Hey, guys! It’s me, Kilometers on the MBTA! Miles is sick, so I’ll be taking over for this post. And luckily for me, it’s a bus that serves office parks! I do love office parks. Thus, the 354 was quite a good bus for me. Well, except that all buses are terrible. Plus, I had to go to – ugh – downtown Boston first to get the bus, then travel through – blech – residential areas before getting to the lovely, lovely office parks.
|The bus downtown.|
The bus starts right outside the Old State House and its subway station, on State Street. Gosh…I can’t believe we still have historic buildings like the Old State House around. Why can’t we bulldoze them and replace them with great new buildings? You know, stuff like Boston City Hall! Speaking of which, we passed that, as well as that new Government Center monstrosity, as we headed down Court Street.
|What’s this? A pedestrian walkway? Just put a road in! Everyone knows that pedestrians don’t matter in cities!|
The street became Cambridge Street, then we turned onto Sudbury Street, the buildings getting slightly less tall as we headed toward Haymarket. When we crossed over the Greenway, I thought, “Why did they tear the elevated highway down in the first place? I liked it.” We entered into the I-93 tunnel and then burst out onto the Zakim Bridge. You know, a lot of people talk about how impressive of a bridge it is…I don’t really see the appeal.
|Boston has an alright skyline, but I would prefer a proper skyline. Like Fresno.|
Soon after joining the highway, it stacked up and we hit traffic. Personally, I like to see traffic, since it reaffirms the fact that cars are still the dominant form of transportation in America. I don’t understand why cities are investing in public transportation when highways are clearly way better for everyone. The bridge we were on offered a view of the surrounding areas, but it unstacked and lowered once we passed Sullivan Station.
|Near Assembly Square.|
We passed Assembly Square on one side, which in my opinion would be a good mall if it had more high-end fashion stores. After going along the Mystic River for a bit, we crossed it later on, then went by Medford Square on the left (reverse peak 354 trips take the exit to serve the square, but we sped right past). We entered the Middlesex Fells Reservation after that, which just seems like a big waste of space to me. Why not cut down all the trees and replace the reservation with a parking lot? The world needs more parking lots.
|Now this is my kind of neighborhood.|
We eventually left the reservation, taking the first exit after it. Turning onto Montvale Ave, we passed lots of lovely businesses with parking lots out front. I do love parking lots. Near a school, we turned onto Central Street, then Pine Street. This was a somewhat narrow road lined with houses. Now, my question is, why the heck do they bother to build narrow streets? There needs to be lots of room for cars to go through. Narrow streets disgust me.
|Does that house have solar power??? Gosh, just use fossil fuels like everyone NORMAL.|
The road merged into Salem Street, and for a disappointingly short time we went through an industrial area. We then turned onto Bow Street, going by an elementary school, and returned to Montvale Ave, passing the huge Woburn Memorial High School. Okay, what’s with all these schools? Education isn’t that important! I educated myself in urban theory, and just look how innovative and forward-thinking it’s made me!
|Ugh…what the heck is this?|
We passed a little apartment building, and soon after we entered…Woburn Square. Now, lemme tell ya, this was a horrible place. There were so many businesses, and yet no parking lots! What’s more, this place had sidewalks! They could easily be destroyed to make room for more cars. These urban planners need to step up their game.
|Some more houses.|
We went through the square past a common (which could be replaced with parking), and then we zoomed by a disgusting old library. Can we please update old architecture to keep with the times? We need more buildings like Boston City Hall everywhere. It got residential after that, with houses lining the street that started out dense but got more spread out.
|Ah, beautiful pylons.|
We merged onto Lexington Street, with no break from the houses until we went under the pylons. And after that…ah, gorgeous parking lots! Oh my, the intersection with Cambridge Street had so many fast food restaurants with such large, luscious parking lots! Gosh, I would marry a parking lot if I could. Oh…whoops, I just typed that. So anyway, we turned onto Cambridge Street, joining the 350!
|Ah, yes, this is a beautiful lot. Her name is “Brenda”.|
Alas, it was back to boring old houses after a little while. Luckily, these soon became housing developments. Now, I personally love housing developments. Too much variation in houses looks inconsistent; they all need to look exactly the same in order to be pretty. Additionally, housing developments encourage car use, which means my precious parking lots can be filled. Yes!!!!!
|Apartment developments? I like ’em! They usually have big parking lots!|
Speaking of parking lots, we were all of a sudden surrounded by office parks! Malls! Car dealerships! All with huge, beautiful parking lots! The streets were all so wide, and cars were everywhere! It was heaven! We turned onto Wayside Road, going by a pulchritudinous shopping mall, and then the street became Van de Graaff Drive. We passed a corporate business hotel, (YAY!!!!) and arrived at our terminus, right outside of a huge office park. I got off the bus to explore this sacred land…
|I wanted to do more parking lot pictures, but Miles made me do this stupid bus one instead.|
Route: 354 (Woburn Express – Boston via Woburn Square and I-93)
Ridership: Ugh, do I really have to do this? Miles made me find “ridership data” for this route…let’s see, um…683 riders per weekday? Oh wait, that’s the 236. I hate lists. Um…ah, okay, 728 riders per weekday. Not really sure what that means, but okay. Miles says that “most of those riders are probably residents of Woburn getting home or to work, with some reverse commuters coming from or going to office parks”. I think there’s a third, even larger ridership group, though: the ones who take joyrides to parking lots! You know, for those people who want to see lots of parking lots, but don’t have cars.
Pros: Well, that’s basically it, isn’t it? This “bus” allows people to go up to Burlington and enjoy its breathtaking parking lots! Um…oh, Miles wanted me to add that “it’s a good express route to Woburn and (to a lesser extent) Burlington that has a good amount of trips for an express bus. It runs as often as every 15 minutes in the evening rush! I also like how it takes over Chestnut Avenue service from the 352 once that stops running in the evening. It even provides reverse commute express service to Medford Square, serving it in the non-peak direction.” Okay, I have no idea what any of that means, but I guess Miles seems to like it.
Cons: Yes, there’s a very big con here: since it’s a bus, it takes cars off the road! There are 728 people who could be in cars that instead take this so-called “354”! That’s simply despicable. Miles also wanted to add that “Van de Graaff Drive is an odd place to end the route, though there aren’t many other termini that would make sense. There could probably be more reverse commuting if it was extended to the Burlington Mall, though, as it would pass more offices along that route.” Thanks for the “insight”, Miles.
Nearby and Noteworthy: Parking lots! Office parks! Malls! Yes!!!! Can you believe that Miles wanted me to add “Woburn Square” to that list? Geez, Louise, who does he think he is? He must’ve been joking. All I can say is that if someone takes this bus to visit a parking lot, Brenda is MINE!
Final Verdict: -50/10 (8/10 from Miles)
The 354 is a bus. Therefore, it’s horrible. I know I said that it can be useful for people wishing to visit parking lots, but seriously, guys, just get a car! These buses are clogging up our city streets and highways and making them inhospitable! Have you ever driven behind a bus? It’s awful! Buses need to be burned and destroyed. Same with trains – they should be replaced with highways. There, all the country’s transportation problems are solved!
Latest MBTA News: Eh.
Oh wait, Miles left one more note for me here…”April Fools”. Huh. Not really sure what that’s supposed to mean.