Alewife station

Alewife is an intermodal transit station in Cambridge, Massachusetts. It serves the MBTA's Red Line subway system and is an MBTA Bus hub. Alewife is the northern terminus of the Red Line. Alewife station is located in the North Cambridge neighborhood, adjacent to the interchange between Alewife Brook Parkway and the Massachusetts Route 2 freeway, with ramps providing direct access to and from the expressway portion of Route 2. Its facilities include a multi-level parking garage with 2,733 spaces, three secured bicycle cages, a busway with an enclosed shelter serving several MBTA Bus routes, and connections to the Minuteman Bikeway, Cambridge Linear Park, and the Fitchburg Cutoff Path.

Alewife opened on March 30, 1985. Originally only to be a temporary terminus during construction of the Arlington section of the Red Line, Alewife became the regular terminus when the further extension was canceled.[1] The station is named after Alewife Brook, a nearby tributary of the Mystic River, which in turn is named after the alewife fish which inhabits the Mystic River system. Alewife features six pieces of public art which were built as part of the first stage of the Arts on the Line program.

Alewife tracks
A Red Line train at Alewife in April 2006
Location11 Cambridgepark West
Cambridge, Massachusetts
Coordinates42°23′47″N 71°08′31″W / 42.3964°N 71.142°WCoordinates: 42°23′47″N 71°08′31″W / 42.3964°N 71.142°W
Owned byMassachusetts Bay Transportation Authority
Platforms1 island platform
ConnectionsBus transport MBTA Bus: 62, 67, 76, 79, 83, 84, 350, 351
Parking2,733 spaces in garage
Bicycle facilities~500 spaces in three secured cages
Disabled accessYes
OpenedMarch 30, 1985[1]
Passengers (2013)11,221 (weekday average boardings)[2]
Preceding station   MBTA.svg MBTA   Following station
TerminusRed Line
toward Ashmont or Braintree


T-sign and glass pyramid at Alewife Station
The parking garage and glass entrance of Alewife station
Alewife hatches
Hatches to the Red Line tunnel underneath the beginning of the Minuteman Bikeway, placed when the Red Line was to be extended from Alewife to Lexington

Boston transportation planners expected to build an Inner Belt Expressway within the Route 128 corridor in the 1960s.[3] MA Route 2 was designed with eight lanes to carry large volumes of radial traffic, east from Alewife Brook Parkway, through Cambridge and Somerville to the Inner Belt at the border of eastern Somerville and eastern Cambridge. When the Inner Belt was canceled, Route 2 became an overbuilt highway that terminated at what was little more than major city streets.[4] When the westward extension of the Red Line was being designed, building a station near the end of Route 2 with a large parking garage seemed like a way to capitalize on the original Route 2 investment. Until the late 1960s, there was little near the site of the Alewife station besides a largely abandoned industrial park, a chemical factory and a protected wetlands. Following principles that came to be known as transit-oriented development, the City of Cambridge zoned the area immediately near the station for high rise buildings, leading to the construction of the three massive Rindge Towers in 1971. Over the next several decades, a mini-city developed with office and research and development buildings in addition to the high rise housing.

A state law required planning the Red Line Extension so it could later be brought out to Route 128 to Lexington, via Arlington, along the route of the former Lexington and West Cambridge Railroad. The Red Line tracks extend past the station, under Route 2, and terminate in a small underground storage yard. Alewife Station was designed with a future extension of the Red Line to points north in mind, possibly using the MBTA's Lexington Branch right-of-way.

When the adjacent chemical plant eventually closed and was replaced by an office and hotel development, the rail spur to the plant (along a short remaining portion of the Fitchburg Cutoff) was no longer needed and its underpass was converted to an access ramp from the station to Route 2. This design was criticized by local residents, since it forced many pedestrians to cross the fast-moving parkways on foot.[5]


In April 2008, the MBTA said that they do not have funds to add two levels to the parking garage to add capacity, which would cost $30 million to $35 million and add about 1300 spaces. The structure was originally designed to have two more levels, but whether the condition of the structure and building codes would allow that today is not clear.[6]

Bus connections

MBTA route 350 bus at Alewife station, March 2017
A route 350 bus boarding at Alewife in 2017

Seven MBTA Bus routes terminate at the ground-level busways at Alewife:

The 83 Rindge Avenue - Central Square, Cambridge via Porter Square Station terminates nearby at Russell Field. It is not possible to turn left from Alewife Brook Parkway onto Rindge Avenue, preventing the bus from serving Alewife directly. The bus stop is connected to Alewife by a short spur of the Cambridge Linear Park.

Alewife station is also served by several private-carrier routes:

  • The Route 128 Business Council provides daily shuttle bus services from Alewife to many companies along the Route 2 and Route 128 corridor. Five routes are open to all riders: A (Alewife Station - Wyman Street), B (Alewife Station - Prospect Hill/City Point), C (Alewife Station - Winter Street), D (Alewife Station - Winter Street), and The REV (Hartwell Area Shuttle). Two private routes to Windsor Village and Vox on Two are also run.[7]
  • Go Bus (formerly World Wide Bus) provides intercity motorcoach bus service between Alewife, Riverside, and New York City. The service began in October 2010.[8]

Station layout

Red Line trains at Alewife platform
Red Line trains on the platform at Alewife
G Street Level Exits/Entrances
M Mezzanine Fare control, to Exits/Entrances
Platform level
Inbound Red Line alighting passengers only
Red Line toward Ashmont/Braintree (Davis)
Island platform, doors will open on the left/right
Inbound Red Line alighting passengers only
Red Line toward Ashmont/Braintree (Davis)

There is one island platform serving two tracks. The tracks extend past the station to store terminating trains.

Bicycle facilities

Alewife bike cage.2010
Bike cage at Alewife, opened in 2008

On September 18, 2008, two bike parking cages opened at the Alewife station. The cages can hold up to 150 bikes each. Previously, access to these cages required a free special Bike CharlieCard. Beginning in 2013, the MBTA allowed any CharlieCard to be registered for bike cage access. The cages are covered, enclosed with security fences, and watched by security cameras.[9]

Arts on the Line

Otherwise drab "kiss and ride" passenger pick-up area enhanced with William Keyser's sculpted benches.

As a part of the Red Line Northwest Extension, Alewife was included as one of the stations involved in the Arts on the Line program. Arts on the Line was devised to bring art into the MBTA's subway stations in the late 1970s and early 1980s. It was the first program of its kind in the United States and became the model for similar drives for art across the country.[10]:5

Six of the original twenty artworks are located at Alewife station.[11] These works are:

  • Untitled by Richard Fleischner - A 3-acre (12,000 m2) large environmental work containing an artificial pond and large granite blocks
  • Untitled by David Davison - 200 feet (61 m) of abstractly painted, light blue tiles arranged in various ways
  • Alewife Cows by Joel Janowitz - A mural of a false exit to the bus terminal with cows grazing in a pasture outside.
  • Untitled (Kiss and Ride) by William Keyser, Jr. - Two sculptural benches for passengers waiting for pick-up at the station's "kiss and ride" automobile entrance
  • The End of the Red Line by Alejandro and Moira Sina - 1000 neon art tubes suspended from the ceiling of the station directly over one of the tracks
  • Untitled by Nancy Webb - 100 6" square tiles scattered throughout the station lobby with low relief images of plants and animals found in the Alewife Brook Reservation


  1. ^ a b Belcher, Jonathan (28 December 2013). "Changes to Transit Service in the MBTA district" (PDF). NETransit. Retrieved 9 February 2014.
  2. ^ "Ridership and Service Statistics" (PDF) (14th ed.). Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority. 2014.
  3. ^ Joint Board for the Metropolitan Master Highway Plan (1 February 1948). The Master Highway Plan for the Boston Metropolitan Area.
  4. ^ Weingroff, Richard F. (July–August 2013). "Busting the Trust". Public Roads. Federal Highway Administration. 77 (1). Retrieved 17 January 2014.
  5. ^ Flint, Anthony (23 February 2003). "GIVING DENSITY A BAD NAME". Boston Globe. Archived from the original on 10 March 2016 – via Highbeam Research. (Subscription required (help)). Cite uses deprecated parameter |subscription= (help)
  6. ^ Long, Tom (April 13, 2008). "'T' says it hasn't the funds to expand Alewife garage". The Boston Globe.
  7. ^ "Shuttle Schedules". Route 128 Business Council. Retrieved June 30, 2017.
  8. ^ Thomas, Sarah (2010-10-19). "NYC-bound buses will roll from Newton, Cambridge". Retrieved 2012-04-05.
  9. ^ "Bikes on the T". MBTA. 19 January 2010. Retrieved 5 April 2015.
  10. ^ Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (3 May 1985). Red Line Northwest Extension. Retrieved 10 August 2015.
  11. ^ Arts on the Line:Alewife Station Archived 2011-07-21 at the Wayback Machine. Cambridge Arts Council. 2002. Accessed May 30, 2010

External links


The alewife (Alosa pseudoharengus) is an anadromous species of herring found in North America. It is one of the "typical" North American shads, attributed to the subgenus Pomolobus of the genus Alosa. As an adult it is a marine species found in the northern West Atlantic Ocean, moving into estuaries before swimming upstream to breed in freshwater habitats, but some populations live entirely in fresh water. It is best known for its invasion of the Great Lakes by using the Welland Canal to bypass Niagara Falls. Here, its population surged, peaking between the 1950s and 1980s to the detriment of many native species of fish. In an effort to control them biologically, Pacific salmon were introduced, only partially successfully. As a marine fish, the alewife is a US National Marine Fisheries Service "Species of Concern".

Alewife Brook Reservation

Alewife Brook Reservation is a Massachusetts state park and urban wild located in Cambridge, Arlington, and Somerville. The park is managed by the state Department of Conservation and Recreation and was established in 1900. It is named for Alewife Brook, which was also historically known as Menotomy River (the village of Menotomy is now Arlington), a tributary of the Mystic River.

Ashmont, Boston

Ashmont is a section of the Dorchester neighborhood of Boston. It includes the subsections of Ashmont Hill, Peabody Square, and Ashmont-Adams. Located near the Milton/Boston border, major streets include Ashmont Street, Gallivan Blvd., and Dorchester Avenue.

The neighborhood was developed after Dorchester's annexation to Boston in 1870. The westerly side of the neighborhood, north of Fuller Street and west of Dorchester Avenue, north to Welles Avenue, was laid out on the former Welles estate. The more easterly side of the neighborhood, east of the station, south of Ashmont Street, and north of Minot Street and Van Winkle Street was developed by the Carruth family on their former estate.

The neighborhood is known for its larger Victorian style houses on the former estates with other side streets such as Fuller, Burt, Dracut, and Wrentham Streets having a denser two and three family development pattern. Dorchester Avenue in the area has an urban neighborhood commercial development pattern.

The MBTA has Red Line direct subway service to Downtown Boston, Harvard Square and other Cambridge locations (and ultimately to Alewife Station) at the Ashmont station and there is a link to the Ashmont–Mattapan High Speed Line trolley going to Mattapan.

All Saints Church, an Episcopal Church in Ashmont was designed by the architect Ralph Adams Cram and dedicated in 1892. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Ashmont Hill Architectural Conservation District is a pending Boston Landmark.

Bicycling and the MBTA

The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority operates subway, bus, commuter rail, and ferry service in the Greater Boston region. Boston has some of the highest rates of non-motorized commuting in the United States, including high bicycle usage. The MBTA offers certain provisions for riders wishing to make part of their trips by bicycle. The agency allows bicycles to be carried on all fixed-route services except the Green Line and the Ashmont-Mattapan High Speed Line light rail lines, although they are restricted on the commuter rail and heavy rail subway services at peak hours. Bicycle storage areas are offered at many stations, with "Pedal and Park" locking bicycle cages at certain high-usage stations.

Cambridge, Massachusetts

Cambridge ( KAYM-brij) is a city in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, and part of the Boston metropolitan area.

Situated directly north of Boston, across the Charles River, it was named in honor of the University of Cambridge in England, an important center of the Puritan theology embraced by the town's founders.Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) are in Cambridge, as was Radcliffe College, a college for women until it merged with Harvard on October 1, 1999.

According to the 2010 Census, the city's population was 105,162. As of July 2014, it was the fifth most populous city in the state, behind Boston, Worcester, Springfield, and Lowell. Cambridge was one of two seats of Middlesex County until the county government was abolished in Massachusetts in 1997.

Cambridge Highlands

Cambridge Highlands also known as "Area 12", is a neighborhood of Cambridge, Massachusetts bounded by the railroad tracks on the north and east, the Belmont town line on the west, and Fresh Pond on the south. In 2005 it had a population of 673 residents living in 281 households, and the average household income was $56,500.

The street grid is internally disconnected, and the railroads and pond block access north, east, and south. The only through roads are the east-west Concord Avenue and north-south Alewife Brook Parkway. Public transit access includes Alewife Station across the railroad tracks, and buses on Concord Avenue connecting to Harvard Square.

The area is largely industrial-commercial, with the Fresh Pond Mall, Chipotle Mexican Grill, Dunkin' Donuts, Trader Joe's, CVS Pharmacy, and other stores on Alewife Brook Parkway. The mall includes Whole Foods Market, PetSmart, TJMaxx, McDonald's, Staples, and a movie theater multiplex. Also in the neighborhood are BBN Technologies, E Ink Corporation, an office of the Social Security Administration, a Best Western hotel, the Olympia Fencing Center,[1] and a large Eversource electrical substation. A Joyce Chen restaurant, now closed, was previously in the neighborhood.

North of Concord Avenue and west of Alewife Brook Parkway a variety of light-industrial uses predominate, including Anderson & McQuaid Millwork, Longleaf Lumber's reclaimed wood warehouse and showroom, the scene shop of the American Repertory Theater, and the C.J. Mabardy disposal station, but since 2010 a steady encroachment of residential buildings has been occurring from the east. The Sancta Maria Nursing Facility and the Fayerweather Street School are also situated in this area.

Near the Belmont line, a few streets in the neighborhood are mainly residential. There are also a few isolated houses on Concord Avenue, and a senior living center overlooking Fresh Pond; condominiums have gone up on Wheeler Street. In 2011, a developer purchased 70 Fawcett Street (owned by Level 3 Communications until 2003) and is in the process of constructing a 428-unit residential complex.Blair Pond, on the western edge of Cambridge Highlands, is part of Alewife Brook Reservation, which continues north of the Fitchburg Line.

Carlos Dorrien

Carlos Dorrien (born 1948 in Buenos Aires, Argentina) is an American sculptor of Mexican descent. He studied at Montserrat School of Visual Art (now Montserrat College of Art) and at Massachusetts College of Art. He later joined the faculty of Wellesley College, where he has taught for many years.

Dorrien specializes in public art installations, creating large-sized abstract sculptures in granite that are often inspired by ancient history, architecture, archaeological ruins, and human figures. They are often designed to be placed in nature. His work is scattered throughout New England, including the DeCordova Museum in Massachusetts, Grounds for Sculpture in New Jersey, South Boston Maritime Park, Harvard Square, MBTA Alewife station, Lowell, and several other locations in the greater Boston area; most recently, at the Stamford Courthouse in Stamford, Connecticut.

Dilboy Stadium

George Dilboy Memorial Stadium is a multi-purpose public sports stadium in the city of Somerville, Massachusetts. It is the home of the Somerville Rampage semi-pro men's football team, the Boston Renegades semi-pro women's football team, as well as teams from Somerville High School, Saint Clement High School, and Matignon High School.

The stadium is named for George Dilboy, who lived in Somerville and was awarded the Medal of Honor during World War I. The original stadium opened in 1955. It was demolished and rebuilt in 2006. When it opened, the current stadium seated 2,000. Since then, it has been expanded at various times to accommodate the teams playing there. Located just off of Massachusetts Route 2, it is also under two miles from Davis Station and Alewife Station, making it reachable by a variety of forms of transit.It is located close to Alewife Brook Reservation (a Massachusetts state park), as well as a Somerville city park with a swimming pool, two baseball fields, tennis courts, basketball courts, and a playground.

Fitchburg Cutoff Path

The Fitchburg Cutoff Path is a short multi-use rail trail located in suburban Boston, Massachusetts.

The 0.8 mile (1.2 km) path runs from Brighton Street in Belmont, Massachusetts to the Alewife station at the northern end of the MBTA Red Line in Cambridge. At its Cambridge terminus, the trail connects with three other multi-use paths—the Minuteman Bikeway, the Alewife Brook path and the Cambridge Linear Park, which, in turn, leads to the Somerville Community Path.

The Fitchburg Cutoff Path largely runs through Alewife Brook Reservation, with several side paths through the reservation leading to the Little River and a nearby industrial park. The trail starts at a new pedestrian bridge just northwest of the Alewife station, across the street from the south end of the Minuteman Path. The western trail head is marked by small signs, just north of where the MBTA rail line crosses Brighton Street. The west end is served by the MBTA #78 bus, with a stop just south of the railroad tracks.

The path underwent a $4.67M upgrade for the path, including a new pedestrian bridge at Alewife. The path was temporarily closed for construction on September 1, 2010. The new bridge and the eastern part of the path reopened on August 23, 2013 after the construction of a storm water management wetland near Alewife Station.

The proposed Mass Central Rail-Trail would represent an extension to Northampton, Massachusetts.

In April 2014, state officials announced that the Somerville Community Path will be extended alongside the Green Line Extension, which would have created a continuous route from the Fitchburg Cutoff Path via the Alewife Linear Park to Boston’s Charles River Bike Path. As a result of budget over runs, the community path will now terminate at Washington Street, Somerville. South of Washington Street, bike commuters will have to use city streets to reach the Charles River Bike Path network and downtown Boston.

Fresh Pond (Cambridge, Massachusetts)

Fresh Pond is a reservoir and park in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Prior to the Pond's use exclusively as a reservoir, its ice had been harvested by Boston's "Ice King", Frederic Tudor, and others, for shipment to North American cities and to tropical areas around the world.Fresh Pond Reservation consists of a 155-acre (627,000 m²) kettle hole lake, and 162 acres (656,000 m²) of surrounding land, with a 2.25 mile (3.6 km) perimeter road popular with walkers, runners and cyclists, and a nine-hole golf course.

Lexington and West Cambridge Railroad

The Lexington and West Cambridge Railroad was a railroad company chartered in 1845 and opened in 1846, that operated in eastern Massachusetts, U.S.A. It and its successors provided passenger service until 1977 and freight service until 1980 or early 1981.

List of MBTA bus routes

The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority bus division operates bus routes in the Boston, Massachusetts metropolitan area. All routes connect to MBTA subway, MBTA Commuter Rail, and/or other MBTA Bus services. Many routes are descendants of the streetcar routes of the Boston Elevated Railway, or of suburban companies including the Eastern Massachusetts Street Railway, Middlesex and Boston Street Railway, and Newton and Boston Street Railway.

Minuteman Bikeway

The Minuteman Bikeway is a 10-mile (16-kilometre) paved multi-use rail trail located in the Greater Boston area of Massachusetts. It runs from Bedford to Alewife station, at the northern end of the Red Line in Cambridge, passing through the towns of Lexington and Arlington along the way. Also along the route are several notable regional sites, including Alewife Brook Reservation, Spy Pond, "Arlington’s Great Meadows" (actually located in Lexington), the Battle Green in Lexington, and Hanscom Air Force Base.

At its Cambridge terminus, the bikeway connects with four other bike paths:

the Fitchburg Cutoff Path

the Cambridge Linear Park which, in turn, leads to the Somerville Community Path.

the Alewife Brook Greenway, a connection to the Mystic River bike path, following Alewife Brook. The Alewife Brook extension received $4M from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 as the "Minuteman Bikepath Connector" project.

a sidewalk path to Fresh Pond Reservation.Plans are underway to extend the Somerville Community Path to downtown Boston, which would create a much larger continuous bikeway accessible from the Minuteman.

At the Bedford end, the Minuteman Bikeway connects with the Narrow Gauge Rail Trail and the Reformatory Branch Rail Trail.

Richard Fleischner

Richard Fleischner is a Providence, RI–based environmental artist. Born in New York in 1944, he received a BFA and MFA from the Rhode Island School of Design, and began working in the 1960s.

Somerville Community Path

The Somerville Community Path is a paved mixed-use path in Somerville, Massachusetts, running 0.8 mile (1.3 km) from the Alewife Linear Park border to Lowell Street via Davis Square.The Somerville Community Path is a continuation of the Cambridge Linear Park, which runs from the Cambridge-Somerville border west to Alewife Station, the Fitchburg Cutoff Path, and the Minuteman Bikeway. Proceeding eastbound, the bicycle and pedestrian paths diverge slightly just before Seven Hills Park, to pass through Davis Square. Pedestrians have grade-level crosswalks, and bicyclists are routed via nearby streets or may walk their bikes. They join again at Grove Street and continue to Lowell Street (though there is an MBTA busway linking Grove Street to College Avenue).The original path connected Alewife Linear Park to Davis Square, and was completed in 1985. A stretch of 0.6 mile (1.0 km) heading east from Davis Square to Cedar Street was constructed in 1992, and in 2013, construction began on a further extension to Lowell Street, which officially opened in August 2015.

The End of the Red Line

The End of the Red Line is an abstract light sculpture by Alejandro and Moira Sina.

It is located at Alewife (MBTA station), in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Approximately 800 red neon tubes are suspended from a 320-foot (98 m) long section of the station ceiling, directly above the outbound train tracks. The intensity of the light is varied gradually over time.


A turnstile, also called a baffle gate or turnstyle, is a form of gate which allows one person to pass at a time. It can also be made so as to enforce one-way traffic of people, and in addition, it can restrict passage only to people who insert a coin, a ticket, a pass, or similar. Thus a turnstile can be used in the case of paid access (sometimes called a faregate or ticket barrier when used for this purpose), for example to access public transport, a pay toilet, or to restrict access to authorized people, for example in the lobby of an office building.

Untitled (Richard Fleischner artwork at Alewife station)

Untitled is a public art installation by Richard Fleischner located in a courtyard adjacent to the Alewife station on the MBTA Red Line in northwest Cambridge, Massachusetts. The artwork - an environmental piece consisting of granite block designs among a landscape - cost $40,000 to create in 1985.

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