Wednesday, August 2, 2017

GUEST POST: North Quincy

A guest post from Phillip Byrne about North Quincy. Thanks, Phillip!

Continuing south on the Braintree Branch of the Red Line, North Quincy is about 2 minutes to Wollaston. Going north it’s eight minutes to JFK/UMASS, the longest distance between 2 stops in the subway system!

The view from JFK/UMASS to North Quincy.
Once at North Quincy I noticed how many parking spots there are. There are exactly 1,206 parking spots. Most of the parking spots are taken up by park and riders as well as workers from a nearby office park. Weekday availability according to the MBTA’s website is about 31%. Some spots are unfilled; on weekends the lot never fills up and it's rather easy to find a decent parking spot.

A vast number of cars in the parking lot on a Monday afternoon.
Once inside the station you can’t help but feel a feeling of isolation and quietness. The mezzanine is pretty narrow and dark. It’s also not big at all, just a narrow hallway with a set of faregates and ticket machines. Thus, it’s straightforward and very easy to navigate. There is some natural lighting from the large window at the end of the hallway but it still feels isolated and dim.


The mezzanine - it's dim in here.
A set of faregates at the end of the mezzanine.
Making my way down to the platform, I go through a wide hallway with some natural lighting.

A large hallway with some natural light to overcast the darkness.
The platform itself is so-so. It’s large and aesthetically unappealing but it also has some sheltered areas along with a few wastebaskets. The sheltered areas caught my eyes - they seem to somewhat bolster the aesthetic value of the platform but at the same time they are utterly useless and do not serve any purpose whatsoever. I say they do not serve any purpose because they don’t really shelter you. There are two benches, one facing the outbound track and one facing the inbound track. When it’s raining you get wet either way. I also discovered a big con about these glass waiting areas. The first one is that you cannot see the countdown board to when your train is coming! This drives me nuts, the reason being because I personally think passengers should be able to sit and see when their train is coming at the same time. It also semi-defeats the purpose of having a sheltered area to wait if you cannot even tell if your train is coming!
The outside of one of the odd wide glass screened waiting areas.
Inside of one of the sheltered areas; notice how you cannot see the time on the countdown board.
As for the rest of the platform, it’s long, narrow, and pretty bland, as well as aesthetically unappealing. 
The platform! Like I said, it's pretty bland and narrow with the unique waiting areas separating the inbound and outbound sides.
Making my way towards the exit, I noticed 2 sets of stairs and escalators going each way. Though they are on opposite sides of the stations, it’s a nice feature to have considering most of the passengers here are park and riders with luggage.

The escalators, one going up and one going down.
The busway is pretty straightforward and also has a line for cabs. Two buses make only one stop here (215 and 217), two buses only run on weekends (201 and 202) and two buses do not have Sunday service (210 and 212). The 211 is the only bus that serves the station daily. So, in all, it has about three regular buses and two weekend buses. The busway area also has vending machines along with a pedal and park area.
The busway with some vending machines and benches. It also has a countdown clock for incoming trains. The Pedal and Park area is to the right. Photo credit to Miles.
There is also a constant line of cabs at the station waiting to deliver passengers to Logan Airport. In my time at the station, about an hour, I only saw 1 cab get service. 

My visit at the station has ended and I leave.

Station: North Quincy

Ridership: As mentioned earlier, North Quincy is mainly used by park and riders as well as nearby commuters from an office park and a nearby high school. The station gets around 7,000 people daily, making it the second busiest station on the Braintree Branch of the Red Line. The honor of the highest on the Braintree Branch goes to Quincy Center.

Pros: It’s straightforward and easy to navigate, and the escalators, along with the presence of a countdown clock in the busway, are convenient. The sheltered areas on the platform are unique and are aesthetically not bad. Plentiful parking and a good busway also give the station some more pros.

Cons: Well, the whole station is a bit dim and outdated. I call for a renovation here to make it a bit more open and not as dark. A remake would also make the platform not as bland architecturally. Not being able to see the countdown clock from the sheltered areas is not really a con but an annoyance. In a remodel they should definitely fix that.

Nearby and Noteworthy: The immediate area is not pedestrian friendly whatsoever. It’s right next to a McDonald’s, a high school, and a Walgreens, and a 5 minute walk down the road there is an Applebee's with a Panera Bread.

Final Verdict: 6/10
The station is highly outdated and needs a makeover, but a good busway, aesthetically appealing unique sheltered areas, and straightforwardness add to the final total. Hopefully, the MBTA can give North Quincy a renovation as it will be beat down with an influx of 4,000 passengers from the upcoming Wollaston renovation.

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