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Old 08-17-2012, 10:59 AM
70 posts, read 176,783 times
Reputation: 39


Hey all! So I guess I have a pretty narrow-focused series of questions for an upcoming trip, but I'm just throwing it out there cause there are a lot of variables I'm considering and I'm not from the area.

I'll be spending a Thursday in Worcester, followed by Boston Friday (specifically around Boston University) and then I'll be driving down to southern Rhode Island that evening. My biggest issue is that I HATE/SUCK AT city driving (and I've heard Boston is particularly difficult to manage in a car), and I want to avoid that as much as possible. So I've considered staying in a hotel out in the Framingham area Thursday night, next day driving to and parking at the Riverside T stop in Newton, and taking that into Boston. At the end of the day I can ride back to Newton, get my car and drive to RI via I-95. So questions....

1. How quickly do the parking lots at Riverside, or really any of the Green D line stations, fill up on a Friday morning?
2. Would splurging an extra 100 bucks to stay next to the Riverside stop (Hotel Indigo in Newton) to avoid the extra driving leg be worth it (that is if you were a lowly, recent college grad)?
3. How is parking along the commuter rail stations of the Worcester line? I think I'd rather not leave my car all the way back in Worcester, but how easy/plentiful is parking along the stations closer in to Boston?

I love Boston/Mass but in terms of getting around there on my own, I'm a total noob. Any advice, specific to those questions or not, would be great! Thanks!
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Old 08-17-2012, 11:04 AM
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Driving in Boston is not that difficult at all. Its a lot calmer than driving in NYC. I was there last weekend. I parked in the Government building area, was not expensive either. If you have a GPS, enter in the 75 State Street garage. Its literally a minute off the highway (93). I paid $28 for the entire day.
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Old 08-21-2012, 08:02 AM
Location: Norman, OK
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^I kind of disagree with veryangry. Boston can be tricky to drive around, especially with the narrow streets and lack of, well, any sense of direction with some of the neighborhoods. You also might find it hard to park in some garages downtown on Friday also. But that is an option if you are willing to consider it.

If not, then I would suggest the commuter rail. Park in Framingham or Wellesley and take the line into South Station (or even get off at Back Bay if you want). Those two will tend to have more parking than the Riverside station does during the day (and remember - Friday is a home Red Sox game).
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Old 08-21-2012, 12:02 PM
Location: East Boston, MA
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I agree and disagree with veryangry. Getting to a garage like Government Center Garage which is right off of I-93 can be pretty easy. Especially with a GPS. However, navigating more than a few blocks off of the highway gets very tricky for someone unfamiliar with Boston. It's not that Boston is as expansive as New York or anything like that. It's simply that there is no cohesive street grid in the city center and the layout of roads and one ways make it VERY hard to return to where you were if you miss a turn (which is likely). Parking prices aren't bad compared to New York City (there are some garages, like the one at the Transportation building, that charge $19/day). Still, it's often cheaper to park at a T Station and take the subway in. I actually find driving in NYC (especially Manhattan) easier than Boston (and I live here). The numbered grid makes it incredibly easy to find your destination. Drivers in NYC are aggressive, but there's more of a method to the madness (trying to merge doesn't seem like a personal offense in New York).

The BU area isn't as difficult as some areas, but it's still not easy for someone unfamiliar with the city. There aren't as many public garages over there so parking isn't always easy (though if you know where to look you can sometimes park overnight for free). I would suggest parking outside the city and taking a train. Which train depends on your plans for travel from Worcester to Boston and Boston to Rhode Island.

To the questions:
1) Parking at Riverside is probably not going to be too much of an issue on a Friday morning in the summer (lots of people make their own "long weekends" in the summer). If it is, drive to the next stop (Woodland) and try there. They have a lot of parking spaces as well. Between the two you should be able to find a spot.

2) I doubt it. Hotel Indigo charges $7/day to park even for hotel guests so you'd still have to pay that on top of the room rate. I'd only consider it since you may be tired after a day in Boston.

3) That really varies with each station. Some have plenty, some have very little. Here's a link to the MBTA site for the Worcester Line. There aren't too many commuter rail stations where you will have a real hard time finding parking (especially on Friday), but I'd pick a station with more spots. You also want it to be convenient to the major highways to get to RI (95, 495, 146, etc). Click each station to see parking fees and number of spaces. Also factor in the commuter rail schedule. They don't run nearly as frequently as Red/Green/Orange/Blue Line trains. driving closer and taking subway/light rail will give you more flexibility.

Also, where are you going in Rhode Island? If you're heading to South County (Narraganesett/ Point Judith/ Westerly area), then you'll want to be somewhere close to I-95 (so Riverside and Woodland are good locations). Leaving your car in Worcester isn't as horrible as you may think if you're heading to South County. Route 146 runs directly from Worcester to Providence (where it joins I-95) making it a pretty direct/easy commute.

However, if you're heading to Little Compton or Newport you may want to consider catching a train at Quincy Adams (Red Line). Route 24 is the most direct route down to Newport and Little Compton from Newton/Boston and Quincy Adams is the closest subway station to that area (has a direct exit from the highway too). While Riverside and Woodland would work for continuing on to Newport, the the Red Line out of Quincy Adams is faster and more reliable than the Green Line out of Riverside/Woodland (which is light rail). Parking is easy at Quincy Adams as well.

Both routes will require you to transfer somewhere. If you take the Red Line out of Quincy Adams, you have to switch to the B Branch of the Green Line at Park Street (free transfer) to get to Boston University. If you take the Green Line out of Riverside, you have to do one of two things. 1) You can get off at the Reservoir station and walk four blocks up to the Chestnut Hill Avenue top for the B-Branch of the Green Line and take that to BU (this requires paying an additional fare to board the B-Branch). 2) You can take the the train from Riverside into Kenmore station and switch for free to the B-branch of the Green Line. In fact, if where you're going at BU is close enough, you can just walk from the Kenmore station and avoid the transfer.

If you're heading to South County, I would suggest driving to Riverside/Woodland and taking the Green Line in. I wouldn't worry about the Red Sox game since you'll be commuting in in the morning (Sox traffic is heavy from around 4:30-7 in the afternoon) and you'll be going the opposite direction in the evening. If you're heading to Newport, then I'd suggest driving to Quincy Adams and taking the Red Line in/out.

If you do decide to take the commuter rail, get off in Back Bay and walk a block over to Copley to get on the B-Branch of the Green Line (literally a 2 minute walk from Back Bay station) "outbound" to the BU area. No sense going all the way to South Station just to back track over to the BU area. Still, I'd go with Red or Green Line since the schedule is far more flexible than the commuter rail.
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Old 10-22-2012, 10:12 AM
70 posts, read 176,783 times
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Thanks everyone for the replies, particularly Irfox with the great detail. I ended up staying at a hotel in Framingham and then the next day drove to Route 128 station and took the commuter rail in from there. That night I just took the commuter rail back to my car and within two minutes hopped right onto I-95 down to Westerly. Worked out well, and was super easy. I'll take your advice for next time I visit Boston. Thanks!
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Old 10-25-2012, 06:32 AM
545 posts, read 1,292,359 times
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You did the right thing, good thinking. As for Boston, you are a stranger here but once
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