Alewife (MBTA station)

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ALEWIFE
Alewife tracks.jpg
Red Line platform. Glowing red vertical lines above train at right are neon art, The End of the Red Line
Station statistics
Address 11 Cambridgepark West,
Cambridge, MA 02140
Coordinates 42°23′47″N 71°08′31″W / 42.3964°N 71.142°W / 42.3964; -71.142Coordinates: 42°23′47″N 71°08′31″W / 42.3964°N 71.142°W / 42.3964; -71.142
Line(s)
Connections Bus transport MBTA Bus: 62, 67, 76, 79, 84, 350, 351
Platforms 1 island platform
Tracks 2
Parking 2,733 space garage
Bicycle facilities ~500 spaces total, 300 in two secured cages[1]
Other information
Opened March 30, 1985
Accessible Handicapped/disabled access
Owned by Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority
Traffic
Passengers (2009) 10,657 (weekday average boardings)[2]
Services
Preceding station   MBTA.svg MBTA   Following station
Terminus Red Line
toward Ashmont or Braintree

Alewife is an MBTA Red Line subway station located in North Cambridge, Massachusetts. The northern terminus of the Red Line, Alewife serves as a local intermodal transit hub. Its facilities include a multi-level parking garage with 2,733 spaces, two secured bicycle cages, a busway with an enclosed shelter serving several MBTA Bus routes, and connections to the Minuteman Bikeway, Cambridge Linear Park and the Fitchburg Cutoff Path. Alewife is located adjacent to the interchange between Alewife Brook Parkway and the Massachusetts Route 2 freeway, with ramps providing direct access to and from the expressway portion of Route 2.

Alewife opened on March 30, 1984. Originally only to be a temporary terminus during construction of the Arlington section of the Red Line, Alewife became the regular terminus when the further extension was canceled.[3] The station is named after Alewife Brook, a nearby tributary of the Mystic River, which is turned is named after the alewife fish which inhabits the Mystic River system. Alewife features six pieces of public art which were built as part of the first stage of the Arts on the Line program.

History[edit]

Boston transportation planners expected to build an Inner Belt Expressway within the Route 128 corridor in the 1970s. MA Route 2 was designed with eight lanes to carry large volumes of radial traffic, east from Alewife Brook Parkway, through Cambridge and Somerville to the Inner Belt at the border of eastern Somerville and eastern Cambridge. When the Inner Belt was canceled, Route 2 became an overbuilt highway that terminated at what was little more than major city streets.[4] When the westward extension of the Red Line was being designed, building a station near the end of Route 2 with a large parking garage seemed like a way to capitalize on the original Route 2 investment.

Hatches to the Red Line tunnel underneath the beginning of the Minuteman Bikeway, placed when the Red Line was to be extended from Alewife to Lexington

Until the late 1960s, there was little near the site of the Alewife station besides a largely abandoned industrial park, a chemical factory and a protected wetlands. Following principles that came to be known as transit-oriented development, the City of Cambridge zoned the area immediately near the station for high rise buildings, leading to the construction of the three massive Rindge Towers in 1971. Over the next several decades, a mini-city developed with office and research and development buildings in addition to the high rise housing.

A state law required planning the Red Line Extension so it could later be brought out to Route 128 to Lexington, via Arlington, along the route of the former Lexington and West Cambridge Railroad. The Red Line tracks extend past the station, under Route 2, and terminate in a small underground storage yard. Alewife Station was designed with a future extension of the Red Line to points north in mind, possibly using the MBTA's Lexington Branch right-of-way.

When the adjacent chemical plant eventually closed and was replaced by an office and hotel development, the rail spur to the plant (along a short remaining portion of the Fitchburg Cutoff) was no longer needed and its underpass was converted to an access ramp from the station to Route 2.[citation needed] This design was criticized by local residents, since it forced many pedestrians to cross the fast-moving parkways on foot.[5]

Expansion[edit]

Bike cage at Alewife, opened in 2008

On September 18, 2008, two bike parking cages opened at the Alewife station. The cages can hold up to 150 bikes each. To use these cages, one must obtain a free plastic Bike CharlieCard, similar to the CharlieCard used to board the trains. Cards can be obtained from the MBTA customer service agents at Alewife station, or at the MBTA customer service center at Downtown Crossing station. Though the cages are covered, enclosed with security fences, and watched by security cameras, the MBTA advises riders to lock their bikes.[6]

In April 2008, the MBTA said that they do not have funds to add two levels to the parking garage to add capacity, which would cost $30 million to $35 million and add about 1300 spaces. The structure was originally designed to have two more levels, but whether the condition of the structure and building codes would allow that today is not clear.[7]

Bus connections[edit]

MBTA Bus waiting area at Alewife

Seven MBTA Bus routes terminate at the ground-level busways at Alewife:

The 83 Rindge Avenue - Central Square, Cambridge via Porter Square Station terminates nearby at Russell Field. It is not possible to turn left from Alewife Brook Parkway onto Rindge Avenue, preventing the bus from serving Alewife directly. The bus stop is connected to Alewife by a short spur of the Cambridge Linear Park.

Alewife station is also served by several private-carrier routes:

  • The Route 128 Business Council provides daily shuttle bus services from Alewife to many companies along the Route 2 and Route 128 corridor. Two routes are operated: A (Alewife Station - Wyman Street), B (Alewife Station - Winter Street), and Windsor Village[8]
  • Go Bus (formerly World Wide Bus) provides intercity bus service between Alewife, Riverside, and New York City. The service began in October 2010.[9]

Station layout[edit]

Red Line trains on the platform at Alewife
G Street Level Exits/Entrances
M Mezzanine Fare control, to Exits/Entrances
P
Platform level
Inbound Red Line alighting passengers only
Red Line toward Ashmont/Braintree (Davis)
Island platform, doors will open on the left/right
Inbound Red Line alighting passengers only
Red Line toward Ashmont/Braintree (Davis)

There is one Island platform serving two tracks. The tracks extend past the station to store terminating trains.


Arts on the Line[edit]

Otherwise drab "kiss and ride" passenger pick-up area enhanced with William Keyser's sculpted benches.

As a part of the Red Line Northwest Extension, Alewife was included as one of the stations involved in the Arts on the Line program. Arts on the Line was devised to bring art into the MBTA's subway stations in the late 1970s and early 1980s. It was the first program of its kind in the United States and became the model for similar drives for art across the country.[10]

Six of the original twenty artworks are located at Alewife station.[11] These works are:

Gallery[edit]

Attractions[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "MBTA Unveils Bike Cages At Alewife Station". Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority. 18 September 2008. Retrieved 9 February 2014. 
  2. ^ "Ridership and Service Statistics". Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority. 2010. Retrieved October 28, 2012. 
  3. ^ Belcher, Jonathan (28 December 2013). "Changes to Transit Service in the MBTA district" (PDF). NETransit. Retrieved 9 February 2014. 
  4. ^ User: BigRock (April 9, 2007). "Boston's Cancelled Highways". Google Maps. Retrieved December 30, 2010. 
  5. ^ Flint, Anthony Giving density a bad name, The Boston Globe, February 23, 2003
  6. ^ "Bikes on the T". MBTA. 19 January 2010. Retrieved 5 April 2010. 
  7. ^ Long, Tom (April 13, 2008). "'T' says it hasn't the funds to expand Alewife garage". The Boston Globe. 
  8. ^ "Shuttle Schedules". Route 128 Business Council. Retrieved 9 February 2014. 
  9. ^ Thomas, Sarah (2010-10-19). "NYC-bound buses will roll from Newton, Cambridge". Boston.com. Retrieved 2012-04-05. 
  10. ^ Red Line Northwest Extension Pamphlet page 5. The Davis Square Tiles Project. Accessed May 31, 2010
  11. ^ Arts on the Line:Alewife Station. Cambridge Arts Council. 2002. Accessed May 30, 2010

External links[edit]