Framingham Blog Posts

April 18, 2014

Basement Flooding Monitoring

If you have a house in the Framingham area that is under light threat for any basement flooding you should know about the National Weather Service Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service of the Sudbury river at Saxonville. This is a really good website that you can use to benchmark the current water table. Note: I say "light threat" because if you have a basement that frequently floods you should have a stump pump that is adequate enough to pump water faster than what comes in.

I use the "National Weather Service Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service" site to determine if I should be worried about any upcoming flooding threat. While the Sudbury River in Saxonville is miles away from the house, it has been a good indicator of what the water table is in the area. That is if there is threat of moderate threat of flooding, I should be concern about my basement.

We currently don't have an automatic stump pump at our house, since we don't flood out as much as some of our neighbors. By watching the National Weather Service Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service" site, I can make an early determination of when to manually run our pump. (Or when I should be concern about local flooding.)

I have learned that living near Shore Road in Wayland and Pelham Island Road do frequently flood out.

March 10, 2014

MBTA 2014 Schedule

This morning launched the new MBTA schedule on the Framingham/Worcester line. The new schedule lineup with a little off since most of the inbound commuter lines had delays.

If you take the commuter rail out of Framingham or Back Bay, you should check out the updated timeline chart that I created:

The charts have been a big hit on Twitter and Google+. Next month I'll update the timeline so that you get a full days view in one handy chart.

Thanks for everyone for providing some feedback on the graphic!

February 26, 2014

Avoid Slipping at the Framingham MBTA Station

If you happen to park at the Framingham MBTA station, you'll notice that it's bit of a challenge walking to your car on the outbound track. This is because the Old Station Steakhouse on Waverly Street is between ownerships and they don't take care of walk way near the tracks. As a results ice builds up and it gets very slippery walking behind the Old Station Steakhouse.

The simple solution is to take the inbound track. The MBTA manages that walkway all the way to the start of the parking lot. Simply take the pedestrian walkover bridge to the other side of the tracks. (The MBTA puts lots of salt on the stairs so they are very rarely slippery.) They also do a great job of clearing a large path during a snow storm.

In the past week, I noticed that many people are now taking this route. I am guessing that they feel fustrated having to carefully walk on the ice just to get to their cars.

If you want to avoid slipping and falling, use the inbound track. The inbound track is opposite side of the Old Station Steakhouse and is the track closest to the Franklin Stree parking lot.

January 21, 2014

MBTA Schedule Change Delayed

Update on the MBTA schedule changes:

Upcoming Schedule (Jan 2014) Status:
Due to ongoing work at the new Yawkey Station, the enhanced schedule will not be implemented in January 2014. The new schedule cannot go into effect until the station platforms can fully accommodate both inbound and outbound trains simultaneously. In addition, the MBTA is taking under consideration some schedule changes suggested by customers and local officials. We apologize for any inconvenience caused by the delayed implementation of the new schedule. The MBTA looks forward to bringing improved service to the customers of the Framingham/Worcester Line as soon as possible.
January 10, 2014

MBTA Schedule Change Chart

Click to view handy chart.

I created a handy chart to visual see the changes to the MBTA schedule for Framingham riders. If you take the commuter rail during peak hours, check out the chart to see the new train times

The chart shows the departure times trains leave the Framingham MBTA station. The left side of the chart shows the timeline of the current MBTA schedule, and the right side show the changes. I included the train number since the MBTA uses the train number to indicate any problems with the train. Be advise, that some of the train numbers have changed in the updated 2014 schedule. Be informed and know what train number you take in the new schedule!

Tomorrow, I'll have a similar chart to show the new departure times for trains leaving the Bay Bay station.

In February, I'll updated the chart and remove the 2013 trains, making it slightly easy to read and hand to keep at home. If you're a graphic artist and have some ideas on how I can make the chart better, I am open to ideas! Also if you know a better way to explain how to read the chart I am open to better instructions.

January 8, 2014

MBTA Train Time changes

The MBTA will be changing the Worcester/Framingham commuter rail schedule by January 27th, originally this was supposed to happen on January 13th.

Download the schedule that they temporarily released.

This is the biggest change to the train schedule since April 29th, when the MBTA added two express trains. The express trains made only two stops to and from Boston - Worcester and Framingham. It appears that the new schedule also reflects the completion of the Yawkey station which caused track 5 to be closed since April 2012.

According to a sneak peak at the new schedule, it looks like the MBTA has removed the express trains they added back in April from the schedule.

Note: Regular commuter shouldn't be too surprise at this change, since the beginning of 2014 the MBTA has had problems with P583 (The outbound express train from Boston) and has sent text alerts canceling the train due to "shortage of equipment."

Other notable changes:

  • There is a new outbound express train (P583) that replaces the Framingham/Worcester express and now stops at Yawkey and then Ashland, Southborough, Westborough, Grafton then Worcester. (This is the only peak hour train to skip Framingham.)
  • As noted above, there is no longer a 7am express train from Framingham to Back Bay/South Station.
  • My regular train, P512 now leaves Framingham 4 minutes later. (This is what it was prior to the adjustment made for the construction of the Yawkey station.)
  • All morning trains from Framingham have new arrival times. Make sure to check the schedule when it comes out.

Disclaimer: The MBTA has removed the new schedule from website, so additional changes may still be made. They have also made announcements on the PA system at the Back Bay station that the new schedule won't take affect until the 27th.

December 26, 2013

2013 IRS Commuter Benefits

There is still no indication if Congress will taken any action on the Commuter Parity Act of 2013. In particular, if Congress has any plans to deal with IRS commuter benefits which is to reduce the cost of commuting via public transportation before the end of 2013.

Many local News reporter are reporting that this isn't going to happen - "Congress Fails To Renew Commuter Tax Credit, Slicing Some Benefits In Half Jan. 1." reported WJZ and The Baltimore Sun reports that "Maryland bus and MARC train riders could pay more for commutes after Congress failed to renew expiring tax credit." and "Maryland commuters could pay more come January after Congress let a tax credit expire." 

The bill that Obama signed this afternoon had no mention of the IRS Commuter benefits.

Use these links to search for information on Twitter:

It's still not too late to contact your Senator and Representative to take action and extend the 2013 IRS Commuter Benefits for those that take public transportation.

December 18, 2013

Free Sand/Salt mix in Framingham

Residence of Framingham should take advantage of the free sand salt mixer available at the Recycling Drop-Off Center at 255 Mt. Wayte Avenue. You can find the sand pile next to the metal pile, just behind the recycle boxes area. (Ask at the guard shack when you arrive.) There is a shovel there to help put the sand in your container.

Use any size container and shovel in the sand salt mixer and keep it near your driveway or walkway. I recommend getting an empty paint bin and cover at Monnick Supply Company which is located at 759 Waverly Street near downtown Framingham. I believe it cost about $8 for the paint bin and cover. (This is cheaper than buying a bin that has salt in it.)

The only problem with the Monnick Supply paint bin is that it's pure white, which makes it a little challenging to find after a snow storm. However, it will be easy to identify the bin use in the off season. We keep a solo cup in the bin and scoop out the mixture when we need it. You may need a plastic shovel or screwdriver to break up the sand as the weather gets colder.

The mixture has come in handy several times so far this short winter season.

December 11, 2013

Equalizing Pre-Tax Benefits for Public Transportation Expens

Earlier this year, Congress pass a temporary extension for commuters that take public transportation to make it equal to what car-commuters could allow to pay their transportation expenses. This means that $245 a month worth of commuting-related expenses could be paid for tax-free. To be used to pay for monthly parking or monthly commuter rail pass.

Unless Congress acts this week, before the winter break, this extension will expire as scheduled on December 31st. This means that the tax break for transit riders will drop to $130 a month; while the parking benefit will stay at $250 a month. Framingham commuters will be getting a pay cut! It will now cost commuters $30 a month or $360 a year more. (Calculating the Pre-Tax savings between $245 and $130 and a tax rate of 27.65%)

This will make it more costly to ride the commuter rail and, in some situations, it will make more sense to drive into the city to park in a garage than it would be to take the commuter rail. The last thing that Boston needs is having additional cars on the road!

Framingham/Worcester MBTA commuters should ask their Congressmen to act now on the Commuter Parity Act which will make the pre-tax benefits permanent. Act today since Congress Christmas break is set to begin this Friday

November 7, 2013

MBTA train delay

This morning the 7:30 am train from Worcester was significantly delayed due to police activity in an unknown location. About 20 mins after the delay started the MBTA communication team announced the delay via Twitter and text alerts.

The info alert at the train station said the train was 20 minutes behind schedule and was not moving. About every minute they tack on additional minute to the behind schedule.

The problem is that they didn't communicate where the train was. I was talking to a fellow commuter in Framingham and she was confused of how long the delay would be. Was the train stuck in Ashland or still in Worcester?

I decided to reply to the twitter alert and asked them where the train was stuck. There were about 60 people waiting for the train, and I was the only one to take action and inquire more details about the delay. I was happy that they responded:

MBTA Tweet

This allowed me to decide that the (P514) train might be a good option to take. So I crossed the pedestrian bridge and waited.

It turned out that the 8:55 train arrived (P514) about 30 seconds before the 7:30 train arrived (P512), but I knew that the 8:55 train would be sitting for about 15 minuted before departing to Boston and the better option is to take the delayed train. The only good thing about taking the (P514) train would be that it wouldn't be as crowded, but since I was already late I took a quick run to catch the delay train.

Two things that I learned about today's experience; One, inquire more details when the train is going to be late and don't be afraid to talk to people around the station!