One last look

Government Center MBTA station

Paul Nutting provides a last glimpse of the Government Center T stop before it shuts tomorrow for two years of renovation work that will transform the1960s bomb shelter into a sleek glass paean to modern transportation - but one without popcorn.

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So now the blue line will

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So now the blue line will only connect to one of the 4 other lines (if you count the silver bus line). The blue line serves more than the airport and its crazy that the state could redo the central artery without every shutting it down but cant give this station a facelift without shutting down for 2 years! Why arent they making a pedestrian tunnel between Park St. and State street so the green line riders (and red line) could at least transfer.

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Kicking the can down the road

The Red-Blue Connector should not only still be in the plans, but should have been done before this project ever took place. It's amazing how the costs bloated and they dropped the project, but the cost of roads and commuter rail expansions bloat to even more obscene levels and the state just swallows it.

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NIMBY

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Sure I agree that it needs to be done.

But we know why R/B will never happen because of the beacon hill nimby's ... they'll fight it tooth and nail every step of the way.

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My bad, he tried to but CLF

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My bad, he tried to but CLF sued and won. The state hasn't done much since but I guess technically he kicked the can down the road, but wasnt able to kill it.
However, under the Romney administration the state tried to renege on the commitment the state made to Eastie for its support of the Big Dig. The commitment to extend the Blue Line to the Charles/MGH stop on the Red Line was all but abandoned by former Governor Mitt Romney until the Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) sued the state.
http://www.eastietimes.com/2012/09/20/redblue-line-connector-still-up-fo...

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Yes, Correct

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I agree nothing had been done, but it hasn't totally been scrapped.

And even my original comment is half correct. Its correct because I know many years ago people on beacon hill complained because they worried about blasting from the tunnel boring that would need to be done. It has nothing to do with people itself, more they are worried about damage and noise from the project itself.

As far as it getting done, like the article I posted said, its more of a place holder because the state just does not have the $ to build it, and I think opposition from the residents of beacon hill combined with the money woes is just enough for the state not to pursue it.

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Keep burning that straw man

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Keep burning that straw man and pay no attention to the (D)ominated legislature.

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From what I know, there are

From what I know, there are many residents of Beacon Hill who are adamantly opposed to a red-blue connection over there. I've heard all kinds of reasoning, but I think it boils down to the fact that some people don't want the residents of East Boston and beyond to have easy access to their neighborhood.

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Silly Beacon Hill

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Because the people of East Boston are so much worse than the people from the southern branch of the Red Line.

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Riff raff

but I think it boils down to the fact that some people don't want the residents of East Boston and beyond to have easy access to their neighborhood.

Kinda like why Weston voted down the bike path going thru town, not wanting to deal with unsavory bike riders.

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Blocking stunts are common

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with rich asshole towns.

Waltham is working on its part of that bikeway. I walked and video clipped it from where it parts from the Fitchburg Line near the Belmont border until it hits the gravel pit fence near 128.

I plan to walk the Weston section soon as it will be of interest to my G+ rail fan and bicycle planner constituents.

Dover is doing a similar cock block of the Bay Colony bikeway project which is underway in Needham and could go all the way to Medfield.

I don't believe they can actually prevent a bikeway in either place.

It's just that the creation of a bikeway usually involves cost sharing among the towns along the route.

One interesting thing I noticed in my Bay Circuit work is that the wealthy towns that approve of the trail ended up holding value over the recession, evidently because quality open space elements are desirable.

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Oh, they certainly can

I don't believe they can actually prevent a bikeway in either place.

Weston certainly did refuse the rail trail - read here.

Excerpt:

By a vote of 698 to 410, residents declined to authorize the Board of Selectmen to enter into an agreement with the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, owner of the railroad right-of-way.

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That just means they won't participate in paying a dime.

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But Mass DOT owns the right of way and If they decide to run rail through it there is nothing Weston can do.

The current arrangement for bikeway creation involves setting up consortia where towns and cities do the heavy lifting and they lease the right of way from DOT.

So yeah, that 3 mile segment will be up in the air for a while but the whole thing is over 100 miles long and there are a few sections done already in Northampton, out near Wachusett and from Brighton St in Belmont to Lowell st in Somerville where it will be incorporated into a T stop for the Green Line Extension.

And then another section is part of the Bay Circuit in Sudbury along route 20.

What Weston can not do is make that old rail line go away and revert its portions to the original lots it was taken from.

And as long as it exists as a right of way, it exists as a potential road, railroad or bikeway.

The Commonwealth just isn't ready to pay for the whole thing ...yet.

I can't wait to get out and walk it with a camera. It'll piss Weston people off.. Bonus!.

The Waltham sections are interesting as no one has formally claimed the project but it appears to be DCR. They do claim the section out in Nothampton.

Cambridge and Somerville built their parts out with assist from the state and they are intensively used already.

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What the state should do...

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Is build it, but fence its entire length through Weston so that its residents can't access the path without going to a neighboring town.

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Where the rail line goes through Weston

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Do you know what part of Weston the rail line goes through?
Does part of it go near the town center?
I'd assumed that if the trail didn't go through, bikes would just go
through Weston anyway until the next available part of the trail.

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It was originally called

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the Central Massachusetts Railroad as a general use term and wants to be the Massachusetts Central Rail Trail.

You can trace it on google maps satellite setting as it runs along the southern edge of Prospect Park in Waltham.

After a bit of encroachment it crosses 128 as that old rail bridge you see near Rt 20 exit.

It enters Weston just beyond 201 Jones rd in Waltham where it becomes a power line easement through Weston. That is what's funny. It already is a butt ugly power line corridor.

And that makes it an allowable de facto or vernacular trail due to a ruling that released power line companies from injury claim damages from idiots using their power corridors for dirt bike trails.

But there is still old rail there. Like I said, I can't wait to hit it, may be as soon as next week or early April.

It then continues through 3 or so miles due west through Norquistburg before meeting kinder gentler Wayland where it becomes part of the Bay Circuit briefly through Sudbury before heading off to its other end in Northampton.

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Thanks for the additional info.

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Thanks for all that info. I'm familiar with the part of the
trail that (I hope) will eventually go through Waltham.
I think someone or some group has been clearing out/cleaning
up parts of it on their own.
IIRC correctly, part of Weston's anti-trail stance had to do with the taking
of conservation land for the MWRA storage facility, one side of
which you can see along the Mass Pike as you head East towards the
Rt. 128/95 interchange. The case went to the MA Supreme Court and
they ruled against Weston which caused bad feelings by some residents.
If you are also are a mountain biker, check out Cat Rock Park. There are some
unmarked parking spaces on Lexington St. in Weston and the trail starts across
the street.

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I looked up some more details.

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The information is in minutes of a Wayland Town meeting. The section is being called the Wayside Rail Trail and that would be your search query.

They are ready to remove rails and make a simple crushed rock surface trail.

I get a sense that high quality heavy steel rail has significant scrap value.

The parts of the rail bed that pass through Weston have been an informal, 'vernacular', trail for a while.

The Waltham part does seem to be DCR work. The initial parting spot along Beaver Brook is the least prepared.

Here's a sort of compilation piece for the Waltham facet.

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Can you cite the source of

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Can you cite the source of the Beacon Hill opposition? The Blue line already goes to Beacon Hill, at Bowdoin, so that doesn't really make sense that they are trying to block people from East Boston and Revere from getting there.

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No Bowdoin in the PM

I have no idea if the Beacon Hill opposition is a valid point or not but I've always wondered why the Blue Line only used Bowdoin during the day during the week. No other stop on the MBTA subway/trolly system isn't used after hours like like that as far as I can tell.

I know it will be open whenever the trains are running now that Goverment center is closed so I'm wondering if they go back to the old hours in 2+ years when the new station opens -- seems stupid to block out a stop downtown.

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Limited hours for Bowdoin station

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were started as part of many other "penny wise-pound foolish' cost-cutting policies of the Jim Kersaiotes era, and had nothing to do with any sort of Beacon Hill neighborhood opposition (if such opposition even legitimately exists).

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one other problem with Bowdoin station

It can't accommodate six car trains, and because of the turning loop, the platform can't be lengthened. IMO they ought to do with Bowdoin what the NYCMTA does at South Ferry, and open the doors on the front cars only. Optionally, open the doors between cars so passengers in the rear two cars can exit.

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It's Not A Problem, But Heads Up When Getting On At State

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The arrival platform at Bowdoin accommodates all six cars, so everyone can exit the train. The departure platform accommodates only four cars, but that's plenty for the passengers entering there.

Now, heads up if you're getting on at State Street, those first two cars will always arrive empty! Go up to the far end of the platform during busy times to ride in a less crowded car.

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How about a Red/Blue

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How about a Red/Blue connector at Charles/MGH?

Nah, state needs to money to repair a redundant highway like McGrath or build another billion dollar south shore commuter rail line to nowhere.

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$$$$$

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so many things wrong with this post.

First off, if you've been paying attention, shutting down Gov't Center will SPEED UP the construction by a lot (I thin it was 2 years), because construction does not have to work around passengers. Science Park opened EARLY because the entire station (and line to Lechmere) was shut down. Same with the tunnel closure recently, and the "Fast 15" project on 93. The state has started to embrace new construction and project management techniques, this is one of them.

If the state did NOT close the station, it could be 3,4,5 years or more. Delays WOULD happen because of a more complicated sequence, which would delay this even more.

Secondly, the CA/T project put a highway UNDER the old elevated expressway. They did not rebuild the existing elevated expressway. This is part of the reason why 93 wasn't shutdown totally for 10-15 years (outside of it just being stupid to do). When you weigh both projects, shutting down Gov't Center for 2 years is a cake walk compared to having an entire highway thru downtown shut down for 10+ years. (along side a big regional impact that would extend from Rhode Island to New Hampshire)

Third, a pedestrian tunnel. are you for real? I think the state and the MBTA have far bigger and better things to spend $$ on than a pedestrian tunnel from two locations that would be IMPOSSIBLE to connect. State to Park as a lot of buildings/sewer/etc in between them, it would be like a Mini Big Dig if this were to happen, cost a lot of money, and serve very few passengers.

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The current Red Line option works fine for me.

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I just run Central to Downtown and take the Orange to State.

Yeah ,it's inelegant and inconvenient but then, I rarely have to deal with rush hour.

It will probably be a handful for green to blue but there is a walkway tunnel between Park and Downtown so further expensive walkway tunnel wheel reinvention is probably moot.

The core of downtown Boston is pretty small and walkable.

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Correct

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its so small.

The reason why the walkway between Downtown Crossing and Park Street exists is because when that section of red line was originally built in 1912, the upper level was suppose to be an express track. It was never used and abandoned until the early 1980s when it was made into a pedestrian tunnel.

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False

There is no evidence that the Winter St or Summer St concourses were ever intended to have tracks. I've seen posts that claim both Green and Red line tracks were to go down it. There's no supporting evidence, and this would make no sense whatsoever, unless the Orange Line was placed two levels down, below the Red Line.

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maybe

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But there's no evidence to prove that there was no intent of tracks either. Why else would you build a tunnel that runs from Park Street to South Station above the red line if not for anything else except rail?

If you look at the way the tunnel(s) are constructed (in terms of shape and size) it mirrors the same way the red line tunnel below was constructed. Sure it doesn't make sense to us in 2014, also we know a lot more about transit construction and design than we did in 1912. Maybe they thought they could have lines cross in that manner. There's a lot of things on the T that just do not make any sense to us in 2014, but probably did in 1912.

I'm almost 100% positive it was for an express track. I will find out/remember where I heard this from.

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Construction

I think it was simply the way they constructed it. From Park to South Station, the tunnel was essentially cut-and-cover, but it had to be deep enough that it was under existing lines. North of Park, the tunnel was mined out, thus no space needed filling in (or, in the case of the concourse, lack of filling in, and simply decking it over). South of South Station, the tunnel segments were submerged concrete tubes (I think? Actually, I really don't know how they did it, since I thought submerging tubes was a modern invention).

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No express tracks.

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I've read all the Boston transit commission reports form 1894 to 1912. Urbex is correct, it was never intended for tracks. It really was never intended for _anything_, it was just built with the upper level because they could, it added very little to the costs, and it was future proofing IN CASE it was ever needed for tracks, or anything else.

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Winter Street Concourse

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No we're ALL wrong. I said express, which is wrong. Urb said it wasn't meant for that which is wrong also. Someone else said it was just because it was a cut and cover, which is wrong also because the Washington Street Orange Line Tunnel opened BEFORE the red line (1908 I believe), so why would you cut and cover near a brand new tunnel? AND why wasn't this done anywhere else in the system.

So the answer is: It's actual for a trolley line, which was never built because it was too low.

http://railroad.net/forums/viewtopic.php?t=51598&start=0

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Winter_Street_Concourse

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Still doesn't prove anything, though

It's a great debate, really. Because despite your links, there are NO sources. The RailRoad.net talk is just that: talk, without sources. The WikiPedia article lacks even one source at all.

The Red Line most certainly was cut and cover between Park and South Station, as others mentioned on RRnet. As Davem said above your post, they didn't seem to know what they would ever use the tunnel for, but for very little cost, they decked over the trench instead of filling in the trench again. It allowed for an expanded platform space at what is now Downtown Crossing. The rest of it was primarily turned into offices, and later the Winter St portion became a pedestrian way with offices. The Winter St concourse is also not tall enough to fit trolleys, or anything else, inside of. In fact, the roof of the tunnel as a whole seemed to remain a constant distance below the surface, whereas the Red Line continues to dive down towards South Station. While the tunnel is too low under Winter St for a single level rolling stock, you could probably fit a double decker car from Hyundai-Rotem in the tunnel at Devonshire St, and by the time you get to Fort Point (the end of the cut and cover) you could probably stack two on top of each other. If it was simply a trolley tunnel, there's no need to have an ever-increasing clearance.

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Washington Street Compared To Saint Catherine Street

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A mixture of new and very old buildings; all connected together underground with pedestrian passageways and shopping concourses; and with direct access to several adjoining subway stations.

It's not only possible to do, it would make the whole Downtown Crossing / Park / State neighborhood an inviting shopping destination for tourists and commuters, especially when the weather outside is terrible.

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Sure

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We can do that, as long as your tax dollars are paying for it, and not mine.

I'd like to see many other things done before something like this like the Red/Blue connector. ;)

I also don't think there is a enough space between the orange line directly below Washington street to put a ped tunnel. Its already just below the surface. Unlike Montreal which went thru a large urban renewal in the 1960s/1970s when the Metro System was installed. (which is why most of the Underground City looks very brutalist 1960s design)

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It's too bad

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Government Center station has a nice patina to it. I can't believe the rebuild will have any character. It will probably be sleek and soulless.

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not really

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The general platform area isn't changing very much. Check out the pictures on the T's website.

Seems like the headhouse will change the most, along with staircases, and an additional head house on Cambridge Street. But the platform area and its decor won't change very much. (i.e. Compared to North Station or State)

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