Green Line

Podcast 23 - Alon Levy, Pedestrian Observations

We sat down with urban transit student and author of the popular Pedestrian Observations blog, Alon Levy, well known among advocates for his knowledge of best (and worst) practices in urban planning and transportation.

In a time of short-sighted cost-cutting and privatization efforts, it is refreshing to hear smart and effective ways to use our existing transportation assets. We spend some time debunking the myth that new technology like the Hyperloop or personal rapid transit will solve our problems. Instead, we know how to address our challenges using existing technology, for example, modernizing commuter rail, increasing core system capacity and upgrading the network to serve modern travel needs. Using electronics before concrete. And of course, we cover the MBTA's Control Board and the ongoing mess, including privatization, late night service, the Green Line Extension, North South Rail Link, and try to learn why construction costs so much.

And much more.

The Transit Matters Podcast is your source for transportation news, analysis, interviews with transit advocates and more. By offering new perspectives, uniting transit advocates and promoting a level of critical analysis normally absent from other media, we can achieve a useful and effective transportation network because Transit Matters.

Like what you hear? Share it around, tell your friends and colleagues, and subscribe to the blog and podcast (on iTunes) to be notified of new posts and episodes. Support our work by becoming a member, making a donation or signing up to volunteer because we can't do this alone. Let us know what you think by connect with TransitMatters on Facebook or Twitter. Follow Jeremy Mendelson @Critical Transit, Josh Fairchild @hatchback31, Jarred Johnson at @jarjoh, Marc Ebuña at @DigitalSciGuy, and or email us here.

Podcast 07b - Transit News

Part two of a marathon episode: featuring a roundup of the latest Boston transit news and analysis. There's no shortage of controversial happenings:

  • Mattapan High Speed Line crash - operator failure to secure trolley; it rolled backwards (DotNews)
  • Green Line D Branch flooded, portal closed during heavy rain (Boston Magazine)
  • Will there be regular commuter rail service to Gillette Stadium in Foxboro? State buys freight rail lines that would make it possible. (BostInno)
  • The fight for reliable Amtrak service: Amtrak being sued by big railroad companies over on-time metrics (EE News) (WaPo).
  • Commuter rail operator Keolis hit with $804K penalties in second month as operator. (WBUR) Is this model working?
  • Does the latest South Boston Waterfront Plan make progress in solving some of the area's transportation and land use challenges? Are the recommendations useful and realistic? Visit A Better City for the latest and follow this show for regular updates.
  • Bridge closures: What function could a rebuilt Northern Ave Bridge serve? What is the future of services for at-risk adults following the sudden closure of the Long Island Bridge? (update)
  • Former Transportation Secretary Jim Aloisi offers three "visionary" proposals that may not really be all that visionary. But they're not new and we're not impressed. We think there are more useful, realistic and equitable transit investments we could be making.
  • Paris prohibits "unnecessary traffic" from city center, with service vehicles and residents' cars excepted (Grist)

Did we miss something or get it wrong? Send us your questions, comments and ideas for topics or guests >> contact usOr share your thoughts in the comments below.

The Transit Matters Podcast is your source for transportation news, analysis, interviews and more. We focus on sustainable transportation planning, operations and policies in Boston and beyond. Transit Matters is a joint project of local transit enthusiasts Marc Ebuña, Jeremy Mendelson and Josh Fairchild.

Like this project? Share it around, tell your friends and colleagues, and subscribe to the RSS feed (iTunes) to be notified of new posts and episodes.

Podcast 06 - Dealing with Overcrowding | Guest: Amateur Planner

Podcast 06 - Dealing with Overcrowding | Guest: Amateur Planner

We are joined by the Amateur Planner to talk about transit challenges such as crowded trains and buses, planning and managing bus routes, taxis, parking, fares, and some ways we can do to improve our transit system.

Podcast 05 - Post-Election Roundup | Guest: Walking Bostonian

Podcast 05 - Post-Election Roundup | Guest: Walking Bostonian

The panel is back for a post-election show crush-loaded with over an hour of the latest transportation news and analysis, this time joined by the Walking Bostonian (Matthew Danish) to explain how the theory of induced (travel) demand applies to roads and transit in Boston. We learn about everything from our most frustrating transit line (hint: it's green) to efforts to re imagine a boulevard of death (Commonwealth Ave in Allston & Brighton) to an entirely new neighborhood about to be created in Allston -- if we get it right.

November's show would not be complete without a recap of the election including the repeal of gas tax indexing, speculation on transit's future under Governor Charlie Baker and how we might build on the legacy of the late Mayor Menino.

More after the break...

Green Line Update Teases Improvements Enabled by Tracking Technology

Green Line Update Teases Improvements Enabled by Tracking Technology

As a corollary to our guest contributor post on the disappointing improvements and issues with Commonwealth Avenue, we have a few (much delayed) updates about the T's more progressive plans to improve transit along the corridor.

Back in June, I had the pleasure of attending a forum on Green Line issues hosted by the MBTA and facilitated greatly by Senator Brownsberger. The presentation included updates on the primary issues afflicting the Green Line and its dependent riders as outlined by Brian Kane, MBTA Director of Policy, Performance Management & Process Re-Engineering and former budget analyst with the MBTA Advisory Board.

Others present at the meeting included leading MBTA staff that Dr. Scott heralded as subject matter experts to ensure questions could be answered directly by the most appropriate person from the agency. Top MBTA management included:

  • Dominick Tribone for questions on information systems
  • Bill McClellan, Director of Green Line Operations
  • Laura Brelsford, Deputy Director of System-Wide Accessibility
  • Melissa Dullea, Director of Planning & Schedules

Mr. Kane broke down the issues into 5 key areas and highlighted the improvements the T is aiming to tackle over the long run.

Podcast 01 - Green Line updates; Bridj luxury bus service

Podcast 01 - Green Line updates; Bridj luxury bus service

Transit Matters co-editor Marc Ebuna joins me for this special inaugural episode focusing on the Green Line. Following a recent public meeting with MBTA staff, Marc shares the latest Green Line initiatives including vehicle tracking (real-time train arrival info), signal priority, stop consolidation, three-car trains, accessibility and fare collection. Also, construction on the Green Line Extension to Somerville and Medford is moving full-steam ahead.

Lede photo credit: MassDOT Flickr


Guest Podcast - Critical Transit: Train Crashes ARE Preventable

This year has been a big year for train safety issues, in particular for nearby Metro-North Railroad in New York and Connecticut.

How safe are our trains and at what cost can we have better safety?

Last week I had a chat with Jeremy of Critical Transit talking about these critical questions about safety, including some national trends that affect commuters in Boston on a daily basis.

Ultimately, many train crashes are preventable. Computer systems on the Orange Line, Red Line, and many lines on the commuter rail protect passengers daily. The Blue Line still relies on the same physical automatic train stop system used in New York, but the Green Line still desperately needs a $721 million safety upgrade. The South Coast Rail commuter rail expansion will cost well more than twice that. Which do we fund?

While we don't have high speed trains running through our tunnels, similar safety systems that could have prevented this summer's accident in Spain could prevent the next Green Line accident.