How the Arborway project will change the Forest Hills T station

Clayton Harper has been taking a detailed look at what happens when the Casey Overpass comes down to make way for surface roads. Forest Hills station will be getting a lot of changes as part of the project - many related to the busways.

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Is this a better solution

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than another bridge is very debatable. However i think everyone can agree that while this is being constructed (same would be true if a new bridge was being built) the entire are is going to be a major cluster F_____! I know i'll will be avoiding the are for at least a year!

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Avoiding the area

is just what I do now. Nothing could be worse than it already is. If it gets better a few years from now, count it as a win. It will definitely be better for cycling, which is already my preferred method for traversing the area.

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I still fail to see how

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I still fail to see how making pedestrians cross 6 or 7 lanes is better than the 4 they have to cross now.

I have low expectations for the bike path. If it will be anything like other off-road paths built in the last 30 years, it will be dangerous for everyone involved, and far slower than riding in the road.

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Pedestrian safety

Aspects of the project that may improve pedestrian safety not obvious from these plans (or my narrative) include the countdown timers and audible chirping of the new crosswalk signals. The street striping, as long as it lasts, is also dramatically more visible. "Refuge islands" in the medians will have crosswalk buttons so that stranded crossers can depart as soon as practical. I wouldn't call it ideal, but as far as I know there is only one 7-lane pedestrian crossing in all these intersections.

I can't compare these off-street bike paths to elsewhere with any authority, but as an effort to increase cycling continuity in the Emerald Necklace they certainly seem to be an improvement over what is there now. - Clayton Harper

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Pedestrian Huh?

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Doesn't the current New Washington Street crossing have all the things you say the new crossing will have, only with less lanes (and less traffic)?

Just saying.

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Bike

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How was the bike rides this past week?

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Trolley-less tracks

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Apparently the tracks that were built at the northern end of Forest Hills will come and go after having been there for almost 30 years, and never once having a trolley on them!

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I see a ton of asphalt where

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I see a ton of asphalt where we should have dense housing instead. This is a transportation terminal, not an outlet mall

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Buses?

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Part of its role as a terminal is to handle gazillions of bus routes, since it's the last/first stop on the Orange Line, so wouldn't it make sense to have lots of asphalt for all those buses? Also note it's effectively becoming an even larger bus depot because they're moving the current school-bus "lane" on New Washington and old trolley station/39 stop in with the rest of the buses.

Still, you could get your wish if the T ever actually finds somebody to build on top of the station parking lot.

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That area must be so

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That area must be so hazmatted you would have to dig down to China and remove the earth and backfill with clean before you could put housing there.

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Would still need the 32

And at least some of the Washington St. Buses would have to continue to Forest Hills to provide local service to that corridor. But certainly the number of routes running between Rozzie Square and Forest Hills could be significantly reduced from the current ten (if ever there was an argument for rapid transit, it's the presence of ten bus lines on a narrow two lane road).

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I see people talking about

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I see people talking about this all the time. How can we make this happen?? I assume the MBTA won't do it without outside pressure, so how do we put that on them?? What organizations can help with starting some advocacy, gathering signatures, etc??

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Here's why this won't happen

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I hate to the the Debbie Downer on this, but since I keep on reading this people saying we should do this, I've been thinking about this.

First and foremost, where is the money for this? I mean, look at the delay in the GLX project. The T wants South Coast Rail, and there is a need to get what currently exists into a good state even without Boston ascending Olympus. Heck, getting the games in 2024 and getting a venue out this way might be the only way to get this done.

Okay, assuming there is all this money lying around, there's still one problem. The T isn't just going to extend the line to the Square. To do this right, basically the Needham line gets taken apart and upgraded a bit. The best way would be to run a spur off the Riverside Line to Needham Junction. The right of way is there. This was part of a plan from the 1950s (someone can correct me if I am wrong on the dates.) The second move would be to extend the Orange Line from Forest Hills to the Parkway. Here's the rub, there's a mindset in West Roxbury that would be opposed to the element that rides the subway being able to get easy access to their neighborhood. Stupid and ignorant, to be sure, but still, that's the other petition that would be competing with yours. And they would cost the Commonwealth a lot less.

Therefore, we are stuck with the status quo. Would I like to get the Orange Line from the Square? The only downside is that my reason for walking from Forest Hills goes away, but I could deal. The reality is that the Orange Line expansion ship sailed in the 1970s. It ain't coming back.

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When I played with trains, I

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When I played with trains, I would have let the trolley go through the Arbs from the Arborway and somehow join along side the NHRR tracks by Fallon Field and continue til you ran out of steel rail...

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Oh

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That would have been awesome. Like our own version of the Mattapan High Speed.

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No, those are all good

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No, those are all good reasons why the Needham line in its entirety will never get replaced with orange line. None of that answers why the line can't come down one extra stop, where the ROW is in tact the whole way and the people would embrace it.

There wasn't any money for the GLX until the Somervillers(Somervillians?) and the mayor and their advocacy groups refused to let that be an excise. There's still no money for it - but the feds ended up pitching in and the state realized they'd lose that cash in a lawsuit anyway and wow there's suddenly money.

Roslindale needs to be more accessible, it would be healither for the neighborhood and the square. It will take 20 years just like the GLX did but it could happen if we just organize and get started.

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Because

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The right of way is not wide enough.

Unless you are proposing tearing down the apartment building by the station and, for the sake of a turnaround beyond the station, either the not yet completed apartment building on the other side of Roberts Street or St. Nectarios Church.

GLX has the space. Now running the Orange Line to Cleary Square is more doable, though were it done back in the 1980s, before the T started selling off the parcels taken for the Southwest Expressway, it would have been easier. As it stands now, there is room for 4 tracks, so you are basically talking getting rid of one track for the Commuter Rail and Amtrak.

Also, GLX is part of Big Dig mitigation.

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Needham will get crowded out by NEC trains

Eventually, the MBTA will have no choice but to close the Needham line, since there is no way to expand capacity of the Southwest Corridor. More trains are coming on the other lines that use the corridor for the final few miles in to the city. Needham is the only one that can reasonably be replace with rapid transit, and ultimately, that's what will happen, in much the way you've described (OL to West Roxbury, GL to Needham Center, gap between the two). The question is whether the state is dragged kicking and screaming to do something that has to happen (just look at the South Station expansion plans if you don't believe there will be increased pressure from the other lines), or whether it decides to move forward sooner, on the basis that not only does it have to be done, it actually makes sense to do it.

I'd be happy enough with a Roslindale stub in the short term. It can be done at relatively low expense, and would serve well as a proof of concept without eliminating the commuter rail line. But ultimately, that corridor can't survive as commuter rail, as the downstream ROW is going to be oversubscribed by Amtrack and other MBTA trains.

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However

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What about Orange (and Green) Line capacity?

I suppose that could be handled. On the other hand, couldn't other commuter rail lines just go over to the Midland/Fairmont.

Again, it's not that I think having the Orange Line in Rozzie would be a bad thing. I've just thought about it too much.

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School buses

I'm pretty sure that the yellow school buses along New Washington will be moving to the lower parking lot approximately beneath the new upper busway in a plan worked out by BPS and MBTA. The #39 and presumably the special Boston Latin School #39 will eventually be in the expanded upper busway since they can't be under the overpass.

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Weird bus plans

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In looking at the plans in the blog, the T is going to build a deck partially over the current drop off/pick up/T parking area while getting rid of the upper "T employee" lot. Does anyone else think this is odd?

I don't see how moving the busway exit and thus busway further away from the station entrance will help either the traffic situation or the comfort of the users of the buses, but then again, who am I to say. I'd love to read a defense of the plans based on my concerns.

As I've been droning on about the Casey plan overall, I predict disaster, but hope to be proven wrong.

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Bus entrances and exits

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So the buses will no longer exit the station directly across from South Street - will the buses pulling out to head south get their own traffic light in the new location? Maybe one that's only activated when a bus is exiting?

When a 39 bus arrives, will it turn left into the southern entrance of the busway from Washington Street? It seems like it might be interesting to see an articulated bus make a sharp left-hand turn across a street that is often congested, without a traffic light.

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The presence of stop line

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The presence of stop line markings on Washington on both sides of the south-bound exit seems to indicate that there will be a traffic light there. Whether it'll be activated by a bus exiting is anyone's guess.

The 38 bus already makes that hard left going into the south entrance. I don't think the artics should have any trouble, especially if they are going into the inner lane.

My hope is that they move the 40/50 stop adjacent to the 34/34E stop. Right now it's a pain to see if there's a 40 boarding passengers when the busways are full of buses.

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Yes on 40!

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I'm one of those people who can take either a 34 or a 40, so I'd love to see them with closer berths.

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Stop light

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It does look like there will be a traffic light there - I didn't see it before but there's a thin black line across the road between the two stop lines that might indicate an overhead traffic light. I had totally forgotten that the 38 bus makes that turn, since I don't think I've ever taken it past the monument.

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Could be an improvement

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If it is activated by the buses.

Of course, this is assuming that the traffic from South Street, or indeed the Arborway itself, does not block the exit as it does now.

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Bus exit traffic light

This traffic light can also be activated by pedestrians, I believe, just as the current light near the southern end of the existing busway can be. And: notice the "Don't Block the Box" striping at the South Street/VFW light. That could help a bit with rush hour congestion.

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"Don't Block the Box"

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Just like they have at the Riverway and Boylston Street, eh?

I may be a bridge guy. I may think all of my worst nightmares will come true. I just don't see how traffic will get any better. The ped crossing light is either on the fritz or BTD is testing something, but it is no longer activated by the button. It just cycles and cycles.

We'll see, though. Hopefully you'll be the one laughing.

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Great map + busway design

Thanks for that mapbox link.

On the busway design: the abutting Asticou/Martinwood neighborhood had a lot of input into the design as it evolved, as did the MBTA. They wanted, among other things for idling and waiting buses to be moved further south if possible. I believe there is a traffic light at the exit, but not one at the entrance. The greenspace between the busway and Washington Street is raised up to make for more pleasant sightlines and to cut down on noise into the neighborhood. Exiting buses are pointed away from the neighborhood as they wait at the traffic light so that their headlights don't shine on houses. Removing the bus driveway up to South Street creates space for off-street bike lanes beside the T- station and simplifies the vehicle traffic at the South Street light by the VFW hall. - Clayton Harper

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Bikepath

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I'm very glad to see that the bike and crosswalk connections from the Southwest Corridor to Forrest Hills are now at the corners of South and Washington instead of in the middle of the block. That is currently a constant traffic v. ped v. bike snarl.

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no mid-block crossing

I'm hopeful this is a good thing too. With the new MBTA Head House in the northerly Southwest Corridor Plaza providing direct access to the platform, many JP commuters won't need to cross the Arborway to get to their trains. And it removes at least one traffic light for through-traffic on the Arborway. On the other hand, no left turns will be allowed for eastbound traffic at Washington or westbound traffic at South Street - those wishing to make those turns will need to make U-turns at the "bow-ties" in front of the Forest Hills Gate of the Arboretum and in front of the Court House. This is a design much like many turns on Beacon Street in Brookline which don't seem to give people too many palpitations. - Clayton Harper

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Nice to see Toole Square aka

Nice to see Toole Square aka the green space next to the State Lab and across from the upper busway getting some love here. Most people don't know that it is dedicated to Charles Morton Toole, a WWI soldier KIA in France who was from Weld Hill Street close by. If you happen to get stuck at the red light at the intersection with South Street, you can see the plaque on the boulder there.

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Thanks Rob....

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Lived near there for 50 years and did not know that......

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