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Sloshing Through Alewife

Alewife station is such a dump.  Every time it rains the lobby is littered with bowls, small trash barrels, and giant, rolling trash barrels, each centered under a leak.  Most of them are overflowing.

I confess that I drove to Alewife today, rather than bike – the heavy rain turned me into a wuss.  At 9AM, the only parking spots are on the roof, and I parked there.

Returning this evening, I found that not only was the escalator to the roof out of order, but so was the the escalator the fourth floor.  Flooding, I presume.  So, I took the stairs.  And had to slosh my way up the stairs, stepping through running water sluicing down each step.

What a dump.
UPDATE: A video of Alewife leaking.


Pingback from Dan Dunn’s Podium » More Alewife Leaking
Time: November 26, 2008, 10:59 pm

[…] email from a fellow Arlingtonian with some video of Alewife leaking; he’d seem my post about Alewife leaking. It’s a cell phone video so the quality isn’t great, but the subject matter is pretty […]

Comment from Kris
Time: September 29, 2009, 1:35 am

Dan, this is an old posting but I’ll reply anyways.

Alewife Station was built in 1985 for the extension of the Red Line from harvard. It opened in 1988. At that time there was talk about extending the red line further to 128 via a new track in the median of Route 2. This is why the station is built in its proximity to Route 16 and Route 2. When Arlington and Belmont said no way to a red line extension in the late 1980s, the right of way for the tracks was turned into off ramps from Route 2 directly into Alewife Station.

Also, due to the way the Red Line was constructed from harvard and loops thru Davis (rather than staying under Mass Ave most of the way), the only logical place for Alewife Station is where it sits now due to space requirements, right of way, and subway track curvature. However, this was not an ideal place to build a train station, as it is all swamp land.

Look on google maps and notice all the ponds and marshland that surround the station (along with the big “no mans land” near the soccer field). You’ll see what I mean about the land being too wet. This also explains why a very popular subway station and an intersection of a highway and parkway have very few tall office buildings surrounding it (unlike other stations)… because they can’t build on the land!

With that said, marsh is not that easy to build on and much like any other project the MBTA builds, its done half assed. And.. here’s the fun part. Alewife station is SINKING into the wet earth below. Under the station, they have a series of pumping stations to keep the land somewhat dry, but it does not always work. So yes the station is sinking about 1-2 inches every few years. Engineers have said that in the next 30 years, Alewife station will be un-useable and will need to be rebuilt.

Since it is sinking, the whole station is not level anymore, which makes all the window seams leak. Its a constant battle for the T at Alewife. Kinda like the dutch kid who stuck his finger in a dyke. Another leak starts…