Fogster's "Navigating the MBTA: Prudential Tower Edition"
August 19, 2008 4:31 PM   Subscribe

BostonFilter: I need to get to the Prudential tomorrow, and I'm coming from out of state. I'll probably take the T rather than drive in directly. Help me not get lost!

I've learned a lot since my last question in which the hive mind got me to Fenway. But I have an important meeting at the Prudential, and am seeing many options for how to get there. I plan on driving to one of the park-and-ride stops and taking the T from there. I'll be coming from NH, and arriving around noon.

I know I want the Green line to Copley or Hynes Station, with Copley looking nominally closer. (Any preference one way or the other?) But where should I start my T voyage?

It looks like my choices are:

- Riverside. "Safe" as I've been there before, and it seems they have ample parking capacity. (MBTA site says 5% open.) But it's a 37-minute train ride.

- Alewife. At least 10 minutes shaved off my trip. I've never been to Alewife, however, and I also hear that the parking lot can fill up on weekdays. That's intimidating to a novice T-parker.

- Lechmere. The quickest of them all, but I've never driven into this area, and it seems to have a small lot.

- Oak Grove, but it doesn't look to have any advantages (it'll take me nominally longer than Riverside, and parking looks as iffy as Alewife.)

Bear in mind that my requirements are perhaps slightly different from those of a 'native': if the parking lot at any of these places is full, I will be utterly, completely overwhelmed. (And, though I do fine and can bear it, I'd prefer a stop that doesn't have me driving through dense urban areas.)

Also, anything I need to be aware about visiting the Prudential itself? I think I visited the shops on the ground floor about 5 years ago, but otherwise have never been. Should I budget a lot of time to get through security?

Thanks again for your help!
posted by fogster to Travel & Transportation (14 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Time to get through security? I don't know that I see a lot of security there, though if it's like most skyscraper offices I've been in in Boston, you just present an ID at the front desk, get a badge, and go up. Takes all of 60 seconds. I don't see why the Pru would be any different.

Also, Copley station is probably the easiest... it's pretty clear where to go from the station, since the Pru is towering overhead.

Alewife will really be faster than coming in from Riverside? I'm a little skeptical of that. I'd park at Riverside, personally, so you don't have to change lines. But if you are coming in from NH, Alewife is probably faster to get to. I can't speak to the parking during the day.
posted by olinerd at 5:05 PM on August 19, 2008

Oh, it occurs to me that by "shaves 10 minutes off my trip" you're talking about the time to drive to Alewife vs Riverside, rather than time spent on the train. Okay, true. In that case, I'd just park at Alewife, if someone else here can verify that you're likely to find parking.

And finally, I will throw out that driving to the Prudential center isn't all that bad; it's pretty obvious right off of 90 how to get there, and if you're having your parking reimbursed, there's a (expensive) garage underneath it. Why not do that?
posted by olinerd at 5:06 PM on August 19, 2008

Best answer: absolutely not lechmere. there might not be *any* parking there - it's certainly not a parking friendly place. if I were you I'd pick riverside again - you know the route, and you're on the green line right away with no transfers.
posted by moxiedoll at 5:20 PM on August 19, 2008
posted by doppleradar at 5:33 PM on August 19, 2008

Response by poster: ...and if you're having your parking reimbursed...

If only... ;)
posted by fogster at 5:43 PM on August 19, 2008

If your schedule aligns with the train times (plan on them running late), you could also take the commuter rail to North Station from any of the northern stations (Anderson RTC is just off I-93, if you're coming that way) and catch the E directly to the Prudential stop.
posted by Dr.Enormous at 6:00 PM on August 19, 2008

Best answer: Go to Riverside. You've been there. The ten minutes you'd save driving to Alewife? You're going to lose them just navigating the Alefwife garage (finding parking, and then finding your way back to the trains). You'll lose additional time switching trains or getting onto Route 2 and finding that it's not moving-- I live about 2 miles from Alewife and I assure you that a Route 2 failure is a very real possibility.

So take the Green Line to Copley. Climb the stairs, turn left when you hit the sidewalk and you'll be at the Pru shortly. Security in the building will be fairly trivial.
posted by Mayor Curley at 6:25 PM on August 19, 2008

If you're driving down from N.H. on 93 South ... consider getting off at exit 31 and head to Wellington Station -- directions (1.6 miles from the exit). Park your car [parking spaces: 1,316]. Get on the Orange Line. Change to the Green Line at North Station (3-stops away), or the next stop, Haymarket. Get off at either Copley or Hynes Convention Center ... walk a few blocks from either T-stop to the Pru.
posted by ericb at 6:35 PM on August 19, 2008

There is also a Prudential stop that seems like it would be... oh, next to the Pru. But yeah, Copley will get you awfully close.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 6:37 PM on August 19, 2008

The B, C and D Green Lines all stop at Copley and the Hynes.

Only the E (aka Heath Street) Green Line stops at the Prudential Stop. Not worth waiting for an E, when the other lines are more popular and more frequent ... and the walking distance is minimal in all situations.
posted by ericb at 6:45 PM on August 19, 2008

Re: grapefruitmoon's suggestion, the Prudential stop is only on the E line, which is hard to get to coming from Riverside (not as hard from Alewife, but many fewer train options)... Copley is much easier.
posted by olinerd at 6:48 PM on August 19, 2008

Response by poster: There is also a Prudential stop that seems like it would be... oh, next to the Pru.

That's the thing I love about the T: what seems intuitively obvious is almost guaranteed to not work. As ericb says, only the E trains go there. It's kind of like how there's a Fenway Station, but if you're going to Fenway Park, Fenway Station really isn't the way to get there.

Wellington doesn't look any quicker than Riverside. I think Riverside wins just because I know how to get there.

I'm pretty sure I won't do it, but I'm keeping the "just park there" thing in mind... I think it's going to come down to what an hour of my time is worth, which I won't know until the morning. ;)

Thanks all for the help! (And if anyone has any more advice, I'll probably check in later on. For now, I'm giving the "Best Answer" to Mayor Curley, if only because there's something seriously cool about a Boston mayor who ran for office from jail (and died 50 years ago) answering my question.
posted by fogster at 6:57 PM on August 19, 2008

I take the E twice daily. Comes often enough for me *shrug.* But yeah, I had forgotten that they split after Copley, because like I said, I'm always on the E.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 7:08 PM on August 19, 2008

Response by poster: In case anyone stumbles across this in the future (or is monitoring this), Riverside worked out great. Plenty of parking on a Wednesday afternoon, and the train arrived at the platform not 60 seconds after I got there. Worked out perfectly. Thanks for the help!

(grapefruitmoon: I thought of you when I waited around in Copley and the train finally came... I started to get on before realizing it was an E train. Go figure!)
posted by fogster at 5:51 PM on August 21, 2008

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