Driving in to Boston

Old Jan 24th, 2009, 08:38 AM
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Driving in to Boston

How is the commute from Tewksbury into Boston? I've heard the traffic is horrible during the week. But how long would the commute be if you wait until rush hour is over? (Or is it always horrible?) We are planning on staying in Tewksbury and driving into the city, where we will park in a garage and walk, or use public transportation once we are there. We will only be in town four days, 2 of which will be on the weekend. The trip is planned for mid May.
peggy01 is offline  
Old Jan 24th, 2009, 09:33 AM
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Figure an hour non-rush hour - alloow longer if you need to make a specific appointment. It will probably take less time - you could do it in 30 minutes if you got lucky. All this means leaving after 10 AM and leaving city by 3 PM or after 7 PM.

Weekends are generally lighter. But if there is a Red Sox game or Bruins or Celtics playoff game, and you time it wrong, you will get into a mess.

Also check college Commencement schedules around dates of your trip - I think Boston University is around that time, Harvard is later.

Another option would be to take commuter rail from Lowell (mbta.com)

gail is offline  
Old Jan 24th, 2009, 11:08 AM
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If you are not familiar with Boston, please look at the above mentioned train and other public transportation possibilities (MBTA).There is always traffic in Boston. Commencement for colleges/univ. can also be a problem at that time of year as mentioned and lots of one-way streets to make driving miserable. Cost of parking is around $30 or more a day.
charli is offline  
Old Jan 24th, 2009, 12:41 PM
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mid-May Commencement:

Simmons College Friday May 15, 2009
BU, Suffolk, Tufts, Emerson Sunday May 17, 2009
Boston College Monday May 18, 2009

If that's the weekend you're planning to come visit, it'll be a complete zoo to try to drive around Boston. Lots of clueless parents from out of town and out of State will be trying to maneuver their vehicles through the maze of Boston streets.

I'd look into the Lowell MBTA option that gail suggested. There are almost 700 parking spaces available at Lowell station, for $5/day.
yk is offline  
Old Jan 24th, 2009, 01:48 PM
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Thank you everyone for the very helpful information. We may choose to stay in Woburn instead of Tewksbury. I'll have to see if the MBTA has a station there. $30.00 a day is awfully steep for parking!
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Old Jan 24th, 2009, 01:57 PM
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Woburn is a little closer to Boston - straight shot down Rte 93. There is a big MBTA commuter rail station there as well.

But if it IS that mid-May weekend, even I would not drive into Boston that weekend, no matter what day of week or time of day. And I am a practically fearless driver, know all sorts of alternate routes (I have done community health nursing in eastern Mass for 20 years - I know routes everywhere).

I suspect you are looking for relief from high-priced Boston hotels - everyone is. And with Commencements in May, availability is also an issue. Just know what you are getting yourself into.

And while $30/day for in-town parking is steep (it will be higher during the week), after you pay to park at MBTA station, pay fare into and out-of Boston, especially if there are more than 2 of you - you save only sanity not money taking the MBTA.
gail is offline  
Old Jan 24th, 2009, 01:58 PM
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There's no commuter rail station in Woburn. The closest will be either Wakefield or Winchester.

You'll need to investigate the parking situation at those MBTA stations though.

www.mbta.com is what you need.
yk is offline  
Old Jan 24th, 2009, 01:58 PM
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Be prepared with a sense of calm when you drive in and around Boston. This city has very aggressive drivers that some consider very rude. It's just a bad place to drive. Worse than the Wash DC area where I live.

A commentator for a basketball game I was watching some time ago, mentioned that one of the players in that game had an injury that necessitated the removal of his middle finger. Without missing a beat, his partner chimed in, "Well, I guess that means he can't drive in Boston."
pollyvw is offline  
Old Jan 24th, 2009, 02:02 PM
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Sorry, I was wrong about "no commuter station in Woburn". Gail has given you the correct info.

There are over 1500 parking spaces at the Anderson/Woburn station.
yk is offline  
Old Jan 24th, 2009, 02:06 PM
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Consider anything but driving...

My first drive in Boston convinced me that the roads there are all one way leading to dead ends. I also noted that a green light meant that two locals would jump left turns in front of you before the green would reach your eyes.

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Old Jan 24th, 2009, 05:25 PM
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You have received good advice. Depending on which hotel you are staying at, you can also take the commuter rail from No. Billerica or Wilmington. The trains run much less frequently on the weekends and unless there is an event at the Garden, you may have to return at a ridiculously early hour. There is also a rail line with a stop in Andover that might be closer.

I would drive in on the weekend and take the train during the week.
shaz60 is offline  
Old Jan 25th, 2009, 04:33 AM
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Parking at MBTA lots and garages is going to be an issue - unless you are using one of the huge lots like Woburn (Andover, Billerica, Wilmington, Reading all fill by 7:30 or 8 AM).
gail is offline  
Old Jan 25th, 2009, 05:13 AM
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On the weekdays, take commuter rail as advised, with a few exceptions to follow. The commute really is awful, and I am one of those people who actually enjoys driving in Boston most of the time.

On the weekend, assuming you want to be in the city, drive in on I-93, get off at Post Office Square, and park at the Post Office Square Garage. It is cheap on the weekends and only about 3 blocks from the waterfront, Quincy Market, Old State House and other tourist areas.

I have found parking on the street in Harvard Square and around BU generally easy until 10 AM on Saturdays, 9 on weekdays, and parking is excellent on Harvard Street in Brookline on Saturdays since so many people are Orthodox and do not drive on Saturdays. The problem is that all these places have two hour maximums, so they are fine for sightseeing or eating a meal but not leaving the car all day.

If you are going to a graduation or other event, they will send you parking information, and you should follow it.

The two places absolutely to avoid are anywhere near Fenway Park or the Aquarium Garage. The Aquarium Garage is easy to find and wretchedly expensive, with the "full day" rate kicking in about the time you get to your space.
Ackislander is offline  
Old Jan 25th, 2009, 10:09 AM
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Check the availability at Best Western Round House hotel. It's not in a very good section but it has free parking and shuttle service. We did walk to the nearest T during the day but used a cab at night. It's easy to get to from Rt 93 but in an ugly area. I thought our room was actually one of the best ones we've had in Boston thanks to the size. It didn't have the lovely view of the Charles that we had from a Cambridge hotel nor was it conveniently located like the Copley, Marriot Long Wharf or Holiday Inn Govt Center but it was reasonably priced for a late September visit. I know other Fodorites have said the location isn't good but it's sure more convenient than staying in Tewskbury or Woburn. I used to live in Wakefield and commute on the train. Check weekend train schedules.
dfrostnh is offline  
Old Jan 25th, 2009, 10:34 AM
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The location of the Roundhouse is dreadful in almost every possible way; I'd take my chances with ANYTHING that Priceline has to offer before I'd choose to stay there.
Anonymous is offline  
Old Jan 25th, 2009, 01:06 PM
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I think you'll be fine driving into town on the weekend, especially if you come in early. The Boston Common Underground Garage also has economical rates on weekends--$11 or $12, I think. Get driving instructions on-line or with your GPS and you'll be good to go.

Also, you can check out this website on Boston parking lots/garages to find your options near your destination.


I'm always amused by the horror expressed when driving in Boston is mentioned. I guess no one really takes it to heart, because I haven't seen any decrease in the traffic (unfortunately!).
cw is offline  
Old Jan 25th, 2009, 06:54 PM
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I can't tell you enough how helpful you have all been. This is great information. I think we will be okay driving in on the weekend, but will stick to the commuter rail on the weekdays. Thank you so much for the advice.
peggy01 is offline  
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