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Seaport gondola is the answer to a problem we don't have: How to move people up and down a mountain

MBTAinfo.com ponders Millennium Partners's proposal to spend $100 million on a gondola along the South Boston waterfront, concludes that if the developer is serious about throwing $100 million at transportation in that overcrowded corner of the city, there are far better ways to spend it - like on dedicated bike lanes or, gasp, figuring out how to make Silver Line buses go faster.

This is the kind of decision which is sometimes called "not even wrong". A wrong decision would be "we thought about what's bad about Seaport transportation, and this is why a gondola would fix it." This not even wrong decision is "We have $100M, and aren't gondolas great!"

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What about us brain-dead slobs?

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You’ll be given cushy jobs.

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You’ll all be given cushy jobs!

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Gondola is really more of a Shelbyville idea.

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We're twice as smaht as the people from Shelbyville

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And singing. We are a lousy Athens of America, let's try again with Venice.

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Bike lanes aren’t the answer in NE, what % of people bike year round in the city, less than 1%?

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Have you ever left New England? In places like Copenhagen more people commute by bike than by car. And they do it in winter. They also live a lot longer than the lardos who drive everywhere.

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would to build a parking garage.

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The problem isn't car storage - the problem is too many cars.

The problem isn't a lack of roadways - the problem is too many cars. It backs up I-93 and then just plain backs up. Perhaps you should visit the area sometime, if only on Google Maps. Several of the large parking lots are still in operation.

They could have looked at how other cities completed similar redevelopments in the decades before BosVegas was built out as a car-choked wasteland, but, like supply-side economists, they chose to believe that it would just work out rather than do some actual research and planning based on projected travel.

The second problem is the lack of transit connections which lead to extensive hubway use during the hubway season. It is the most traveled place in the Boston area, from both North Station and South Station, and the second most efficient in terms of time saved vs. transit at the same exact time. Commuter surveys indicate that the lack of adequate and reliable service from North Station in particular drives that bike use - who wants to take 35 minutes to get from North Station to your job when you can bike it in ten? Since people who want to bike or are able to bike are a fraction of the entire demand, hubway traffic is a good indicator of a serious connectivity problem.

Building a garage would solve exactly none of these problems. The area already provides additional parking for people who work downtown as it is.

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I do not have enough fingers and toes to count how often over the summer there either no bikes at the end of the day around 6:30 or no docking spaces at the beginning of the day around 9. This includes the 3 Hubway docks in the Seaport. The full docks will remain full all day instead of being distributed elsewhere.

Then the problem is exacerbated when one of the docks is out of commission. A whole set of open docks to leave your bike but none work.

Docks in the JP area have the same problem. Not enough open docks when needed, not enough bikes when needed.

While use of Hubway bikes appears to be strong the organization managing the Hubway system are doing a poor job of balancing the supply and demand.

I am considering not renewing my membership. The balance between aggravation and convenience is too much waited toward aggravation. Using the T is aggravating enough. I'm not interested in compounding transportation aggravation.

It is amazing but perhaps telling about our social priorities. One of the most important aspects of public life is transportation. It is also one of the most dysfunctional and failing.

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One-way flows are a fundamental problem for bike-share systems.

They could truck bikes back and forth every day to mitigate it. (Or use a bicycle towing a bike-carrying trailer like in NYC.) But that's expensive.

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In at least one such system, you can get paid a small amount to ride a bike from a sink to a source, instead of being charged for the ride. :-)

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Hubway already does this - transporting bikes with big vans from where they tend to get dropped off (like the Seaport) to where they tend to get picked up (like South Station). Take a look at their station map at the end of rush hour at night and compare it with the beginning of rush hour in the morning and you'll see dozens of bikes have swapped position overnight.

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Parking brings cars, so the car problem gets worse

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It's too many people.

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Too many cars per person. Plenty of room for people and lots more people.

They just can't come with cars. Nor should they come with cars. Cars are obsolete and damaging.

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Because 9 billion people to feed, shelter, clothe, transport, provide health care to etc. Is simply not enough people.

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$100 million for a gondala? Someone's trying to launder 98 million dollars.

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This is the dumbest Boston transportation idea: of all time

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Its shear stupidity that the Haul Road is not used by non commercial vehicles during rush hour. 4:00pm - 7:00pm That beautiful road is so empty all the time.
Boston is so stubborn!

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Please explain.

The problem is that I-93 backs up everything, and that more cars moving out simply back up I-93.

Any solution which does not involve removing cars from the system is not going to work. Opening the Haul Road would just mean adding an additional drain to a clogged sewer line.

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Instead of a bus how about making the Silver Line an actual subway line?

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Hubway and Bike lanes are great but not going to solve everything. There will always be a significant number of suit wearing middle management types in this area who wouldn't be caught dead on a bike going to work.

Fixing the Silver Line would be a major first step. With major development extending all the way to the design center it seems reasonable to extend the overhead catenary wires of the silver line all the way to the Design Center so buses can run a closed loop. Upgrade the power system to handle more vehicles at peak times. Combine that with signal priority (D street) and it could be far more efficient.

If we are really going to look at sinking $100M into alternative transportation why not look at a reliable fleet of high capacity, four season water taxis to shuttle passengers from Seaport to North Station?

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We have a winner, thanks mmurph for saying this. Taking the Silver Line to the next level should be a priority (think trackless trolleys in Cambridge). The development of the South Boston Edison Plant needs to include this build out of the Silver Line on catenary wires all the way to City Point.

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This is a nice idea and all, but how are you going to do it? Where are you building the bridge or extending the entire bridge over the Reserved Channel to fit bus-only lanes, bike-only lanes and room for cars—as well as the 18-wheelers that dominate this section near Conley. And now you're talking about what widening the bridge or building a second bridge over the Reserved Channel? Get real. And the obsession over the T not going under D Street would save 1-2 minutes per ride. That's simply not enough of a reason to disrupt that entire road for years and undertake a costly project. As it stands, D Street is the only through road to the Seaport from Summer between Fort Point Channel and the Design Center.
There's a reason Millennium is taking this in their own hands - the state is not doing enough, quick enough or smart enough to solve the problem. In part because there's no easy solution. I guess if you can't go next to—or under—the traffic, go over it. Bring on the gondola!

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Thanks for making sure I clarify that we are not proposing adding a new bridge, adding bus-only lanes, or adding a new tunnel. The request is to increase the speed and reliability of the Silver Line, and one of those solutions could be to have buses remain on the overhead wire versus taking time to switch between electric and diesel. Let's improve what we have versus creating another solution.

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I don't know that extending the catenary wires is going to make much of a difference, especially since it seems like the next generation of Silver Line buses will run on batteries. I'd love it if some money could be spent on re-paving the tunnel from South Station to Silver Line Way. It's a really bumpy ride now. Also, you could speed up service by eliminating half the stops on the surface -- they're really close together right now.

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The Needham software company PTC decided to move from right off 128, America's Technology Highway(near a new set of ramps to the highway no less) to the Seaport. It must stink now having to commute down there(unless you move there). Let's see, Needham commuter rail, then the Silver Line or walk? Yuck!

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Sorry fixing the silver line won't help this. I work in Fort Point. SL is too far for me to use. Yeah, probably once the SLG opens to Chelsea, I will. But SL station is about the same from my office to South Station. Rather walk to South Station.

A better idea would to run a BRT line down Summer Street. It's wide enough for a dedicated bus lane. Even a separated one at that. Put stops South Station, A Street, Convention Ctr, Fargo St, and Dry Dock Ave. Would work just as well as this silly Gondola they want to push.

And they can do this for far less than 100mil for this gondola they want.

But buses aren't sexy so wasteful, inefficient gondola is the plan then *eye roll*

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There is something to be said for moving the SL1 to Summer Street with a single stop at the convention center and using D street to enter the pike tunnel. (The intersections would have to be reworked for the buses to make the turns safely, but seems doable for low cost). Then dedicating the SL busway for SL2 and new Chelsea lines. The biggest issue would be a place for the buses to turn around at street level at south station (would need land occupied by the USPS).

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