Monday, December 8, 2014

Charles/MGH

I get that the Longfellow Bridge needs to be fixed, but did they have to put that stupid fence up? It's ruining arguably the best view on the entire MBTA system! I'm talking, of course, about the above-ground section of the Red Line leading to Charles/MGH. This section of the line offers truly amazing views, even the side that the fence isn't covering (though the fence is blocking an awesome skyline view). But there's also a station to talk about...

I have this one picture from an earlier post. Too bad I don't have any sunny ones...
Charles/MGH is one of the few remaining elevated stations on the MBTA, which makes it even more fantastic. It's also very modern, having gotten a renovation in 2007. The actual platforms, admittedly, aren't especially updated, but they're still pretty nice. The eastern end is sheltered, but with windows if you still want to see out. The western end is out in the open, and it offers its own awesome views. The only problem I have with the platform is that the whole thing shakes when a train arrives. I trust the station's structural integrety, though.

The platform, looking toward the downtown skyline.
Both staircases lead to the same mezzanine. There are also elevators, which were added in the 2007 renovation. The escalators only go up, but I can live with that. The mezzanine is really quite beautiful, thanks to the station's glass facade. The escalators circle around back to the fare-paying area, which is nice and large.

Okay, so this is more of the station's entrance, but whatever.
The entrance is the only major problem I have with this station. It's right smack in the middle of a not-very-pedestrian-friendly system of intersections. You're gonna have to face some fairly fast cars if you want to get into Charles. Still, I suppose there's nowhere else you can put it, so in the middle of the intersection it is.

The beautiful glass facade.
From the outside, this station looks really nice. Elevated stations can sometimes have a really dingy feel to them, but this one is beautiful. I mentioned the glass already, but they even have some art hanging up for passerby to see. And I particularly like the stylish MBTA logo they have on either side of the bridge. Branding is always important!

As you can probably tell, this was taken on a completely different day. But I love this picture!
Station: Charles/MGH

Ridership: Pretty high: about 12,000 people per weekday. Many of these, I'd imagine, are people working in the medical field, due to the fact that Mass General Hospital is right nearby. Beacon Hill residents, too.

Pros: It's elevated! And it's beautiful! Yes, I really like the awesome glass design of this station, and the platform is pretty hospitable, too. Plus, there's the view. Currently it's just of a fence, though the one out the other side of the train is all right. I prefer the skyline one, ultimately.

Cons: It can be a bit harrowing when the whole thing shakes when a train comes in. Also, I don't like how the entrance is in the middle of a massive intersection, since that makes the station kind of annoying to get to. This is one of the few Red Line stations with no bus connections, but there's nowhere for a bus route to go from here...

Nearby and Noteworthy: To the north are the tall buildings of MGH. There isn't much of note up there, except for the Liberty Hotel - it's interesting that they turned an old prison into lodging for tourists. To the south is the more interesting neighborhood of Beacon Hill. When you walk around there, you feel like you've been transported back in time.

Final Verdict: 9/10
Okay, so it may have a few minor flaws - the shaking and the entrance - but it's totally worth taking the train over the Longfellow Bridge. The stupid fence is there right now, though the view from the other side is, as I said, not bad. It's still one of the better ones on the system.

Latest MBTA News: Service Updates
The MBTA plans to offer youth and university passes in a year-long pilot program! Hopefully it works out...

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