Blue Line switches refuse to switch, riders sigh, their life's a bitch

State Street crowding

Tim Lawrence shows us the scene at State Street around 5:20 p.m., where trains are being slowed by recalcitrant switches.

Oh, and by the way: Government Center shuts for two years this week.

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Just try to tell that to the

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Just try to tell that to the woman wearing headphones that RAMMED her way into me on my ride home tonight all while yelling COMMEN THROUGH! COMMMENNNNNNN THRAW!

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One of these days, you're

One of these days, you're going to run out of ideas, Adam, and you will be forced to use the headline "_____ Line just fucking sucks" and at this rate, that day might be soon.

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Better get used to it...

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State Street is going to look like that every single day when Government Center shuts down this week. Where do you think the people who would have been at Government Center are gonna go? Even though more people will start using Bowdoin, it's still not going to alleviate massive, massive overcrowding at State. There's just no way around it.

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Yeah, unlikely

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Back when I was working at One Beacon I'd get off at Park on the way in, then Government for the trip home because my building was equi-distant between the two, and my line (the B) originated at Park, thus making it more likely I'd get a seat. Given how close the Green-line stations are down town, I bet those who usually got on at Government will fairly evenly divide themselves amongst other stations. Blue-line riders are a little more hosed. I doubt many were getting on at Government and taking it to Park to then change to the Orange-line rather than just walking half a block to State.

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It's the connections that worry me

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I'm not worried about the people who have destinations around Gov't Center, I'm worried about the people connecting between the Blue and the Green line, as well as the Blue and Red Lines via Green.

Bluebook 2010 indicates that over 12,000 people connect between Blue and Green Lines on a weekday. And that estimate dates back from 2003. So I can only imagine it's gone up since then. In contrast, AFC counts from 2009 say that users of Gov't Center itself only number about 10,000. So there's more people making the connection underground than entering from the surface.

I am very curious to see how those 12,000+ people redistribute themselves over the course of the following year. One thing I think they ought to do is run some kind of shuttle bus from Maverick to a station on the Red Line, and see if that helps. But maybe they are scared to do it because it might be so popular that people will demand it be made permanent!

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Just Two More Days And Government Center Station Closes Forever!

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Since I do the Blue-Green-Red connection via Government Center and Park Street, this will directly affect me. I think the fastest alternative will be to ride to Bowdoin and then walk down to the Charles/MGH station. Getting out at State and walking to Park is another alternative. The Orange Line from State to Downtown Crossing is so crowded and unpleasant that only in the most inclement weather would that be an appealing option.

It'd be nice if after (and/or before) circling the Logan terminals, the Silver Line busses would stop at the Blue Line's Airport station before heading through the Frozen Head tunnel to South Station. I might try taking a Massport shuttle (or walking) from the Blue Line to catch a Silver Line bus at the airport, but I'm not expecting that would save any time for me. (though it might be a viable option for passengers heading south on the Red Line)

Another option is taking the Orange Line from State to North Station and catching an EZ-Ride bus to Cambridge. That would also be time consuming; and the EZ-Ride's schedule is limited; but it could be more convenient, possibly when the Red Line is having issues.

I'm also thinking about taking a bike in on the Blue Line to Bowdoin, and riding across the Longfellow Bridge to Cambridge, or maybe just leaving another bike somewhere near Bowdoin just to use for going back and forth to Cambridge. I'm a little apprehensive about riding in the heart of the city, although with the current vehicular lane closings on the Longfellow Bridge, it appears to be a bit safer for bicycles than it was in the past.

If anyone is biking across the Longfellow Bridge on a regular basis, it would be great to hear a report of what it's like these days, particularly if your route continues up Cambridge Street to Bowdoin Square.

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Longfellow biking

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Not sure about Cambridge Street, but I do know that the Longfellow is friendlier to bikes than it's ever been in the past, and sees heavy volume of bikes. So you might want to consider that plan.

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Re: Cambridge St

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If you go at the major commute times, car traffic isn't going appreciably faster than a bicycle is, so I'd say it's quite safe. (Although I go in the reverse direction.) I don't go that way too regularly, but I did today and felt substantially safer than I do taking the Mass Ave bridge.

I assume Hubway will be opening up soon, so that's another option for between-station bicycle usage.

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The Longfellow sees heavy

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The Longfellow sees heavy bike traffic and with the construction, there's actually fairly wide bike lanes. Eastbound to Boston is a regular bike lane, westbound to Cambridge is actually a buffered bike lane, which is nice.

I commute up Cambridge St until hanging a left at New Sudbury St. In the morning (~8:15am), it's really not too bad. Cambridge St's travel lanes aren't particularly wide and there isn't a shoulder because of street parking, but between a general lack of car volume going eastbound at that hour and the presence of numerous delivery trucks & cyclists in the right lane, it's effectively a one-lane road. The car volume is low enough, at least when I bike on Cambridge, that this isn't a problem.

Westbound on Cambridge St in the evening is much busier. Traffic is much heavier, but slow due to all the lights and general congestion. It backs up from the entrance to Storrow, often all the way to Staniford St. It's tight, but the low speeds of the cars sitting in traffic mean that it's not too bad. Make sure you inch ahead of the crosswalk at MGH to give yourself a head start (bearing left onto the bridge) on all the cars (bearing right into the Storrow entrance). If there was ever a place for a bike box....

Smooth sailing on the Cambridge side of the bridge in both directions.

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Just One More Day And Government Center Station Closes Forever!

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Thank you for all that information about the Longfellow crossing!

Since it was such a nice day, I mustered my courage and gave it a try, coming in on the Blue Line to Bowdoin about 2:30. Biking down Cambridge Street had quite a bit of traffic and as I got towards Charles Circle, cars and trucks were blocking the lanes very tightly. At that point, I just walked my bike across the circle to the Longfellow approach.

The buffered bike lane into Cambridge was definitely the best part of the trip! It was really nice to not worry about traffic coming up from behind. On the other side of the Longfellow, I took the ramp down to First Street, hoping to go down Memorial Drive to Ames Street, and bypass Kendall Square. Unfortunately, construction workers had the pathway under the bridge closed off, and I didn't want to ride in Memorial Drive there, so went back up to Main Street again. After crossing the "Hissing Ball of Death" plaza, I used the sidewalk from there to Albany Street.

I began my return trip around 6:30; after the Blue Line rush hour bike restriction, but before it got dark. This time, I used the bike lane all the way down Main Street, from Vassar Street to across the Longfellow. The stretch of Main Street adjacent to the Red Line portal structure is in awful condition! The surface has a lot of bumps and patches, and there's also lots of loose gravel. They really ought to send a Pelican through once in a while to sweep it up.

Once past that, the bike lane across the Longfellow to Boston was very pleasant. It was actually rather interesting to be in a place on the bridge I'd never been before, especially with Red Line trains passing just inches away!

As I coasted down the other side, Charles Circle seemed a little too daunting, so I moved to the sidewalk on the left side, assured by the friendly policeman standing there that it was safe to cross. Biking up the sidewalk of Cambridge Street to Bowdoin was slightly annoying; most of the way, I could go no faster than a walking pace, so as to avoid bothering pedestrians. Perhaps I'll get more comfortable with riding in the street after I do it a few more times.

Today's commute showed this to be a viable option; it took no longer if than had I made perfect Blue-Green-Red connections, and was faster than when there's a wait for the Green and/or Red Lines. I don't think I'll want to do it every day however, and probably not in bad weather. After tomorrow, Government Center station will be closed forever, so I expect to experiment with the myriad of alternate routes to get from from Wonderland to Cambridge.

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Forever

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After tomorrow, Government Center station will be closed forever

Did I miss a memo? Is the end of time coming up prior to Spring 2016?

The number of people that

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The number of people that transfer between the Blue Line and Green Line at Government Center each day (12,000 each way, 24,000 total) is greater than the number of people beginning their trips at Government Center (about 11,000). With the Blue Line and Green Line no longer connecting, most of those 12,000 people transferring from Green to Blue come Monday will either walk from Park St. to State, or get off the Orange Line coming from the south at State, or get off of the Orange Line coming from Haymarket at State (the MBTA's recommended route). No matter which of the three alternatives, they all lead to 12,000 more Blue Line riders boarding at State. As a comparison, the number of people that presently transfer from the Orange Line to the Blue Line each day at State is about 8,000 and the number of people that enter State St.station from the street to get the Blue Line is about 5,000 So the number of people boarding the Blue Line each day at State is going to almost double come Monday, and it won't take much of a delay to cause more scenes like we saw today.

Data source, MBTA "Blue Book": Ch2, page 04
http://www.mbta.com/uploadedfiles/documents/Bluebook%202010.pdf

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Finally home. My commute took

Finally home. My commute took 2 hours. I left work early in Downtown Crossing at 4:45 today.

*Walk to State BL* - Overflowing platform/Severe delays (see above photo)
*Ok, I'll go to Haymarket and take 111*
*Walk down to OL platform at State* - Severe OL delays/trains full
*Walk to Haymarket* *board already packed more-than-usual 111 because other people had the same idea as me (overheard several people)*
*Arrive Bellingham Square. Wait for 116 or 117.* - 116/117 severely delayed
*wait 30 minutes until a 117 arrives* (I actually watched a 116 en route to Wonderland disappear off the Boston Bus Tracker about 15 minutes in. It just vanished suddenly)

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Seems like the shit all hit

Seems like the shit all hit the fan at once today for the Blue and Orange lines--there was a medical emergency around 4:25 or so on the OL. I have a bad feeling about next week, but trying to be optimistic (maybe too much so given that it is the T!) that after the first few weeks it won't be as hectic as people try different routes, add extra time to their commutes, etc.

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Guess that explains the packed 4xx buses

I guess this explains why the 5:45 426 bus was crammed to capacity. Usually every seat is full with just a couple people standing. But it was like a 66 bus, today! People were asking the driver where the bus went, etc, so I guess people were seeking alternatives!

Ride a bike

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The green line from Allston used to make me an hour late, every single day.
Give up on the MBTA and ride a bike.

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This isn't really an option

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This isn't really an option for most Blue Line riders traveling from East Boston or Revere to downtown and beyond. The only bike route from Eastie to the rest of Boston is a hellish roundabout trip through Chelsea, Everett's industrial section, down Rt 99 over the Alford St bridge into Sullivan Square and then through Charlestown to either the Charlestown or Charles River Dam bridges.

I've never biked this route myself, but having driven through Beacham St in Everett, I can tell you that it's the worst quality road in the Boston area that I've seen so far, beating out 2nd St in Everett, Trapelo Rd in Belmont, and Beacon St in Somerville (I'm sure there are others). It looks like it was bombed in WWII and was never repaired. Navigating through Sullivan isn't a particularly enticing prospect either.

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I've biked it. It's not a practical suggestion

I've biked this route on occasion, to get from Somerville to some event I wanted to attend in Chelsea or East Boston. It's an adventure trip, not something anyone should even think of doing daily. If anything, JDH understates the awfulness of that road's pavement condition. Any repairs would not last long because the constant truck traffic would beat it to bits quickly. You'll want sturdy tires and good lights at night. My bike's headset came loose from too many trips on this route a few months ago.

Besides Beacham Sttreet, you also have to deal with the Chelsea Street or Meridian Street drawbridge, which could cause additional delay. The Meridian Street bridge in particular is another serious hazard, with expansion joints so big that could eat your tires or throw you off your bike, plus a steel grating deck surface that I would not want to ride during or right after a rainstorm.

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"Any repairs would not last

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"Any repairs would not last long because the constant truck traffic would beat it to bits quickly."

Plenty of roads in the industrialized world have constant truck traffic. If the roads are maintained by competent authorities, they're designed to take the load. But Everett is incompetent.

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Designed To Be A Minefield Of Speed Bumps

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The real reason Beachham Street is in a constant state of disrepair is to discourage drivers from using it to avoid paying tolls on the Tobin Bridge, or the Sumner and Frozen Head Tunnels.

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I rode the green line from

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I rode the green line from Allston and while it was god awfully slow near BU and often ran into problems there's no way it was an hour late every day. And if you were an hour late every single day why didn't you start leaving an hour ahead of time?

What I'm saying is you're lying. I don't know why you're exaggerating but there's no reason to. The t sucks plenty even when you're 100% truthful.

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Leaving earlier because

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Leaving earlier because stupid Green Line delays always make you late for work only means you're wasting your home life instead of your work time.

That's why they gave up on the Green Line and started biking.

Hmm...

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Was it a switch in the Bowdoin Loop that bit the dust? If so, why not cross trains at Gov't Center? You would likely only need a one bus shuttle for folks at Bowdoin Station. Likewise, it seems unlikely a switching screw up at Wonderland would lead to cascading delays down the line; there's no shortage of crossovers up there.

The switches and (more

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The switches and (more importantly) signals were down at Orient Heights. They had to operate a "manual block" (no signals, trains move by verbal command from dispatcher) around the impacted section and that slowed everything down. .