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Kendall Square researcher would ram superhighway through neighborhoods to ease his commute

The Globe reports the people who work in and around Kendall Square are fed up with sitting in traffic. Sure, there's talk of more buses and better switches on the Red Line, but then there's Robert A. Weinberg, director of the Weinberg Laboratory of Cancer Biology at Whitehead Institute:

There’s a bit of an ostrich-like mentality. No one here confronts the grim reality that the arterial connections into this area have not changed since I was a freshman at MIT in 1960.

Gosh, he says that like it's a bad thing. Maybe it's time for him to take a field trip to see the mural on the side of Micro Center.

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Comments

And what's with all these stupid buildings? Haven't you people heard of surface parking lots??

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with zoning bylaws.

BTW, the article has many good comments, including asking why can't "innovators" telecommute more, instead of trudging en mass into a common workplace like people have done for thousands of years. 50cc scooters would be a good option except for parking discrimination against them.

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Parking discrimination against scooters (is that just a byproduct of the car parking restrictions?) seems so un-PRC.

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Scooters can pay for motorcycle parking. If you want easy free parking you can put in the tiny bit of extra effort to ride a bike.

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They are allowed use of the bike lane and can park on sidewalks.

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..while they're legally allowed to use the bike lane and park on the sidewalk, IMO they don't belong either place.

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Scooter are not motorcycles. You don't need a motorcycle license to ride one and you don't need to tag or insure it. A $25 registration sticker and a valid drivers license is all it takes, and let's be honest - how many scooter riders actually have licenses?

http://www.dmv.org/ma-massachusetts/other-types.php

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Ever since the RMV did a little dance about 5 years ago, "scooters" (actually called "motorized bicycles") became a class of motor vehicles that nobody rides. The 49cc scooters on the market are mostly all capable of speeds exceeding the limits set in the law and so they end up classified as "Limited Use Vehicles" along with their 100cc brethren. Anything that can go faster than the "scooter" definition but not fast enough to be on a limited access highway safely is a "Limited Use Vehicle".

LUVs require insurance, an LUV plate, but no motorcycle license. As for parking on the sidewalk, that is technically illegal because of the plate however Boston, Cambridge, and most other area towns have said they won't enforce that on LUVs in order to recognize it would be stupid to force them to take an entire parking space on the street for a single LUV.

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Er, I should clarify - 50cc "scooters" that the poster above was referring to are not considered motorcycles.

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I don't believe any of the Kendall Sq. parking garages have motorcycle parking- they have signs to that effect.

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Much of Kendall Square is pharma and biotech. Can't exactly telecommute running a gel or doing some med chem.

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TBH, Boston's infrastructure layout is quite laughable. There is no efficient way to travel across - like north to south or west to southeast. There's just in, out, and circumnavigate via 95.

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You might want to take a spin on I-93 one of these days. It's quite the thing.

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The qualifier there was "efficient". Considering 93 is bollocked up by 7am until 10am every weekday I'd hardly call it efficient.

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Such as using the HOV lanes? Works rather nicely.

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while doing little to ease congestion even for those who are utilizing the HOV facility, as most time "gained" in flying past the heavy congestion at the lane's entrance is canceled out by merge and weaving congestion at either of the lane's exit.

The reversible HOV lane also dramatically worsened congestion in the opposite direction of HOV lane operation, which is doubly unfortunate, as leisure travel and business travel have different peak times that equate to a need for balanced capacity in both directions all day.

Furthermore, the HOV lane's installment came at the direct expense of breakdown lanes, which are vital safety features on a high-speed vehicle artery. Installing the HOV lane was also coupled with the extremely shortsighted decision to narrow existing travel lanes, further reducing the road's already strained capacity.

The end result of all this is that for everyone - including HOV lane users - the reversible HOV lane has made the road worse. When the Southeast Expressway is overhauled, the "zipper" lane must be removed, and the breakdown lanes restored. (The ship has, unfortunately, sailed on reverting to three full-width lanes - in spite of the capacity improvement that this would ultimately bring, the general public is incapable of reconciling this fact with the requirement to remove a lane.)

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Remember, folks - it is about how many people get through, not how many vehicles.

Please supply statistics supporting "road made worse" if you are going to advocate for a massive public policy change.

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Can't find the citation at the moment. I think it was done by a guy at MassDOT or at least one in Mass. The conclusion: Don't have a HOV lane unless you are adding a lane to an existing roadway. You should try searching for it yourself because its a good read.

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It's this MPO memo that makes exactly the mistake that Swirly is hinting about.

(posted mainly for the benefit of others, since Mark will never admit being wrong).

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I'm occupied with other things at the moment and can't spare time to track down the right study, but I wanted to point out that this was a (flawed) study of HOV lanes in general and not the specific study of the Southeast Expressway that revealed the many flaws associated with having a reversible peak-hour facility and the impact its installation had on the rest of the road.

The so-called "zipper lane" is bad infrastructure for reasons that generally have nothing to do with its HOV-2 status.

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Concluded that an HOV lane wouldn't be worth it because the number of vehicles the road carried would go down. As noted above, they used the entirely wrong metric. MassHighway, FTL.

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Which only improves " "efficiency" " if you happen to have neighbors keeping the same commuting schedule as yours.

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DC has long carpool lanes (like, say, 495 to Boston) and people stand in lines at park-and-rides to get rides. It's pretty cool, actually.

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they did say efficient.

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Yes, we all love Adam and anything he posts gets auto-thumbed up by a lot of us (usually including me).

But Adam, in this case your snark is unwarranted - tofu's comment is spot on. Within the metro, north-south travel is challenging, even for Bostonians.( Especially true if you're crossing the river - I tell anyone new to the area that if you're doing that you need to add 33-50% to any travel time estimate.)

93 is mostly just useful to people commuting downtown from outside the inner metro region. Not particularly useful at all for anyone interested (or living) in the part of the city west of Mass ave.

Having said that, I am absolutely not in favor of more highways into the inner metro. What we need is better public transit, and more intelligently controlled traffic flow.

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Tofu noted that there is no clear way to go north to south, which Adam notes is easily accomplished by I-93.

Of course, we don't know tofu's geographical point of reference. Does west to southeast mean Wellesley to Quincy (easily accomplished via Route 128) or Brighton to Mattapan (Pike to the Expressway to Granite Ave, or through Brookline and with a nice long rest at Forest Hills)? What does north to south really mean? Charlestown to Hyde Park is fairly straight forward, though not as easy as South Boston to Lower Mills. Woburn to Canton is an easy highway shot. People could throw two points out right here and we could debate the best way.

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How about from central Somerville to JP? Down by the pond. Bus it to Lechmere, take the E to Haymarket, get on the Orange and sit on down... driving, better avoid that during a Sox game. Alternatively, Waltham to Canton is unreasonably awful every day, and there's no option for transit in Waltham except the Fitchburg line which is ... yeah. How could you even take the Providence line in and then come all the way back out - technically possible, but unfeasible, hence the traffic.

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So, Highland Ave to McGrath-O'Brien to Lechmere, bang a right after the State Police Barracks, Storrow Drive to Kenmore Square, then follow the Muddy River. Alternatively, after Lechmere take a right on Land Blvd to Memorial Drive. Go over the BU Bridge straight to, once again, the Muddy River.

Waltham to Canton- look, if you can't figure out the best way to drive from Waltham to Canton, you should probably live in a place with only grid roads. Are there alternatives to 128? No, unless you want to go out of your way to avoid it, like something involving hitting Newton Center, Needham Center, Norwood Center, and the Canton Viaduct.

No, the T cannot provide frequent service on non-radial routes. The demand is not there. Getting to the CBD of any city is what transit does well.

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The problem is that cars are not an efficient way to move people. The two Red Line tracks roughly parallel to 93 have more capacity than the 8 highway lanes. So that's the argument for better transit, carpool lanes and the like: all are more efficient than giving over all the road space and most of the resources to people driving alone.

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People write as if it doesn't exist.

Its way more popular than bicycling, for instance. Portland flattened out in bicycling's growth several years ago, S.F. showed a decline in the just released report when adjusted for population growth, and NYC has also showed bicycling not really increasing. All in all psychotic predictions for how many people would ride bicycles are not panning out. People still prefer motorized transportation or even walking, given a fair choice. Several years ago Toronto voters threw out the anti-car mayor, even to replace him with a crazy drunk.

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So it must have been extremely popular before. 20% in 1980, 10% in 2000.

But, yeah, no one rides bikes anymore. I posted a link about carpooling, you post one about the decline of cyclists.

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and still more popular than bicycling!

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worse with travel lane removals (using money given them by state taxpayers*) and while the BU bridge lost a lane, so too will the Longfellow. Its all steps backwards for the innovation district producing the current situation. Its not something that just happened. Its been an ideology of and plan by Cambridge City Planners and Redevelopment Board for decades come to fruition all to coerce people into bicycling, paying extortion-grade Cambridge rents, or packing into unreliable T trains.

*By Chapter 90 funding formula Cambridge gets road maintenance money partly based on population and jobs in the city instead of what should be counted: vehicles registered in Cambridge and employee parking spaces. In most communities the distinction is trivial, but Cambridge anti-car policies push residents and businesses to burden the MBTA for transportation (without compensating it) while still collecting the same road repair money from the state (taxpayers).

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The problem is not lack of roads. The problem is too many cars.

Just ban cars.

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they're mah RIGHT! as an AMURRICAN!!!

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Have you ever stood and counted the cars going northbound on the Longfellow? Seen backups? No? Just doesn't happen. Two lanes going north in to Cambridge just isn't justified by the volume.

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Wholly shit commercial and residential rents are through the roof! They can't build in Cambridge/Boston fast enough. Everyone wants to live and work in these places. Google/MS/etc COULD have opened new buildings off 128 in Waltham but they choose Kendal Sq instead. Gee, I wonder why?

You can cry all you like about lack of parking and lane removal but it isn't holding anything back. Lack of physical space to build is, hence the low supply and high demand.

For people who want office parks and off-ramps, Metro Boston has plenty. What sets this area apart from other cities and makes Boston/Cambridge desirable is that we also have place that aren't suburban office park shitholes.

Office park or city downtown. Take your pick. But don't complain when you pick the nice urban RD center when what you really wanted was the office park shithole. If the guy from Whitehead wants this sort of office he's welcome to relocate -- he won't have to go far. It's not like they space they'd be leaving in Kendall would stay vacant for long.

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Lots of cheap downtown space available... and affordable housing and local universities. "Innovators" seem to have the same groupthink of teens on social media.

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Yeah, and these towns lack all the other things that make students and professionals interested in living there. There is more to life then cheap parking and low traffic. People want to live and work in places where they are close to other people doing the same things. They want to have a have a ton of choices for restaurants, nightlife, etc. Kids come to college in Boston to be near other students. Employers set up shop in Boston to hire these people when they graduate.

It's worth a premium to companies to be in Kendall square. It's easier to hire and retain the types of employees they want. People enjoy coming out for meetings. It's not groupthink, it's good business.

But speaking of groupthink, you're the one who subscribes to the 1950's view that the only way to grow an economy is with bigger highways.

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I think the point is that there are tradeoffs in every situation. If you want to work in Kendall Square, you have to put up with the inconvenience of getting around a densely populated area located near an inconvenient body of water. If you insist that everything work to your optimal satisfaction and convenience all the time, you're just acting like a spoiled child.

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You're probably not going to make a lot of headway here, BostonDog. markkkkkkk is a regular in the Bizarro Anti-Bike-And-Pedestrian Logic Olympics.You're never going to convince him that his particular framing is a bower's nest of weird assumptions, flawed syllogisms, incoherent projections, and hyper-individualistic rationalizations because he built it himself out of shiny things and he hopes one day to lure a mate to live in it with him.

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In this one narrow instance, he appears to be at least somewhat right.

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he's spouting some nonsense idea that traffic patterns are the result of a nefarious Cambridge conspiracy that somehow involves city control over the MBTA and the rental market (which, hey, I agree rent inflation in the greater Metro is insane, but those free market champions like markkkk asked for it).

And let's not delve too far into the "logic" behind whatever benefit the city sees by "coercing" people into biking. Which.. I mean. When they start charging excise tax on bikes and tolls on bike lanes, ok, sure. But.. no.

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They are all anti-car. Its not even a secret conspiracy. They are proud of it.

The cities I mentioned above all have colleges. Worcester has several, and an airport, places to eat and go out at night, even its own computer programming and electronics trade school like MIT - WPI.

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They charge you $25 to park it on the street all year. Anywhere in the city! I mean, gosh, what a travesty. 7¢ a day!

Maybe companies would be more likely to located in Worcester if we paid enough to have a train that could get there in less than an hour and a half. (And don't say that everyone can drive there in 45 minutes, that's true on a Sunday morning, but try doing it at rush hour.)

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If a company plans to locate in Worcester with the workforce coming from Boston, you've got a problem that will not be resolved.

The reality is, companies could locate in Worcester, which is neither too far nor too close to Boston, the 128 belt, and the forgotten 495 belt. Housing costs are lower, so employees could have a good quality of life for less.

Of course, if the City of Worcester truly wants to go all Kendall Square, they would have to have a complete development plan, since if density is achieved, the issue of how to get people to work and home again would be a big one. But they won't be going home to Brighton. Shrewsbury and Bolyston most likely, with a core of the young'uns staying in the city to mingle with like folk and the college crowd.

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Companies can enjoy the lower rents in Worcester, and workers can too!!! Or, actually afford to buy a home close to work!

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They have identified a major destroyer of quality of life and a major resource suck in their particular urban environment, and put it in its proper place in their plans for their city.

Planning in Cambridge and Somerville isn't about cranks from Arlington flying through at freeway speed, or finding convenient parking. Nor should it be.

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"nice urban RD center" vs. "the office park shithole"

That's called a False Dilemma Fallacy. For some it's a choice between a nice, green office park where I can eat lunch outside, or a piss-stained concrete urban jungle.

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It ain't lack of space, it's NIMBYism that's preventing developers from building in Cambridge/Boston fast enough.

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Markk02474, I'm picturing you as a grumpy 73y/o man with unkempt hair, wildly waving a staff around as you rant on: "Coerce people into bicycling"!!!; "extortion grade Cambridge rents"!!! And who do we have to blame, you say? BIKES!!! All the God*@mn bikes!! What's the matter with you people!!?? It's time to throw all the bikes in the garage. And let me tell you something else- If this continues we may actually have less traffic problems and a healthier society leading to lower healthcare costs and a better economy. Phooey! I don't know about you but that sounds like load of cockamamie. If I don't want to be healthy you can't make me!!! And now I'm going to make you ALL unhealthy AAAHHRRRRGGGG!!!
Oh man I'm laughing out loud now. Thank you for the morning laugh.

But seriously, I think you've aged out of current day society.

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I don't think "cockamamie" is a noun.

Other than that, spot on.

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Please don't forget to honor Mark's service as a former elected official. /s/

Former being the operant word, thank goodness.

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IMAGE(http://images2.fanpop.com/images/photos/7400000/Old-Man-Yells-At-Cloud-the-simpsons-7414384-265-199.gif)

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Anybody with common sense and perception of human nature and the toll decades of physical activity takes on knees knows that predictions of anything more than several percent bicycling participation on a regular basis is unrealistic. Its also anti-democratic to force people against their will to bicycle when they much rather choose other forms of transportation. Sorry for believing in personal freedom.

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Ask your doctor about how bad bicycling is for your knees.

And just to clear things up, nobody is attempting to force people to do anything. You're going to get ticks if you keep beating up on that straw man like that.

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the toll decades of physical activity takes on knees

I'm on track for knee replacements in my later years but I still cycled over 150 miles last week. My ortho tells me that I have added years to the useful life of my arthritic joints (I already had noticeable arthritis by my late 30s) by doing so much cycling, because the surrounding tissues are built up and support the knee.

Cycling also means a lot less walking, and less climbing stairs in and out of subway stations. The trick to pain free cycling is in getting a bike that fits and appropriately adjusting it. This takes more time and awareness than money. Good shoes, on the other hand, do cost money.

Also, if I drove everywhere rather than biking, I'd probably weigh 3-400 lbs like many in my family have by my age - which is also not good for arthritic knees.

I realize that some people have physical impairments that make walking difficult. However, there are special placards and chair/scooter things to help with that. Also, the more people switch to biking and transit, the more room there will be on the roads and the more parking will be available to those without other choices.

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squats, legs lifts, in-line skating, raving, a dozen or more kneecap dislocations, open surgeries on both knees for tendon tears, arthroscopic on one. My kneecap dislocates and resets every rotation of a bicycle crank. Then there is the arthritis and bone on bone contact from little remaining cartilage. So assholes who stupidly judge others others and ASSume everyone can and should bicycle can shove it up their ass. People don't just like to drive, they need to drive (or motorcycle). Oh, and worn out knees make you cranky.

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So assholes who stupidly judge others others and ASSume everyone can and should bicycle

You should get a nice hat for that strawman. Nobody here has said that everybody can ride a bike to work.

Nobody has said that you can't drive your car, either. What they have said is that there isn't enough room for everyone to drive, that cycling is healthier for a good number of the population, and that driving doesn't make you so special that your need or desire to drive your private car outweighs the needs of other people to get around, or the safety of your fellow citizens. If all the cyclists in Cambridge suddenly switched to driving cars, you would have a great deal more trouble getting around the city than you do now. No amount of squeezing every last lane mile out of the pavement would help.

My father, who was quite unable to get around at the end of his life, happily supported transit and cycling initiatives in his hometown of Portland, Or. Why? Because the successful reduction of traffic made it very easy for him to drive anywhere he liked at any time and find convenient handicap parking.

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squats, legs lifts, in-line skating, raving, a dozen or more kneecap dislocations, open surgeries on both knees for tendon tears... wah wah wah wah wah... etc.

Might I suggest walking, barefoot, with a crown of thorns? Maybe get someone to whip you and carry one of these:

IMAGE(http://www.universalhub.com/files/styles/large_image/public/images/photos/cross.jpg)

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I'm sorry you have bad knees, but are you honestly arguing against exercise? in principle????

wowie!

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who was it that forced you upon the bicycle, Mark?
you can tell us.

this is a safe space.

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During rehab for the knee surgeries after the casts came off. Well intentioned, though misguided that they are. Physical therapists, public health officials, urban planners, "progressive" transportation officials all are wrong in thinking everyone should get on a bicycle without respect to individual circumstance.

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to do anything.

thats all there is to it.

you're screaming at bike-shaped clouds.

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Plenty of other places in Massachusetts besides Kendall Square to do business, last time I checked.

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Seriously though, all territorialisms aside, the traffic patterns justify those moves because there just is not enough traffic going that direction on those bridges to justify the wasted space.

I think those people who insist on driving to their Kendall square offices should instead either:
A: Live in Cambridge already since they're probably making 3x what I make working for MIT or the bio/tech companies in Kendall and can thus afford to
OR
B: notice that subway stop right there.

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Living in Cambridge wouldn't make a difference to someone who has alternatives and doesn't use them. They'd still drive.

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Would be nice.

But have you seen the garbage that sells for 500K there?

Cambridge doesn't have a road shortage; it's got a housing shortage.

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The road shortage means people can't drive to Cambridge from where housing is more affordable, so they are forced to pay extortion prices to live close to work. Making transportation worse means more profits for land owners and developers!

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Sorry, but I have found that driving in Cambridge is vastly improved in recent years. I haven't had any problem getting cars full of teens into Central Square for a Mary Chung/Pandemonium Raid, or finding parking there. I have had little trouble finding parking if I want to meet my son after his shift in Harvard Square, and no trouble doing the occasional flat tire rescue in Porter, either.

Yeah, you have to walk, and you have to pay, and the lane markings force your poor little self to obey the traffic laws and wait your goddamn turn at lights. So what?

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Nobody is being forced to do anything. People who can't afford to live near Cambridge can find jobs in other places. Companies in Cambridge who want to hire people will have to pay them enough so that they can afford to live within a reasonable commute.

Making transportation worse means more profits for land owners and developers!

There is a logical fallacy here. This statement only makes sense if you assume that building more roads will make transportation "better". You might as well wish to commute by jet-pack.

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It burns!

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First of all, the lane removals on the BU Bridge are not the root cause of the issue: the root cause is that there are too many cars there trying to use not enough space, and further down, the fact that it's really hard to get to Kendall by transit from the west because there are no good connections (mostly planning a long time ago, partly because all of the road space we do have is for single occupancy cars, so even if we wanted to have a shuttle between the Worcester Line and Kendall it would just get stuck in traffic).

But to your little asterisk: WRONG. Wrong wrong wrong. First of all, Cambridge generates a hell of a lot more money for the local economy than Arlington or Canton or Tewksbury or wherever, and its roads see a lot more use. But second of all, Cambridge doesn't burden the MBTA? Have you heard of local MBTA assessments? Cambridge pays a higher share of T assessment than any other municipality other than Boston. You make it seem like the People's Republic is indeed a separate entity which doesn't pay the Commonwealth anything but demands a tribute in return. I would bet that Cambridge pays a lot more in taxes to the Commonwealth than it gets back in return.

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and not an urban planner.

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If only there were some sort of underground transportation system that had a stop in Kendall Square!

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It's not reliable, or quick.

And some days it just doesn't go at all.

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Much cheaper to fix the T for the entire metro area than it is to plow a superhighway a couple of miles through the country's most expensive real estate for a handful of special people.

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I just not going to hold my breath waiting. I've been waiting for years for some discernible improvement in the T but I just don't see it happening.

I grew up riding public transportation whenever I had to travel beyond a few blocks from my home. Now as an adult I wish Boston had a system that was half as capable.

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And hopefully they will be in service before you move back to New York City.

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no plan to do that. More jobs in my industry here.

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and hence, the unbelievable traffic. Reliability (closely followed by frequency) is key.

Anecdotal evidence time: several people who I know in our near western suburb drive to their jobs in downtown Boston everyday. I was aghast when I heard this, particularly when they told me that it would actually be (most days) faster and cheaper to take the commuter rail.

Then why???

To a person the response was the same: "we have kids - I can't take the chance on the T."

I think that this is an underrated factor in all of these discussions. The discussions focus too much on the 20-somethings and the resurgence of the desire to live "downtown". That's just not reality for lots of people. More anecdotal evidence has shown me something else - as soon as those 20-somethings get into their 30s, get married and have kids...[see above].

[Side note, and as I have pointed out before, its the same thing for many with respect to schools - people don't want to play the lottery with their kids' educations, so they go for what they think is the surer thing and head for the suburbs.]

The bottom line - the reliability of the T must be significantly improved or we are going to choke on our own regional success. The bad news is that even if the T were brought up to 99% reliability tomorrow, it would still take years to coax lots of people out of their cars because the T's declining reliability over the last X years has now become engrained in the minds of a significant part of the commuting public.

Sigh.

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"If we could just give them great music, great coffee, people will park and ride."

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Issac,

I have worked in many jobs around Boston in the last 25 years and I have two basic ways I have commuted, by bike and by car. Because I live in Boston the commute to a few companies in Kendal/Central Sq. area has been by bike, but I've also worked as far away as Pawtucket RI.

EVERY time I'm at a new place that's beyond about 5 mi. from home I look for a public transportation option. The job in RI is a good example; the commuter rail had a nearby stop, and if I brought a bike, I could make it work. BUT, it was more expensive than driving (including insurance, but not maintenance), took 30-50% longer, and limited the arrival/departure times.

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To a person the response was the same: "we have kids - I can't take the chance on the T."

This is why, when I worked in the Medical Area, I started biking all the way, both ways, every day. I could count on exactly how long it would take. Even driving, at the earliest part of rush hour, I ran into trouble getting my kids in time on a regular basis.

Massive pay off being able to get home on 9/11/01, too.

I think people who do not have kids who are in childcare don't understand how inflexible it can be. Ditto for the very late start times of elementary schools clashing with the MBTA diminishing service after 9am, and not ramping it up until after 4pm.

If you don't live in biking distance, childcare pickup means using the car. Even with bikable commutes, it wasn't unusual for me and the Mr. to leave the car at childcare and commute the rest on bikes.

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Issac,

Besides the running of trains and buses, is the lottery of getting a parking spot at a commuter location. Quincy is blessed with 3 parking garages on the red line, but other communities got shortchanged.

Arlington does its part to help by giving away free, all-day street parking to MBTA commuters while most other inner communities don't.

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To a person the response was the same: "we have kids - I can't take the chance on the T."

If people still believe that the highways are a more reliable transportation method than rail-based transit (a mode which is supposed to be the king of reliability, alas), then that tells me that there really isn't much of a highway congestion problem in Boston. Just a bunch of people whining really loudly because they bought a fancy new car and are shocked (shocked!) that they cannot drive 55 to and from work.

Mixed, general traffic freeway lanes without congestion pricing are not supposed to be reliable. They're not designed to be reliable. If people believe that the highways are more reliable than rail-based transit, then either (a) the rail-based transit is beyond horrible, and/or (b) the highway congestion is simply not that bad.

I'm inclined to believe that it's a bit of both.

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If people still believe that the highways are a more reliable transportation method than rail-based transit (a mode which is supposed to be the king of reliability, alas), then that tells me that there really isn't much of a highway congestion problem in Boston.

No, it just means that the congestion and delays on the highway are more predictable.

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You can leave a little earlier to beat traffic if you drive. Commuter rail schedules don't give you that kind of flexibility - you either leave a whole hour earlier, or risk late charges and threats of losing your care slot.

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And there are usually alternative routes that you can take if you're in your car and the traffic backs up unexpectedly. If you're stuck in a train that's not moving, you're generally just fucked.

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Are days with heavy snow or hurricanes. Or lockdowns. That's pretty much it. Everyone is up in arms when there's a 20 minute delay on the T, but 20 minute backups on the BU Bridge are happenstance.

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Cars are a time bubble. Give people their own space, music, and maybe smartphones for the youngins' and people will sit in traffic for 20min to 2 hours+, every day.

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Might be a leap to imply that he wants to build a new highway into Kendall. He didn't actually say that.

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He was bemoaning the lack of new arterial highways since 1960. We tried that once before. There's a reason we don't have a 695.

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I'm wondering where this guy came from that he thinks that he gets to get out of sitting in traffic anywhere within the 495 ring. Certainly not within the 128 ring!

Wasn't that the idea behind building Storrow? Adding roads alleviates traffic?

It simply does not work.

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I grew up in JP; 695 should have been built, along with the Orange Line aspect. And the Orange Line should have been extended to Hyde Park, with an off shoot to Roslindale and West Roxbury. Maybe many more recent JP residents and others are not aware of the horrible urban blight that existed for decades along what is now the Southwest Corridor Park and Orange Line. Columbus Ave from around Northeastern to Jackson Square was a wasteland. My best menory of it as a child was a large mural on a wall of an arm with a syringe sticking into it. This was land that was cleared for 695 and other development that, again, sat vacant for DECADES after 695 was abandoned.

I'm not an autocentric person, but the automobile IS NOT going to magically disappear, and other options like the MBTA, including the Orange Line, are not substitutes, at least in their current condition. Finally, what fantasy world do some people live in if they think most people are going to rely on a bike to get to and from work the majority of the year?

And scooters (50cc and otherwise) are awesome and should not be legally treated like motorcycles, which is bullshit. They are omnipresent in densely populated cities around the world and are excellent for traveling around them. Why does everything have to be such a pain in the ass here, and in the U.S. as a whole? We are buried under a mountain of bullshit regulations at every level. Too many neurotic control freaks, and too many parasitic middlemen, middlewomen, and whole industries built around these regulations. We use to be the 'land of the free', not anymore; we are today the land of the heavily regulated, where even a cloistered nun can be a law breaker (usually while unaware).

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Do you think 2 bedroom condos would be going for half a million in JP along the corridor if it were a highway instead of a park? Hell no.

The MBTA can be a substitute for a car. Thousands of people in Boston don't have cars. Biking is hard in the snow, but what about the other 350 days a year? Again, thousands of Bostonians commute by bicycle. People are just lazy and blame everyone else for the traffic they are contributing to.

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1) Why should I give a rat's ass about a multi-billion $ condo in JP by the southwest corridor? The VAST majority of people are not benefitted by such an over-priced and mis-placed monstrosity, and it's a sign of grossly inflated real estate prices that make it very difficult for MOST people to own a place to live or even rent.

2) THE AUTOMOBILE IS HERE TO STAY....MOST people are not, even just for perfectly rational reasons never mind preference, bike to work and back most of the time.

I was a bike courier for years in NYC (Manhattan, midtown and downtown mostly), and off and on in Boston. I own a bike, and enjoy cruising around on it. I don't (like I think most people) want to have to rely on it for getting to and from work most of the time, emergencies, etc.

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THE AUTOMOBILE IS HERE TO STAY

Nobody disputes that statement, so why make it?

You've forgotten the other half of the automobile based transportation system, which is road capacity. The automobile may be here to stay but there is a hard limit to the number of automobiles that can be moved at the same time in the same place.

That limit cannot be increased without destroying a significant portion of what we have come to know and love as Boston (and surroundings).

MOST people are not, even just for perfectly rational reasons never mind preference, bike to work and back most of the time.

Most people in Boston and Cambridge use public transportation and walking to get to work. Not automobiles. Because automobiles do not work for large volumes of commuters going to the same relatively small region. There just isn't enough room to do that. Kendall Square is no exception, and has been a regional success story with regard to transit usage.

The answer to increasing needs of travel to Kendall Square is improved public transportation. If some people would like to bicycle and/or walk to work, more power to them, as every bit helps.

The article in the Boston Globe was very sloppy, very anecdotal, and very ignorant. It repeatedly dismissed the importance of public transportation, walking and bicycling in favor of car commuting. But that makes no sense in the context of the current day Kendall Square -- where public transportation is the most important mode -- nor does it make sense in the context of a future Kendall Square.

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Couldn't resist.... today's roads are at capacity because of current car technology.... google "self drive cars road capacity"....

here is an excerpt on that topic from Reason magazine 9/2014.... "Roadway engineers estimate that typical highways now accommodate a maximum throughput of 2,200 human-driven vehicles per lane per hour, utilizing only about 5 percent of roadway capacity. Because self-driving cars would be safer and could thus drive closer and faster, switching to mostly self-driving cars would dramatically increase roadway throughput.........

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First, I will say that I'm a techno-skeptic. Being a computer scientist myself, who also happens to work on (verification of) embedded systems, I'm all-too-aware of the limitations and compromises of such systems. Transportation is a conservative field, and for damn good reasons. When your home computer crashes, it's an inconvenience. When your car computer crashes, it's a tragedy.

But let's suppose that we get it to work to our wildest dreams (you know, like the flying cars our parents' generation imagined). What's the limitation? Well, it's physics: braking characteristics of a 3,000 lb rubber-tyred vehicle moving at highway speeds in mixed conditions. How long does it take to stop in emergency situations?

Your typical rule of thumb for human drivers is to allow a '2 second window' of space between you and the car in front of you. Most drivers bend that and tailgate, maybe doing 1.5 seconds. Let's suppose that computer control makes it safe to have '1 second windows' between cars.

That's a hard limitation of 3,600 vehicles per hour per lane, so, 14,400 vehicles per hour per typical 4-lane highway. Not bad compared to current highway capacities of 6,000 - 9,000 vehicles per hour per highway. But...

Using fairly standard railway signaling techniques it's easily possible to design a train system that runs with 1,500 people every 2 minutes. That's a carrying capacity of 45,000 people per hour per track. That's massively more capacity, using hundred-year-old, well-tested, widely-deployed technology. In a cross-section that's about a third the size of the highway width. More advanced railway systems can do even better, and they exist today. Not in 5 years. Not in 10 years. Right now, carrying real passenger loads that 'self'-driving car advocates can only dream about maybe achieving some day, some how.

I didn't even get to the problem of getting all the 'self'-driving cars off and on the highways, not to mention, getting them to their destinations where they can safely load and unload passengers. Whereas with the train system, that's all relatively easy.

The problem with personal vehicles is that they take up a LOT of space and therefore restrict capacity due to simple lack of room. It doesn't matter if a human is driving them or if a computer is driving them. You might get some more capacity with a computer, but it's only a constant multiplier. It doesn't scale beyond that.

Therefore, so long as humans continue to enjoy congregating in ever-larger cities and city regions, it's not going to be possible to serve the transportation needs with personal vehicles alone. I'm sure there will always be a good place for personal vehicles, but as part of a mix that primarily relies upon highly-scalable, high-capacity transit systems.

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We need a better way to solve the last mile problem. For people who don't work within a mile or so (more or less depending on fitness, etc) of a train station, driving becomes a more attractive option.

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A lot of it is land-use policy. Why are things so far away from train stations? Because suburban communities decided that they were afraid of 'undesirable elements' from the big city, and were allowed to put their train stations in unwalkable locations. The MBTA is at fault here -- instead of catering to thinly veiled racism, they should have put their foot down and said "no walkable location? then no station." Because ultimately, the MBTA gets hurt the most when the land around its stations is unwalkable and undeveloped.

Moving forward, the MBTA should be looking to put future stations in walkable New England town centers (many of which developed around the railroad in the first place). Park-n-ride lots are still useful, but not in town centers; they should be placed only where rail lines cross highways: you need highway infrastructure that is actually capable of absorbing huge surges of cars at 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. Old town centers are generally not such high-car-capacity locations, which is why it's doubly-bad to put park-n-ride lots there.

Finally, to retrofit existing stations, as well as expand the catchment area around all stations, a region-wide planning process to establish safe, low-stress biking routes to and from the stations would be a cheap and easy way to help a lot of people who live within a few miles of the station and are able to use a bicycle for the 'last mile' stage. Biking-to-stations is an effective alternative for driving-to-stations: it's usually only a 5-10 minute ride, has no parking cost, no parking headache, and it's easy to add quality bike parking to stations without consuming much land.

The other option that is appropriate for some places is shuttle bus service that filters through the neighborhoods. The main barrier to shuttle bus service is cost; it's usually too expensive to pay enough drivers to make it frequent and convenient. Perhaps if that 'self'-driving software stuff actually works out, one of the first applications can be for these simple shuttle buses. They follow a fixed route -- so no surprises there -- and the cost of labor will no longer be prohibitive.

Anyway, that's some ideas.

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Moving forward, the MBTA should be looking to put future stations in walkable New England town centers (many of which developed around the railroad in the first place). Park-n-ride lots are still useful, but not in town centers;

So how is that supposed to help? It sounds like that would only cater to people who live within walking distance of the town center. Even in an old town like Arlington, that cuts out a huge percentage of the population.

Sounds like this is a much better idea:

Park-n-ride lots are still useful, but not in town centers; they should be placed only where rail lines cross highways: you need highway infrastructure that is actually capable of absorbing huge surges of cars at 8 a.m. and 6 p.m.

Put train stations with huge parking lots everywhere a railroad crosses 128 or 495. That would increase ridership (assuming the trains were timely and reliable, which is a huge assumption with the MBTA, but we're talking hypotheticals here anyway so what the heck).

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Right, there is more than one way to do things.

That's opposed to the old MBTA way, which is to only do one thing: build large park-n-ride lot, no matter the context, and not give a damn about people who are walking to stations.

Some locations make sense for a walkable station. Some locations (near highways) make sense for a park-n-ride. And bicycle facilities / shuttle buses can be added based on where it makes sense.

The main trouble with the domination of park-n-ride stations is that they utterly destroy any other possible use of the railroad line. It works for people who have standard jobs where they commute from the suburbs in the morning and back in the evening. But such limited use of massively expensive railroad station infrastructure is a complete waste of money. The only possible way to even begin to recoup the investment is to offer service that is attractive for people to use in both directions, all day long, as much as possible. And that's only going to happen if a person who alights at the station is able to access their destination without a car -- because they won't have one.

That's ultimately what the walkable station location is about. Not just serving the people who happen to live within walking distance of the station, but also creating jobs and a local economy within walking distance of the station that is accessible to other parts of the region by train.

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Well, I think you're pretty deep in the weeds of hypothesis if you are anticipating a lot of demand for inter-city trips by train, for shopping or sightseeing or whatever. The vast majority of train usage is for commuters, so that should be the MBTA's primary focus. I can see someone taking the subway from JP to Cambridge to do some activity without a car, but I'm having a really hard time imagining too many people who would be willing to waste two or three hours on a train to get from, say, Needham to Arlington, instead of driving there in 20 minutes. There might be some small amount of demand from people who live in the central city already and can get out to a suburb via train without having to make a connection on the commuter rail, but that's always going to be miniscule compared to the amount of demand from people who want to take the train to get to work.

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I think that there would be a lot more demand for two-way, all-day, all-purpose travel on the 'commuter rail' if those trips were usefully served.

Right now, the frequencies and trip times on the commuter rail are basically only good for commuting to the CBD, if even that. So it's not really surprising that non-commuters would not find it attractive.

But if you operate consistent, reliable frequency all day, then people will find uses for it. There's no reason that commuter rail can't be morphed eventually into a form of regional rapid transit. Plenty of other cities in the world have managed to cobble systems like this together. It may not operate at the frequencies of the Red Line, but there's a lot of room for improvement from what exists today.

The free fare day actually showed a bit of it. I rode the commuter rail that day and saw a lot of other folks on board who were most definitely not commuters. They were taking advantage of it for other kinds of trips. And maybe some novelty.

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There are actually a lot of existing commuter rail stations that aren't built on the massive park-n-ride model. For every huge parking complex like University Ave/128, there are plenty of neighborhood stops like Islington or Endicott, plus mid-size stations like Readville, Norwood Depot, or Dedham Corporate Center that serve both walkers and drivers.

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You've put a lot of thought into the last mile on the origin end, but I was actually referring to the last mile at the destination end. There are lots of people who work at places that aren't a quick walk from one of our light rail stations. They'll tend to drive, until such time as we have a better suggestion than "ride your bike" (it's almost impossible to get a bike on the commuter rail during the hours when most people commute. plus, Markkkkkkkk is kinda right about the overall percentage of the population who are willing to bike regularly.) or "take the bus" (zero time or convenience advantage over driving yourself).

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For destination end that's the question of land use: walkable centers of activity need to be allowed around those stations. Period.

If you pulled into South Station and it was surrounded by highways and parking lots, with nothing within a reasonable walk, then few people would ride the commuter rail to there either. But it's not, so many people do ride.

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Sure, if you're lucky enough to work within a reasonable walk of South Station or Back Bay. But a lot of people don't, so they drive anyway. And get vilified in the comments here.

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If there were more jobs within walking distance around more commuter rail stations, then more people would have the opportunity to use it. Instead of being forced to drive.

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I'm honestly a little confused by this comment. The neighborhoods that remained vacant after 695 was canceled didn't remain vacant because they weren't accessible to transit; they remained vacant because white flight happened, and real estate values in large parts of the city cratered for decades. 695 cutting a broad swath across the southern reaches of the city wouldn't have made Columbus Ave into an upscale neighborhood.

Now that the trend is reversing, and retiring Boomers are flocking back into the city, property values are rising in neighborhoods that have green space in them, and are served by public transit. JP is a huge pain in the ass to reach via highway, but it's a breeze to reach by the Orange Line, and it's getting harder and harder to find anything for sale there for less than $400K. People want public transit access, and are willing to forego cars when city planning makes it possible for them to do so.

(Also, scooters get treated like motorcycles because they're motorized, and unless you want to create a bureaucracy devoted solely to licensure of 50cc motors, the Sorting Hat is going to put them under the RMV's purview. They're also a goddamn menace to car, biker, and pedestrian alike; I would be more sympathetic toward them if it weren't for the half-dozen times I've nearly been run down by one on pedestrian pathways in Franklin Park or crossing Washington Street on a green light)

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...go take a walk in Fowl Meadow in Readville, a stroll thru the Fens near the MFA, and take a bike along the southwest corridor and then tell me 695 should have been built...let's try to learn from LA, more road begets more traffic.

BTW, on another note, Washington Street backed up past Doyles last night with three staties directing traffic at the Casey...lights? what lights?

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If I may nitpick, Fowl Meadow is in Milton and Canton. The Neponset is the town line in those parts. And if you're traveling on the river, there's a cool boundary stone along the Fowl Meadow stretch showing the four-way intersection of Boston, Dedham, Milton, and Canton, with a town's initial inscribed on each face. It's the only Boston boundary stone I'm aware of with four letters.

With minimal effort, you can hike from Paul's Bridge or Little Blue Hill to the incomplete and abandoned highway cloverleaf that was built to carry I-95 from 128 straight into downtown. Today, it looks like a set from The Walking Dead or something.

Oh, and if you don't want to literally pick nits, wear lots of insect repellant when you visit Fowl Meadow. It was full of thick swarms of mosquitos when I was there Friday, and I picked several ticks off myself later.

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but the point is the same...the abandoned cloverleaf is something to behold, granite curbing and all...good birdwatching

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Son, we live in a world that needs train tracks, and those tracks have to be built by men with shovels. Who's gonna do it? You? You, Professor Weinberg? I have a greater responsibility than you can possibly fathom.

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.

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Wah, wah, wah, wah, wah.

GIVE ME MY GOD DAMNED PONY.

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The good cancer researcher knows how to think like a tumor.

The good citizen knows when to stop.

"I want more for me and I don't care what gets destroyed" is the m.o. of a cancer cell.

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couldn't be bothered to get some actual traffic data?
meanwhile, route 128 flows like a dream compared to 30 years ago!

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An "arterial connection" could mean, for instance, making better use of the railroad that runs alongside MIT right through the middle of Kendall Square. Between Main Street and Broadway would be an ideal location for a commuter train stop.

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Who ever uses the word "arterial" in connection with anything except roads? Besides, the train tracks would mean further delays for our betters in cars because of all those crossing gates coming down all the time.

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I was really disheartened to see (in the article) that the state apparently does not plan on doing anything with Grand Junction for a while.

I want my damned West Station with RER type train between there and North Station, and I want it tomorrow!!!

[More sighs]

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I've had a post stewing for a while, that Boston needs two high-volume rail lines forming an inner belt (and in places, using the inner belt right of way for easy tunneling) to connect major economic nodes and transit lines without further overburdening downtown. The top three non-downtown employment areas are Kendall, the Seaport and the LMA, with Harvard likely nearby on the list. All are well-served by transit, but all are on the periphery of the network. There are shuttle connections such as:

North Station-Kendall (EZRide)
North Station-Seaport (employer shuttles)
South Station-Seaport (Silver Line, which is basically a last mile shuttle, just an expensive one)
North Station-LMA (employer shuttles)
Harvard-LMA (Masco)
JFK-LMA (Masco)

and others. But there's a lot more demand and these buses, especially running in mixed traffic, are slow and have a very finite supply. And trying to ram the amount of service you'd need on the Grand Junction across that corridor is probably a non-starter; especially with the narrow corridor and six grade crossings. So you need to tunnel, and that costs real money.

Here are the two lines I'd propose:

The Grand Junction RER-type line you suggest:

Allston / BU (connect to Commuter Rail, B Line, future Red Line loop—more in a second)
Cambrigeport (lots of underutilized parking lots and undeveloped land)
MIT / Tech Square (connect to Red Line, new stop in Kendall to fill the gap between Kendall and Central)
East Cambridge / Cambridge St
Brickbottom (connect to future GLX)
Sullivan Square (connect to Haverhill and Newburyrockport lines)

with the potential to have a branch turn south to north station, and to continue from Sullivan to Assembly or even over the river to Chelsea and Lynn. On the western end, it could run out the tracks along the Turnpike to a park-and-ride facility at 128.

Would require tunneling from Cambridgeport to Brickbottom. There's plenty of room at Sullivan for a transfer station (currently seven tracks—only four in use—and three platforms, and you'd need six tracks and three platforms) that would likely spur a lot of development there as it would be a five minute ride from Kendall and downtown. Tunneling in Cambridge would be relatively cheap since the corridor is relatively clear.

Another option would be to have this operate as a light rail line with Green Line equipment. Cheaper, especially with grade crossings, but slower and lower capacity.

The second arc is a Red Line loop with the following stations:

Harvard
Allston/Stadium (serving Harvard's whole development there)
Allston/West Sta (connect to Commuter Rail, BU, Kendall service)
Coolidge Corner (connect to C Line)
Longwood (connect to D Line)
LMA/Brigham Circle (connect to E Line)
Ruggles (connect to Orange Line
Melnea Cass/Dudley (connect to Silver Line)
BMC
JFK/UMass (connect to Red Line)

On the south end, the connection is easy: the yard leads to the Cabot Yards are an easy connection (with grade separation!) from JFK northwards. On the Harvard end it's more difficult, but there should be room to have a flying junction from the two-level station to have a junction there and utilize existing platforms, use the existing space in the upper part of the Harvard Station to access the line going west, and perhaps even have a full three-way wye with trains going all directions. From there to where the JFK school is a perfectly intact subway tunnel that could probably have track laid in it tomorrow. The Commonwealth owns a right of way through the middle of Harvard's Kennedy School campus. From there, you'd have to tunnel under the river (cofferdams and dredging would likely work fine), along N Harvard Street, and diagonally through the unbuilt Allston area.

You would need to use a tunnel boring machine to get from there to Ruggles. The biggest cost associated with a TBM is getting the sucker in and out of the ground. For this route? You'd have plenty of room in the abandoned rail yard on one end, and plenty of room along Melnea Cass on the other. The stations wouldn't come cheap, but you'd replace a lot of slow buses on narrow streets with a few trains.

So what does this get you? Well, most every commuter rail line would be connected with all major employment nodes. For instance, someone living in Swellesley and working in Kendall would see their commute cut in half, and getting from Coolidge to Harvard would go from 25 minutes on the 66 to 8 minutes on the train. You also save a lot of personnel and operation costs, replacing most of the shuttle services above with fewer trains, and requiring much less service on routes like the 47, 66, 1, 8 and others.

You also provide a lot of connectivity to low- and middle-income neighborhoods, including Dudley, East Cambridge, Charlestown, Mission Hill, Roxbury and others. And you take a lot of burden off of the core of the system since every transfer won't have to take place downtown. You'd also open a lot of areas to very transit oriented development: BMC, Dudley, Allston, Cambridgeport, Somerville, Sullivan. 20,000 housing units, easily.

Cost? $5 billion, probably. Or a third of the Big Dig. But this is a project that would pay dividends for 50 years. So the cost per year is $100 million, which is only $20 per person living in the Boston area. Considering that it would cement accessibility to areas like the LMA and Kendall, that's a drop in the bucket compared with the revenue those areas generate. Our competitors are doing it. San Francisco is spending billions to extend Caltrain (and one day, high speed rail) downtown, as well as building the Central Subway. New York is building the 7 Train extension, Second Avenue Subway and (most pertinent) the East Side Access. Other than Assembly, we haven't build a subway station in 30 years.

When we look at transit, we need to figure out how to capture the value that it creates. The T or the Commonwealth owns a lot of the land in these areas, it should be able to profit from it, and use that income to leverage the money for the infrastructure in the first place. But if we only see transit as a one-way street where we put money in to it and get nothing back, we'll never get the improvements we need.

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If, by some miracle of financing, your plan would come about is that all the low and middle income areas in "Dudley, East Cambridge, Charlestown, Mission Hill, Roxbury and others" would become high priced housing areas before the system is completed.

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The Wikipedia article on I-695, claims that it actually existed between 1955 and 1971, yet mentions its "cancellation"...

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interstate_695_%28Massachusetts%29

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There were a lot of plans and drawings and such. Huge, multi-level intersection at the BU Bridge. And then there's the stub ramp to nowhere off of the left side of 93 near the Leverett Connector: that actually is an extant part of 695.

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Is what the city built on the cleared 695 right of way from 93 to the interchange with 95 about where Ruggles station is now.

And Inner Belt Road in Somerville is a remnant as well, at least in terms of the name.

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The 1948 Master Highway Plan for the Boston Metropolitan Area. If you ever want to see a list of bad ideas, this is the place to start.

They were going to have so many highways!
IMAGE(http://i.imgur.com/RtneB6V.jpg)

Including this one, which is just what our biotech researcher was asking for:
IMAGE(http://i.imgur.com/Zc6FHby.jpg)

And this one, that would definitely not increase traffic on the Longfellow!
IMAGE(http://i.imgur.com/2HqA2RA.jpg)

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Heaven forbid people want to be able to go in directions other than into and out of the city!

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To anyone reading Swirly's comment: I edited my comment and replaced the image she's talking about. Here's the original image:
IMAGE(http://i.imgur.com/wEm7mDS.jpg)

(I usually think of desire lines as the tracks worn into a grassy campus quad where students completely ignore the paved paths and make a beeline for their next class. Same principle at work, I suppose.)

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Then: one job, until you retire. Employers stay in business. One commuter per household. Jobs in fixed locations, houses in other locations.

Now: switching jobs every few years. Multiple commuters per household. Large areas of employment opportunity shifted.

The transportation systems have not shifted to the less-fixed patterns that people now need to get to work. We still have a hub-and-spoke system based on these Desire Lines from 65 years ago.

This also explains the heightened interest in outer-urban neighborhoods/cities/towns: potential jobs within an hour's commute are much higher if you are in one.

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in the last picture? The interchange ramps are different from this proposal, but it's the same road in the same place. You may not recognize it, because in that picture the West End still exists.

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It's Storrow re-imagined as a high speed freeway with a Gordian knot of an interchange.

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I can't believe I wasted five minutes of my life on that Globe article. Despite the quote you pulled out, Adam, there's nothing in the article about ramming highways through neighborhoods. It's all about transit planning... which certainly has an audience among your readers. But I can't be the only one who was disappointed.

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It's a real shame that Universal Hub is the only news blog on the internet anymore.

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That article is terrible:

¶1: Kendall whiz kids can't get to work
¶2: Bottlenecks for traffic
¶3: Woman from Hyde Park stuck in traffic, wants a flying car (yeah, there's no train in Hyde Park, too bad)
¶4-5: Kendall is growing
¶6: Traffic and congestion is a concern
¶7: You have to get people in and out
¶8: Mobility task force will look at how to reduce congestion
¶9: Buses or bicycling are not a solution. First mention of bikes or transit
¶10-12: Requisite Bridj paragraph. Bridj has a daily capacity in and out of Kendall of 84 people. 1/12 of a Red Line train. Gets stuck in traffic, because they didn't know about construction.
¶13 People complain about traffic but not too loud because they don't want to scare people.
¶14 People remember when back in the day there was no traffic, the reason:
¶15 Because there aren't enough roads! (no, really, the actual answer is that there are the same number of roads but way more people than when there was nothing in Kendall)
¶16 More bike lanes on BU Bridge antagonizes drivers. (STRAW MAN!)
¶17 Biogen runs private buses.
¶18-19 So does Bridj, from places "like Coolidge Corner." A lot like Coolidge Corner inasmuch as there's only one route. Kendall is such a "massive opportunity" for Bridj that they haven't added service since they launched last year.
¶20 Longfellow won't add traffic capacity
¶21-23 And more development is coming
¶24-25 Baker and Pollack promise to help congestion (by cutting the T and raising fares, or something)
¶26 FIRST MENTION OF PUBLIC TRANSIT as a solution: More buses, newer trains. But wait I thought buses weren't a solution (see ¶9)
¶27 Grand Junction over Tim Toomey's dead body
¶28 Technology exists to solve problems
¶29-30 MassDOT says no rail expansion any time soon
¶31 MassDOT says % of car commuters is going down
¶32 But anecdotal data (one guy) says that's not true!
¶33 "they're delusional or blind" of traffic on Main Street outside Whitehead, which is never bad.
¶34 Some commuters ride bikes, some come in early. No mention that most take transit.
¶35-37 One guy runs to the gym, showers, and takes the T. It makes it seem like he's in the minority. Oh, and the only story about someone taking transit is the end of the article. Talk about burying the lede!

So let's add that up. The paragraphs focus on:

13: Cars and congestion
9: Bikes and transit (mostly at the end of the article)
7: Accessibility and growth
6: Private shuttles that no one really takes (Bridj especially)
1: Platitudes about "technology"

Yup, a useful article. It is mostly people whining about traffic, and very little about actual solutions. But Bridj and technology, that's sure to solve everything, even though it gets stuck in the same traffic. Safer bike networks? Not a peep: bike lanes are only shown to antagonize drivers. More transit service? Nah, the Grand Junction is shot down. In fact the only people who take transit are crazy people who run to the gym, they can't even get it near their house. It's terrible. Maybe the columnist should go and stand in Kendall and interview some of the people who do take transit if he can even find anyone. At 5 o'clock on a weekday evening it's wicked quiet down there.

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Yes, most of the article was about cars and traffic woes. (Because, let's face it, the Globe's core readership is way out in the burbs, where all people can find to talk about is traffic.) But the solutions proposed were all about increasing buses, adding subway cars, encouraging bikes, building housing, and decreasing car traffic. Other than the pull quote from Prof Weinberg, not one single proposed solution involved building more lanes for cars.

I don't have an agenda either way... I drive, walk, and take the train. I just expect more from Adam than this headline provided.

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was my fave: two commuter rails from HP to the redline and she still drives...fine, but don't complain.

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The article was about the transportation woes in Kendall Square, not what Adam stated. The woes should not be a surprise to anyone. Cambridge City planners and the Redevelopment Board designed the current conditions to penalize car use with zoning bylaws, lane and parking removals etc. Bridj, buses, cabs, Uber, carpools collateral damage of anti-car policy, but they want people riding bicycles anyway. This is what their plans have produced. Congratulations!

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Spot-on, Mark. The Cambridge City Council clearly has it out for Big Bus, in addition to their vicious contempt for the poor working man who wants to exercise his god-given right to be able to drive from Acton to Kendall Square in twelve minutes flat. Also, no one anywhere should ever incentivize public transit use, traffic density decreases linearly with the addition of new lanes, parking lots are an efficient use of space in a neighborhood where commercial space rents for $30 a square foot, and I'm a little teapot.

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The article was about the transportation woes in Kendall Square, not what Adam stated.

...But no more.

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...that's emu to you.

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What about the stagnant Kendall transit network?

The massive building boom along Binney and 3rd is far from done. But there's no corresponding increase in the transit network. We're stuck with a transit network that made sense in 1912.

There's the Red Line. And um, that's about it. If you don't live near a Red Line stop, you'll be wasting a whole lot of time versus driving.

(The 85 bus, Bridj, and E-ZRide don't accomplish much. Nor does a Biogen shuttle from New Hampshire, if you're not allowed to ride it.)

Imagine if we had a useable network of local and express bus routes centered around Kendall, and bus lanes in the commercial centers like Kendall so they could skip the traffic.

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The main change that has happened in Kendall Square, and everywhere else on the Red Line, is the expansion from four-car to six-car trains. This happened in the late 1980s, and required digging up a lot of Kendall Square, Central Square, and possibly other areas further south on the Red Line.

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