Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Alewife

Alewife is, simply put, huge. You can spot this structure from extremely far away. However, I'd never really explored the main station until I started this review. I usually go into the station via the much smaller Russell Field entrance. That entrance consists of two fare gates, a small customer service booth, and some system maps. Meanwhile, the main station is gigantic. It has elevators, escalators, a transit police office, 10 fare gates, a Dunkin' Donuts, a newsstand, a Redbox, you name it.


Not my picture, but a good one of this huge station.
From: http://sah-archipedia.org/detail%2Fcontent%2Fentries%2FMA-01-NC5.xml?q=type%3Acorridors

The station at platform level is much less impressive. It's simply a center platform and some ads. Despite its simplicity, it's a nice, easy setup for quickly grabbing a train. An interesting thing about Alewife is the fact that down the tunnel, there's the underground train yard in Arlington. I would absolutely love to stay on a train and go to the yard, but, you know, that's illegal. The location is also extremely convenient. There are a lot of office buildings near Alewife, and it's the closest station to towns like Arlington and Lexington. People actually drive to the station, park in the parking lot, and get on the train.

Moving out of the station, there's the Alewife Busway. It actually serves quite a few buses, serving Arlington, Lexington, Bedford, and Burlington. Unfortunately, only two of those buses run on weekends, and only one on Sundays. The busway also serves buses to New York, which are pretty cheap and only make one stop (Riverside station).

Of course, no discussion about Alewife is complete without mentioning the elevators. It's worth parking on the roof of the garage just because of the elevator ride. The elevators are glass, so you get a view of the highway. Then you descend into the station, getting a bird's eye view of the main concourse. It's just so much fun! 

It's me!
Station: Alewife
Rating (1-10): 9 for the location, but 6 for the station itself

Ridership: Locals and people from Arlington, Lexington, and beyond. The station can get extremely crowded, or it can be deserted, depending on the time of day.

Pros: Again, the location is great. The station has a huge parking lot, with 2,733 parking spaces. It also has two large Pedal and Park bike cages with 174 or 500 bike spaces, depending on the source (which is right? I have no idea). Also, you can't help loving that elevator ride!

Cons: First of all, the only bus running on Sundays from Alewife is the 350 to Burlington, added with the 62/76 to Bedford on Saturdays. All other buses run weekdays only. Also, the busway itself is a complete mess. I never have any idea where anything is in there. Plus, you're really just waiting for the bus in a cold, dark parking lot.

Nearby and Noteworthy: Besides the places in the station itself, Bertucci's is located right outside the station (it's actually in the building, but they the station and the restaurant aren't connected.). It's a real treat for people who like pizza. Also, the Fresh Pond Mall is about a 5 to 10 minute walk down the road. It has, among others, a Whole Foods, a TJ Maxx, and an Entertainment Cinemas.

Latest MBTA News: More Orange Line shuttle buses between Sullivan Square and Oak Grove this weekend. Again.


9 comments:

  1. You forget to mention all those solar electric panels on the roof of the Alewife garage. Do other T stations have any solar power?

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  2. You're right, I guess I did forget to mention that. I don't know if other stations have solar power, but I did find this page about putting it in Wonderland Station and Readville Yard: http://www.mbta.com/about_the_mbta/t_projects/default.asp?id=24701

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  3. Thanks Miles! I didn't know about the elevators at Alewife. I'll have to go check them out. Speaking of solar panels, I live in Chelsea and they've just added solar powered LED lights at some of the bus stops. You push a button to turn them on while you wait if it's dark. I haven't waited to see how long they stay on for, but they're pretty cool.

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  4. That sounds really cool! Thanks for commenting.

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  5. Did you count the number of parking spaces?! That is a huge accomplishment if you did! ;)

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    Replies
    1. No, it says the number right on the MBTA website.

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  6. I remember there was a Burger King near the entrance to Alewife Station. I do like the architecture. It's less brutalist and more modern.

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  7. Hey Miles,

    Seeing as this was your first station review, do you think you could go back and redo it, showing the actual platforms and mezzanine? You could put a link to the old version next to the link to the new on the station listing.

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    Replies
    1. If I finish everything I want to ride, then redos of older posts is a must! Alewife would definitely be a prime candidate for that.

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