Okay, this station is absolutely beautiful. I think this is probably the flashiest, most modern, and – dare I say it – best looking station on the MBTA. Too bad it’s the second worst station on the system in terms of ridership. But for now, let’s forget about that and take a look at Courthouse.
|One of those pointless Silver Line Way shuttles.|
The station has two entrances. The main one is on the south side of Seaport Boulevard, right next to some modern apartment blocks. The other entrance is by some parking lots and the station’s namesake, the John Joseph Moakly Courthouse. It’s also close to a lot of new buildings, thanks to the massive development boom in the Seaport District. Furthermore, this is the closest MBTA station to the ICA, which I feel should be better advertised. If the station were renamed “Courthouse/ICA,” would it get more ridership?
|The smaller entrance, with the main one visible to the right.|
Descending down the staircase, you end up in possibly my favorite hallway ever. Purple and blue LED lights streak the ceiling. A subtle hourglass shape gives a very sleek look. Silver panels make up the big walls. Not to mention the numerous ads, but…shhh!
|How can you not love this?|
The platform is also fantastic. You’ve got those silver panels again on the walls, some benches, some concrete pillars, and, when I was there, a random cherry picker. How do you even get a cherry picker down there? Can they not get it out? Who puts cherry pickers in subway stations anyway? For some reason there were a lot of MBTA workers at the station, and they made me feel really awkward when I took pictures. At least nobody yelled at me this time.
|The weird cherry picker is off to the left.|
Ridership: Do we have to talk about the ridership? This station is so awesome until we bring up the ridership. Sigh. It’s the second least used station on the subway system (excluding streetcar stops), with only 945 weekday boardings. But the station’s so nice…
Pros: Okay, this thing is beautiful. It really is. Like, this is probably worth seeing even if you’re not taking the bus. But you’ll probably see it if you decide to take public transportation to the ICA, because this station has a pretty good location.
Cons: The ridership is disappointingly small, but I think there’s a way to improve it somewhat…
Nearby and Noteworthy: The ICA is a pretty popular place and a great museum. I feel like this station could get more ridership if the MBTA added a “/ICA” to it.
Final Verdict: 7/10
It’s a beautiful station. And yes, that shouldn’t be the sole reason to like a station, but it’s really beautiful. And the location’s nice. You’ve got those apartment blocks, the newly developed buildings, the ICA, and of course, the courthouse. But the ridership is frustratingly low, and I think if the MBTA made it more obvious that this station is close to the ICA it could help.
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The problem is it's so close to the end of the line at south station, so it's catchment area is tiny. If you come in to south station on the red line or commuter rail, your destination basically has to be within 2 blocks of courthouse or it's faster to walk across the bridges on Summer or Congress St.
My family and I went on the Sculpture Stroll today along the waterfront to see festive New Years’ Eve ice sculptures. I wanted to see the last sculpture at Seaport Place and then board the T at World Trade Center, but my family didn’t want to go all the way there, and they wanted to walk down to South Station. Luckily, I managed to convince them to go to Courthouse by telling them that it’s “the prettiest subway station in Boston”, which got my grandma really excited.
We went in from the entrance on the south side of Seaport Blvd. The station really was beautiful, but I was disappointed by the bathrooms, which were very average.
Courthouse has BATHROOMS???
Yes, they were inside a “personnel only” hallway, and we tagged along with the guy from the information desk, who was taking another large family inside. The men’s bathroom was well-lit and reasonably clean, but there was no paper towel dispenser, so the roll of towels sat on a ledge (of dubious cleanliness) above the sinks. I peeked into the women’s room after everyone had left, and it was kind of dark and there were uncovered drainage holes in the ground.
I went there today, and there was another (or the same?) random cherry picker on the inbound platform. Maybe it’s to fix some really rusty-looking . . . things that stick out from where the wall meets the ceiling.
I feel like the MBTA purposely set up a “fare trap” here by placing the fare gates directly above the landings of each staircase. As a result, no free crossovers here! I mean, really? You’ve got that giant mezzanine… there’s plenty of room to put the faregates farther back to allow free crossovers.