Boston Landing station
The western end of the station in June 2017
|Location||Everett Street at Guest Street|
Brighton, Boston, Massachusetts
|Platforms||1 island platform|
|Tracks||4 (prior to station construction)|
3 (after station construction)
|Connections||MBTA Bus: 64|
|Parking||1750 (at associated development)|
|Bicycle facilities||Bicycle racks; Hubway bikeshare station|
|Opened||May 22, 2017|
|Closed||1857, April 1959|
|Previous names||Everett Street (1834–1857)|
Allston and Brighton (1857–1959)
Boston Landing is an MBTA Commuter Rail station in Boston, Massachusetts. It serves the Framingham/Worcester Line. It is located in the Brighton neighborhood just west of the Everett Street bridge, next to the Massachusetts Turnpike. It serves the Allston-Brighton area as well as the Boston Landing development including Warrior Ice Arena. The station is fully handicapped accessible, with a single full-length high-level island platform. Elevators and stairs lead to Arthur Street and to the Everett Street bridge.
The station, which was officially announced on June 7, 2012, is the result of discussions dating back to 1998. It was then projected to cost $16 million and to serve as many as 2400 daily riders by 2030. It is an infill station, since commuter rail trains passed frequently on existing tracks through the site. In November 2012, New Balance announced their intention to open the station in 2014. However, in May 2014, the expected opening was pushed back to the fall of 2016. The new station is being financed by New Balance under a public-private partnership agreement. Prior to a May 2013 renaming, the proposed station project was known as New Brighton Landing.
The Boston and Worcester Railroad (B&W) opened as far as West Newton in April 1834. The first intermediate station was located at Brighton; it was alternately known at first as Winship Gardens after the adjacent gardens. The small depot was located on the north side of the tracks near and probably just west of Market Street. The first train to arrive at Brighton was reportedly greeted by a celebratory cannon shot. Serving both tourists headed to the gardens and livestock dealers bound for the nearby cattle market, it quickly became one of the railroad's busiest stations. By 1850, the station generated $5,000 a week in revenues, with round-trip tickets to Boston costing just 12.5 cents.
Railroads frequently built stations in rural areas on their suburban lines, hoping to attract new development and thus prompt more commuters to use their lines.:15 A flag stop with limited service was later added at Cambridge Crossing, where what is now Cambridge Street crossed the line at grade. The name confused travelers, as the station was not particularly close to Cambridge itself; by 1850 the name "East Brighton" was proposed instead. The B&W merged with its extension/rival, the Western Railroad, in 1867 to become the Boston and Albany Railroad (B&A). That year, the B&A built a wood-frame depot off Cambridge Street near Harvard Street. Wishing to further distance itself from Cambridge, the village voted in 1868 to rename itself as Allston after the painter Washington Allston. The Post Office acknowledged the name change, as did the B&A; the station was officially renamed Allston on June 1, 1868.:16 By 1870, ridership was at double 1867 levels.:16
The railroad had originally been built on the northern fringes of Brighton to appease residents who did not want the noise and danger of a railroad in their village center. However, as its popularity grew, so did the local regret for that choice. In 1871, residents attempted to privately finance a branch line that would split from the mainline at Allston and run to Brighton Center.:16 From there, the branch would have either ran north to rejoin the mainline, or continued west through Oak Square and reached the main at Newton. A survey was carried out, but the branch was not built.:16
After years of deferred investment after the Panic of 1873, the B&A began a substantial improvement program to its suburban stations around 1879. This was likely to divert profits - capped at 10% under state law - into capital investment which would serve as an expanded base for larger profits later. Famed architect H.H. Richardson would ultimately design nine stations for the railroad before his 1886 death; his successors Shepley, Rutan, and Coolidge designed an additional 23 stations by 1894. A new Brighton station was commissioned in July 1884, and construction by the Norcross Brothers firm was completed in 1885. The new station opened on July 6, 1885.
Those stations, along with several others in Newton and Boston, were closed in April 1959 when much of the main line was reduced from 4 to 2 tracks during the building of the Massachusetts Turnpike. The station closures left the northern part of Brighton lacking rail service. The Brighton station was demolished during highway construction, while the Allston station remained intact. The Allston Depot Steakhouse opened in the building in 1972, followed by Sports Depot in 1988 and Regina Pizzeria in 2010. The neighborhood had been left without a street rail option into downtown Boston since 1969 when the MBTA ended streetcar service on the Watertown Line, the A branch of the Green Line.
Planning a new station
In 1998, a new station in Allston-Brighton began to be considered as part of the Urban Ring planning process. In 2007, the City of Boston allocated $500,000 in funding for the Allston Multimodal Station Study. The study analyzed both commuter rail and DMU local service along the corridor, with potential stops at Faneuil, Market Street, Everett Street, Cambridge Street, West (Ashford Street), and Commonwealth Avenue. Allston was soon determined the most likely location for an initial commuter rail stop, using either the Everett Street or Cambridge Street location, with more stops and DMU service to follow later. Local opinion was skewed towards Cambridge Street, with residents citing better bus connections and access to Union Square, plus security risks at Everett Street. The station was estimated to serve 2,000 daily riders by 2030, cost $10 million, and take ten years to actually reach completion when the recommendations were made in 2009.
In 2009 and 2010, the state negotiated a major agreement with CSX Transportation that involved the purchase of several rail lines, including purchasing the line between Framingham and Worcester. The agreement also included CSX moving its intermodal freight operations from the Beacon Park Yard in Allston to a new yard in Worcester. The abandonment of Beacon Park Yards allows for an increase in MBTA service on the Framingham/Worcester Line; additionally, the elimination of the single-track bottleneck through the yard opened the possibility for a station to be built in Allston while still allowing passing tracks. However, with no funding source available, construction of a station was not pursued.
In March 2012, New Balance submitted initial plans for a mixed-use development in Brighton, which included the possibility of a commuter rail station. In May, they officially announced the $500 million development, which is to be one block away from the station site. A company spokesperson told the Boston Globe that "If designated by MassDOT, New Brighton Landing will design, permit and construct a commuter rail station in Allston-Brighton" and that New Balance was willing to contribute to funding the station.
One June 7, 2012, Allston-Brighton officials announced that New Balance and the Massachusetts Department of Transportation had signed a letter of intent to build a station at Everett Street, to be named New Brighton Landing. The public-private partnership, in which New Balance will "fund all permitting, design, construction and annual maintenance costs" for the station - then projected to cost $16 million - was the first of its kind for the MBTA. The associated New Brighton Landing development was approved by the Boston Redevelopment Authority on September 13, 2012, with construction to begin later that year.
No timetable was initially laid out for station construction. On November 9, 2012, the company announced plans to open the station in 2014. Design and permitting were to be completed in 2013, with construction finished within a year. In March 2013, the names of the station and the development were changed to Boston Landing. The proposed station was approved by a MassDOT finance board on May 14, 2013, and the agency's Board of Directors on May 22. By 2013 the expected completion date had slipped to mid-2015, and in May 2014 New Balance announced that the station would not open until the second half of 2016. The company cited the unanticipated complexity of the planning and construction for the delay.
A groundbreaking ceremony for the $20 million station was held on May 12, 2015, still with an expected opening in the fall of 2016. Construction began in October 2015 with the removal of the three yard tracks at the station site. The inner part of the Framingham/Worcester Line was closed for a weekend in December 2015 to allow construction of a temporary shoo-fly track, which allows the mainline track to be removed during construction. The mainline tracks were put back in service during a similar weekend shutdown in April 2017, restoring double track through Allston for the first time since the 1950s.
State legislators representing communities along the Worcester Line have expressed concern that Boston Landing and the planned West Station would slow down trips for suburban commuters. It was originally proposed to limit service to the stop to two inbound trains in the morning rush hour and two outbounds in the afternoon (plus an unknown amount of off-peak service), but later draft schedules added additional stops. Boston Landing station is fully handicapped accessible, with elevators on the pedestrian bridge to Arthur Street and another elevator to the Everett Street bridge.
The station opened on May 22, 2017. In April 2017, the MBTA announced that the station would be in Zone 1, which would have given suburban commuter inexpensive interzone fares but increased the cost of reaching downtown from Boston Landing. After criticism, the agency placed the station in Zone 1A.
The station is intended to connect several MBTA Bus routes in Allston-Brighton. Currently, the 64 Oak Square - University Park, Cambridge or Kendall/MIT via North Beacon Street route directly serves the station location via Arthur Street. The 57 and 66 routes are accessible at nearby Union Square, while the 86 route runs on Market Street several blocks to the west.
- "Allston Multimodal Station Study" (PDF). Massachusetts Executive Office of Transportation. June 15, 2009. Retrieved June 7, 2012.
- Powers, Martine (May 30, 2014). "Brighton rail station opening pushed back to 2016". Boston Globe. Archived from the original on June 1, 2014. Retrieved May 30, 2014.
- Gaffin, Adam (April 20, 2017). "Whoopsie: MBTA says it goofed - new Brighton commuter-rail stop will have same fares as subways". Universal Hub. Retrieved April 20, 2017.
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- Rocheleau, Matt (June 7, 2012). "Commuter rail stop to be built in Allston-Brighton near proposed New Balance development". Boston Globe. Retrieved June 8, 2012.
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- Houton, Janet Elizabeth (1994). "Reading Henry Hobson Richardson's Trains Stations: The Context of Locale (Masters Thesis)". University of Pennsylvania.
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- Goddison, Donna (May 21, 2010). "It's game over for Sports Depot". Boston Herald. Archived from the original on May 25, 2010.
- Rocheleau, Matt (October 26, 2010). "Allston Regina Pizzeria, formerly Sports Depot, makes debut". Boston Globe. Retrieved December 1, 2015.
- Elowitt, Karen (April 26, 2007). "Allston could get commuter rail station". Wicked Local. Retrieved June 7, 2012.
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- Goodwin Procter LLP; et al. (March 20, 2012). "Master Plan for Planned Development Area #87: New Brighton Landing" (PDF). New Brighton Landing LLC. Retrieved June 7, 2012.[permanent dead link]
- Rocheleau, Matt (May 31, 2012). "New Balance to spend $500m to build HQ, sports complex, hotel in Brighton". Boston Globe. Retrieved June 7, 2012.
- Rocheleau, Matt (September 14, 2012). "New Balance gets final OK to build $500m Brighton development". Boston Globe. Retrieved September 14, 2012.
- Rocheleau, Matt (May 15, 2013). "State to vote on plan for 'Boston Landing' commuter rail station near New Balance project in Brighton". Boston Globe. Retrieved May 16, 2013.
- Rocheleau, Matt (May 22, 2013). "State OKs plan for 'Boston Landing' commuter rail station near New Balance project in Brighton". Boston Globe. Retrieved May 23, 2013.
- "Commuter Rail Service Alerts: Framingham/Worceester Line". Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority. November 25, 2015. Archived from the original on November 30, 2015.
- "Boston Landing Construction 4/1-4/2" (Press release). MBTA Commuter Rail. April 2, 2017.
- "BBrown" (October 19, 2014). "Relief coming to Wellesley Mass Pike, train commuters". The Swellesley Report. Retrieved October 20, 2014.
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