State wants to drive stake through heart of undead connector between Red and Blue lines

In addition to announcing more delays in the Green Line extension, the state Department of Transportation wants to make sure the dormant proposal to extend the Blue Line to Charles/MGH stays dead.

In a filing with state environmental officials, MassDOT says spending another $49 million to study finishing what is now a $748 million project it has no intentions to build is pretty damn stupid, so it wants to be released from any obligations to do more studies.

As a matter of policy, MassDOT believes that it is irresponsible to spend precious public funds to design and permit transportation projects for which there are no identified construction funds, particularly given the need to continually refresh planning and permitting materials for major projects. To pursue final design of the Red Line/Blue Line Connector project at this point would be to squander resources that could otherwise be spent on projects for which construction funds are already committed.

Therefore, MassDOT is initiating a process to amend the [State Implementation Plan] to permanently and completely remove the obligation to perform final design of the Red Line/Blue Line Connector.



    Free tagging: 


    Build the Red Line Blue Line Connector!

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    This is a worthy project that should be built. Connecting the Red and the Blue Line would make the whole MBTA subway system work better. It would increase system capacity since people would not have to change twice to get from Red to the Blue. It is very expensive and could cause neighborhood disruption but in the end I think it would be a very worthwhile project.


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    The state will have no problem blowing $1.5 - $2 billion to serve 1,300 daily riders with yet another commuter rail extension.

    The Red / Blue connector would take thousands of riders a day out of Government Center and Park St. Green and Red line trains would have much more free space than they do now.

    But hey... gotta throw some suburbanites a bone.. again, huh?

    Suburbanites generally don't

    Suburbanites generally don't want urban rapid transit extensions. I suspect the extension was a top-down decision.

    Support for red-blue connection?

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    Is a red-blue connection really the best thing for the T? I haven't seen any ridership projections for such a connection, nor have I seen any projections for how many passengers it would take out of the other downtown stations.

    My personal suspicion is that there aren't all that many people who need to change between the red and blue lines, especially since the silver line opened up to the airport. But I'd really like to see some statistics to back up these assertions -- not to mention a discussion of how the state would fund such a construction project, and a look at how we could build a large underground enclosure so close to the river without severe leaks.

    How about instead building a

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    How about instead building a pedestrian tunnel beteen State and Downtown Crossing through a portion of Marshall's basement? Even if the store wants a lot to give up part of its basement, its got to still be much cheaper than the proposed Governent Center-Charles tunnel.

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    State's own Red-Blue fact sheet says 12,000 more boardings at Charles MGH (entrances, not transfers) than today and 5600 daily transfers between Red and Blue Lines.

    The MPO projections (p.29) have it increasing subway ridership by 6500 new boardings per day and increasing total transit ridership (i.e. people who are not taking public transit at all) by 2800 per day. Most of that realized by making the under-utilized Blue Line more attractive for park-and-riders on the North Shore. And by de-clogging Park St. and Downtown Crossing dwell times with fewer double-transfer passengers and better spread of the ridership away from those pinch points to support more total boardings end-to-end.

    It's a very, very significant project. The numbers aren't worlds of difference less than the Green Line extension, and really only Blue Line to Lynn* has a bigger total ridership infusion. And Lynn's pretty much contingent on getting Red-Blue connected to fully realize that potential (*if the state weren't such deadbeats on that one it's been promising for SEVENTY years).

    Really, when you look at what some of the actual (not PR-inflated) numbers are for South Coast Rail and how much lower they are than this, you wonder what criminal enterprise is being run out of the state house with them continuing to prioritize that $1B-and-counting vat of FAIL over things like this.

    The draft environmental

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    The draft environmental impact study from the MassDot Red/Blue conenctor page suggests more moderate impacts from this project, at least as far as reducing congestion on the Red Line
    On page 3-29, it shows year 2030 Red Line boardings at Park St. (including Green Line transfers) going from 39,580 to 35,040 if the Red/Blue connector is built, a reduction of 4,540 (11%). There is only a 360 person reduction assumed for Downtown Crossing station.

    The numbers are described as follows:
    These data indicate that daily boardings at Charles/ MGH Station would increase under both Build Alternatives for both the Red Line and the Blue Line as compared to the No-Build Alternative. Bowdoin Station would be eliminated under Alternative 1, so all boardings there would be lost; it is assumed that the majority of those riders would board the Blue Line at either Charles/ MGH or Government Center Stations. Substantive changes in daily boardings would be observed at Park Street Station for the Red Line and Government Center Station for the Blue Line, where these two lines intersect the Green Line. Less substantive changes would be realized at the Downtown Crossing and State Stations, where these two lines intersect the Orange Line. As compared to the No -Build Alternative, between 4,350 and 4,540 fewer riders would board the Red Line at Park Street Station each day. Similarly, between 4,620 and 5,160 fewer riders would board the Blue Line at Government Center Station each day. These reductions would be realized because transfers at these stations to the Green or Orange Lines would not be necessary when the Red Line and Blue Line are connected. Congestion at these stations would be reduced by approximately 11 and 27 percent, respectively. Slightly increased boardings at State Station may result from Orange Line riders transferring to the Blue Line at this location to access medical facilities near Charles/ MGH Station rather than transferring to the Red Line at Downtown Crossing Station (where slightly decreased boardings would be observed) for this purpose.

    My personal suspicion is that

    By on

    My personal suspicion is that there aren't all that many people who need to change between the red and blue lines, especially since the silver line opened up to the airport.

    You just echoed my sentiments. One of the major arguments for the red/blue line connector is easier access to the airport. But as you pointed out red line commuters can access the silver line at South Station. Also SS is accessible to the commuter rails. Other than that, even tough I don't have statistics in front of my it's quite obvious that most blue line (and other lines) commuters travel to work at DTX or the Financial district. I mean it's not like most people in Cambridge would have a need to go to East Boston or Revere.

    There are a lot of jobs in

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    There are a lot of jobs in Cambridge.

    However, I think it would be a much better use of the hundreds of millions of dollars to run more frequent Blue Line service off peak. Sitting around waiting 10 or 15 minutes for the Blue Line wastes more time on a Cambridge-East Boston trip than the extra Green Line hop.

    Don't worry, there will never

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    Don't worry, there will never be enough money to actually build the New Bedford/Fall River lines, just enough for studies and the occasional bridge repair to keep the mayors of "suburban" New Bedford and Fall River and their voters in the Democratic camp.

    Why are studies so

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    Why are studies so expensive?

    This isn't even a new study -- it's just updating all the previous studies.

    How much did it cost to build the entire original Red or Blue Lines, in 2011 dollars? I suspect it isn't much more than $49 million.