Sure as rain, somebody slid on the trolley rails on South Huntington Avenue this morning and wound up needing another way to get around town. C.J. Chapman snapped the latest rain smashup around 10:30 a.m.
Remove parking, create a center reservation, close Back of the Hill (don't know what to do about Riverway).
But, but, but... THE PARKING! THINK OF THE CHILDREN!
Now, as to the cause... people fly around this area like its a highway. It's not. It's a street. On top of that, people tailgate too much. People don't know how to drive, period, let alone in the rain and on trolley tracks.
Or, you know, keep parking and get rid of the tracks on South Huntington. There's already the 39 bus.
Driver of private vehicle acts irresponsibly and goes recklessly fast. Can't expect them to behave themselves.
So let's punish riders of the T, who also happen to be potential victims of said recklessly driven vehicles.
Hmm. The trains were there before the cars. Maybe we should ban non-emergency, non-delivery private vehicles on this stretch of street, since it's "so dangerous."
Or maybe, everyone can drive a bit more slowly and carefully. Especially in bad conditions.
The parking spots seem always have the same cars in them. Rarely moving, rarely different. The trolley brings hundreds of people a day, however. The trolley also brings veterans to the VA hospital who cannot drive, but are hesitant about buses which are not as "fixed" route or easily usable by the unknowing-public.
You're right that the VA is really the only reason that the E line still exists at all. Boston is the only place where I've encountered a city bus route that at certain times diverges from its usual route to serve students at a public school. If the 39 would stop being so weird, we should definitely get rid of the E line. Not that that will ever happen, even if they could rebrand the 39 as a "Silver Line" route so it sounds more like one "line" replacing another, because there is the "single-seat" argument to be made for riders who otherwise would have to change at Copley to get from the Green Line to the VA. I'm not begrudging disabled veterans their right to ease of access to the VA hospital, but it would be a political nightmare for the T to get rid of the E line.
I think the other hospitals, MassArt, Mass College of Pharmacy, MassArt, Wentworth, Northeastern, the Gardner Museum, the MFA, BU theater, NEC/Jordan Hall, Symphony Hall, the Prudential Center would all have a wee bit of a problem losing a high capacity light rail line for another crummy bus line. You UPGRADE busy bus routes with light rail not the other way around.
the VA is really the only reason that the E line still exists at all
Longwood Medical area. Ahem. Harvard Medical School. Ahem. Museum of Fine Arts. Ahem. Mass Art. Ahem. Northeastern. Ahem. Wentworth. Ahem. Symphony Hall. Ahem. Mass College of Pharmacy. Ahem.
I think the VA's influence saved the street running portion of the E-line... well to the VA.
I am a vet who receives care at the JP VA facility. I use the 'E' Line at least six times a year to go there. From what I observe, there are quite a number of other vets as well as staff that use this trolley line too. If the VA uses influence to keep this running, so be it.
Va hospital trumps all those.............
Most T bus routes haven't changed in the last 100 years.
The real advantage of the Green Line is that you get a one-seat ride all the way to Park Street and beyond. If the buses and trolleys ran as frequently as they should, a transfer from the 39 to the subway wouldn't be such a big deal.
Bus routes are constantly in some sort of flex, adjustment, etc.
That said, since the 39 bus came into existence, the E Line has probably changed more than the 39 has.
Yeah--slow down. Apparently that is rocket science to some people.
Streetcars and cars have existed in mixed traffic for basically as long as there have been cars in cities all over the world; I can't imagine that someone somewhere hasn't figured out a way for them to be safer in rain without abandoning the whole concept.
The best solution is just to find ways to encourage drivers to slow down; no dramatic "eliminate all parking" or "eliminate the Green Line" necessary. There are likely road design features that could be used to do so.
Berlin has trolley tracks all over the street, and the roads are 10x smoother than boston. Part of the problem is that the road is bumpy and there are rubber strips next to the rails that are guess what, slippery when wet.
On the east side, at least.
Mostly, the difference is that drivers don't have the expectations of speed in urban areas. I used to work on Huntington near where that accident occurred - definitely an issue with too much speed much of the time.
One example of "trolley tracks everywhere" would be the major Swiss cities. We didn't see drivers having any issues in the rain in Zurich or Basel, but, then again, there weren't many drivers because there are so many trolleys. Those that were using cars were slowed by frequent pedestrian and trolley signals.
In Portland, OR, the new trolley lines have had some issues, but there have been traffic calming measures instituted where accidents were frequent, and, again, fewer drivers in high transit areas.
Back of the Hill is affordable housing for the elderly and disabled, so please don't close that stop. It really is a burden for them to to walk to the next stop (which is admittedly quite close).
Something should be done, I have seen incidents where a car has lost control in the rain on the wet tracks and taken several parked cars as they come careening down the hill.
The only real solution is to reduce the speed limit at the hill and replace the on street parking with concrete bollards.
It's not always a matter of speed. Those tracks are dangerous when they're wet. I've skidded on them doing 15 mph before.
Agreed...these tracks are a total mess! I'd be happy to have the E line stop at Brigham Circle, but then again, I live past Heath anyway, so the 39 or Orange line are the choices for me. Traffic at Huntington and South Huntington is always a mess...removing the T would definitely help!
removing the T would definitely help!
More people would get in their cars and block up the road even more. How many decades of repeating this mistake (removing public transportation to "ease" congestion) do we have to go before people get a clue?
If you want less traffic, then you need to find a way to have fewer cars on the road.
Allston/Brighton and to a lesser extent Newton Corner and Watertown Square learned that the hard way with the A Line.
Are these tracks more slippery than street-running tracks in other cities?
I think there was a second incident a little after noon today, involving a silver SUV and a blue sedan, slightly closer to Huntington. Unless it took two hours for EMS to show up to the first incident. FD seemed to have someone lying down in bad shape on a nearby doorstep.
I have a friend who lives along that part of South Huntington. We joke about how any of our friends with old cars they don't need any more should park them there so they can collect on the insurance when (not if) it gets hit.
Concrete has much better grip when wet then asphalt to make up for loss from wet steel rails. Residents complain about the added noise due to expansion joints. Extra noise is a small price for increased safety.
What if parking were only allowed during off-hours (say, 10pm-6am) on that winding stretch between Brigham Circle and the bend (where South Huntington begins)? Let residents, short-term visitors, delivery people, etc park there when the T is shut down, or when there's light traffic and few trolleys running. On the upside, you create another travel lane on a busy section of road during rush hour.
Make up for the lost parking by making a few new spots on adjacent streets. I know what you're thinking - we can't just "make" new parking spots. But we all know that in the city of Boston, every street has "no parking" areas that seem to make no sense.
Between 10PM and 6AM is when you want USPS, UPS, Fed-Ex to deliver packages to residents and businesses?
Overnite delivery servicing is a good idea, more productivity for the trucking if you have a critical mass of customers and product volume, in theory ,on paper. When you get to the real physical three dimensional world, it wouldnt work. For one reason as you pointed out. More so , it would take a real effort by managements to coordinate all this, businesses would need overnite employees to receive and rehandle goods , and there would be a severe security problem. Crime is best done under the cover of night , and the predators would soon start capitalizing on the darkness. Also , because of all the coordination in time, space, and distance matters , this is real time hands on stuff. Emails and voice mails and tweets and the such wont cut it, and today's level of middle management sans computer solution is just not up to the task.
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