As officials prepare to break ground on Green Line extension, existing line crawls to a halt

Becca Westelman tweets it took her Green Line trolley 35 minutes to get from Park Street to Arlington this morning.

At 1:30 this afternoon, city and state officials gather in Somerville to ceremonially dig the first shovel of dirt for the first phase of the long fabled Green Line extension north from Lechmere.



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I know this has been said

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I know this has been said ad-nauseum, but it's a) ridiculous that it took this long to get started and b) that it will take 6 more years to finish! Is there really no way to get this thing rolling faster?

Poor choice of words...

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"Rolling faster" is an antonym phrase to "Green line"

No way that would make anyone happy

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We could take a lesson from the Chinese and (a) prevent any sort of community input, (b) do away with any sort of environmental impact studies, and (c) elimate all OSHA laws regulating the safety of the people who do the construction (and preferably replace them with legions of unskilled rural peasants who can be disposed of as they are dismembered by heavy equipment and live in shanties made of scrap construction materials by the side of the track at night). We live in a developed country. Things take a long time when you do them right.


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The Big Dig took "a long time" and I think we all agree it WASN'T done right.

BTW, that Madrid rail extension project is impressive.
Madrid: $2.7 billion euro to build 74 km (or 46 miles) of track and build 39 new stations.

MBTA: $1.3 billion dollars to rehabilitate 3 miles of track and build 7 new stations?

Those statistics show how terribly inefficient we are compared to the rest of the world, even compared to Europe's world-class cities.

You think those numbers are comparable?

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First off, $2.7 billion euro is $3.5 billion dollars. Second, the Spanish economy is in the shitter, and their per capita GDP is about 55% of ours. ($25k to $44k)

Using that as a napkin calculation to extrapolate costs, their project would cost $6.2 billion US, or about 5x as much as the MBTA project. That gets us to 35 stations, and the track length simply isn't as big an investment as the stations are.

The construction contract

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The construction contract that has been awarded is just to tear down an old MBTA garage for RIDE vans (21 Water St.) that is on the spot where the new Lechmere station is planned to go; and to rehab a couple of commuter rail bridges that will enventually be used by the Green Line. Yeah, its stuff that has to be done to accomodate the extension, but its pretty small potatos compared to the entire project, and they still don't have money lined up yet to do much beyond this. Its a start, but don't get too excited yet.

21 Water Street?

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The green line on that map appears to go directly through several apartment buildings that front the McGrath O'Brien Highway. Does anyone know whether they are actually raising those buildings, or is the line really supposed to go behind them?


If you're looking at it via satellite view, and in the 45-degree mode, it looks like it's going through those buildings. Zoom out to overhead view and you'll see the tracks will go behind them.

FIX the damn problems with

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FIX the damn problems with the SLOW trains. That should be issue #1. When I was a kid [not that long ago], trains a donkey cart goes faster. Greenline streetcars moved like bats out of hell in the tunnels. Is it all to do with signals? Seriously, WTF is up with that?! And it's not just the greenline streetcars, it's the 3 heavy rail lines, too. Are MBTA lawyers demanding trains go as SLOW as possible to avoid liability of some kind? It's ridiculous. People using our 'rapid transit' a generation ago, a half century ago, had MUCH FASTER service than in the second decade of the 21st century!


Just to clarify, the extension is going to be built with the latest and greatest standards for light rail signaling and what not, correct? There isn't going to be some gerry-rigged system to maintain interoperability with the century old systems in the tunnels, right? In my mind, new-Lechmere and NW will have new technologies that will quickly /s slowly creep back towards Science Park and beyond, modernizing the green line.