What's the least stressful way to get from Western Mass to Boston?
September 2, 2015 8:36 AM   Subscribe

Tomorrow I have a meeting on Beacon St. in the mid-afternoon. I'm coming from Western Mass. I have a car and I'm happy to drive most of the way but I really hate and fear driving in downtown Boston. What are my best options for avoiding that? I'm looking for good park-and-ride locations, mostly, preferrably cheap, that I can take the T from.
posted by chaiminda to Travel & Transportation around Boston, MA (15 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Drive to Alewife and take the T. Parking is $7. (Where on Beacon St., though? It's a long street!)
posted by mskyle at 8:37 AM on September 2, 2015 [6 favorites]

Seconding Alewife. We were visiting and did this two weeks ago. Easy peasy, big parking structure right off of Rt. 2 without any Boston driving stress.
posted by tchemgrrl at 8:40 AM on September 2, 2015

If I were you, I'd probably prefer Alewife, but in the interest of presenting options that are more or less along your route, there is also parking at Riverside on the D line which is slightly cheaper ($6), though only about 1/3 the capacity. No idea whether it fills to capacity on weekdays or not, though this thread suggests that it doesn't.
posted by Kosh at 8:50 AM on September 2, 2015 [1 favorite]

If you are coming from Pioneer Valley take Route 2 and park at Alewife. If you are coming from the Berkshires take the Mass Pike and park at Riverside.
posted by alms at 8:59 AM on September 2, 2015 [2 favorites]

I'd take Rt 2 to Alewife either way. Besides the tolls on the Mass Pike, the Red Line is a lot easier and quicker than the Green.
posted by General Malaise at 9:04 AM on September 2, 2015

Another vote for Alewife. I live in Cambridge, and it's how my suburban friends often come into the city to visit for a day. Very abundant parking, the Red Line is faster and more reliable than the Green Line.
posted by explosion at 9:05 AM on September 2, 2015

Alewife is right off of route 2 and it's simple. No hectic city traffic to get there, you just have to keep an eye open for the Alewife exit that cane come up sort of quickly (right after Lanes & Games) otherwise you're in hectic traffic land sort of quickly. You can get MBTA times through their website or via Google Maps which should give you a good ability to estimate travel times.
posted by jessamyn at 9:07 AM on September 2, 2015

Unpopular opinion time: Parking at Alewife on a weekday, particularly if you arrive any time after about 8 AM, is going to be a pain in the arse. Might I suggest instead driving to Worcester or Fitchburg, and then taking the Commuter Rail in, then the T to Beacon St? It's a bit more complex than Alewife, but parking will be easier. Check the schedules though. If I remember correctly, I was screwed if I missed the 10:15 train, and had to drive in, as there were no more trains into Boston.

Experience level: Lived in New England from 2000-2009, the last four years of this in Worcester County outside the I-495 loop, and the last year used the Commuter Rail to get to my job in South Boston.
posted by tckma at 9:43 AM on September 2, 2015 [1 favorite]

I'll second tckma that you should think about the commuter rail, depending on where you're coming in from and where on Beacon your meeting is.
posted by Aizkolari at 10:33 AM on September 2, 2015

I will also suggest parking at one of the stations on the Framingham / Worcester line and taking it in.
posted by MillMan at 10:36 AM on September 2, 2015

Bonus for Alewife is that you'll be right near a Trader Joe's, and if the parking lot is full, there are TONS of giant parking lots for strip malls in that area within easy walking distance, so you definitely won't be screwed.
posted by rainbowbrite at 10:58 AM on September 2, 2015

If you were traveling at rush hour, I would absolutely suggest that you consider taking the commuter rail, but outside of rush hour commuter rail trains are quite infrequent (mostly hourly or less frequent) and parking at Alewife is likely to be a little less tight than it would be at 9AM. Getting out of the Alewife garage could be a hassle, though.
posted by mskyle at 11:55 AM on September 2, 2015

Coming from the Amherst/Northampton area, I almost always take Route 202 to Route 2 and then park at Alewife, unless I need my car in the city. You could also drive to Littleton or South Acton and then take the Fitchburg commuter rail line into Boston. (You could also park at Fitchburg, or one of the other stops, but the Littleton station has almost 200 parking spots, and South Acton nearly 300, and both charge for parking, so I think you're more likely to find a spot there than at Ayer or Concord, which have small, free lots.)
posted by brianogilvie at 2:05 PM on September 2, 2015 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Even easier: from the Pike, get on 128 south for one exit and park at the Riverside T station, which is the Green Line. It'll save you at least 12 hour getting to Alewife and you'll already be on the Green Line, which is where Beacon Street is.
posted by kinetic at 4:20 PM on September 2, 2015

Response by poster: I ignored most of you and went to Riverside. It worked great. Thanks folks!
posted by chaiminda at 6:17 PM on September 3, 2015 [2 favorites]

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