Charlie’s Mailbag – February 28th new LED signs at Park and another T map option

from the mailbag at

Ben noticed a new addition at Park Street

Not sure if anyone has told about this but this morning when I got
off the D Line at Park St. (heading inbound) I noticed a taped off
portion to the left of the exit. Right above it was what appeared to
be a brand-new electronic signboard that looks like it would support
2 lines of text. Perhaps the T is going to give us signboards for
when the next train will arrive? Now it was near the entrance to the
Red Line stairs so maybe its for that.
I’ll try to snap a picture on my way home, assuming I don’t get
arrested for it!

We can only hope. The T can not be oblivious to the positive coverage NYC Transit has been getting as they slowly introduce arrival boards in Manhattan and Brooklyn. Riders WANT that information even if Daniel Grabauskas doesn’t think we need the info as he told the Globe last May.

As he outlined the new, $35 million system in comments at Back Bay station, the announcements for inbound and outbound trains were coming in loud and clear on the platforms and in the upstairs lobby, giving about 1 minute advance notice on inbound trains and 2 minutes on outbound train.

That should help riders rushing to catch a train from a lobby and passengers who have been waiting for more than several minutes, T officials said.

The system can count down the minutes until a train arrives, but Grabauskas said that isn’t necessary.

”You don’t need 15 minutes lead time for a rapid transit train,” he said. ”If you know you have enough time to get down the stairs, that may be all the information our customers need.

But then in October of 2006 Grabauskas said the following during a chat on

Daniel_Grabauskas: Similar to the activity in subway to update the sound system and add sign boards we are working to make the commuter rail sign boards give better information. The new system which we are working on will make next train announcements and count down for the next train as well as delay information. I share your frustration that the old system gives very limited information and sometimes not accurate. This project to upgrade is out for public bid right now and should be constructed within the next two years.

So maybe he has changed his mind and does plan to offer this info in the subway. In that chat he offered an email address for riders to write into him.

please contact me directly at

Perhaps if enough of us write into him asking about real time announcements in the subway will will get an answer.

Lou passes on another map option for T riders and it is pretty good.

I saw the mention of Google beginning to include T stations on their maps on your blog and figured I would pass this along.

Sometime my freshman year of school at Northeastern, I went searching for a map of the T system that was laid out on an actual street map, because while I was getting accustomed to Boston itself, I found the T’s maps to be of very little use. Also, I am a bit of a map enthusiast in general. I found one especially good candidate for use and it proved to be very helpful in my exploration of the city:

This is laid out on a google maps image anyway and retains the total functionality, as well as listing station info when you click on a stop:

I don’t know if you knew about that map or even if you have posted about it previously, but I take every chance I get to let those who know surprisingly little about the T in relation to Boston street layout know about this.

Thanks for the tip and if we haven’t mentioned this link before we are happy to do so now.



Filed under Commuter Rail, MBTA, Park St, Subway

7 responses to “Charlie’s Mailbag – February 28th new LED signs at Park and another T map option

  1. Ron

    Well you have indeed documented that the T doesn’t know what to say

  2. <>Ron said… Well you have indeed documented that the T doesn’t know what to say <>I would love nothing more than SOMEBODY from the T to post here or send an email to so we can get an honest answer to this. All I can do is use the best available quotes from local media. If there is better information out there PLEASE let us know.

  3. Anson

    The subway map seems to have a glitch with the Red Line. The Red Line doesn’t appear when zoomed in to the northwest of South Station.

  4. Anonymous

    Presently there are indicators on both the outbound and inbound sides of Park Street which give clues to the movement of Red Line trains below. That said, most people pass by them without even understanding what they are.On the outbound side, towards the far end of the platform, there is a box which indicates when a Red Line is arriving. When the Northbound side is lit, then an Alewife train has arrived. If the Southbound side is lit, then either a Braintree or Ashmont train has arrived.On the inbound side, it’s a little harder to find. If you note where the first car of an incoming Green Line train stops, look toward the staircase which takes you to the far end of the platform. Above your head is a small lit box with NB or SB. when one of those signs lights up, that’s the indicator. Of course, these LED signs will be as effective as others around the system, never giving any indication of actual real time traffic.

  5. Anonymous

    Those northbound/southbound indicators are there to help coordinate the last trains of the night. They don’t really serve any purpose for passengers.The LED sign will probably just duplicate the automated announcements. Except the Green Line doesn’t have those announcements, since it just has a traditional block signal system that doesn’t identify trains by route. Maybe the new sign will just be used to display nag-messages, along with occasional vague messages about delays that don’t provide any useful details.

  6. Anonymous

    Good point. Any service or infrastructure improvements should be halted immediately and approved by a blogger before proceeding. Sorry to break it to you after the fact but I saw the signs on the Orange Line too.

  7. Anonymous

    I didn’t say that the T needs to consult me before spending any money (which is not the same thing as an improvement). Nonetheless, every few years the T has installed a new system of LED screens in subway or commuter rail stations, promising us that this time they will actually do something besides saying “Stand behind the safety line” or “Ready…” or “Text too long”. So I think my skepticism is justified.

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