6. Rubber Tires
Major Improvement $$$$$
In the 1950s and 1960s, Paris converted all its steel-wheeled subways to rubber-tyred subways. Tires were chosen because of the heavy passenger traffic loads, the relatively short distance between stations, the steep grades on some lines, and the noise generation at certain locations.
The Green Line struggles with the same issues. Retro fitting the Green Line with rubber tires would provide several benefits:
All trips would be faster due to quicker acceleration and deceleration
Safety, with respect to pedestrian and vehicle crossings, would be much improved due to quicker stopping times
Cautionary stopping up and down steep grades especially near Kenmore, Science Park, and Washington Street (on the B-Line) would be eliminated
Noise would be significantly reduced around the tight curves of Government Center, Park Street, Boylston, and Commonwealth Avenue between Packards Corner and Chestnut Hill Avenue
5. New Signal System
Major Improvement $$$$
The Green Line between Lechmere and Kenmore, uses a very antiquated signal system. A new system needs to be installed to improve headways between trains, allow for automated monitoring of trains, and provide modern communication between train operators and dispatchers. The new system would be able to identify the destination of each train rolling through the downtown core, and be able to switch tracks timely and space trains appropriately.
Imagine not having to speed up, slow down, stop, wait, speed up, slow down, stop, wait, speed up, slow down, stop, wait, each time you travel between Copley and Hynes, Haymarket and Government Center, or any other underground station combination. A new signal system would allow for smoother travel and faster trips.
3. E-Line Terminus
Minor Improvement $
The E Line is chronically behind schedule. The 0.67 mile stretch between Brigham Circle and Heath Street is the slowest stretch of the entire Green Line. Trolleys here operate in mixed traffic - the only such place in Boston - and crawl along at average speeds of just 5.7 mph.
Terminating the E Line at Brigham Circle reduces delays on the rest of the line and eliminates a major safety hazard with pedestrians trying to board the train in the middle of a busy road. Plus, the stops between Brigham Circle and Heath Street are already serviced by the 39 bus.
2: Reduce # of Stops
Minor Improvement $$
The B and C Lines stop way too frequently. There are 19 stations on the B Line, roughly 0.23 miles apart, and 14 stations on the C Line, about 0.22 miles apart. Compare that to the Red, Blue, and Orange Lines where, on average, stations are 0.70 miles apart.
On the B Line, eliminate 8 stops: Blandford, BU Central, St. Paul, Babcock, Griggs St, Warren, combine Sutherland with Chiswick, and combine South St with Chestnut Hill Ave.
On the C Line, eliminate 6 stops: Hawes, St. Paul, Tappan St, Englewood, and merge Summit, Brandon Hall, Fairbanks together.
4: All Door Boarding
Medium Improvement $$$
To speed up passenger boarding, all doors must open at every stop on the B, C, D, and E Lines.
Automated fare equipment must be installed just inside both rear doors of every trolley. This would allow riders to validate or pay immediately at all doors, instead of waiting at the front door. Customers with cash only would still go to the front to pay. T police would periodically check for paid fares and increase the fine for evasion. (This is a very effective system utilized on light rail systems throughout Europe.)
1: Traffic Signal Priority
Minor Improvement $
Sensors to detect the T must be installed at all traffic lights along Commonwealth Avenue for the B-Line (22 lights), Beacon Street for the C-Line (14 lights), and Huntington Avenue for the E-Line (5 lights from Northeastern to Brigham Circle).
Traffic lights must be programmed to give the T highest priority. Meaning, if a train arrives at an intersection and the light is red, new programming would change it to green within 3 seconds. Similarly, if the train arrives and the light is green, programming would keep it green until the train passes through the intersection.
The Green Line doesn't just seem slow. It is slow. The data is here to prove it.
For comparison, the Orange Line is 11 miles in length from Oak Grove to Forest Hills. The typical trip from end to end takes about 36 minutes which includes time spent stopped at each station. That means the average speed on board the Orange Line is 18.3 miles per hour. That compares to the Red Line-Ashmont Branch at 16.7 mph, the Red Line-Braintree Branch at 20.1 mph, and the Blue Line at 18.6 mph.
The Green Line operates at speeds of less than half that of the Red, Orange and Blue Lines. The Green-B branch from Boston College to Kenmore is just 4.2 miles, but takes 35 minutes. (That's roughly the same time it takes the Orange Line to travel its entire route from Malden to Jamaica Plain.) The average speed for the B branch is just 7.1 mph. The C and E branches are equally dismal at 7.9 mph and 7.1 mph respectively. The D branch performs well at 18.7 mph. While the main Green Line, from Kenmore to Lechmere, operates at 8.6 mph.
How Bad Is It?
The Green Line is the T's second most used rapid transit line. Roughly 230,000 people take the Green Line every weekday. (The Red Line has the highest ridership with 290,000 per weekday.)
The Green Line is the most frustrating line to ride. It is packed. It stops everywhere. Trains don't come with any regularity. And it is slow. Really SLOW. PAINFULLY SLOW!
To improve performance and keep up with ever-increasing ridership, we have to make some serious changes on the Green Line!