Sheesh. I'm starting to think even if the T ran like the DC Metro, people would still complain about it (and folks, people in DC complain about the Metro far more than they do about the MBTA).

Lets clear up some facts here..

Q. Why doesn't the T do this at night when its "Closed"

A. Same reason why we don't have service at those hours... two words. OVER TIME. Lets see would you rather pay union construction folks double time in a half to work at 3am, or straight time on Saturdays and time and double time and a half on Sundays? (yes most unions require double time and a half on Sundays).

The other reason is just not enough time at night. Remember that last train rumbles through at 1:30 or so, and starts back up at 4:30. (remember, the train has to be returned to its layover spot in South Boston), it really only gives the T 2-3 hours to do work, which isnt even enough to get started. I mean which would you rather have, delays in the morning commute? or total shutdown on a weekend?

Q: Why does the MBTA have to do this now?

A. Construction sequencing. By doing this in the fall, its far better than doing it in the spring or summer. Believe it or not, doing this after Nov 1st actually HELPS businesses in the long run. As much as businesses in Davis Square will complain about this not being a good time, I think they'd also agree that doing this during the summer isn't the best time either. Go to Davis in January when its 10 below out, and then again in June when its 75 out. Tell me which time has more foot traffic? And tell me where that foot traffic comes from? Since its June, its not the local Tufts kids......

And in reality, which many complainers of the T don't seem to have, when *IS* the right time? If you did it in the Spring or Summer, people would still complain. I think this is the best time, so the work will be done by Spring Time, when everyone has cabin fever and is ready to get out in full force to sit at Diesel on a nice warm day with the doors open. I think this is the best time.

Q. Why is the T mismanaged?

A. I won't deny that they make some silly mistakes. However, I also look at who's asking and why? In this case, there's no mismanagement about it. This work needs to be done. But I've noticed that people complain that the T is miss-managed when people don't fully understand how things really work at the T. I'm not talking about siphoning off funds or something criminal, but I'm talking about the Green Line Expansion (there's a reason why they can't move the funds from that project into.. say.. new Red Line cars, and it has little to do with the T itself). OR pay raises @ the T (again, very little to do with the T itself, its more of a state issue).

As a rail fan, and someone who understands the construction process, AND understands how the T works in general, its rare that I have true complaints about the T and its 'miss management', but when I do, its a major complaint. And No I don't work for the T nor know anyone who does.


Night time closure is not about overtime

The official line is that the 'T can't run 24 hour service because it doesn't leave time for maintenance. If that is true, why do they need to close weekends for maintenance? As for the DC Metro, the only envy I have for that system is the large expansion program. I've had plenty experience of 20+ minute waits for trains that are on schedule. Say what people may about the 'T, but it has much better headways than that.


I kinda was..

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I kinda was talking about the unofficial reason. The T will never admit that paying workers an obnoxious amount of overtime every night is the real reason. People would be up and arms.

I mean look at the Night Owl. When that ran, you couldn't fit another person on those buses, yet the T says "it wasn't making enough money to support it". It also has been suggested that the T should have charged 5 bucks a ride for Night Owl so it was self-supported, yet they still won't.

So anyone wanna tell me again how much a T person makes overnight?


Exactly the problem

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When service runs the least, the work costs the most

That doesn't seem very condusive to getting work done in a timely and cost-effective fashion.

The 589 does a whole hell of a lot for T employees, but that hardly translates into a quality service for the riding public.

As the newspaper article

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As the newspaper article stated, because the track is set in concrete in this section, the repair work requires the concrete to cure before the trackage can be used. 3 hours at night is not enough time to do that, and even for a weekend shut-down, the article states that they will have to use a special mix of concrete the can cure in time or service to resume each Monday.

yeah, metro!

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Having lived in DC for a while but grown up in Boston, I'm confused now that I'm back why the MBTA is uncapable of single-tracking to get work done. WMATA does that all the time - it creates a hell of a delay, but at least keeps the system semi-functional when they've got huge work to do. Is there something about the T that makes that impossible?

Because of the way the third

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Because of the way the third rail and cross overs are layed out. As said in another posting (about the fire on the Red Line).

In order to do work on line, they have to kill the power to the third rail and I bet they can't shut it down as easily as they can on the Metro. Meaning I bet the Metro can shut it down at the station and only between one or two stations, but on the T, due to its age the power is on longer runs between more stations.

Then of course you need to have cross overs to switch the trains onto another track. Which every station doesn't have one.

T age not the issue here

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Harvard-Alewife is newer than the DC Metro ('84 versus '76).

If the T ran like the DC

If the T ran like the DC Metro, there would be even more reason to complain about it.

/Boston-to-DC transplant who misses the T dearly


Well, as a pedestrian I think

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Well, as a pedestrian I think it's safer to have an extra mile walk in the summer than when the sidewalks are iced over and there are piles of snow that force me out onto the street. Looking forward to February.

If you think shutting down

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If you think shutting down Harvard-Alewife for weekends is bad, wait until 2013, whn they will have to shut-down Kendall-Park St. for weekends for the Longfellow Bridge repair work

These are both reasons why

These are both reasons why GLX should have already happened by now, and the Union Square branch needs to go all the way to Porter (or even Alewife/Belmont). I'm hoping there will be some sort of Commuter Rail shuttle from a temporary Alewife platform, to Porter, to North Station.

The construction of the Green

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The construction of the Green Line extension will probably require weekend busing on the commuter rail between Porter and North Station to accomodate the construction.

And if the MBTA doesn't have money to maintain the existing system, where is the momey supposed to come from for expansion?

Repair what you have now before spending a dime for any new lines.

I rarely take issue with the

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I rarely take issue with the T in general other than the fact that it doesn't run 24 hours. I'm more than happy to hop on a shuttle bus between stations. It's been my experience so far that they manage those instances pretty efficiently and it doesn't really gob things up the way you'd think. The have buses waiting when they know a train has just come in and they've got more ready to go for the next one.

Repairs won't just magically happen, so I completely understand having to shut lines down at times that they are able to get the work done. I would just be interested to hear the valid reasoning why they can't run 24 hours and use the same shuttle system they'd be using for daytime repairs as nighttime repairs, especially since the window of time that they are officially closed is so short that it's almost silly.

I'd much rather pay for a ride on the T and avoid the frustration and expense of parking in Boston. I also think it would help alleviate some of the drunk drivers on the roads. I know some drunks will make a mess, but it's probably not much different than all the puking frat guy types I've seen on the train after a Sox game.

Grow up babies

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Some of us live with buses 365 days a year. You will live too.

And most people who deal with

And most people who deal with buses 365 days a year still wouldn't want to deal with a subway bustitution. The MBTA's bustitution history is pretty grim, but at least they have time to plan, here.

When shuttle buses are

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When shuttle buses are planned for scheduled construction work, they usually do a reasonable job getting enough buses. When shuttles are a response to an emergency, getting enough buses by pulling them from regular bus routes or having drivers work overtime shifts takes awhile.


Weekend Bus Only Lanes on Mass Ave

That's the only way this can even hope to work.

I'm getting the impression that some people never take the 96 bus on weekends. If you did, you might understand.

Now add scores more 96 buses and extra cars to the existing afternoon and early evening traffic festival because people will understandably feel that if they are going to be stuck, they should have their own space.

Bus lanes won't be much help

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Bus lanes won't be much help as long as the Porter Square traffic light only lets like 8 vehicles through on each green.

If Cambridge fixed it because of this project, then thousands of 77 bus riders would have a faster, more reliable commute.


idea too good for the MBTA

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Let me lay out the scenario:

Red line will be closed to Alewife on weekends for 4 months.
Alewife, on weekends, is used by suburban tourists and day trippers.
Said tourists and day trippers will not want to use a bus shuttle.

Thus, Alewife will be pretty damn empty during the weekends.

Alewife is pretty damn full on weekdays. As in, if you get there past 8am, no parking for you.
No parking = people driving into town.
Alewife was built to allow 2 more floors.
Building two more floors is disruptive and may result in the need for some full closures....

Like on weekends.

Best done on weekends when nobody is using the damn station anyway.

Conclusion: Add the final two floors, and do it during the same period that Alewife will have diminished ridership anyway.

OR, do it the Mass way and schedule one set of construction to begin as soon as the last one ends. Like deciding that a sewer needs works the day after a road is repaved.


By adding more parking at

By adding more parking at Alewife, you allow more sprawl to the northwest. It's like widening up a highway into the city, practically.

I disagree. People already

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I disagree. People already live in those northern cities and drive into town, right past the giant alewife. Add 2 floors, put a sign that says in real time how many spots are open, and you get people pulling over to ride.

Also, its not like Lexington, Burlington etc are or will ever approve a significant amount of new housing.


Alewife does have a real-time

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Alewife does have a real-time parking status sign.

But it's maintained by the T, so it always says "Parking U| L".

it'll never happen

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Adding 2 more floors to will never happen. There's a reason why they haven't been added in the 25 years that Alewife has been built.

Alewife is built on a swamp and is slowly sinking into the ground. Adding anymore weight to that parking garage will just amplify the sinking process.

I know they are trying to overcome this problem so they can add more parking but it seems like a waste.


I believe the city of

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I believe the city of Cambridge is also against adding more parking at Alewife, as those car drivers from Belmont, Lexington, Arlington, etc would bring more pollution to Cambridge. The bus routes from Bedford and Lexington to Alewife have become very crowded in the rush-hours over the last few years, suburbanites will take a feeder bus to a rapid transit station if parking is expensive enough and/or in short supply.

Alewife garage expansion issues

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Do you have a cite about the Alewife garage sinking?

There's no point to adding more parking until they fix the terrible stupidity at the Route 2 traffic light. It can take more than 45 minutes to get out of the garage and onto Route 2 in the afternoon rush -- some thanks people get for taking public transportation.

2 week shutdown and get it done.

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Or we could try something even more interesting...and shut it down entirely, weekdays and weekends for 2 weeks and get the whole damn thing done in one round-the-clock operation. The amount saved on mobilization and demobilization costs alone is a strong argument for this approach - combined with the fact that people would be inconvenienced for 2 weeks instead of weekends for months.

Almost certainly August would have been the best time for this, but if it must be done in the next 4 months, I would suggest the period beginning on 12/26 (yes, I know, "but what about people drinking on NYE?" - really? ).

If the T is in such dire financial condition, and we're all so mad about it, then let's save millions of dollars and do it this way. Weekday ridership between Christmas and New Years from Alewife must be half or less of the normal ridership (so many of the parkers will be home with kids on break), and school will be out for the college kids (and faculty) going into Harvard and points south from Porter and Davis.

Will it be a great two weeks? Absolutely not, but if we're the stoical Yankees that we like to believe we are and this can't wait until August, starting 12/26 is the time to do it. Let's get 'er done then.

They don't have enough extra

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They don't have enough extra buses on hand to shut it down during a weekday.


Two weeks in January, Maybe ...

Several large universities have no students in town in the beginning of January - it just might be the best shot.

HOWEVER, unless they are going to make one lane of Mass Ave into a Bus Express lane each way (Like, Dublin or many US cities without much rail or subway service do everyday all the time ...), the service is going to be a joke - even during the weekend shutdowns. Ever take the 96 bus when it isn't the summer?


38 months? That's more than 3

38 months? That's more than 3 years. The last I heard was one year, and not every weekend. But overall, random weekend shutdowns north of Community College dispersed over a year's time.

And except for Malden, and mayyyybe Wellington, this will not have very much weekend life impact. There's no hopping squares like Davis around.

I know its a bit rumorous and dramatic

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Maybe you heard something more recently than me. I want to say I heard it from my friends the day of the fall pick, so maybe last June or July.

I can't even imagine how it would take over 3 years. Like I said previously, all I know is that they were laying out 38 months of "run as directed" shuttle work. I also don't know for sure if it's all for the same project. It could be for other planned bustitution.

I'm sure we'll be hearing out more as the time approaches.