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Old 02-04-2011, 03:01 PM
1 posts, read 4,132 times
Reputation: 10


I just got a job in Waltham, but I want to live on the red line and commute in to work. I'm wondering how the following commutes compare:

Davis Square --> Waltham
Porter Square --> Waltham (not on the commuter rail)
Central Square --> Waltham

Specifically, I'm curious if commuting out of Central Square would add a lot of time compared to Davis or Porter. Central is definitely deeper in the city and I'm afraid the congestion would add 20+ minutes of stop-and-go.

Any advice?

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Old 02-05-2011, 12:42 AM
Location: Cambridge, MA
4,888 posts, read 13,831,089 times
Reputation: 6965
This post is kind of ambiguous in terms of what is being asked. On the one hand, "living on the Red Line and commuting in" implies inquiry about the relative quickness and convenience of taking the MBTA out to Waltham. OTOH it seems that by mentioning "stop and go" traffic the OP is looking to drive to work. So I'll outline both options.

The easiest way to reach Waltham on "the T" by far would be from Central Square, for it's there from which the direct bus lines originate. Routes 70 and 70-A (frequent peak-hour service, scaled back on the 70 at other times and sometimes non-existent on the 70-A) depart from the Shaw's at the southern fringe of the square and then follow Green St and Western Ave to the bridge into Allston. They keep to the same route into Waltham, whereupon the 70 stays on Main St and the 70-A veers north onto Lexington St to serve the city's northern shopping/residential/office-park section. The trip "with no traffic" can take as little as 25 minutes. But when Western Ave is backed up due to rush hour or a Harvard event traffic crawls along and it could run closer to sixty. By mass transit, the only alternatives would be to take the Red Line all the way downtown whence express buses - which zip along the Mass. Pike - operate OR, yes, commuter rail. I should mention also that some companies and/or office complexes offer shuttle service from Waltham Common, the transpo hub for all bus routes as well as the train. There's said to be at least one shuttle all the way to/from Alewife Station as well.

OTOH Davis Square would be the best choice if the trip's to be made by car. Route 16 is no picnic at peak times, but no matter how congested the traffic does flow fairly smoothly. It also isn't all that far before one reaches the Alewife rotary, from which you can "open up the throttle" as soon as you're on Route 2. Porter Square is pretty much comparable. In fact, by taking Rindge Ave to Alewife Brook Parkway morning back-ups can be largely avoided. From Central you'd be subject to the perpetual potential of Western Ave gridlock, followed by the need to use the turnpike (and pay the toll) or else traverse the same path as the 70 and 70-A buses. I ended up having to quit a moonlighting job on Moody St that I loved because of the nasty commute. The choice between that and relocating from Central Square was a no-brainer.

Congrats for getting the gig!
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Old 02-08-2011, 08:48 AM
Location: Newton, Mass.
2,954 posts, read 12,303,804 times
Reputation: 1511
Maybe because most Waltham jobs are near 128 and not near the train station, I understood the OP to mean (1) I want to live on the Red Line for easy access to Boston; (2) I plan to drive out to Waltham. If that's the case, I'd go with Davis as well. Route 2 outbound in the AM is pretty clear. From there you can take the streets (Waltham St-Lexington St connects with all main east-west roads like Trapelo, Concord Av, Totten Pond, etc.

Central probably would add 20 mins of stop and go, unless you take the Mass Pike from just across the river in Allston. You can take it to 128 quite quickly, but of course there's a toll. I used to do it and avoided much Western Av traffic by taking about 6 different side streets
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