Roslindale to JP: You can keep your bus depot, thank you very much

It might all be a moot argument, given that the T has committed no money, but Forest Hills residents gathered last night to discuss possibly moving the "temporary" Arborway bus depot to a zoo parking lot turned mulch yard on American Legion Highway in Mattapan, near the Roslindale line.

Jamaica Plain News reports Roslindale residents also attended, wearing "Ask Rozzie" stickers to tell JP what it could do with its bus depot, i.e., not move it next door to them.

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What is the plan?

Why does the MBTA keep trying to shed the Arborway bus yard? What would they put in its place? Unless they're reactivating the Arborway Line and need the yard space, this seems odd. Although, I suspect the real reason may be to develop the former railyard and permanently block any Arborway Line restoration.

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Someone can correct me if I'm wrong

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The Arborway yard replaced the Bartlett Yard in Dudley Square, except that all the buses there are CNG instead of diesel. Now, there is a move to develop the yard, which could bring big bucks for the T since the land has to be worth a pretty penny. Of course, if they just closed the yard, where would the buses get their juice or be otherwise serviced?

Unfortunately, I think the Arborway Line restoration is deader than Julius Caesar. The development of the yard, I believe, is already in their long term plans, like decking the parking lot and putting something there.

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-Arborway had a bus garage

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-Arborway had a bus garage going back to 1925, a streetcar facility had already been there from even earlier
-In 1975, Bartlett garage, which also dated back to the 20s, was closed and the buses and routes assigned there were transferred to the then new Cabot garage in South Boston
During the 1975-1981 time period, Bartlett garage was leased by the MBTA to a school bus company for a few years
-In 1981, the Arborway bus garage was closed (since it was going to be replaced "soon") and the buses and routes assigned there were transferred to a reactivated Bartlett Garage. The Arborway streetcar repair facility, next to the bus garage, remained open, as the Arborway line did not close until 1985.
-In 2003, the MBTA began to receive its first large order of CNG buses. The Bartlett garage facility, which has very low ceilings where gas could collect, was not suitable for upgrade to handle CNG buses. The MBTA, already in a battle about building a permanent facility at Arborway, opened the existing temporary facility at Arborway for the new CNG buses. The routes out of the Bartlett garage were transferred back to Arborway. The CNG buses gradually replaced the diesel buses in the Arborway district, Bartlett was closed in 2004.

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Even is the E Line is

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Even is the E Line is restored, and I would like to see it happen, would they really need to have a yard at Arborway? There's no yard at Heath Street and they are able to function without one there. The Orange Line doesn't have a yard at Forest Hills, it's at Wellington. The plans for new housing on Washington St and Hyde Park Av and yes, the Arborway Yard, would actually increase the population base that would need the E Line restored.

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Necessary

If a major incident happens, lets say, at Brigham Circle, you now have nearly every trolley stranded in the street between Brigham and Arborway with nowhere to stash them out of the way. Right now, it's not so much of an issue, as the trolleys always run where there's at least a lane to pass. In addition, there's not many trolleys on the street between Brigham and Heath, but there'd be many more between Brigham and Arborway, and all backed up on single-lane roads.

You also need the storage space. If the Arborway restoration happens, you can maybe store the total fleet requirement with the new space at the upcoming Somerville facility. Or, you could ditch the Somerville facility (sparing the state extra expense of land acquisition as well as keeping freight rail for the north-of-Boston region viable) and Arborway could easily handle both expansions. You could also probably handle the fleet necessary for rail service to Dudley.

Honestly, if you don't have an Arborway Yard somewhere, I would just kiss the Arborway Line goodbye... if you haven't already... It would be downright irresponsible to risk up to 20 trains stuck on Centre/South, IMO.

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Not the first bit

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If a major incident happens, lets say, at Brigham Circle, you now have nearly every trolley stranded in the street between Brigham and Arborway with nowhere to stash them out of the way. Right now, it's not so much of an issue, as the trolleys always run where there's at least a lane to pass. In addition, there's not many trolleys on the street between Brigham and Heath, but there'd be many more between Brigham and Arborway, and all backed up on single-lane roads.

If a trolley gets stuck on Centre Street you do have another lane for passing -- it's a two-way street. Yeah it would suck to be doing two-way single lane but it's done all the time for construction purposes. Furthermore, the same problem can happen to buses at any time nowadays too. It can take a while to get the specialized tow trucks that can handle a 60-footer. But we seem to make do. I don't think that this particular bit is the argument for keeping Arborway Yard.

Having the Arborway Yard isn't going to make a difference one way or the other because all the trolleys would be stuck behind the disabled one (assuming it's going southbound). The yard would make for a place to push the disabled trolley, but all you really need for that is a pocket track, and trying to construct more frequent pocket tracks would be more useful than the yard in the case of a disabled train.

Having said all that, I agree with you that the main argument for Arborway Yard is the storage space that it provides. Right now the "E" branch stores its trains at Lechmere and that yard is going away. In the future, presumably, the new Somerville facility will be used for both "E" from Heath Street to Union Square and whatever additional needs there are for "D" to College Ave. I do not know if there would be enough room at Somerville for reactivation of the Arborway line.

I disagree that Arborway could take the place of a Somerville facility though. Without the new facility, after the destruction of Lechmere, there would be basically no trolley maintenance or storage facilities on the "east side" of the Green Line at all. That seems like a recipe for trouble, even if they built pocket tracks as a substitute.

But with little chance of the Arborway trolley returning, it seems that the land would be put to better use as transit-oriented development.

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Not referring to disabled trolleys

Disabled trolleys can be pushed by a non-disabled trolley. That's not a problem. I mean, lets say a derailment occurs or a rail break occurs somewhere around Heath (both of which have happened on S Huntington in the past couple years, BTW) when the line runs all the way to Arborway. You can't just push/tow your way out of that. Without an Arborway Yard, all those trolleys simply have to stop wherever they are and sit tight. The street would have to be closed off entirely in order to sustain one lane where emergency vehicles can get through, since you're left with nowhere convenient to get trolleys out of the way. If you had a yard, you could funnel everything off, including making some supervised reverse moves until everything is cleared.

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If the break happens on the

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If the break happens on the southbound side then the existence of the yard is immaterial because it is out of reach anyway.

If the break happens on the northbound side then you could back up or terminate any stranded trolleys at the yard, it's true, while short-turning at Heath Street everything else. But that is a role that could easily be played by a bit of extra track, or several pocket tracks, and does not require a whole yard.

But I do agree with you that we want Arborway Yard if there is a restoration of the Arborway Line. It has more to do with maintenance and overnight storage, though, that's all.

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This is my problem with JP Yuppies

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You moved into a neighborhood well aware of the fact that this bus depot was present in your community. Now you don't like it so much. So your solution is to move said depot into someone else's neighborhood. However there is an every easier solution to your problem, PACK YOUR BAGS.

OR

Another way to combat this is play the race card. The proposed new site is in a middle-lower income, minority neighborhood. While the people proposing the move are upper-middle income white yuppies from out of state.

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To be fair

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The article quotes people who were opposed to the bus yard moving in since 1998.

To support your claim, that stretch of Washington Street has had that kind of use (see the comment on the trolley yard above) probably since they started buildings things there. I do have a soft spot for having nuts and bolts things around- like the lumberyard on the other side of the station- and lack any sympathy for yuppies.

And yeah, I'm from Roslindale, and I don't think it's right that JP people get to decide what's going in Roslindale. Perhaps if JPers think that such moves are okay, they'll let West Roxbury and Mattapan residents (a diverse cross section right there) decide on the replacement of the Casey Overpass.

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What's really rich...

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...is that some of the leading voices demanding to move the bus yard to a lower income, minority neighborhood are the same people who said the Casey Overpass can't be torn down because it would disproportionately affect the lower income, minority neighborhood. It really pisses me off that last year they were advocates for Rozzie, and now they can't wait to dump a bus yard on them.

On another note, I right by there, and yes, I was very aware that I bought a house next to a busy T stop (Forest Hills), a bus yard, and a busy overpass. The people who don't want to deal with these things should move somewhere without them, like the suburbs.

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What about...

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What about a non white yuppie who grew up in J.P.?

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What the hell? Who are these people?

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I definitely know there's support in Roslindale to move the arborway yard - which already borders the neighborhood (development of that area would have a positive effect on the northern half of rozzie). it's just that MOST of us have families and jobs and don't have time to attend all of these hearings.

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Yep, good development should not be blocked

I would have some sympathy for the argument against moving the yard if it were just a matter of aesthetics, but that's an area of JP that is ripe for construction of high density housing, and the yard is one of about five parcels near Forest Hills where it ought to happen.

People shouldn't see this as dumping one neighborhood's problems on another, but as a chance to bring more housing to a transit corridor. That's good for everybody in Boston, not just JP residents. As somebody who lives south of Forest Hills, I look forward to positive spill over as new residents provide demand for businesses along Washington St. and Hyde Park Ave.

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I'm sure that having buses

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I'm sure that having buses parked nearby will bring great hardship to correctional facilities, compost heaps, and Boston Parks maintenance facility in that area. Actually, that's kind of the point. The area is non-residential dead zone where behind-the-scenes city activities are already taking place. The Arborway Yard is right across the street from a T stop and residential neighborhoods. The opportunity here is to expand transit-oriented housing at time when greater numbers of people are desperate for an affordable place to live in the city.

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This makes too much sense...

Spot on. As someone who lives in JP, I am always amazed at the sheer amount of space the existing bus lot consumes. Space that is perfectly located for transit-oriented development in a neighborhood that is being rapidly gentrified and is experiencing an acute need for additional residential capacity.

But, yeah, leave it to politicians and busybodies to freak out about relocating a bus lot to an industrial zone of the city.

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Right we need more luxury

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over priced apartments to attract more out of state yuppies. This is the only way to stop the gentrification in JP.

People who talk about gentrification in JP are typically the ones doing the gentrifying.

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That 'mulch yard' is to

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That 'mulch yard' is to Roslindale what the Aleutian Islands are to Alaska - part of, in a bureaucratic sense, but otherwise unconnected. Most people who live in Rosi probably don't even know that lot exists.

Then again, not many current Roslindale residents remember when the City and State geniuses decided to pave that lot to create an off-site parking lot for the zoo. No doubt a few million dollars were spent on that boondoggle - it's not like there was a long line of suburbanites waiting to drive into Boston to sit waiting for a shuttle bus to take them to the zoo that they moved out of Boston to get away from. Those same suburbanites had sufficient memory to recall the rape-a-week days of Franklin Park, and weren't exactly breaking down the doors to go to the zoo.

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I'm confused.

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When I look at the photo of the proposed site in the Jamaica Plain News link it looks to me like the neighbors for site next to the American Legion Highway would the cemetery, BPD, house of corrections and the DPW. I don't see any residential areas let alone ones in Roslindale. What am I missing?

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Beats me

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The closest cluster of residences to the proposed site I can find in the direction of Roslindale is the Woodburne area (which I would consider still part of Forest Hills/JP) - roughly three quarters of a mile away.

I don't really understand the "Ask Rozzie" opposition - how would this site directly impact Roslindale?

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Future

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land development. Land is the most scarce resource in the city, once gone it gone.

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JP v Roslindale

Of course people in Roslindale are butthurt, Rozzy (Rozzie, Rosi, whatever) is JP's little red haired stepbrother. Yuppies w $$$ move out of Allston when they graduate from college & their parents buy them a middle floor of a triple deckerin JP for 500k for a graduation present, which causes the JP crunchy granola Wake-Up-The-Earth hippy people to get priced out of JP & move into Rozzy, which causes the Rozzy-townie-get-drunk-and-play-scratchers-at- Robyn's & try-hard-to-be-like stereotypical Southie people get priced out of Rozzy and move to some South Shore surburb. The end result is a lot of butthurt people with a chip on their shoulder. Another day in Paradise!

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Seems Like a Pretty Good Place

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I have to say, I live in Roslindale and know right where that is, and it seems like a pretty decent place to locate the bus yard provided that they do some screening on the side by the road etc. and keep it set back (unlike the post-industrial open pit that is the current Arborway yard). The property sits on American Legion Highway, which isn't exactly a small residential street, and is not abbutted, by a longshot, by any houses. As long as they do a decent job of shieling the street side from view - like with a buffer of trees or something - you probably wouldn't even see it. The current bus yard sits directly within a residential neighborhood and could be put to much better use. That said, from a public relations standpoint, they probably should have started off with meetings in Roslindale where the bus yard would move to, as opposed to the place that has been trying to kick the bus yard out for a decade.

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