Beverly: the point where the Newburyport and Rockport Line come together, as well as the third-busiest station on the whole Commuter Rail. So why is it so subpar?
|Looking down the platform.
We’ll start with a good part: the platforms. I gotta say, the shelter to busyness ratio is really well-done! The outbound side gets a simple “modern” Commuter Rail shelter, while the inbound side is covered by a long building that now houses a restaurant. I think that’s perfect – I’m sure this station does get outbound ridership so it’s good to give those passengers a shelter, but of course more amenities should be, and thus are, given to the inbound side.
|On the inbound side.
There are plenty of amenities underneath that shelter, too. You’ve got multiple benches, wastebaskets, and newspaper boxes along the whole thing, and even a bike rack further down! There’s car parking on either side of the station, but I think it might be for town residents only because of the new lot the T built. We’ll get to that.
The third-busiest station on the Commuter Rail. The third-busiest station on the whole Commuter Rail. And these are the mini-highs it gets. They’re falling apart. They have nothing on them aside from one solitary bench on the inbound side. Really??? I mean, when the T was building its new fancy parking lot here, they couldn’t have thrown in some new mini-high platforms? These are awful.
|The entrance to the parking garage.
Using the one crossing in the middle of the station (which in itself is annoying – there couldn’t be a second one near the garage?), we can cross over to the outbound side. From here, there’s the entrance to the Beverly Depot Parking Garage. It’s a long footbridge with grilled fence-walls that seem to trap and kill a barbaric amount of houseflies!
|Inside the garage.
It’s strange having this brand new, modern parking garage in an otherwise old and primitive station. The three-story building has a total of 500 spaces and some fancy machines that take special Beverly Garage smart cards. Overnight parking is even allowed – indeed, you can park here for as long as you want. Too bad the lot still suffers from severe underusage, and as recently as September 2015 it was barely half-full on weekdays.
|A train receding into the distance.
Ridership: Like I said, this is the third-busiest station on the Commuter Rail, getting a massive 2,058 inbound riders per weekday in 2013. That’s huge. It’s more than even some subway stations in Boston!
Pros: The low-level platforms are well-executed, with good amounts of shelter for both sides of the station. Despite its underusage, the new parking lot is a nice inclusion to the station, and having too much space is better than too little, especially if the station is right in a downtown like Beverly – it’s not like it’s a sprawling lot or anything. As ridership grows, more people will presumably use the garage.
Cons: Why does the third-busiest station on the whole Commuter Rail system look like…like this? It is not okay that a station with this much ridership has to deal with those empty decrepit mini-high platforms. I mean, they’re annoying at stations like Montserrat and North Beverly, but those stops get a fraction of Bevery’s ridership.
Nearby and Noteworthy: You’ve gotta walk a few blocks to Cabot Street, but once you get there, you’ll find a pretty town center with a variety of small businesses.
Final Verdict: 5/10
Let it be known that in most other situations, Beverly would probably get away with a 6. However, because its ridership is so high, the abysmal mini-high platforms are that much more unacceptable. It’s even more infuriating that the T gave this station a modern parking lot, yet in the process of building it no one ever looked over at the mini-highs and said, “Huh, those kinda suck…maybe we should replace them.” The rest of the station is fine, good even, but the mini-highs are inexcusable.
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