My last two reviews (the 73 and the 554) have been about the two routes which
terminate at Waverley Square in Belmont. Also located there, buried in a trench right next to the trackless trolley loop, is a commuter rail station on the Fitchburg
Line (simply Waverley, sometimes with the second “e” dropped). While I’m on a roll, I’d might as well complete the trifecta!
Sitting in the northeast corner of Belmont, Waverley station sits in a trench on the north edge of the square near the intersection of Trapelo Road and Lexington Street. A product of grade crossing eliminations in the early 70s, Waverley sits in a trench which is coated in a shade of pink which looks like all the salmon at the Shaw’s down the street. Save for Trapelo Road and nearby Route 60, most of the area around it is residental with the same feeling of any tranquil suburb while the retail of nearby Waverley Square is anchored by a large Dunkin’ Donuts, a Shaw’s across the street, some small shops…and a car wash. To the north at the intersection at Route 60 probably is the biggest generator of local traffic, McLean Hospital. Belmont, one stop to the east, has the more interesting surroundings even though the ridership is less and the connecting opportunities far lower.
A lot of Waverley’s commuter rail traffic comes from people heading to an elsewhere.Students and faculty of Bentley University coming from points west can make an easy transfer to their shuttle here and for those going to Harvard Square from points west the trip on the 73 is quicker and cheaper than staying on until Porter and dealing with that long transfer or playing roulette with the 77. There even may be some people riding one stop to Belmont, a little over a mile away but without a direct bus connection. The number of people getting on to ride to Boston is probably quite low, especially with an alternative that is a third of the cost, but Waverley has its own invaluable role in the Commuter Rail system.
Rating (1-10): 6
Pros: It gives Belmont residents a one-seat ride to the North End, the West End, the Garden, and with a little walk the City Hall area. It also serves as a good inter- suburban transfer point for the reasons explained above.
Cons: Two big ones: The lack of wheelchair accessibility or even mini-high platforms is one. The pink colored retaining walls the other. More of a pet peeve is a bus linking Waverley Square to Belmont Center to the point that walking is about as fast as transit. An idea could be to either run a mini-bus via Route 60 to connect the two and possibly other points, or to…
Random idea: String wire along the portion of the 75 which doesn’t run with the 72, along Route 60, and the one-block portion of Trapelo Road between Waverley and Route 60. The possibilities of either extending the 73 to Belmont Center or a fully-merged 72/75 to Waverley would both work very well especially for vehicle utilization. Of course, Belmont doesn’t appreciate what it has and would cut the wire if it could (which seriously is bad for them).
Nearby and Noteworthy: As I explained in my post on the 73, the Waverley Square area has tons of little shops. And the aforementioned Dunkin’ Donuts (with Baskin Robbins!). And the Shaw’s down the street is one of the better locations. Heck, the 73 alone is noteworthy!