Bus depot for City Point?

WBZ reports that's one possibility for dealing with South Boston bus stops that are bursting at the seams - although state Rep. Nick Collins, who suggested the idea said the real answer is more bus service.



Free tagging: 


T Crowding

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The MBTA should invest in additional high capability articulated buses. Adding additional standard busses is a useful stopgap in the long run it's a high cost solution, you need to maintain the bus and of course pay the operator.

Oh wait, never mind I used MBTA and investment together was I thinking?

Truth or Fiction?

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Didn't the MBTA, back when it proposed building new stuff, want to create dedicated Sliver Line service to City Point? But many residents were (literally) more concerned about their right to double-park on Broadway. So they fought the plan tooth-and-nail, and they won.

Did I subconsciously generate that storyline because it sounds plausible, or did that actually happen?

It really happened.

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It really happened.

There was Silver Line service to City Point briefly, but residents more concerned with their God Given Right to Double Parking™ complained and had it rerouted away from the major passenger areas to the point it was useless and canceled.

They DID create silver line service to City Point IIRC

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It was the what....SL3 line? Yes, residents lost their shit over the possibility of double parking being enforced, so it was taken out of service.

Incidentally, enforcing parking would alleviate much of the problem currently hindering bus traffic, but hey it's Southie.

Mostly correct

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The T wanted to run the Silver Line via Broadway, but the neighborhood kicked and screamed because where will they be able to double park on Broadway with bus lanes! and got it moved to City Point and First Street, which is away from where people, you know, live, so it was cut when no one rode it.

And if you think I'm kidding, I'm not. (Here's a UHub thread about this.)

What about burying it under Broadway?

They continue to build, why don't we consider making the investment to build a Southie loop underground? Start at Andrew, up Dorchester St, loop around Broadway out to Broadway station.

What about burying it under Broadway?

They continue to build, why don't we consider making the investment to build a Southie loop underground? Start at Andrew, up Dorchester St, loop around Broadway out to Broadway station.

Been done, Gone

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The Silver Line did have a line to City Point, which is no more than an open lot at the top of the hill on East First St.

While it was physically possible to get the longer bus in there, the hill proved to be an issue for the Silver Line buses itself. On the surface they operate on diesel but that motor is producing electricity, not a direct connection to the drive axle like a conventional truck or auto. They run much like a hybrid auto. However, the design does not produce enough electrical current to allow the buses to do that hill efficiently, (an unforeseen problem), so the Silver line buses had to strain to get there. In the end that route was discontinued during one of the MBTA's reorganizations of schedules with a claim that other buses already served the end points and streets in the middle (which they did for the most part). The line also had low ridership.

The longer articulated buses only increase passengers per mile served. It increases the MBTA's "look good on paper" statistics. Whether they move more people better, is arguable. They do however pose a number of challenges.

For example, it is common knowledge that Rt 39, which uses articulated buses will be served by a regular shorter bus during severe winter weather due to the risk of traction problems and risk of the bus jack-knifing on snowy roadways. The MBTA usually only does this for a couple of days till the roads are sufficiently cleared of snow to eliminate such risk. Even then, roads that have high banks at corners (piled up snow and parked cars) will present these buses from making this ancient city's street corners, and so inspectors will ply the route to make the decision on whether to use the longer buses or not. The extra-long buses are also taken out of service after a certain hour at night as well and the route runs with standard buses.

Similar buses are used on Rt 28 (Ruggles-Mattapan), and occasionally a couple have been seen on Rt 16 during peak service hours. However the special Rt 16 usage skips the South Bay Shopping Center and runs Boston Street to Uphams Corner because the extra-long buses cannot make the acute turns to get in and out of the parking lot there.

The Silver Line buses also have their own garage for service and storage yard on Southampton street as they have specific needs, and no other bus repair facility can handle them. As part of developing the Silver line and any use of articulated buses, they also had to factor a place to repair and store them.

So in summary, the longer buses are not necessarily the answer. They do the same job in a slightly different manner, and arguably not as well as a shorter bus. In fact anyone that uses the Silver line, even occasionally, will tell you it is painfully slow especially in the tubes underground.

Quick questions about the Neoplan dual-modes

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I did not realize they were fully diesel-electric. So the electric motor is providing drive power to the axle at all times? If so, why do the buses only run in first gear when they are in electric mode? Is this some type of deliberate speed governing?

The slowness of the buses in electric mode, combined with the massive failure/lost opportunity to run the buses under D St instead of across it, make the SL buses painfully slow.

In fact, The Silver Line runs slowest on its own separated right-of-way, WHICH MAKES NO SENSE. It is by definition the opposite of BRT (bus rapid transit).

The dual-modes actually have

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The dual-modes actually have both the 2nd and 3rd axles powered, so they run better in snow than the conventional artics that only have the 3rd axle powered. Electric motors power both axles and receive their power from either the on-board diesel-engine/generator, or the overhead wire.

They are governed to 25 MPH when in full electric mode. The tunnel was built without signals and includes curves. Because of the very short distance between stations, saving money on a signal system was considered a reasonable trade-off when the tunnel was built, as it is only 1.2 miles from South Station to Silver Line Way with two intermediate stops.


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Thanks for this info.

Not in the know....

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I have no idea what you mean by "City Point which is no more than an open lot at the top of the hill on East First Street"??? City Point references an entire area (heavily populated) of South Boston - pretty much everything east of L Street.

I took that SL3 when it was running - there are no hills on East First Street - it's flat as a pancake. The entire route was flat - from the depot at East First, down Summer Street and then along the waterfront and into the Silver Line Tunnel to South Station. No hills....

The issue as noted in a post above was lack of ridership. There were mornings when there were only 2 of us taking the SL3 to town. If it ran now, it would be an entirely different story. At least it would give people an alternative way to get to South Station and the Seaport Area, which is far more developed now than it was when the SL3 was running. There are mornings now when I see 50+ people wai32mPTting at the bus stop at N and East Broadway.

Two solutions

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Extend the silver line from South Station to Castle Island and enforce the no parking regulations in bus stops in South Boston.

What does "depot" mean? Does

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What does "depot" mean? Does it mean a bus stop? A garage/yard for storing buses? Or is he actually interested in service from there to downtown that makes fewer stops?

Variable terminology

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As explained to me once by a rail guy once (right or wrong)...

A station is a place where a form of transportation stops and usually has some kind of a structure to accommodate and support that as well as parking. Most fo the commuter rail access points are "stations."

A depot is a station that may have additional modes of transportation or additional lines stopping there. Other commerce may also take place. In theory, though not called that, Anderson Regional Transportation Center (Anderson RTC) is a depot.

A terminal is essentially the end of the line where transportation of some mode ends. It may or may not connect with other modes of transportation. So both North Station and South Station are actually terminals.

The term "stop" as in "bus stop" is used mostly if not exclusively for surface transportation.

It Means A Photo-Op At A Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

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Passengers don't want fancy stations to wait at — what passengers really want is not having to wait. Unfortunately, purchasing and operating more busses and trains isn't something politicians are interested in doing because it's not something they can easily stick their name on.

Constructing an elaborate depot or station means handing lucrative contracts to well-connected parties. The political payoff can be substantial, especially when the structure has lots of "custom design" features, as opposed to something that meets the utilitarian needs of end users. Durability and practicality are irrelevant; it only needs to look good on the day it opens— the one day when politicians will be there having their pictures taken.

*eye roll*

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I'll first post this here because I am actually making this facial movement right now

IMAGE( https://media.giphy.com/media/Rhhr8D5mKSX7O/giphy.gif )


Unfortunately, purchasing and operating more busses and trains isn't something politicians are interested in doing because it's not something they can easily stick their name on.

Where have you been? The MBTA is building brand new Orange and Red Line cars in Springfield. They also ordered electric buses for the Silver Line along with a second and third order of the New Flyer Buses (the Excelsior buses). And they are re-habbing Green Line Cars and buses. So they are giving us new cars and buses.

So you're wrong and once again just spouting off your usual nonsense on your "Elmer likes to crap on the T" posts you do.


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The T has a small layover yard on the waterfront there, but according to the City's assessing data, they actually own that entire parcel. The parcel is about 18 acres of land, which is double the size of the Cabot bus yard which stores 168 buses. So in theory, this site, which is otherwise unused, could certainly solve the T's "we can't haz any more buses because we don't haz anywhere to store them" nonsense. 336 buses is about one third of the T's entire fleet.

There are a few issues with this plan:

1. Would Southie be happy with a bus yard at this site (I guess it wouldn't be any more of an eyesore than it is now)?

2. Would it be in the T's best interest to use a prime waterfront location for bus storage? Would it be better to redevelop it as residential development, with perhaps a small bus storage facility on the site?

3. Would there be environmental issues with building a bus storage facility adjacent to the harbor? Climate change/sea level rise issues? You wouldn't want to cripple the fleet during a storm like NJT did during Sandy. (A stout seawall would help, and the land elevation there is about 3m above sea level, so it would be less vulnerable than, say, the South End.)

There's also the question of thinking, as Mr. Trump would say, "more bigly." For instance, do 40-foot buses make sense on this high capacity route? Would 60-foot Silver Line buses do better, running through the tunnel and then down Summer Street? Right now, to try to meet outbound demand from South Station, the SL2 and SLW run about every two minutes from South Station, and then run basically empty going back. What if the SLW buses were extended out to Southie (with, perhaps a new transit-only connection from Pappas Way/Drydock Ave to the Haul Road)? You'd need a few more buses, but right now the 7 runs full inbound and empty outbound, and the SLW runs full outbound and empty inbound. So this would pay for itself.

If you did this, it would make a lot of sense to run trolley wires on the loop through Southie which would eliminate the need for time-consuming power switch at Silver Line Way. Would Southie deign to consider such wires above the street? The storage yard at City Point could then serve all electric buses, which are cheaper to buy, operate and maintain than the dual-modes in use on the Silver Line. It would also mean much less noise and exhaust locally. (You could also store more 60-foot Silver Line buses here.)

Thinking a bit bigger, it's clear that running even 60-foot buses every 90 seconds in the Silver Line tunnel is not capable of meeting distribution demand for the Waterfront now and certainly not in the future. The tunnel was designed for easy conversion to light rail, and a three-car light rail train has approximately 450% of the capacity of a 60-foot bus, so a train every three minutes would have more than double capacity than a bus every minute and a half (not to mention faster boarding, lower operation costs—fewer drivers—and faster speeds in the tunnel). A line could be extended both to the design center along the end of Track 61 and rebuilt along Summer Street to South Boston, with terminal space on the T property there. Silver Line to the airport and Chelsea would probably make more sense as a street-level BRT line along Summer Street, which would probably be faster than the current loop-the-loop to get to the tunnel it currently uses.

In the long run, it could be built west from South Station to the Theater District to link in to Green Line and provide a Back Bay-Seaport connection; there are provisions for such a junction between Arlington and Boylston. That's spending some money, of course.

It would be cheaper and

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It would be cheaper and easier to reopen the closed tunnel and portal from Boylston Station to Eliot Norton Park, knock down the derelict Church of All Nations, and run tracks over the Broadway Bridge into South Boston. Or alternatively run a viaduct over the pike from the Pleasant Street portal which could connect into the existing South Station bus tunnel from the bus terminal side somehow.

I recall...

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that Tufts Medical did not want the tunnel reopened because the vibrations would interfere with delicate surgery.

Interestingly the original

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Interestingly the original SL4 was planned to go Andrew to South Station via the waterfront. What that would mean is that anyone coming from the south side into the waterfront area could have taken an SL bus from Andrew inbound to south station. This way you can essentially split southern commuters (SL to Andrew) from northern commuters (SL to SS) and have full utilization of the SL in both directions.

Of course southie residents would never agree to articulated buses on the streets and certainly not to installing wires overhead.

Ari, sorry to kill your idea,

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Ari, sorry to kill your idea, which is a good one, Massport has taken most of that land to build a dedicated freight corridor to Summer St. It is currently under construction. The T now has virtually no open land on E. 1st St.

Leave Earlier!

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If these commuters are so concerned about getting to work, leave earlier. Like any normal person who hits traffic daily you adjust your schedule to get to work on time. God forbid you get to work early and sip a coffee and relax.

No can do

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Have you ever used the #7 or #9 inbound at rush hour?

I've waited for an hour, watching buses filled-to-capacity, sail on by. The number of people waiting at the bus stop kept growing, and the buses kept on zooming past us. This was around 8:30-9:30am in the pouring rain. Some chose to walk to Broadway.

We need more buses,

Please read this too

I ride the 7 and sometimes

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I ride the 7 and sometimes the 9, there is room at 7:30, it is at its worse between 8:00 and 8:30.

You have to get up REALLY early

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To get a seat on the #9. I took the #9 inbound for several years around 5:40 am from Southie and the bus was almost always standing-room-only.

Great idea!

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Listen, I don't disagree with you - leaving a little earlier helps. I don't think anyone is expecting to walk out their door at 8:45 and get to work on time. In fact, one could argue, we could all just walk, which I do, as long as it isn't pouring. I've been walking for the last 2 years since the big snow storm, which further compounded our transportation issues.

I think we take issue with paying for a monthly service that can sometimes take an hour - between getting on a bus (many pass by full) and then driving the 3 miles to downtown. L Street is also an added problem, now backing up because of the freight corridor construction. We can walk to work faster than that. The point is that we've been complaining about it for years and it's only getting worse.

You can't continue to build and simultaneous ignore parking and transportation issues - it's now at a breaking point. I'm not anti-development, but developers are building condos and the city takes their money for the permits and approvals but then doesn't support our basic infrastructure needs.

Oh sure!

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what if 'these commuters' have family obligations such as kids that need to be sent off to school at specific times of day? God forbid you get to take your kids to school before work!

I thought that was a problem of the past!

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Wait a sec, haven't all "those people" cashed in on the triple deckers that their parents bought for $29K and emigrated to Braintree or Weymouth? Isn't that how our friend SoBoYuppie and his/her ilk were able to plunk down hundreds upon hundreds of thousands of dollars for the decker conversion condos?

Do you mean to tell me that Millennials haven't really taken over South Boston, or worse, that they are not all as car-free as we have been led to believe!?! I demand to know what in the name of Jimmy Kelly and Louise Day Hicks is going on here!?!

And I see now that this Ari O. fellow wants to park busses in Southie!?! Well, YOU KNOW WHERE I STAND on that, Dammit!!!



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Even your snark doesn't make any sense. Yes, "those people" have cashed in and sold. Yes, "young professionals" have moved into the area. Yes, they are more car-free than other generations. That's exactly why the bus situation is the way it is.

if all the double parkers

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if all the double parkers have cashed in and screwed and the new generation is car-free (or at least, most aren't Massholes clinging to their God given right to double park - both of which are things that we are constantly told), then why is there still a double parking problem?

it doesn't take a whole lot

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it doesn't take a whole lot of self entitled townies to cause a double parking problem.

there are 35,000 people in SoBo. Even if only 1% of townies double parked that is 350 cars. That is more than enough cars to cause traffic problems.

Grammar doesn't make sense either

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You emigrate "from" somewhere and immigrate "to somewhere.

I'm usually no spelling/grammar cop but if your main argument is based on a verb get the damn thing right. Thanks.


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To all the yuppies who were told by their realtors that Southie condos were close to public transportation..........what do you expect when there are 75 people waiting to get on a bus with 50 seats?

This yuppie bought 11 years

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This yuppie bought 11 years ago - it was a "for sale by owner" no realtor tried to sell me a damn thing. The owner was from Southie - she told me it was a great neighborhood. We didn't take a tour of the bus stops or talk about how things might change, and for the most part - I generally tend to think she was telling the truth. I love living here.

Development is an issue, but not because "yuppies" are moving it, it's because we can't support ANY new residents. No place for cars, no room on buses -- there are zero alternatives except to walk, which is currently my alternative, but I am healthy and mobile - that's not the case for everyone.

Tell all the nana's in town that they are fools when they try to get on the bus to get to an appt. They should have known better.

Seriously, dude. Your anger is directed at the wrong people.


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- The Original SoBo Yuppie

So ...

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We have no actual solutions other than more buses, right? It's kid of a no-brainer solution, and costs the least. A few other suggestions such as an Express 7 & 9 route might work as well. But I think most Southie residents these days are relying on Uber and Lyft pool. If you can ride-share for under $3 each way, and it's much, much quicker, then why would you even attempt to walk to the bus stop, where you'll watch 5 full buses go on, before you can squeeze into an SRO spot and stand for a 35-minute ride to the city. Uber/Lyft get you into work in 15 minutes.

Bus lanes are not a solution

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Bus lanes are not a solution to overcrowded buses; they are a solution to slow buses. There's a difference. New routes could be interesting; as could somehow figuring out a way to use the empty inbound Silver Line in the AM and the empty outbound Silver Line in the PM.

More Routes

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I would argue the MBTA should consider more routes too. There has been a lot of development i Southie, but particularly between Broadway and 1st Street on the west side. Yet you either have to take the crowded 9 bus to the Red Line or Back Bay, take the crowded 7 bus after walking 1/2 mile plus to catch it at E 1st/Summer or Pappas Way (and it will pass you because its full), or walk. That was my preferred choice in good weather until I hurt my foot. Now the 1/2 mile walk is painful for now, but I digress. How about a new bus route using 1st Street and D Street or even A St to get to downtown/South Station/Seaport/Silverline tunnels? All this development and we are still working with the same routes that have been in place for decades. Maybe that would take pressure off the 7 & 9 buses.

I read every comment, waiting

I read every comment, waiting until the LAST one - from Red - looking for the obvious: RETHINK the BUS ROUTES and ADD MORE. I've been trying for years (decades, actually) to figure out why there is not at least ONE bus route (...or at least a diversion during rush" hours) from (e.g.) Andrew/Broadway over to the (e.g.) Seaport Blvd. area...(where a FERRY SERVICE could await, too!!!)
AND...why is that ONE BLOCK on D Street going "the wrong way!!"??? If lived on E Street, I'd be absolutely furious about all the extra traffic being driven over to my street, instead of spreading it out between D and E!!! Furthermore, when you drive up E towards W.Broadway, it is very difficult (and narrow) to see what's coming down W.Broadway from the left....The line of sight coming up D is SO much better - and D is wider also!!!
WHEN will creative, intensive thought go into all these situations!?!

My guess

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is that if you did not have D Street as a one way for that block, D would turn into another major thoroughfare bringing traffic to and from Andrew Square to the Seaport. But D cannot support that capacity, as it is a pretty dense residential neighborhood between First Street and Old Colony, and includes the Condon School, where traffic barely gets by in the morning and afternoon to begin with.

As for whether a bus can traverse the corrridor every 15 minutes, sure, as I've advocated for the past 10 years. I just don't think it should be open as major thoroughfare.