Are there any MBTA stations where one can easily park and then take the subway into Boston? We would be coming from Western Mass and taking the orange line. Thanks!
Susan's reply: Yes, that's a very good strategy. Coming from the west (I'm guessing that you'll be taking the Mass Pike), the easiest station for parking and quickly getting into Boston is Alewife, at the western end of the Red Line.
It is reasonably fast and easy to get to from the Mass Pike (at Route 128, go north to Route 2, and then take Route 2 east toward Boston - Alewife is immediately to the right where Route 2 dead-ends at Route 16, a.k.a. Alewife Brook Parkway/Fresh Pond Road), and has a very large parking garage. From Alewife, the trip to Boston is fast - maybe 25-30 minutes to Downtown Crossing, where you can change to the Orange Line.
Another option is to park at Riverside Station, at the end of the Green Line's "D" branch. Riverside also has a large parking lot and is right off Route 128 near the Mass Pike. However, the Green Line cars are basically trolleys, and are SLOW - plus to switch to the Orange Line with only 1 change, you'd need to go all the way to Haymarket - easily a good hour, maybe more.
The western branch of the Orange Line, Forest Hills, is not near a main highway and tough to get to quickly. If you wanted to get into Boston on the Orange Line, a better choice would be to take Route 2 East to Route 16, go left (north) to the Wellington Station, just off Route 2, in Malden. It has a large lot, and the Orange Line is fast - but the traffic on Route 16 can get really slow and congested (it's 1-lane on each side through a few stretches) so this would take you longer than the Alewife option.
Parking at any of these stations is not a problem on weekends, but on weekdays, they fill up by 7:45-8:00 am - so you should arrive well before then to be sure of getting a space, or at some point in early afternoon or later when cars begin to depart.
Parking in Boston is shockingly expensive, plus driving is a hassle because of all the narrow, 1-way streets. Parking and taking the T saves time and money, plus you avoid the stress of driving, finding parking, paying the parking tab, etc.
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