Green Line Extension

Podcast Episode 30.5 - Ride-Along with Jim Aloisi to WGBH's The Scrum

Buses berth at Sullivan Square in Somerville, MA  [Photo via Flickr]

For this mini-episode of the podcast, we were joined by former Massachusetts Transport Secretary and TransitMatters Board Member Jim Aloisi. We both took a trip on transit from Haymarket Station to Brass Union in Somerville's Union Square.

This episode was recorded on 12 July in the lively environs of an Orange Line train, a CT2 bus, and under the I-93 overpass at Sullivan Square.

During the episode we talked about:

And finally WGBH's The Scrum episode we spent 40 minutes trekking to! You can watch our live recording of The Scrum on Periscope.

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Find out more about Jim Aloisi, me, and our other board members.

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Podcast 29 - Transit Advocacy with Rafael Mares from the Conservation Law Foundation

We're joined in studio by prominent Boston transit advocate Rafael Mares, Vice President and Director of Healthy Communities and Environmental Justice for the Conservation Law Foundation. CLF has been instrumental in improving access and mobility for MBTA users, including holding the state to transit project commitments they've tried to wiggle out of.

We discuss the current state of transit operations and investment, the Control Board and politics, the fate of long-awaited projects such the Green Line Extension, the Big Dig legacy, and much more. This episode was recorded on May 16 in the studios of WMBR 88.1 FM in Cambridge, engineered by Scott Mullen.  Find Rafael Mares online at @RafaelMares2 or CLF.

TransitMatters advocates for fast, frequent, reliable and effective public transportation in and around Boston. As part of our vision to repair, upgrade and expand the MBTA transit network, we aim to elevate the conversation around transit issues by offering new perspectives, uniting transit advocates and promoting a level of critical analysis normally absent from other media.

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: connect with TransitMatters on Facebook or Twitter. Follow Jeremy Mendelson @Critical Transit, Josh Fairchild @hatchback31, Jarred Johnson @jarjoh, Marc Ebuña @DigitalSciGuy, Scott Mullen @mixmastermully or email us here.

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 20 - Advocacy Updates: Fares, Late Night Service, Commuter Rail, GLX and Service Planning to make the MBTA network more effective

Podcast 20 - Advocacy Updates: Fares, Late Night Service, Commuter Rail, GLX and Service Planning to make the MBTA network more effective

This show is focused on MBTA advocacy, with the full crew sharing our thoughts on some of the things in the media lately, and which we've been working on.

Fares increases are proposed again despite the absence of a vision for upgrading and growing our network. It's hard to ask people for more money without real improvements. Some say we should give discounts to low-income riders and raise fares for everyone else. We explore why a two-tier transit system is a terrible idea that will lead to a death spiral and actually impact the poorest riders most. Also, if a transit fare is not a tax, is it a fee?

The MBTA board (FMCB) has proposed eliminating up to 28 bus routes, largely without any analysis of what these routes do or how they operate.  A better approach is to figure out why some routes are expensive and/or attract low ridership, such as poor service quality (on-time performance, frequency, connections) and many seem to be designed to fail. The existing late night service is one example, but rather than get rid of it, service should be vastly improved and expanded to full overnight service (don't forget the early morning needs!). Commuter rail come up too.

We talk about the importance of good service planning, the different levels of planning, and how we can not only make small routine changes but also design a better network. Aside from service cuts, no routes have changed since 2008 and a comprehensive review has never been done, even though travel patterns have changed a lot since the 1964 creation of MBTA. Most routes do not meet basic service standards like crowding and on-time performance. How can we plan for upgrades?

The Green Line Extension is way over budget and horribly mismanaged, largely due to schedule pressures, not enough MBTA staff to oversee this massive project (due to austerity) and as a result contractors scamming the T. Are we learning the lessons as the FMCB looks to cut the budget even more? We explain the importance of carrying out the GLX plan which was approved through an extensive public process, and how proposed project reductions would actually cause us to spend more in operating costs to run the line.

Podcast 17 - Commuter Rail: filling the gaps in local and regional transit

Podcast 17 - Commuter Rail: filling the gaps in local and regional transit

We turn our attention to the MBTA Commuter Rail network and how it must be be part of the solution to many of our local and regional transportation challenges. Regional rail is a very important component of the transit network in terms of tackling street and highway congestion and, if designed well, can actually fill both local and regional travel needs. With the North South Rail Link, many suburban rail lines combine for frequent, high capacity transit service in the city's core.

Frequent service on the Fairmount Line can open major new opportunities for Boston's chronically underserved areas and represents a smart transit investment. Also, why we should ditch the traditional park-and-ride model in favor of building infill stations to add new options in already dense places, improving walk access to existing stations, increasing span and frequency, and other things that will increase ridership... and no more suburban rail extensions! But yes to intercity bus service and the new MassDOT Bus Plus program!

We finish with a discussion of how to handle the delayed Green Line Extension, and we even found time to rant about rail shutdowns, shuttle buses, the Government Center fiasco and the reality that changing ridership patterns mean we're making all kinds of trips on the T at all hours.

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 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