Green Line extension delayed again

Maybe 2021, WBUR reports.



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Hot Tip for the MBTA

Figure out how to make the trollies run on coal and the Trump administration will have it built by next spring.


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Well, only 1/3 will be constructed. And the state will get 7 million to use on expanding a highway.

We could fit the trains with solar panels

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What could possibly go wrong? Maybe the T could have it's own windmills to generate enough electricity.

Coal power plants in 2016 are actually very clean. Why do Trump obsessed so called progressives hate the people in regions where coal is mined? Is it because they're of a 'lower class' socioeconomic status, rural and mostly white?

Are you serious???

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Coal mining is not clean. Nor is it sustainable unless we scale back to using coal slower than it is generated. And while plants are better at emissions in this day and age - they're not clean by any means. Besides particulates, even so called "clean plants" generate too much CO2, leading to global warming. And solid pollution from the plants still is generated en mass and dumped same as it always was.

If the people in regions like Kentucky or West Virginia want to be economically successful they need to refocus the region into other industries that have more long term benefits. For example: finance, technology, or tourism. But nobody wants to tour a blasted wasteland.

Nobody hates them, we just

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Nobody hates them, we just think they're stupid. The feds wanted to roll in and teach everybody about wind and train them to do wind installs and maintenance and the whole area had a shining opportunity to be the rural silicone valley of renewables.... but the offer came from a black man and a librul and involved change, which is scary, and they'd rather have their children suffering from arsenic poisoning and their state mountains leveled in search of a resource that isn't even competitive on the market anymore with the explosion in Nat Gas (which also isn't clean, but is a little cleaner.) I have zero sympathy for those people anymore, especially as they've now dragged us into their Hunger Games Hellhole with them.

Damn those Deplorables!

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Want to know why Hillary lost? This post captures it in 250 words.

As someone who actually grew

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As someone who actually grew up in coal country, I can tell you that coal mining has ruined some of the best parts of appalachia.

Our license plates in WV literally said Mountain State and now they say Wild, Wonderful. Those mountains that were our pride have become ugly masses due to coal mining. They certainly aren't wonderful any more and definitely not wild.

And this isn't some new opinion. Those of us with true appalachia heritage have been bemoaning that Mister Peabody's coal train just hauled paradise away for half a century.

Did you know that between 2008-2013, when coal mining jobs were lost in Southern WV, coal mining jobs were increasing in northern WV? The top producing county moved 200 miles from Boone to Marshall county. And even more jobs were created in the shale gas industry? Imagine if pharma workers complained to the government when jobs moved from NJ or Connecticut to Boston. That's basically what the whole "losing coal jobs" is. A shift in geographic location that has left those unwilling to move unemployed. The conservative bullshit around this is unbelievable.

The Mystic River Power Plant

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The Mystic River Power Plant runs on coal and will supply electricity to the green line extension. So there!

No it doesn't. It runs on

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No it doesn't. It runs on natural gas. Always has.

The only coal plant left in Massachusetts is Brayton Point down on the South Coast, which is scheduled to be shut down next year. Mt Tom and Salem Harbor were the other coal ones, both shut down in 2014.


...then I guess maybe we do need gas pipelines after all. Unless, of course, the plan is to replace them with modern nuke plants. That would be the best solution.

Turns out that we don't.

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We can (and are) replacing the retired coal units with
* energy efficiency, thereby reducing demand,
* transmission wires, allowing us to import more electricity from HydroQuebec,
* PV (Massachusetts has ~1600 MW, about the same output as four coal units in mid-day, and those coal units aren't economic at nighttime anyway. Evening hours are the gap of course), and
* off shore wind, though that's not for 5-10 years.

Hasn't always

It has run on natural gas since 2002 or so.

Before that it ran on bunker oil - which almost might as well be coal given the emissions.

I was around when it pumped giant blackyellow clouds of sludge into the sky. Sometimes there would be inversions which would kick it all right back down just inland.

2023 sounds reasonable

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Since they just started building the factory and we should begin see the new Red/Orange cars in 2027, I think it's reasonable that they'll then focus on the Green Line to meet their 2032 completion date for the GLX, and I look forward to riding on it when it opens in 2049


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While amusing, the red/orange line cars as of right now seem to be a bit ahead of schedule - at least with the factories being built.

Who Posted The George Sanborn Piece the Other Day?

Someone posted a link the other day to the history of Boston Rapid Transit done by the MBTA's old historian and den mother to the workers at 10 Park Plaza who would rest their eyes for a long while in the cubicles in building's library.

If you look at the 1950's section is states Mid-1958- Construction starts on Highland Branch (a/k/a Riverside Line). July 4, 1959 - Highland Branch opens.

Like Ice Cube said in 22 Jump Street - It is the same damn thing as the last time. Light rail over an existing rail right of way. Just do it.

I wrote a paper in college on the environmental and public transit benefits of the Big Dig. This was prior it to the Environmental Review passing in 1991. One of those aspects was the GLX as a public benefit / mitigation requirement. My kid went of his first college tour last month and the GLX isn't supposed to be done, as of today, until he is a senior, in college.

The Commonwealth can reap the tax revenue from the boom in Boston we have now and we have guardrails being replaced if one so much as gets sneezed on, but build sensible transit? Hang on there brother.

The actions of the government of this state are pathetic. If I lived in Somerville, Cambridge, Arlington, or Winchester, I would put your state reps and senators on notice that this is unacceptable. Maybe they can call Charlie if he isn't is in Israel getting shown that kids in the West Bank love to play in rubble by the IDF and see if we can speed up the process a bit.

To be fair

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The GLX is not the the same as the Riverside Line conversion - while the Riverside branch was significantly longer, the GLX project isn't just wholesale converting its ROW, they need to build it right next to the active commuter rail lines (and not disturb them). Plus the GLX has a bunch of retaining wall and bridge work, and (originally had) much nicer stations. Plus, there seems to be much, much more mitigation work in the GLX, and for some bizarre reason the whole community path thing was just thrown into it, too.

I know that GLX is slightly more complex

Still, it has been 26 years and counting since it was first supposed to start. That young woman in marketing that just got her own office after being at the company you work at after being promoted, wasn't born yet when the extension was announced.

In 1991 Mookie and Xander weren't yet born, David Ortiz was 16, Bill Clinton was just the former governor of Arkansas.

You are being strung along by the state and the person who led the mitigation charge for this at the time; Stephanie Pollock, is instead focusing on getting a commuter rail spur line active to Foxboro to take a few cars off of the road while screwing over more densely populated areas of the state.

Actually, I agree 100% that 3

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Actually, I agree 100% that 3.2 miles of light rail on an existing ROW shouldn't be complicated or take more than a few years max - just saying I didn't think it was a fair comparison to the D line. I think it is fairly obvious that, like the Red-Blue connector that was part of the Big Dig mitigation the T completely weaseled out of, the T has never, ever been serious about actually building the GLX, right down to allowing a new experimental bid process to be used when it finally looked like it might get underway. That said, the mitigation work is ridiculous and expensive, as is the community path. I am all for the community path but there is no way that should be tied into and funded by a public transit project, the state should find its own funding for it. Mitigation work is nice, too, but with the budget blowing up as it did that should be on the chopping block first, not things like the station designs. Either way, the GLX has been treated as a complete boondoggle at all levels.

Here's one for you

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The Southwest Expressway was cancelled in 1972. The Southwest Corridor on the Orange Line opened in 1986. That involved depressing an elevated (on an embankment) train line, building retaining walls and decks, 9 new subway stations and 3 new commuter rail stations (okay, two were preexisting, but they were completely replaced) along with of course utility relocation. Oh, and there was a short part that was truly a subway, passing under buildings, streets, and the Mass Turnpike.

Ah, what we were once able to do.

The Riverside line conversion

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The Riverside line conversion was done as cheaply and bare-bones as possible. That is NOT a model to look to for how to do this properly. Have you been to one of those stations? They suck.

To build it, they shut down the existing commuter rail line, strung up overhead wires, poured a few asphalt strips at places that didn't previously have stations, and put up signage. That's about it. No fancy electronics like fare machines and electronic signs. The only major construction was the connecting tunnel to Kenmore, which was just a cut-and-cover affair to the nearest point on the C line. Taking a year to do that is not actually that quick if you look at the scope.

It was also pre-ADA, which significantly increases the cost today.

You're also citing the CONSTRUCTION duration, which does not include design. The planned construction duration for the GLX is 3-4 years.

Beg to differ

I don't think you'll convince anybody the Riverside conversion sucks, because it's the only Green Line that actually moves. The fare machines and electric signs came later, of course, but sometimes the great is the enemy of the good. Maybe it would be better to get the bare-bones version in and keep adding to it instead of adding more and more on top of the design and putting it off year by year.

While normally I agree, which

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While normally I agree, which is why I'm not so upset with the station pare downs now happening for GLX, there's simply no legal way to build a non-ADA compliant new rail line. Especially when taking federal funds. It would add an extra five years to the build time in court cases that we'd lose anyway.

You're mixing apples and pineapples

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The D Line is great because it doesn't have intersections with automobiles. That would have been true whether or not the conversion to light rail was done cheaply or with more amenities.

Relative to B and C, the amenities on the D are better because the shelters are better and there are now fare boxes. Relative to the Red, Blue, or Orange, the D is clearly worse.

The problem with that is that

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The problem with that is that you're assuming the T will actually add to it - yet they never have with the Riverside line stations. So what makes you think they will in Somerville?

And as the anon above me pointed out, the reasons the Riverside line actually moves have nothing to do with the quality of the stations, which, frankly, suck.

Based on anticipated ridership and the station sitings, the GLX really ought to get full subway-style stations, with fully sheltered platforms, fare gates, elevators, etc. It's horribly shortsighted not to.

Our reps know that it is unacceptable

Charlie "just drive why doncha" Baker is the one who needs to get the message. Maybe send him enemas packaged in GLX cars with the message "get it running already"?

What I can't figure out is how the courts that ordered them to build it or pay up are letting it linger like this.

Embarrassing. Japan has

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Embarrassing. Japan has trains that go 200mph yet we can't get a few miles of a bare bones subway line built. The only thing America leads the world in any more is obesity and medical bills(two of the many things public transportation is good at reducing).


Japan has had those trains since 6 months after the Beatles appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show.

It is more than embarrassing, it's pathetic.

Just to put this in

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Just to put this in perspective, Ford, GM, Volkswagen, Nissan, Audi, Volvo, Toyota, BMW, Tessa, and Google all expect to be selling fully autonomous cars by 2021.

A fleet of autonomous ubers and lyfts would render the MBTA superfluous.

Ha ha, that's a good one

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Nope, nope, nope, all the Lyfts in the world aren't going to replace a system that moves 800,000 people a day.

Mass DOT claims it's more

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Mass DOT claims it's more like 500,000 a day. Meanwhile, there are 2,300,000 cars in the state, sitting around while people are at work. They could be working as taxis during that time, making money for their owners. You don't think it's going to happen? The automakers, the software companies, and even the insurance companies all do.Taking a taxi is going to be so cheap that only rich people will take the bus.

OK, so 500,000

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And still, my answer is nope. You can't fit 500,000 or even 250,000 more cars on Boston roads at rush hour.

But we aren't talking about

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But we aren't talking about the bus, we're talking about rail. And one of the big appeals of rail is that it isn't working on the same roads as normal traffic - it's a straighter shot, with fewer stops (stoplights and crossroads will still be a thing), at higher speeds. Even if it was on magnitudes of near-free with no worries about parking, I'd definitely rather take a train from forest hills to back bay than navigate through all the streets to get in the same place.

In fact I'd say automated taxis will make trains even MORE appealing, because you can now get that high-speed direct shot from catchment point to catchment point without worrying about how you have to walk / take a crowded and late bus to your final destination. Multi-transfer aversion is a big part of why people still drive, but if you can hop on the train and then hail a borderline free taxi to take you the last mile right to the door, why wouldn't you?

Meanwhile, there are 2,300

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Meanwhile, there are 2,300,000 cars in the state, sitting around while people are at work.

Ever consider that they're sitting around because they aren't needed?

People always cite that as being wasteful, but no one ever mentions that the reason those cars are sitting around is because demand for them has peaks - rush hour. Outside of these peaks there is nowhere near as much demand, so you're always going to need to have cars sitting around doing nothing in the middle of the day. And if cars aren't left parked at their destination, then the roads are going to be completely clogged with thousands of empty vehicles. Switching completely to a fleet of autonomous shared vehicles is going to INCREASE vehicle-miles traveled, and INCREASE congestion.

I think it depends on if you

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I think it depends on if you view self driving cars as a consumer-owned product (possibly leased out) or a sharing-economy product (uber owns them all). If everyone goes out and buys their own, then yeah, we've made little to no progress. But with 'shared' cars, you leverage the spread of the peak itself. Rush hour is 3 hours long, after all. If I need to get to work in at 7am, there's no reason that auto-car couldn't turn around and immediately pick up somebody who has to be at work at 7:30, then somebody for 8, etc etc until "rush hour" peters out for people who are getting in at 9:30-10. That's 4-5 cars eliminated.

Depends on your view of

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Depends on your view of progress. If my commute were half as long because a highway full of self driving cars can safely go much faster, have no ego about yielding at a merge,, and display almost no hysteresis when traffic lights change, that'd be progress. If driving gets so convenient that our roads can handle twice as much traffic, and the commute takes the same amount of time, but I could do productive things instead, that'd also be progress.

Sounds good to me

With the roads completely jammed with law abiding vehicles stuck in 24-hour parking lot traffic, biking around will be simple and easy!