Thursday, January 28, 2016

Attleboro

You know, I could always just stay in Gloucester. Gloucester's real nice. I mean, how about I review West Gloucester? Or perhaps Gloucester's neighboring town, Rockport. I hear that's even more beautiful! Sigh...or I could take a look at Attleboro.

That is...a lot of salt.
As with most Providence Line stations, Attleboro is mostly low-level, but there are high platforms to allow for accessibility. The ones on the inbound and outbound sides are basically the same, with one key difference: the inbound one doesn't have benches! I'm sorry, is that not the platform where more people will be waiting for the train?

Looking down the platform.
The large majority of Attleboro's low-level platform is basically empty. Aside from ads that line the wall, there really isn't much to talk about. On the outbound side, there are a few exits down to the station's parking lot, including a ramp. It's nice that there are more than one, although again, most people will be boarding on the inbound platform, so they'll have to go around. Still, the stairs make for convenient exits during the evening rush.

The parking lot.
Speaking of the parking lot, it's huge. And putting 780 spaces in just a surface lot requires a lot of space, but a lot of space they have. This is the biggest MBTA parking lot I've ever seen, stretching way beyond the end of the platform. It must be a pain to walk from the edge of the lot to the station, and I'm not sure if this lot gets full or not, but it certainly isn't lacking in space.

Oh, how I love old station buildings!
Yes, Attleboro has not one, but two old station buildings - one on each platform. They both offer additional shelter and seating, with a few bike spaces on the inbound side. In addition, there's a smaller parking lot on this side. And while the outbound building has a few offices in it, the inbound one is a different story.

A café!
The inbound building has a little shop meant for commuters inside! It includes a café (where you can buy tickets), as well as lots of indoor benches at which to wait! So this is where the inbound seating is. Only problem is that the shop is only open during the morning rush, so I'm still faulting the inbound platform for not having outdoor seating on its high-level platform.

An exit on the inbound side.
The station has a few other exits that lead to Mill or South Main Streets. Mill Street is exclusive to the inbound platform (pictured above), with a staircase leading up to the station. South Main Street, meanwhile, gets exits from both platforms, and can act as an easy crossover. Plus, South Main is where the inbound side's ramp is, so it's accessible.

Some GATRA buses at the bus terminal.
Of course, I'd be remiss not to talk about the fact that this station also houses the hub of the GATRA's Attleboro routes. The "Attleboro Intermodal Transit Center" was opened in late 2013, and it features two lanes for buses. Although there's no outdoor seating, the lanes are sheltered.

The station building.
Plus, the facility has indoor seating! Yes, a small station building houses a few benches, as well as a ticket machine where you can buy passes. It's not much, but it's cozy. Other amenities at the GATRA terminal include a newspaper box, wastebaskets, and a board with bus schedules and a system map.

The train left the station verrryyyyy slowwwwllllllyyyyy...
Probably because it was waiting for this to pass. It wouldn't be a Providence Line review without a surprise Amtrak!
Station: Attleboro

Ridership: Oh, yes, this is a very busy one indeed. With 1,665 inbound riders per weekday, Attleboro is the third-busiest station on the Providence Line and the sixth-busiest Commuter Rail station overall! And considering that only a very small fraction of that amount takes the GATRA in, I would imagine that a lot of people drive, justifying the huge parking lot.

Pros: The old buildings! The old buildings! The old buildings! Yes, I'm a sucker for vintage station buildings, and these ones are no exception. Having a waiting room and café on the inbound side is great, but too bad it's not open all the time. Additionally, the parking lot is gigantic and the GATRA facility is quite nice.

Cons: The boarding platforms are barebones and kinda ugly, and why aren't there benches on the inbound side? Okay, I get it, the waiting room is there for rush hour, but what about all other times? You can sit under the building, but you still have to walk to the boarding platform.

Nearby and Noteworthy: Nothing against Attleboro, but it doesn't seem like the most interesting of towns. Some of the architecture in the nearby downtown is oldish, but there aren't any noteworthy businesses in the buildings. The best attraction is probably the Capron Park Zoo, a small local zoo about 15 minutes' walk away from the station.

Final Verdict: 7/10
Okay, this lower score might be based on the fact that I'm not a huge fan of Attleboro as a city. But that said, the whole bench issue is rather annoying, since the café is only open during the morning rush. Of course, the rest of the station is pretty good, especially the old buildings. Plus, the GATRA terminal is fantastic, considering how small GATRA's Attleboro system is.

Latest MBTA News: Service Updates

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