Hey, there! Log in / Register
Why the MBTA's plan for Widett Circle is pointless, unless the point is to waste a lot of money
By adamg on Tue, 02/07/2023 - 12:28pm
CommonWealth takes a look at the MBTA's plan to buy most of Widett Circle, which nobody had heard of before the Olympic effort briefly made it famous, for what would essentially be a waiting area for commuter trains, doesn't make sense.
Like the job UHub is doing? Consider a contribution. Thanks!
Speaking of the Olympics
Do the authors of that piece know what is underneath Hudson Yards? The hint is in the name.
One wants spare capacity during peak usage. Having a facility for trains at Widett Circle makes sense, regardless of how the trains are powered.
From the third sentence of
From the third sentence of the article:
> the Widett plan is part of a broader (and in our view misplaced) effort to acquire commuter rail storage, despite the T having continued plans to store trains at Beacon Yard and Readville.
Which, they go on to say, the T is not using very efficiently. Now I'm not an expert in railroad operations, but that sounds like the T.
Of course, a lot of their argument seems to be predicated on the idea that the T (a) was serious about implementing regional rail and (b) has the capacity to do so. My guess is 0 out of 2 there.
They probably do
They probably also know that the LIRR runs a lot of peak service, and that they store trains there in the middle of the day, rather than running more service during the rest of the day on the rest of the LIRR.
Just because New York does that (and has been doing it forever) doesn't make it a good decision. Especially since if LIRR and NJT got in the same room, they could operate through service through the tunnel, and obviate the need for a lof of this storage downtown (we'd need a North-South Rail Link to do something similar, alas).
The whole thesis here is that since something like 75% of Commuter Rail operating costs are fixed, rather than operating midday service every 1 to 2 hours and having a bunch of trains sit downtown, the T could instead operate service every 15 to 30 minutes using mostly existing fleet and facilities and not have to tie up hundreds of millions of dollars in downtown real estate.
LIRR could do that, too.
re: what is underneath Hudson Yards?
So your solution is to build a railyard over the Fort Point Channel or at least the Bass River section? Interesting @Waquiot.
No, the idea is to build developments over the RR tracks.
That's what they did at Hudson Yards but it's very expensive.
My point is that even in New York City, where the commuter rail is electrified and runs at decent frequency, there is the need to have trains stored midday, as there is more of a need for train service between 6 and 10 AM and 3 to 7 PM.
Ari notes that the goal is to have the same level of service all day long. Honestly, I don't want midday service in the PM rush, when twice as many people want to use the trains. That's what we get now, and it stinks.
Agreed. It’s prime real estate next to the downtown core.
It should be housing, not a train parking lot.
Wu blew this
This sale is the result of Wu's lack of experience in negotiating. Boston could have had a lot of say in the development of the area if Wu wasn't so stubborn about the possibility of an Amazon distribution center.
Now we got nothin! This mayor is in over her head and only know one thing, how to virtue single.
The MBTA 's Fiscal Policy
The MBTA looks at debt like it's a dine and dash policy
the Widett plan is viewed as
Love that the state continues singlemindedly towards a plan that the US Post Office, which they have no authority over, has said again and again is not going to happen.
The T could end up as the
The T could end up as the agency with the best train parking lots on earth. It's the American way: spend so much on construction that you don't have enough money to run the trains.