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Extending the Green Line: The video

MBTA GLX! May 2021 Green Line Extension Construction Update!

Here's a detailed drone-based video of the work towards extending the Green Line past Lechmere. If you want to skip stuff about the history of the Green Line and work on the existing sections, skip to 4:50 (and yes, the narrator is not from around here, as you can tell by his pronunciation of "Tremont" and "Zakim" but it's still a cool video).

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I was hoping the MBTA's GLX Flickr account would have more recent pictures, but alas they are from October. This seems far more recent.

I avoid Lechmere at all cost, due to the shuttle bus. But I was going up 28 by Lechmere in a Uber last week and was amazed at how much of the station is done. The new viaduct is all done, and from the looks of this drone video, the station is nearly complete.

I gotta say its gonna be COLD in the winter up on that Lechmere platform. (not that ground level across the street was any better). I just see winter seabreezes making that platform so cold.

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Anyone know where the dead-end ramp the video highlights (just before the Union Square split) would potentially lead?

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But if I were to guess, either a yard lead or room to expand to Sullivan Sq maybe?

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Its gonna go to the new Green Line Maintenance Facility on Inner Belt Road.

They just haven't built it yet. (It goes over the current CR tracks and facility so its a busy section of track to build over)

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It was going to be a lead to the VMF but got VE'd from the current design. The stub has been built for future improvements (and if we want to dream big, branches to Sullivan and via the Grand Junction).

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Treh-mont. am i making this up?

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I say Treh-mont ... if I understand your phonetics. almost like tray, although not as ay-esque?

I guess I'm older .... although I don't feel it.

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TREH’-mont, not TREE’-mont is the correct pronunciation.

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Interesting point about people congregating on the bridge going. I've not seen it on the bridge going over the tracks along the river and that is a wider bridge. Hard to argue with the idea with the bridge being too narrow. Bean counters don't really see the point of the bridge I think.

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I'd rather have the path than not but it was designed for the amount of bike commuting common 20 years ago. A lot more people ride now and the path is too narrow.

It's also frustrating that it doesn't go all the way to the Medford/Tufts station where it could be very helpful. Getting between Tufts and downtown is still none too nice on a bike. (It's getting better but drivers are getting worse.)

Maybe I'm wrong to be concerned but the GLX path is so isolated that someone riding on it would be trapped if someone bad decided to wait for someone riding along. You can't even turn around easily.

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It's also frustrating that it doesn't go all the way to the Medford/Tufts station where it could be very helpful. Getting between Tufts and downtown is still none too nice on a bike. (It's getting better but drivers are getting worse.)

Its like that because the community path follows a defunct Cambridge & Lexington railroad spur that eventually becomes what would become the Minuteman trail. The just followed that rail line for the trail (hence the name 'rail trail' although the SCP was designed long before 'rail trails' were a thing). That entire path is the spur from Gilman Square to Alewife. The spur didn't go to Tufts.

I also want to say the city of Somerville owns the entire path and it ends at Gilman Square. Building south would require working with the T and others.

I'd also want to go out on a limb and say.. the GLX, in its most recent incarnation has been floating around since at lest 2004. Other incarnations have been floating around since the 1940s. So It might be a safe bet to say that Somerville may have been waiting for the GLX to complete the missing link.

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And Medford being Medford would probably put up a fight bringing the trail to Tufts or beyond. (Or they would have in 2004.) But there's room on the ROW in that section which is why it sucks not to have it.

There was a presentation by DCR a year or two ago where the rep was joking about how when he was hired people would come to the meetings to protest bike paths. Now they come to protest the lack of them.

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but even in 2004, the push for Bike paths wasn't strong. In the 80s when these were thought of, these were more seen as walking/nature trails, than biking.

"oh a pretty path to walk or run on... oh and bikes can use it too" (bikes being an after thought)

Without thinking that eventually as use increased (on bikes), a separate path would be needed.

It wouldnt be hard.. but it also would take some social engineering too. Similar to the way Bostonians all stand to the right when going up an escalator, if you are riding (and not walking up). Its so strange to go elsewhere and see people NOT do that, yet we do.

They could wide the path to double its size (on the SCP this would not be hard in most spots), and just have 2 lanes in each direction.

The social engineering part is to get people to stay to the right if they are walking N running. Center lanes would be for Bikes only.

This is how shared paths are done in Sweden (as I saw a few years ago) when two separate paths (like many long paths do, one for peds and one for bikes) are not possible.

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You have an interesting perspective on bike path history.

I'll start by pointing out that it's called the Minuteman Bikeway or Minuteman Commuter Bikeway, not the Minuteman Nature Walking Path.

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Even if that doesn't happen, the isolation of the path limits its usefulness by making it impossible to access all the destinations it bypasses.

Plus there's the hideous cost to build the viaduct. That money could have built a lot more bike facilities that were designed efficiently.

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Thanks for posting this Adam. It's hard to see the big picture from the ground here.

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... the matapan trolley has been in need of dire improvements since i was a kid.

i feel like there should be an investment into a redline extension so that alewife to mattapan is a single ride.

also a hybrid purple line (smaller trains, frequent headways, on platform payment, free transfer) south station to readville.

yikes: i paused the video to add that somerville will be delivered trains designed in 2019 and mattapan is still repairing trains designed in 1945. this is clearly racism.

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Mattapan has had trolly service for a lot longer than Somerville.

What I really want is for them to restore the trolley network as it existed before WWII. Many of the tracks are still out there under 4" of asphalt.

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wouldnt a silver line style b.r.t. be more practical and volumes of times cheaper than laying down new track ?

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Don't.even.go.there

If I recall, it was looked at initially.. cuz it was 'cheaper'. Cheaper isnt always best.

Plus you would have to change modes. Other than a dedicated busway, how is this different than changing at Lechmere to the 88.

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It usually doesn't work well in congested urban areas. Just look at the "Silver Lie" through the South End (the lie being the promise of "equal or better" service that residents of the South End and Roxbury were given after the Orange Line was moved -arguable for the South End, but clearly a broken promise in Roxbury). It runs on an ineffective bus lane that over the years has morphed into a general traffic lane (with the addition of a more recent standing/parking lane in Chinatown) with virtually no enforcement. Washington St was completely rebuilt practically down to the bedrock twenty years ago to accommodate some red paint (not to mention some absurdly narrow sidewalks in the business row between Dedham and Union Park Streets, narrowed in order to accommodate street parking for five cars), and riders were provided very slow moving and undersized vehicles that were over capacity the day it opened (I've beaten the bus many times on foot between East Newton St and Tufts medical Center station). Buses have to be rebuilt or replaced seven or so years (as opposed to streetcars which can last several decades and accommodate twice as many passengers) and it wouldn't surprise me if capital and operating costs for the SL4 and SL5 over the past twenty years were double what it would have cost to incorporate it as a branch of the Green Line. Yeah, it seems to work in Chelsea as a piece of a longer bus route but as standalone branch, as in Chinatown, the South End, and Roxbury, it's a failure.

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Silver LIne is generally not what anybody thinks of when using the term "BRT"

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Somerville High School is right next to the Gilman Sq stop - just a few hundred feet, depending on what the access paths are.

Are any other high schools in the area that close to a rail stop? CRLS is a couple of thousand feet from Harvard Square.

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Brookline High School - the building is maybe a couple of hundred yards at most from Brookline Hills stop on Green Line D.
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Brighton High is right next to the A tracks on.... damnit.
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Snowdoin School is nearest... ummm... Copley or Hynes?
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Josiah Quincy school is probably a little closer to Back Bay than it is to Medical Center

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also...
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Christo Rey moved a few years ago from Cambridge. Now it's in the old Saint William's grammar school in Savin Hill - kitty-cornered from Red Line entrance.
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Commuter Rail goes right beside the CM campus, but the nearest stop is several blocks away.

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