There are four folders on my computer that have pictures of Davis in them. The problem is, there aren’t too many non-blurry ones. Why? Because this station is too darn dark! I don’t know what it is – there are lots of lights at Davis, but they don’t seem to have much of an effect on the brightness. When I’m on the train and we arrive at Davis, it often feels like we’re still in the tunnel. Still, this station is clearly important, based on what it’s done for Somerville since it opened in the 80’s. Let’s take a look.
|The station, looking bright for some reason.
Aside from its darkness, the platform is passable. The diagonal benches with art on them are pretty cool and unique. Unfortunately, ceilings get pretty low in parts of the platform, and it can feel a bit dingy. The coolest part of the platform, though, is the massive abstract art piece beside one of the staircases. It adds some much-needed color to the station (a lot of the station is gray), and really catches your attention.
The mezzanine is, like the platform, passable. There’s a fair amount of fare gates (if you’ll pardon the pun) and fare machines, though the machines are a bit scattered. When you enter the station past the gates, there’s a massive picture of a CharlieCard to greet you. Interesting, since you can’t actually get CharlieCards at Davis.
|Who doesn’t love these statues?
From the mezzanine, there are staircases to two entrances. The first is on Holland Street, and is pretty nice. This is where you catch the 87 and 88 buses towards Lechmere, which is pointed out back in the mezzanine. Heading out behind Holland Street, there are a whole bunch of bike spaces (which are always packed), and the Somerville Community Path towards Alewife.
|Inside the other entryway.
The other entrance is accessed by a long-ish hallway that overlooks the platform. Along it are a bunch of tiles painted by kids (at the time) that are really interesting to look at as you walk by. Heading out, there’s a nice entryway with a little convenience store and even some payphones. What are those again?
|The busway, looking slightly askew. By the way, see how it’s winter in the picture? This was taken last winter.
This entrance leads out to the station’s main busway. Davis isn’t a huge hub, but it’s served by six routes serving Somerville, Medford, Arlington, and Cambridge. The busway has the same dated architecture as the rest of the station, but it does have one redeeming quality: a countdown clock. I love how there’s one right at the busway, so when you get off you can instantly see if you should be running for your train or not. I’ve only seen this setup here and at North Quincy, but it really needs to be at more stations.
|Even with a stationary train, it was still too dark for the camera to take a non-blurry picture.
Ridership: This is actually the 12th busiest station on the system, with nearly 13,000 boardings per day! The fact that it was the only station in Somerville for 30 years (until Assembly opened recently) is probably some explanation. Also, this station gets student traffic as Tufts University is about a 15 minute walk away (they even announce it on the 01800 trains).
Pros: For now, it’s the closest station to a very large part of Somerville (but we’ll see how the Green Line extension changes that). And this station completely changed the area – Davis Square was a pit before the Red Line came along, and now it’s one of the most happening places in Greater Boston. As for the station itself, there’s lots of art scattered through, and I particularly like the huge piece next to the stairs. The numerous bike spaces are a plus, too.
Cons: The architecture is so very dated all around the station. Plus, the platform is really quite dark.
Nearby and Noteworthy: I love Davis Square! The Somerville Theatre is a great movie theater, and really cheap, too. There are also countless restaurants in the area.
Final Verdict: 7/10
Okay, Davis as a station is pretty bad. The architecture is very dated and boring, and the platform is very dimly lit. But I do like the many art projects scattered around, and more importantly, how much this station changed the area. Davis is a perfect example of how public transportation revitalizes neighborhoods. For that alone, I had to raise its score up to a seven (though the station itself is more like a five).
Latest MBTA News: Service Updates
The MBTA’s late-night service could be coming to an end, as they haven’t gotten enough sponsors to keep it open. Jetblue was willing to buy out the entire Blue Line, why is nobody offering money now?