Developer proposes aerial gondola service to the Seaport

The Globe reports Millennium Partners is beginning to talk up a $100-million proposal for a tramway from South Station to the Seaport.



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The Seaport is literally a 3 minute walk from South Station...totally unnecessary / waste of $100MM

Who will this project serve?

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Will it serve everyone in Seaport, at affordable rates for everyone?

Or are we giving away air rights for use by some affluent subset of people there?

If the Green Line trains ran in the tunnel as originally planned

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It would change the Seaport overnight. However, Boston bought into the ITDP contract scam and is screwed for life. The transitway tunnel was built for the Green Line, not buses. In fact, the tunnel was originally suppose to be a heavy rail subway connecting South Station and Logan via the Seaport. It was downgraded to a LRT line, and then cut midway in the Seaport. The CLF (aka the Steph Pollack brigade) screamed that the state still had to provide transit service to Logan. A panicked Mass bought into the ITDP scam.

No. Trains were never the plan.

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Again, trains would require yet another tunnel under the harbor, while buses use the Ted to get to Logan. They of course knew this from the start and the transit way tunnel never was intended carry trains. That makes zero sense but I know gadflies like to stumble in 20 years after the fact and insist that The Man ripped them off, because they feel a bus in a tunnel is déclassé. Again, if the buses don't come often enough (for the 2 minute ride) you get more buses. You don't try to create an entire new system at huge cost.

Oh Hey ITDP, Ahh Nope

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Fortunately a few engineering reports from the 80s were saved from your book retrieval (burning) crusade. The existing South Boston transitway tunnel was built for Boston's Green Line LRT system. The tunnel was designed to switch from BRT to LRT when the Seaport could support the Green Line. Today, the Seaport is well past the required numbers to support LRT, but your group continues to slap down the BRT-to-LRT Seaport transitway tunnel conversion. From Ottawa to Seattle, you harass, bully, and scream at any city that goes through with a BRT to LRT conversion. The Seaport is choking, while you continue to clamp down on needed upgrades. The transitway tunnel isn't extending into the harbor to Logan. That's a definite with 20 billion of Big Dig debt. But the Green Line trains can emerge from the tunnel, cut through the abandoned freight terminal parking lot, and run down Northern Ave to the Design Center and Cruiseport. Have you ever seen the mayhem when one or two massive cruise ships try to transfer passengers onto shuttle buses during rush hour at the Design Center? The crisis goes well beyond packed Silver Line buses.

Actually had this exact same discussion Last Week

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With a regular who also insisted the silver line was promised to be trains. After a few others and I confronted him with facts he retreated to "Okay trains weren't the plan but the Silver Line was supposed to be rapid transit, and it doesn't fit that definition, so there." oy.

Sorry section77, you're dead wrong

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If you believe the bus-only tunnel talking point, then the $300,000 a year highway & bus lobbyists did their job. However, as someone who worked on the transitway plan in the late 1980s I can confirm: The SB Transitway Tunnel was built for the Green Line


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You should probably read the article - its a 1+ mile stretch, and the developers are on the hook for the $100MM.


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Are you serious?!?! 1 mile?! I can't walk that or take the SILVER LINE THAT GOES THE THE SAME FRIGGIN PLACE!! Lazy ass!

Have you ever worked in the Seaport District?

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Have you ever tried to carry your work bag plus a laptop dressed in business attire in the heat? You say "it's only a mile" but that mile feels pretty long when you're trying to get to an 8:30 am meeting and you're carrying all that on you.

Even better? Walking in the pouring rain or in the snow.

As for the Silver Line, it goes close to the same friggen place but not quite. It's still a hike to get to some places where people want to go.

What is your objection to having some kind of legitimate transit in a neighborhood that needs it?

Not to mention the silverline

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Not to mention the silverline is PACKED during peak hours. I've waited for 2 or 3 "buses" to pass before I was able to squeeze onto a packed bus many times. The silverline is a joke anyway. Talk about piss poor planning. It's nice to see some fresh thinking on the public transportation issue. Too bad the state can't come up with some fresh ideas.

Adult much?

that's what commuting to work is like. Anyone does this unfamiliar with the process could afford to Uber every day. Or ride a bike. That's why I switched biking. I mean if a bunch of rich people want to build a flying Twinkie that's fine as long as they don't use any of my tax money.

My point was the silverline

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My point was the silverline is already way overtaxed as a transportation mode. Wait until the seaport is complete with workers and residents alike creating an even bigger burden on a poorly planned mode of public transportation. And I'm not wealthy, I make 50 some odd K a year so no, I can't uber either. I walk to south station because I gave up on the silverline 3 years ago. I can only imagine how much worse it is today.

Or the 7 bus

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There are plenty of empty 7 buses running back to aouthie to pick up another load. Given bus lanes on Summer St, they could take a lot of pressure off the Silver Line.

And if BTD and MassPort could take their heads out of their asses for two minutes and fix D Street, they could increase rush hour capacity on the silver line by 10% or so.


The seaport has tons of transit compared to the rest of Boston. You have the Silverline ,the four, and the seven. 4 or 5 hubway stations and ferries. Maybe you should give us the route you take and then your whining will have some context.

Not whining, just stating

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Not whining, just stating facts. I walk from the courthouse to south station.I enjoy the boardwalk and the water along the way. I still state my case the whole area was poorly planned on many fronts.

Horseshit. That is what

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Horseshit. That is what commuting is like in on poorly-planned and shoddily-managed transit line. Yes, there are many places in the world with well-developed transit lines which still get packed, but they have an excuse - an ever-increasing use. We run our toy trolleys and think it's all good.

Born & Raised on Roosevelt

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I was born & raised on Roosevelt Island. The tram is a novelty. It just didn't cut it. The Island screamed for subway service and finally got it in the late 80s (think about it, NYC subway expansion, in the 80s) It was a crisis. It was easier walking into Queens and taking the subway to Manhattan than riding the fishbowl in the sky.

Flying Twinkie

I suppose this is what they want:

Even though they don't need to get people up a mountain from where they could put the parking.

Was it really THAT FUCKING HARD to anticipate the demand for public transit? I remember wondering what the deal was when they started building out the seaport with NO TRANSPORTATION that would take less than stupid ridiculous amounts of time. Other cities did this sort of "redevelop a whole industrial district" thing long before Boston and they developed the transit and bike infrastructure long BEFORE the the build out - did they talk to anyone? NOPE Duh fucking duh fucking duh!

The seaport could have been

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The seaport could have been great. Planning a new neighborhood in the 2010's around the car instead of people and public transportation is honestly one of the god damn dumbest things I've ever seen. Boston is doing precisely the opposite of what the smart forward thinking cities around the world are doing. What a colossal waste of money, land, life and opportunity.

In their defense

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The seaport was planned decades ago - not that it really makes anything better, planning around the car died in the 50s/60s.

Why not just add a bus line?

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How hard would it be to add a bus route that does that loop? Certainly a lot cheaper than a tramway and could serve more points (not to mention better for those scared of heights!)

I've heard it takes 30 minutes

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to get from the Seaport Hotel area to 93 North from Seaport Blvd. sometimes during rush hour. Nobody will give up a car to sit in traffic on a bus for the same amount of time.

I don't own a car, but of course with the present Silver Line I know from experience it sometimes takes 30 minutes to wait for eight full Silver Line buses to South Station before you can shoehorn your way onto one.

Better options are needed.

If the buses are full = the

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If the buses are full = the service is popular, add more buses, not a completely different system.

I don't like being on the

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I don't like being on the pessimist side of half-full, half-empty questions, but..

I have my doubts as to whether Silver Line has much more capacity than that. The tunnel setup doesn't allow much speed.

The better option is already here.

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Nobody will give up a car to sit in traffic on a bus for the same amount of time.

You're absolutely right. Which is why you make the bus run a loop, and put it in a BUS BIKE lane or even a BUS ONLY lane. Then you sit out there with a Massport trooper and a tow truck and you enforce.

Dublin (Ireland) has loads of Bus/Bike/Taxi lanes, and one of the outcomes is that it's faster in a bus than in a car for many routes. Sure enough, that means more people take the bus, resulting in (a) even less auto congestion and (b) more frequent bus service since there are so many people riding.

Build a dedicated bus lane and run buses frequently. A $100M in-air solution would be easily beat by a few thousand in paint, some staff and equipment already hired, and a few dozen buses.

It's probably even cheaper

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It's probably even cheaper than that, considering all that sweet sweet ticket revenue you'll be pulling in from jackasses who think they're too good to stay in their own lane.


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A great way to alleviate traffic and encourage people to give up their cars/ubers/taxis is a dedicated, buy only lane. You are going to take the bus if its much faster than being in a car.

We need bus only lanes like most world class cities.

South station to North station link

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An aerial gondola along the Greenway would be the cheapest and most scenic route to connect these two vital transportation hubs.


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A boat would be cheaper and more scenic.

But as I've said beforethe point of a rail link is not physically getting from north to south station (the red and orange/green lines do that well enough) but the dramatic efficiency that comes from not having to put everything in to north and south stations.

Tl;dr: read the comment above.


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Having lived on Roosevelt Island for a bit and semi-relied on a tram for transportation - its not terrible (and at least for RI has become somewhat of a tourist attraction of its own), although it did have to close in extreme weather/wind, and was quite crowded at times. Also note that they put in an entire actual subway stop, too, as the tram couldn't keep up with demand. It seems rather silly, too, given that Seaport Blvd and Summer St seem almost tailored made for a light rail loop that hooked into the Silver Line tunnel to South Station - and would be able to move a lot more people, too, and wouldn't require any elevated structures - you know like the the ones we spent decades taking down (Els and the Big Dig). Plus in the future it would offer a lot more options/room for expansion.


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Start with a bus lane or two?


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That will never work in Boston. Someone driving a car might be slightly inconvenienced.


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This is ridiculous. Walk people! Spend the money on something more important than carrying people to their jobs (unless the companies help pay for it).

And if you can't walk?

Then what.

I'm all about active transportation, but not if it becomes a way to screen out people with disabilities.

Ah, the disingenuous "What about the handicapped?? card

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Always throw it down when trying to make your own life a little easier kids.

Some years back groups of dbags thought they would create a new thing by mountain biking down Tuckerman's Ravine. They would schlep up the auto road with all their gear (which gets you shunned by my hiking crowd), and thought they would somehow rock jump from the top to bottom. This of course was impossible due to steep terrain in the bowl. Next you start hearing the same fools insisting that "Hey man, something has to be done to make these trails smoother. They're not HC accessible and I'm really concerned about that." No. No you are not.

Um, dude?

My typical day involves at least 10 miles of biking and/or three miles of walking. It ain't about making my life easier, ducks.

Disability issues are very real. We have an aging population and their public transit needs are growing. You will likely find this out someday when age gets to your joints and your eyes. Be careful what you say - somebody will dig it up and rub your nose in it when you get fucked up and start to whine.


Public Transit is sometimes the only option for disabled people. And although the ride can provide door to door, you have to schedule ahead of time and sometimes you wait a long time. There are many disabled people on buses and subways and it important that it is available to them.

People who can't walk get picked up and dropped off via the Ride

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This includes the handicapped, the elderly and even junkies (whom the Great State of Massachusetts considers to be handicapped). Your attempt to use these groups to get what you want is null and void. Otherwise you can use "what about the HC?" to justify a subway down every street,

it needs better organization

For years I watched the Ride pick up a guy across the street from my bus stop. He was walking with a cane and would come down 5 steps from the development to the street and another 3 steps from his 2 story condo. At this point all the buses coming down my street are kneelers. I am sure this guy qualifies and I don't know where he is going perhaps it is really far from transit but it would be almost as convenient to ride the bus.


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Watching just a video of that for a few seconds gave me a headache. I can't imagine they would be silent and unobtrusive and someone will end up decapitated by a pod somehow.

There is no need for silly and gimmicky transport systems when perfectly ordinary ones will work just fine.

Most likely this would be a

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Most likely this would be a gondola system, with lots of small 8-10-passenger cars going around continuously in a loop, as opposed to an aerial tramway like Portland's, with two large cars shuttling back and forth. Lots of these have been built for urban transport in recent years, particularly in Latin America. I don't know where this $100 million number comes from; they generally run about a tenth of that. You'd have to build the South Station terminal right above Summer St in order for the alignment to work, though.

*eye roll*

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This just gets the big *eye roll*

While I appreciate the investment let's fix what we have.. by fixing tunneling under D street and fixing that interesection and adding more buses.

OR we can do Jim Alosi's idea (with datadyne007's (Tim) graphics) of BRT up and down Summer Street. It's wide enough for a center dedicated BRT lane, which would solve the traffic issues.

(See It Larger)

H/t ArchBoston

ITDP Block. Big Dig Block

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Are you proposing that the Silver Line leave the South Boston Transitway Tunnel and allow Green Line trains to finally run underground through the Seaport? Yes! Oh wait. ITDP block. Big Dig block. Always read the fine print people

Lots of typical

Boston "we can't" reaction. A private developer will pay....?. Those puzzled by the driving vs. walking haven't driven through the Seaport during rush hour.

Although I am disappointed that as of this morning we are missing the proverbial reaction to everything new: "this will cause our public schools to have to close" and "community""leaders" opining about the negative effect on dog walkers in South Boston and other "community" leaders claiming that gondola's are racist.