The new Ashmont T stop will be formally dedicated at 3 p.m. tomorrow. The Dorchester Reporter reviews the struggle to get the state to do something about Ashmont-line stations, once the worst in the entire T system.
FINALLY. Thank you to all of the Dorchester reps, City Councillors, neighborhood activists, local business people, citizen activists and finally MBTA staff, who for the past 30 years (at least!!) have been working to make this possible. Thank you! Thank you! thank you! and again Thank you. It looks beautiful!!!
Worst by what measure?
I liked the old Ashmont station, both because of its functionality (easy cross-platform transfers and less noise from the trolley loop), and its historic architecture.
I agree that it was much easier to transfer at the old Ashmont station than the present new one. For all the consultations with the neighbors on the new design, I don't think any consultation was ever done with the people passing through that transfer at Ashmont.
And if you are waiting for a bus or trolley at the new Ashmont, you don't have to worry about the roof leaking like at the old one, because there is no roof.
Really? Like the writer said, that place was the pits. Not as bad as the other three maybe, but still. What a dramatic improvement. The whole place has a whole different feel now - for the better. Thanks to all involved, especially the people around Peabody Square who made this part of Dorchester ten times better thru their hard work.
At the old Ashmont, train came in, you walked a few feet under cover, you got on the trolley. At the new Ashmont, you get off the train, make your way up an escalator, walk along an uncovered walkway, and wait at an elevated platform for the trolley, exposed to the weather except for a small canopy.
Some of the bus waiting areas only have a small shelter, instead of being inside a large covered area at the old one, and are not on the same level as the train like they used to be.
Not an improvment at all for people transfering from train to bus or train to trolley.
As one who becomes involved in public projects that will affect me (including the reconstruction of one of the other 3 Ashmont Line stations), I have no sympathy for you whiners. WHERE WERE YOU during the process?
This project, as with myriad others throughout the City and State, do not occur in a vacuum; rather it is the civic minded citizenry who drive them to fruition. They spend countless hours at meetings, reviewing documents, and riding a roller coaster of ups and downs, plan changes, and complaints from the uninvolved. Next time, rather than just passing through, GET INVOLVED!
A friend of mine did attend Ashmont meetings but felt they were far more dominated by people who lived near the stattion vs. people who use the station. Many of the people using Ashmont station are making transfers and do not live near the station.
When the T renovates a station it appears no consideration is given at all to practicality or the elements. The people who design them are incompetent,do not take the T themselves, and are seldom from Boston. Stations are ridiculously overbuilt for no apparent reason. When Wood Island Station, a station I frequent, was redone in the mid-90s, it went from a place you could walk right in and out of to a place you had to go up a flight of stairs, through a corridor and downstairs again for the same thing. It had originally been sheltered from the elements, though a bit "bunker style" (which I do not find distasteful, by the way) and now has little shelter from rain, snow, wind or glaring sunlight. Extremely impractical. T stations should be designed to get people in and out as quickly and efficiently as possible, and should not resemble corn mazes.
'Bunker-Style' doesn't begin to describe the old station. It was a dark, filthy pit covered with pigeon shite. I may have to burn about 5 more calories to get in and out of the station, but at least I don't feel like a roach when I do.
ok, hold on captain generalization. i currently work for a company that has designed a number of mbta / commuter rail stations in the past. we are (a) in boston, (b) over 95% of our office takes the T or commuter rail to work, and (c) would like to think that we're hardly incompetent in what we do.
perhaps you've heard of a phrase 'you have to make do with what you have.' a lot of what goes into making things "inefficient" to you is caused by things like budgets, the americans with disabilities act (which dictates way more than most people realize), historical / community groups (as people have said, they end up having way more pull sometimes than those who USE the station), and other various issues that come up in the design / construction process. architects aren't given carte blanche to do whatever they want, or they would certainly be much more efficient than they are. we generally agree that they can be a lot more efficient, but we have rules we have to follow too. and these days, things are designed like bunkers because we all saw how long it's been since these stations were renovated in the first place... it could be 50+ years before the wrecking ball takes a pass at them again.
[steps off soapbox]
I really hope all these rebuilt T stations won't have to be rebuilt again in just 50 years. A train station should last at least 100 years, if not more. Some of the most beautiful stations in Europe are from the 1880s.
Why would budget constraints, historical preservation groups, and the ADA lead to massive, overbuilt stations with long passages and elevation changes replacing perfectly good historic, accessible stations? Those constraints should result in *preserving* what we have.
Architects love to blame other people for their unpleasant buildings. I once met an architect and told him where I worked, which was in a boring 1980s office building. He apologized, saying he had worked on the building, and wanted to make it better but the client wouldn't let him. I asked what he would have done differently. He said the glass walls would have been tinted green rather than blue, and there was supposed to be a second identical building next door. Some improvement.
Apparently the designers of the new Ashmont Station believed that everyone that uses Ashmont Station wants to enter and exit from the West (Dot Ave) side of the station. For YEARS many local users have had to walk around the station to enter (an extra 5-10min). The Radford Lane entrance to Ashmont was recently reopened, but the station layout doesn't allow access to the buses or trolley without ENTERING then EXITING the subway faregates. People wishing to leave Ashmont station through Radford Lane need to first access the inbound subway platform. This would require paying to exit! To avoid this, the T has introduced a paper slip system, where you get a special slip from a machine on the inbound platform, then presumably later that day show that slip the employee by the south faregates to let you onto the inbound platform so that you can exit. Many problems: maybe you are just taking the train one-way to Ashmont and didn't enter that morning, special slip machine frequently broken, no employee at south faregates, etc
Indeed a very flawed plan!
Transferring "under cover"... that's a bit of a stretch... What is the point of being covered when you its raining on you anyway?
The leaks were at specific spots at the old Ashmont, not along every inch. I have transferred though there enough times at both the old and the new stations to know that I will get wet waiting for a trolley in the rain in the new one and did not get wet waiting for a trolley at the old one. And how much would repairing/replacing the roof at the old one have cost?
I grew up around the corner from the station. The pretty good 1920's layout was improved in the 1970's. The could have been repaired using a lot less time and for a lot less money than was spent on the new station. The people along Bushnell Street would not to have had their back yards openned up for everyone to see and there would have been no trolley noise issue beyond the small squeaks that had been there for years.
Also, for years the single worst thing in Peabody Square was the Store 24. That was the biggest contributor to crime in the neighborhood. Give riff raff a place to hang out all hours of the day, riff raff do bad things in the neighborhood.
The Store 24 is still there, but it's now a Tedeschi's. Personally, Peabody Square looks much better now than it used to be.
Thanks to all the patrons and pols who built this the beautiful station.
Thanks to all the T-people especially the police who are there keeping the station safe.
My only complaint is twenty years ago there was a sign 18 minutes to Park Street. I took the train the other day and it took 25 minutes.
Sounds like about a minute more per station.
Makes sense. Trains are much more crowded at rush hour now then 20 years ago.
There was a similar sign that said Harvard to Park Street 8 minutes. But it became out of date when the station was reconfigured with a curve.
Google says 20-22 minutes from Ashmont to Park Street. Perhaps that sign went out of date when the Braintree branch was built? That could have introduced some additional delay, maybe?