I'm actually curious how the Central Parking pickup scheme will work in practice.
Are you going to be the guinea pig?
I am going to stick to curbside drop-off/pick-up by whatever means necessary. Really hope people won't get mugged at night in some dark corner of the central parking structure...
I take Logan Express when I fly, so I will continue to enjoy the disappearing luxury of being dropped off at the terminal curb (even if it is the arrivals curb sometimes). Lyft is not economical for me as a resident of the Merrimack Valley (and even if I still lived within 128 it'd probably still not be economical as the one way Lyft to my previous residence in Waltham is in the $50 range).
I'm no massport employee, so I have no insider information. But from a dispassionate network analyst POV, the number one goal to keep traffic moving on the terminal roadways is to eliminate as many vehicles (not just cars) as possible. They know this, we know this. The question is how to do this while balancing the overall needs of people using the airport.
Aside from the Globe report, Massport has updated their ground transit plan page with more details which answer some questions.http://www.massport.com/massport/media/ ... tion-plan/
1. How will they circulate cars in and around central parking for this plan? It looks like they're giving up a floor of central parking to implement this plan. "Massport is giving up 1,000 revenue-generating parking spaces to make this happen." Does this mean a first-floor solution? Or a fourth-floor solution (so people don't have to navigate elevators)? Will they set up a special in-out area for TNC cars that won't interfere with the normal garage in/out gates?
The new, dedicated TNC areas in Central Garage will have:
Baggage check and Sky Caps;
Increased enforcement of TNC drivers and vehicles;
Can be implemented as early as this fall;
And will be weather-protected and climate-controlled.
2. It's clear that using shared rides is a key part of this plan, as that'll reduce the number of car trips. A 50% discount price is a good way to encourage this. One thing that I've always been curious about is that Logan (and thus the Boston area) has no door-to-door shuttle company like JFK or others that have things like SuperShuttle. I've always wondered why this is the case, if anyone has some insight I would love to hear it. There's black car types that do shared vans but nothing on the level of brand recognition of SuperShuttle or similar services.
Looking at the types of traffic we get at the airport, we can divvy it into the following categories:
1. Private passenger cars.
2. Lyft/Uber not!Taxis.
4. Silver Line
5. Airport Shuttle Buses (for blue line T station, rental cars, and economy parking)
6. Hotel shuttle buses
7. Off-airport parking shuttle buses
8. Logan Express
9. Non-Massport charter buses and long-distance shuttle buses (e.g. New Hampshire Boston Express)
Some terminals have segregations within arrivals/departures of these various modes, some don't. Terminal C has segregation, for example, but the roadway design is awful. Passengers in crosswalks crossing also breaks up this segregation, causing the cars and taxis to pause when they come in. There's also just not enough roadway for all the cars. So, what to do?
1. Get the Lyft/Uber traffic off the terminal roadways. This may help terminal road traffic, but it won't help congestion heading to/from the Ted as well as the Sumner/Callahan tunnels. The only way to do that is...
2. Reduce Uber/Lyft/Private Vehicle traffic as much as possible. This means encouraging use of other modes either through positive or negative forces. Currently, all other modes have problems/flaws that encourage people to prioritize private pickup/dropoff that eventually degrade QoS for all modes. Alternate modes for most pax are:
Blue Line T, Silver Line T, Logan Express, Charter/Non-Massport Express buses
You can't eliminate private cars from the terminal roadways, but people like using them because they're perceived as "Free" for the person going to the airport. However, those private cars aren't free to other users of the airport. So, what do? The tolling plan is a non-starter, there's already tolls on the main throughfares (Ted, Tunnels) to the airport. Put a toll on entrance from Route 1A? You'll get shunpikers on local roads. So how do you discourage private vehicles from picking up/dropping off? I don't have a good answer for that question. People don't like Logan Express because tickets cost money, or the T because it costs money (and can be unreliable), but every private car adds up until the breaking point is hit.
3. Consolidate as much shared use as possible. The people mover will eliminate the fleet of buses that transit people from the rental car lot, economy parking, and the blue line T station, but it won't eliminate the Silver Line. The Silver Line can terminate at one end of the people mover, eliminating it from terminal roadways. If the Red-Blue connector is ever built, it would eliminate a big part of the silver line's existence (connections to South Station), but that can't be banked on. Other airports' public transit generally stops at one location (SFO's BART station is at international terminal G and connects to others via the AirTrain). Making the silver line free to airport pax has helped the use of that mode, but there's enough drag from the silver line mixing in the tunnels that a dedicated rail link will be necessary some day. I just don't see it done until I'm too old to fly cause there's no money for it (and there wasn't 20 years ago either). Downside is that people mover won't be ready for years and will cost money.
Logan Express and non-massport buses will be here to stay, their impact on traffic is in the positive direction and retaining their ability to drop off at the terminal is a key. But redirecting how they drop off passengers is a much. There's only so many curb inches for vehicles at the terminal, and buses take up a lot of them. This can only be solved with roadway construction.
Hotel and parking shuttle buses are a target for consolidation. Have the hotels work together so that they have a multi-hotel loop (e.g. one shuttle bus serves two separate hotels). Not much can be done about off-airport parking. These are already a smaller amount of trips compared to taxis/lyft/private cars, so reductions in trips will be minimal, but every little bit helps.
4. Improve terminal roadways. We already know this is in the works for terminal C, but Terminal B is just as badly in need of optimization and mode segregation. Increase curb inches and find ways to get pax over without interrupting other lanes. Prevent blockages of cars stopping on other lanes away from the curb. Eliminate weaves and try to get exiting traffic away from existing roadway traffic. The current terminal roadways were designed and upgraded around the time of the Big Dig, it's time to rethink them again.
5. Add more options for shared rides that aren't Uber/Lyft. More Logan Express will be added, which is good, but it won't help most people who live inside 128.
6. Offer some kind of perk or incentive for taking non-Rideshare or private cars into the airport. Free Dunkies for all Logan Express riders. I dunno, you tell me.