There and Back Again: An MBTA Adventure

Our site for Core 2 is Lechmere Station, the end station of the Green Line. Right now, we’re designing a roof over the current station, and we’ll spend the second part of the semester designing a library at the station’s new location when the Green Line extension to Somerville is constructed in 2017. The site lets us think about larger issues of urban design and the flow of the city, and invites us to re-imagine what the area will be like in a few years.

subway-spider

Our class spent the first week of February creating user’s manuals for the site; mapping sound, movement, accessibility, population flows, precipitation, and a host of other qualities.

I was interested in how Lechmere Station straddles the typologies of urban and suburban stations. Like the suburban stops to the west of Boston, Lechmere is above-ground and has minimal covering over an even more minimal waiting area. Lechmere is in a commercial area of Cambridge, steps away from downtown Boston, and yet it feels like a commuter-based suburban station.

Lechmere Station

Lechmere Station

How to map this? I hopped on the Green Line a couple Saturdays ago and sketched sections of each station that I passed, looking at the relationship between the street, the platform, and the tracks. I grew up on the Green Line (and therefore hating the Green Line) and thought this would be repetitive, but discovering the nuances of each station type was surprisingly exciting. I began at Lechmere, and rode for hours, getting off at every stop to draw.

I took each branch out until the lines reached above ground, which I thought would give me enough to compare to the above-ground station where I had started. (Also, the sun was setting, and I may or may not have audibly gasped when I found a new station type, at which point I decided it was time for me to find some humans to talk to.)

Here a few of my sketches:

Blandford Station

Blandford Station

St. Mary's St. Station

St. Mary’s St. Station

Northeastern Station

Northeastern Station

Symphony Station

Symphony Station

Prudential Station

Prudential Station

Fenway Station

Fenway Station

Kenmore Station

Kenmore Station

Hynes Convention Center Station

Hynes Convention Center Station

Park St. Station

Park St. Station

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