Monday, December 30, 2013

Maverick

I've always considered the Blue Line to be the most modern of the four - the newest trains and the newest stations (especially with the recent reopening of Orient Heights). Maverick is no different; receiving a major rehab in 2009, it's the first stop after going under Boston Harbor, and the last stop before the line rises to the surface. It plays host to two coordinated Key Bus Routes (the 116 and 117), a fairly high-frequency route (the 120), and two less frequent routes (the 114 and the abysmal 121). Five buses may not seem like a lot, but considering the lack of major bus hubs on the Blue Line apart from Wonderland, it's not bad.

As long as we're on the subject of buses, we'll talk about the busway first for a change. The layout of Maverick Square actually makes for a pretty good busway. The road basically loops around the station entrance; buses drop off passengers on the east side of Maverick Square (except for the case of the 120 when going to Jeffries Point, which picks passengers up on the east side), loop around the station entrance, and pick passengers up on the east side. Unfortunately, the busway lacks proper shelters - when I went to the station on a snowy day, everyone was just bunched up in the station lobby. There aren't any benches in there, either, so everyone was just leaning against the wall. There are benches outside, but no one wants to sit on those if it's raining or snowing.

I really like the entrance of the station. There's only one, but it's very sleek and modern, mostly glass. Something I didn't notice while I was there (because there was snow on the ground) was the big "T" symbol on the ground in front of the entrance! The station doesn't have any official parking, but there's plenty of street parking further down Maverick Square.

The entrance to Maverick - you can see all the people huddling in the lobby.
Maverick is just as grandiose and modern underground as it is overground. Upon entering the the station, you're in a wide entryway going into an even wider station proper. There are a bunch of fare gates, a customer information desk (where someone was either talking to or arguing with the employee inside), and, coolest of all, a big map of the entire Blue Line. That may sound boring, but it's actually got a bunch of lights in it. Each light represents a train, and you can see where each train is on the line in real time. It's admittedly pretty useless, especially with countdown clocks on either side of it, but it's a nice novelty.

The big map is right in the middle of the picture.
I really like the station proper. It's a very, very wide island platform. It's got something like five rows of pillars because it's just so big. I suppose, again, it's a bit unnecessary, but I think it makes Maverick one of the better, more unique stations on the Blue Line. Finally, I took the elevator like I always do - you get on in the lobby, and it takes you down a few yards (it's not a very deep station). When you're dropped off, there's a ramp heading towards the fare gates. It's glass, but there's not much to see. Certainly not as impressive as the amazing elevator ride at Alewife.

I would've liked to have gotten the front of the train, but that ended up being a very blurry picture.
Station: Maverick

Ridership: This is a pretty locals-heavy station - there are some businesses close to the station, but it gets residential quickly. This station also gets its fair amount of Chelsea residents using the 116 and 117 to get back home (When is Chelsea going to get legitimate transportation? They haven't yet started work on the Silver Line Gateway.).

Pros: The overall design of the station is fantastic. I love the entrance building, the wide platform, and especially the LED map. Yeah, yeah, the map's not of much use, but it's still so cool! It's also a decent bus hub, at least when compared to the rest of the Blue Line apart from Wonderland.

Cons: This station needs to get some proper bus shelters. I don't see why the MBTA can't spring for even one - they're putting shelters on all the Key Bus Routes, aren't they? I suppose having one entrance is a bit annoying, but it's a lot more expensive to "spring" for another.

Nearby and Noteworthy: I'll have something specific for this section some day! The neighborhood around Maverick seemed to be a bit...tough...but I saw some intriguing businesses during my visit.

Final Verdict: 8/10
I love how well-designed this station is. The really wide platform is definitely a standout for me. The entrance is nice, as well. The best part? Definitely the (I know, pretty useless) LED map. This is the only place on the system with something like this, and that makes it all the more unique. I only wish this station had some bus shelters - or at least some benches in the lobby. Benches can't be very expensive, can they? Nonetheless, this is definitely a station I recommend you pay a visit to.

Latest MBTA News: Service Updates
The problem with posting more frequently, as I've been doing lately, is that not much news develops in a day. I mean, you get stuff like crazy people in the subway dressing up as the Grinch (or something), but that's not exactly newsworthy to me. Oh, well.

3 comments:

  1. The track diagram showing where the trains are were part of the original Maverick station. Before the station was renovated, the section showing the Bowdoin end was in tact while the additional two sections were added after the renovation.

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  2. There are several reasons Maverick is so wide. From 1924 to 1952 it was the eastern end of the line for high-platform rapid transit trains that are now known as the Blue Line, and there was an underground turning loop just east of the station for them. This loop existed into (I think) the late 1970s for emergency use before it was taken up. I believe Maverick was also an underground transfer point between East Boston street car lines and rapid transit trains so there were four tracks underground at Maverick well into the 20th century.

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    Replies
    1. Right, Maverick had 4 tracks, and the middle two (trolley) had their own underground turnaround loop at the inbound end of the station. This loop was a level above the Blue Line tracks (its tracks sloped upwards, while those of the Blue Line sloped downwards on their way to the harbor tunnel). Before the renovation, the (front) escalators entered the station through a round tunnel-like structure which had been the old trolley portal.

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