Yes, as I not-so-subtly hinted in the last post, I did indeed take the LRTA up to Lowell from the 351. The system has 18 main routes, all fanning out from the Lowell Commuter Rail station. These are further divided into city routes and suburban routes, the former being cheaper to ride than the latter. And luckily, one of those suburban routes heads down to the 351’s neck of the woods.

A bus sign that was very high up on the pole.

The 14 starts out at the Lahey Clinic in Burlington, then makes its way to the Burlington Mall. From there, it goes up the Middlesex Turnpike, going by an abundance of office parks. I waited for the bus a little further north of Dawes Drive, right near a residential complex. I couldn’t find any bus signs along this side of the street, and there wasn’t even a sidewalk. When the bus came after a 35 minute wait (which wasn’t fun), I flagged it down and got on (good thing the LRTA also uses a flag-down system).

That’s a welcome sight.

After a dispute with the driver (guess Student CharlieCard passes don’t work on the LRTA – good thing I had the buck-fifty), we set off. There were two other people already on the bus from Lahey and the Burlington Mall, and there would be about six riders in total. Certainly not the best. The inside of the vehicle was mostly wooden, and it looked pretty good. Plus, pull cords for stop requests! There weren’t any automatic announcements, though, as expected.

The inside of the bus.
And looking towards the front.

Middlesex Turnpike narrowed into a two lane road without a median, and we went by some more office parks. There was also a totally out of place 99 Restaurant. Soon after that, though, the neighborhood got (gasp) normal! Yes, it became entirely residential, with a break to cross over a pond.

The best picture I could get of the view…

The houses continued all the way to the end of the Middlesex Turnpike, where we turned onto Concord Road. Although twisty, this road was also entirely residential. There were, however, some businesses and a library at the intersection with Boston Road, on which we joined the 13 (which goes to the 350 and 352 terminus). After passing Billerica’s town hall, we went by some more houses and then through Billerica Center, which didn’t seem very appealing to me. It had a bunch of huge parking lots, and wasn’t pedestrian friendly at all.

The view of the Concord River.

We crossed over the Concord River, leaving the 13, and the overly large parking lots continued. We soon turned onto Chelmsford Road, luckily, which was residential again. After a section of woods, we made a sharp turn onto Brick Kiln Road, an industrial street. This is also where we joined the 15, which goes all the way to just over the Littleton border. We passed a massive UPS facility, then it once again got residential.

There was another connection with the 13, where we turned onto Carlisle Street. We crossed over I-495, then went through a huge cemetery, leaving the 15. Soon after, we pulled into the Meadow Brook Center (a shopping mall) to pick someone up, then returned to Plain Street, now in Lowell proper. We turned onto Chelmsford Street, going by some more businesses with slightly smaller parking lots. After a little while, we turned onto Thorndike Street, and pulled into the Robert Kennedy Center, the hub of the LRTA.

And it was actually straightforward! There’ll be more information on the terminal once I do a proper review of Lowell.