Another fun commute for drivers in West Roxbury, Roslindale and JP

Prescient drivers who brought long books with them had plenty of time to catch up this morning. Hyde Park Avenue into Forest Hills was, once again, a complete mess. It was joined this morning by the West Roxbury Parkway and Arborway/Jamaicaway where delays stretched way back, in turn causing a backup on Walter Street that extended all the way to Henry's, where, at least, motorists could stop for a candy bar and a lottery ticket.

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Walking through the Brewery...

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Last night I was walking through the Brewery complex. Folks kept turning into it from Amory street but that backed onto the street. That's because there were people trying to get out of the complex. It was gridlocked with cars blocking the turn right in front of Ula. No one wanted to back out. I wonder how long they sat last night...

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Fun added bonus!

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The Orange Line was also in peak form--trains running every 20 minutes or so as of 7:15, and so congested that you stood no chance of getting onto one further north than Jackson Square. I was one of the lucky ones: there was no ETA on a northbound train (because it hadn't gotten to Forest Hills going southbound yet), so I took the next southbound train to Forest Hills, stayed on, and got a seat when it turned around. Total travel time from JP to North Station: 1 hour 20 minutes.

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I haven't waited more than 30

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I haven't waited more than 30 seconds for an orange line train from Green Street this week. Either I'm lucky or its running better than a week or two ago.

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It's all timing

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I've become obsessed with watching the trains online since this crisis began. Sometimes it looks like they are bunched, which means if you get to the station at the wrong time you've got a bit of a wait for a crowded train. There are definitely more trainsets on the Orange Line, but I am waiting until they hit 14 until saying things are over. I counted 10 this morning. There are 120 cars, which means theoretically 20 trainsets, and best practices means keeping some in reserve. I thought 18 was typical, but I was corrected and told 16 trainsets are used on a usual rush hour.

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It kind of seems to be getting worse

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I outwalked a car from Adams Park to Ukraine Way on Washington Street. I wasn't doing that last week. And they have cleared one side of Washington Street to the curb in that area.

I am not a critic of Walsh the way others are, but I will say that this would not have happened in a Connolly administration. Why? John would have been stuck in the same traffic, so the odds of immediate Public Works action would have greatly increased. It's just that fundamental reality that whatever the mayor (regardless of the person) sees in a daily basis is what gets his or her attention.

On an objective level, I would love to see a map of the city with streets where snow removal has taken place and where snow removal is coming soon, along with streets where snow will be removed "eventually." I get that each time they started removal for a month another foot or 2 came down, but now is the time for progress.

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Wait

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Till they start construction on the overpass.

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It is odd that the commute

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It is odd that the commute does anecdotally seem worse the further we get from the last major storm. Washington Street is cleared of the snow for the most part, but it's crawling. Traffic backed up onto Walter Street almost never happens. On those roads, the issue is not lack of snow removal. Not sure what exactly is at the root of this.

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Last week was school vacation

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Last week was school vacation week, so people (and the schoolbusses) weren't on the roads as much. The week before that was still storm recovery, and plenty of people were milking the ability to work from home. This week is the first full week where there's really no excuse not to be there anymore.

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Simple....

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Last week was school vacation. Now we have 300 more yellow buses on the street than last week.

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Washington Street

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Washington Street was such a godawful mess this morning. It took my bus 40 minutes to Forest Hills from Belgrade.

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If only there was some way to

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If only there was some way to clear some of the traffic off Washington.... to move the number of people who take all 9 of those busses, maybe in some kind of larger vehicle? Maybe one on tracks, that could just go back and forth to Forest Hills.... HMMMMMMMMM.

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Yes, expand the T

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I mean, its debt service is basically a rounding error for the overall budget.

Sorry, Charlie, but the T shouldn't even be thinking about some new, unscoped, perhaps unjustified expansion right now. They should be concentrating on their $3 billion maintenance backlog. The last thing I want is broken Orange Line trains going two more stops to the south.

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So the cost of supplying,

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So the cost of supplying, driving, maintaining, etc, multiple dozens of busses to go up and down a mile long stretch is better? The infrastructure costs would be painful, yeah, but there's federal dollars for that kind of work. Knock out all but one line (to pick up all the Archdale etc people) and they'd probably break even.

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Buses will go regardless

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Unless you are planning on running the extension all the way to the Parkway, along with somehow cost effectively tunneling up Washington Street to the Dedham Line and convincing the people in Georgetown and along route of the 50 to walk to wherever their closest station would be.

The Green Line extension is currently budgeted at $2.2 billion to go 4 miles, and that is for light rail. Let's say (and since no one will give numbers, I get to estimate) $1 billion to bring the Orange Line to the Square, which again means the buses still would run. How many buses can one buy for that amount?

I'm not opposed to extending the Orange Line in theory, but since I've been shoehorned into Orange Line cars since the Patriots won the Super Bowl, I am convinced that maintenance and dealing with the debt load is a lot more important than this.

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Fairmount Line

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For those who can reasonably make it to the Fairmount line (HP - Readville folks) who may otherwise take the 32 I would suggest at this point taking the Fairmount line if it works for your commute. It was only 10 minutes late today.

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Wait Until Casey Overpass Closes at Forest Hills

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And another 15,000 vehicle trips per day get merged onto alternate routes. MA DOT is already advertising expected delays as far away as Newton, where roads from Forest Hills meet Route 9.

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I hope they delay this for a bit

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As all talk of Casey starts, that bridge is coming down, either through demo or on its own. That said, Forest Hills has to be devoid of snow before they start. I know that the plan was for winter demo, but nothing was started by December 21, nor by January 1st, so they should just plan on starting a few weeks later.

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Construction update

The next meeting relating to the construction updates for the Casey will be held at English High School, March 9, 7:00 p.m.

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Arborway

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Becomes Pond Street, and turns into the Jamaicaway (though technically Pond Street continues either side) which turns into the Riverway at, you guessed it, Route 9.

And if you think this Casey stuff will cause backups on Route 9, I have an overpass to sell you. Limited time offer.

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I think MitchConnors is

I think MitchConnors is asking about Rte 9 in Newton, so the only thing I can think of is Hammond Pond Parkway. It's how I get to Rte 9 from JP for points west.

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I missed the Newton part

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And I missed the Mitch Conners reference, too.

That is a stretch to say that Hammond Pond goes to Route 9, even though that is the quickest way to go.

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I guess we got lucky

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Yesterday it took us more than 45 minutes to drive from Cummins to Walk Hill via Hyde Park Ave. We were baffled when we made the same drive this morning in less than 10.

But once I got on the Orange Line, my commute became just as miserable as everyone else's.

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so what next?

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Washington St is just getting worse and worse, snow or no snow. Traffic is routinely at a crawl, and buses are packed. I'm not sure what would improve things other than a subway extension... and there is no chance of that happening anytime soon. Are there any proposals out there? Is this even on the City's radar? I don't think the overpass will make anything better for Rozzie folks.

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Washington Street can be tamed (without snow)

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The choke points are Firth Rd/South St and Archdale. Archdale just needs a turning lane inbound. Firth/South is tougher. The lights were changed a while back to help side street traffic, but Washington Street got screwed in the process. I'm no transportation expert, so I have no clue how to fix that.

Oh, and school buses, the Sumner, and trash day make things tougher.

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Firth is not that safe

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The lights at Firth and Wash allow each side of the intersection (Firth and South) to take turns emptying onto Washington.

However, user beware.

When you press for the pedestrian light and get it, Firth is given a green light to proceed while you still have a white walk light. You may only get about halfway across when this happens.

When reported to the city that This timing was off, I was shocked to learn that this was done on purpose. Their thought is that this gives People time to start walking, then gives Firth a go-ahead to start WHEN YOU HAVE FINISHED CROSSING.

Of course the reality is that most of the drivers will try to mow you down, or drive up to your hip joint and blast their horn.

Marvelous thinking on the part of the traffic department.

Don't believe me? Ask City Hall.

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Answer: WALK to Forest Hills.

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Answer: WALK to Forest Hills. Two days in a row I've walked from Rozzie Square and easily beat the bus that left at the same time I did. Yes, you have to walk in the street in a couple of spots for about half a block, but otherwise sidewalk is OK all the way there. It's absurd to stand there in freezing weather for half an hour waiting for the bus and then spend another 30 minutes on the bus with your nose in someone's armpit when you could walk the mile or so and get some fresh air and exercise!

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It feels like you're mocking me

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Since I usually do the walk at least one way daily.

The City has to do something about those mountains at the corners, but other than that my walk has only been a minute or two slower (18 minutes usually, results vary). I don't usually beat the bus, but of my 3 inbound walks, I beat the bus once (today), ended up hopping on a bus 2 stops from the end once (Monday), and just went with the bus once (Tuesday). We'll see what Thursday brings.

And again, to emphasize, come spring, it's like 20 minutes if you are walking with purpose. Give it a shot from time to time.

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