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Old 09-24-2010, 08:23 PM
 
2 posts, read 4,886 times
Reputation: 10

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Hi everyone, I just moved to the Boston area from the mid west and I have no idea how to ride these trains or busses.

My question is, I live in West Roxbury and is there any easy way to take the train to Harvard Square? My job is in Harvard Square and parking is just awful and expensive. One option for me is to walk to Bellevue station, take the train to somewhere and then take another one to Harvard Square, it takes over an hour!

Is there any more convenient way to get to Harvard Square? Like is there somewhere close enough to West Roxbury, that I can park at and take a quick train to Harvard Sq?

I want to avoid busses at all costs too. Also, is it generally pretty safe? especially at night? I work at a restaurant there and sometimes I work late, being new to a big city I don't want to get mugged.

Thanks for anyone who responds!
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Old 09-25-2010, 12:45 AM
 
5,211 posts, read 8,900,027 times
Reputation: 3562
I think that your only public transit option is going to be the one you already know about. You take the commuter train from Bellevue to South Station, then at South Station catch the subway system's red line, which goes straight to Harvard Sq., with a few stops between South Station and Harvard. West Roxbury is one of the few sections within Boston's city limits that have somewhat of a suburban character, and I guess this suburban character is reflected in the public transit options, which are limited pretty much to commuter rail.

It looks as if the bus would not be a great option from that area even if you were comfortable with riding busses. I don't usually ride busses either, not out of any aversion to them, but because most places I travel to by public transit are served by some form of rail transport, so I just don't have much occasion to ride the bus. This being the case, I'm very unfamiliar with bus routes, but I looked up possible routes at the T's website. Here is the page that displayed the results: MBTA Trip Planner > Find the Best Way to Get to Your Destination. It appears that there is no bus going directly from the vicinity of Bellevue to Cambridge. The bus will get you to a subway stop on the orange line. You can take the orange line into downtown Boston, where you can transfer to the red line. The only advantage I can see in this over the commuter rail would be that the subway trains and many bus routes run more often than the commuter rail, so if you were okay with riding the bus, this route might give you more flexibility than the commuter rail.

On the other hand, the extra transfer--bus to orange line, orange line to red line vs. commuter rail to South Stn., transfer to red line--might add enough time that you'd do just as well waiting for the next commuter train, even if the bus left sooner. This would depend on the time of day you'd be commuting. It still comes down to the fact that there is not an abundance of public transit options from W. Rox.

Since you said you sometimes work late at night, one point to keep in mind about using public transit is that the T does not run really late at night. From most subway stops, the last run leaves by 12:30, and most commuter train lines shut down earlier. The schedule for the commuter rail line serving Bellevue Station shows that the last train on that line on weeknights leaves South Station at 10:30: MBTA Commuter Rail > Needham Line Schedules and Maps. Depending on what time you mean when you say you get out of work late at night, public transit may not work for your trip home.

As far as safety at night, most of Cambridge, including Harvard Square, is basically safe as urban areas go. The key to safety is to realize that in any section of a city, even nice areas, some basic precautions are in order. Stay on well-lighted streets with lots of pedestrian traffic. Avoid isolated spots like shortcuts through parks. Don't walk around flashing money. Be low-key and non-confrontational, and just move on without taking the bait, if strange charcters or aggressive people try to goad you into arguments. Stay out of known bad areas. Most of all, be alert, and stay aware of your surroundings.

It might seem a little scary to think of having to keep all this in mind, but most likely you'll get used to urban living after a while. Then these precautions will become second nature. People stay safe in big cities all the time by following these simple precautions. If it helps put you at ease, though it's still prudent to exercise some common sense precautions, Boston has one of the lower crime rates among larger cities in the U.S.
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Old 09-25-2010, 07:53 AM
 
2 posts, read 4,886 times
Reputation: 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by ogre View Post
I think that your only public transit option is going to be the one you already know about. You take the commuter train from Bellevue to South Station, then at South Station catch the subway system's red line, which goes straight to Harvard Sq., with a few stops between South Station and Harvard. West Roxbury is one of the few sections within Boston's city limits that have somewhat of a suburban character, and I guess this suburban character is reflected in the public transit options, which are limited pretty much to commuter rail.

It looks as if the bus would not be a great option from that area even if you were comfortable with riding busses. I don't usually ride busses either, not out of any aversion to them, but because most places I travel to by public transit are served by some form of rail transport, so I just don't have much occasion to ride the bus. This being the case, I'm very unfamiliar with bus routes, but I looked up possible routes at the T's website. Here is the page that displayed the results: [URL="http://mbta.com/rider_tools/trip_planner/default.asp"]MBTA Trip Planner > Find the Best Way to Get to Your Destination[/URL]. It appears that there is no bus going directly from the vicinity of Bellevue to Cambridge. The bus will get you to a subway stop on the orange line. You can take the orange line into downtown Boston, where you can transfer to the red line. The only advantage I can see in this over the commuter rail would be that the subway trains and many bus routes run more often than the commuter rail, so if you were okay with riding the bus, this route might give you more flexibility than the commuter rail.

On the other hand, the extra transfer--bus to orange line, orange line to red line vs. commuter rail to South Stn., transfer to red line--might add enough time that you'd do just as well waiting for the next commuter train, even if the bus left sooner. This would depend on the time of day you'd be commuting. It still comes down to the fact that there is not an abundance of public transit options from W. Rox.

Since you said you sometimes work late at night, one point to keep in mind about using public transit is that the T does not run really late at night. From most subway stops, the last run leaves by 12:30, and most commuter train lines shut down earlier. The schedule for the commuter rail line serving Bellevue Station shows that the last train on that line on weeknights leaves South Station at 10:30: [URL="http://mbta.com/schedules_and_maps/rail/lines/?route=NEEDHAM&direction=O&timing=W&RedisplayTime= Redisplay+Time"]MBTA Commuter Rail > Needham Line Schedules and Maps[/URL]. Depending on what time you mean when you say you get out of work late at night, public transit may not work for your trip home.

As far as safety at night, most of Cambridge, including Harvard Square, is basically safe as urban areas go. The key to safety is to realize that in any section of a city, even nice areas, some basic precautions are in order. Stay on well-lighted streets with lots of pedestrian traffic. Avoid isolated spots like shortcuts through parks. Don't walk around flashing money. Be low-key and non-confrontational, and just move on without taking the bait, if strange charcters or aggressive people try to goad you into arguments. Stay out of known bad areas. Most of all, be alert, and stay aware of your surroundings.

It might seem a little scary to think of having to keep all this in mind, but most likely you'll get used to urban living after a while. Then these precautions will become second nature. People stay safe in big cities all the time by following these simple precautions. If it helps put you at ease, though it's still prudent to exercise some common sense precautions, Boston has one of the lower crime rates among larger cities in the U.S.
hey thanks so much, that helped a lot. I appreciate the good info!
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Old 09-26-2010, 11:05 AM
 
Location: Boston MA
29 posts, read 47,895 times
Reputation: 22
Default Move to Arlington

I feel your pain. getting from West Roxbury to Harvard square is very painful indeed on public transportation and no picnic in a luxury car with a GPS system either. I make the trip in a car when showing property and it takes me all of 45 minutes to an hour, might as well be in Burlington!

I don't see safety as a problem and would be OK with my daughter making the journey at night.

If you can afford West Roxbury and you want to keep this job, I would look at moving to Arlingtom, Belmont or Somerville. There is more going on there anyway. You don't sound old enough to live in WR. I'm just kidding. But Davis square in Someville is really cool. Arlington is lovely and affordable.

Hope this helps, Jeff Persons

Last edited by CaseyB; 09-26-2010 at 12:53 PM.. Reason: manual sig not allowed
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Old 09-26-2010, 11:44 AM
 
Location: Tucson, Arizona
4,315 posts, read 6,467,573 times
Reputation: 3785
I have to agree with the other posters and I think most people familiar with the area will give you the same thought. W. Roxbury although with transit options it is in most instances not an easy commute to and from many areas.

I worked for years at the VA Medical Center in W. Roxbury. I lived in Cambridge my first few years at the VA. To get home from work to Cambridge I would take a bus from the VA to the Forest Hills station board the Orange Line make a transfer to the Red Line and then that train to Cambridge. I would then have close to a 1/2 mile walk to where I lived. Then make the reverse commute to get to work. This commute on a good day took over an hour. Fortunately I worked a day shift. I would not have wanted to deal with this type of commute in the nightime. As I look back I don't know how I stood this commute. I guess I understood the importance of employment.

I got sick of the commute especially in winter, but I had wanted to try living in Boston when I took the job. My affair with living in Greater Boston was shortlived, and the getting to and from work was the reason. I ended up moving 25 miles south of W. Roxbury, where I am originally from to begin with and just drove to work. Driving was no picnic either. However I made better time and a less hectic commute living in the distant suburbs, than I had living in Cambridge and commuting to W. Roxbury 5 days a week by transit.

Believe me you will do what you need to do to keep a job especially in this day and age. You will either deal with the commute, or like myself and many others make a move to where it is eaiser to get to and from work.

I think I would have lived in W. Roxbury but I found it to be over my budget, and it was older in population than I wanted at that time of my life. I have no idea what it is like now. I live in Oregon. Best of Luck you will do what is right for you.
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Old 09-27-2010, 05:56 PM
 
Location: New Hampshire
4,721 posts, read 2,434,885 times
Reputation: 3275
You can always use the plan a trip tool on the MBTA's website!
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Old 09-27-2010, 09:21 PM
 
Location: Chicago
5,559 posts, read 8,877,626 times
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pity you said no bus. there is a bus that goes from forest Hills to Cleveland Circle, and another bus that goes from Cleveland Circle to Harvard Sq. of course, w/ traffic, this could take as long as taking the commuter rail.

W. Roxbury is a pretty area, but it's very inconvenient when it comes to public transportation (the CR is really the best, and in some places, only option). if pubic transportation is a major concern/need, I would honestly move, esp. to the areas Jeff mentioned
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Old 09-28-2010, 11:01 AM
 
Location: Newton, Mass.
2,954 posts, read 7,847,494 times
Reputation: 1391
Quote:
Originally Posted by KChiefsMan View Post
Hi everyone, I just moved to the Boston area from the mid west and I have no idea how to ride these trains or busses.

My question is, I live in West Roxbury and is there any easy way to take the train to Harvard Square? My job is in Harvard Square and parking is just awful and expensive. One option for me is to walk to Bellevue station, take the train to somewhere and then take another one to Harvard Square, it takes over an hour!

Is there any more convenient way to get to Harvard Square? Like is there somewhere close enough to West Roxbury, that I can park at and take a quick train to Harvard Sq?

I want to avoid busses at all costs too. Also, is it generally pretty safe? especially at night? I work at a restaurant there and sometimes I work late, being new to a big city I don't want to get mugged.

Thanks for anyone who responds!
Why avoid buses? They're slow in the day but late at night they're quicker.

West Roxbury to Harvard is not the optimal commute, but I don't know that it would take over an hour. It's 20 mins to South Station from Bellevue and I've made it from South Station to Harvard on the Red Line in 15 mins. Even with walking and waiting time it could easily be under an hour.
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Old 09-28-2010, 11:05 AM
 
Location: Boston
1,082 posts, read 1,502,791 times
Reputation: 846
Quote:
Originally Posted by eevee View Post
pity you said no bus. there is a bus that goes from forest Hills to Cleveland Circle, and another bus that goes from Cleveland Circle to Harvard Sq. of course, w/ traffic, this could take as long as taking the commuter rail.
I was going to make this same suggestion, although I think the fastest route would be Needham Line to Red Line, it is really just one of three different options, each with its own set of advantages and disadvantages.
Quote:

W. Roxbury is a pretty area, but it's very inconvenient when it comes to public transportation (the CR is really the best, and in some places, only option). if pubic transportation is a major concern/need, I would honestly move, esp. to the areas Jeff mentioned
West Roxbury works well as a bedroom community for downtown workers. The train gets you downtown quickly, and when you aren't at work, Westie is a nice place to spend your time if you aren't looking for night life and other more hip options. I'm not sure why the OP lives there, it might make sense, as a few others have said, for him to move closer to his job.
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Old 09-28-2010, 02:23 PM
 
44 posts, read 62,663 times
Reputation: 23
Get an iPhone/Blackberry/Android whatever app called "CatchTheBus". I have been using it on a daily basis, and it is excellent! It will tell you to a very precise degree when the next bus is coming, based on GPS and traffic data. It even works well during rush hours. It has totally changed my experience with the bus. Previously, I would avoid the bus. Now, I love the bus, and I pollute less, because I don't drive my car as often.
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