Framingham Blog Posts
MBTA AdviceHere are some practical tips on using the Commuter Rail to/From Framingham via Back Bay station.With the upcoming increase in MBTA fares, this might be timely:
Starting July 1st, Framingham commuters will be paying $3.50 more round trip or $42 more a month to travel to/from Boston. It will now cost $16 to travel to/from Boston. If you purchase a monthly commuter pass, each trip will cost $12.60 in a 31 day month. (Assuming 20 business days.) This means it doesn't make sense to get a monthly pass if you only plan to travel to Boston less than 15 times. So if you are making some future vacation plans and can work from home, you may be better off to check to see if it makes sense to have a monthly pass that month.
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Get your MBTA monthly pass at work. Talk to your HR department about getting your passes via pre-tax and save a lot of money. You'll get the pass well in advance of the start of the month and will save a lot of money. Make sure to consult your tax consultant about this if you expense commuter passes on your tax forms.
Everything is more expensive at the Back Bay Station. This shouldn't be a surprise to anyone, but everything is expensive at the MBTA station. For example, coffee is 10% cheaper at the Stuart Street Dunkin Donuts than it is at the Dunkin Donuts a the Back Bay train station. The only good thing about the shops at the station is that they are open early/later than most shops in the area.
If you pay $4 a day to park at the MBTA parking lot, look for alternative in the Framingham area. There's plenty of businesses that are willing to lease a space for you. Don't just rely on the signs, look around and see what business might be open to having you park in their lot for the day. It doesn't hurt to ask, if you don't ask, the answer will always be no.
Consider taking a the train in a different Zone. If you know someone who lives near a train station in Natick, Wellesley or Newton you may be able to park in their driveway and save money by taking a different zone. Note: Depending on which train you take, you may end up standing for the duration of you trip.
Yesterday, we watched the 2012 Boston Marathon in front of the La Cantina restaurant in Framingham MA. Heres some tips on watching the marathon from Framingham:
- Arrive early! It takes about a 1/2 hour for the runners to get to the corner of Winter Street and 135. Don't wait until the last minute to arrive!
- If you arrive before 8:30, you'll find plenty of parking at the Joseph P. Keefe Technical High School. After 9, you'll probably be parking on Fountain Street.
- Bring a beach chair or blanket to sit on.
- Bring plenty of drinks and snacks!
- You can find plenty of viewing spots if you continue to walk east on 135.
- Before the lead runners arrive, you'll see several police motorcycles and then the media car.
- Anytime you see a media car, you'll be sure that it's a lead runner.
- Take lots of pictures and video and cheer on the runners!
The schedule below lists the various divisions and arrival times for the 2012 Boston Marathon to mile marker 5:
9:30 a.m. - Mobility Impaired Arrive
9:47 a.m. - Push-rim Wheelchair Division Arrive
9:52 a.m. - Handcycle Participants Arrive
10:02 a.m. - Elite Women's Arrive
10:30 a.m. - Elite Men's and Wave One Arrive
10:40 a.m. - Wave Two Arrive
11:20 a.m. - Wave Three Arrive
Runners will pass through Framingham headed east from the Ashland town line to the Natick town line on Rt. 135, (Waverly Street in Framingham).
Framingham Commuter Rail
Recently the MBTA Commuter Rail changed the Framingham/Worcester schedule to make room for changes being done at the Yawkey Way Station. As of April 2nd, many of the trains now arrive at their stations a bit earlier. For example, my regular 8:19 am Framingham train now arrives at 8:14 am.
My morning schedule isn't that flexible enough to arrive at the train station that much earlier and I have about a 50/50 chance of catching the train.
Today I found out that the MBTA is strictly enforcing that schedule. This morning, when I went to catch the morning train, the train literally left as I arrived at the train station. I wasn't just me; there were several of us that missed the train. I was about 10 steps away from the door as the train was moving and the conductor blew a horn and moved the train. The door was closed and there was no possible way to get on.
Granted I know that the Commuter Rail has to keep a schedule, but I can't believe that they turn away at least 8 passengers like that. There should be a rule that if there are 5 or more passengers at the loading platform, the train isn't allowed to leave.
By implementing this rule, it seems to be a simple solution to build better relations with many of the commuters that travel the Commuter Rail.
As a side note, one of the passengers told me that they wouldn't wait for the next train and would seek an alternative way to go to Boston.
I easily managed to catch the next train which arrived about 25 minutes later. Not a fun way to start the day.
We are in the process of cleaning the basement of our house. It hasn't had a good cleaning since we moved into the house, and after a couple of flooding incidents, its time to do some house cleaning.
To help better organized some of my clutter, I just signed up for Shoeboxed. Which according to them, is the easiest and fastest way to organize Receipts, Business Cards & Bills online. I am hoping that I can get rid of several bins/boxes that have a lot of paper in it. There's no need to have the original copies any more. I'll let you know how that process goes.
I'll continue to investigate other Web 2.0 services that might be able to help out with the decluttering the basement. Lifehack has all sorts of great creative ideas on removing clutter and such.
A year ago I saw a post in the Post Office saying, "everyone has at least $2000 of stuff lying around the house." I don't know if that's true, but we'll soon find out!
Pearl Street Garage
The town is offering commuters a deal this winter: Park at the Pearl Street Garage for $50 a month.
The special rate is available for December, January and February. It is normally $80 per month to park at the town's garage, or $65 for Framingham residents.
The garage is across from the old RMV, a short walk from the downtown train station.
Commuters can see the lot attendant for more details and a discount pass.
Natick Collection Santa
Santa Clauses has returned to the Natick Collections again this year. You can find Santa in the "expensive" part of the mall near the Coach store and Neiman Marcus. First off they do have a good Santa, no pulling on the beard to see if its real!
We went to see Santa on the first day he arrived at the mall, November 17, 2011, and were disappointed how unorganized that Santa helpers were. They were having all sorts of problems with the camera and some of the digital equipment and had to retake some customers photos because they were missing in the computer. We also had to wait longer because of the technical issues.
We were disappointed with the photo that we got and found that the photo that we took with our own point and shoot digital camera came out better than their digital SLR camera.
If you plan on seeing Santa at the Natick Mall, just be patience while you wait and be sure to bring an extra camera along with you.
We found that the photo prices are a little expensive for the quality of photos, but I guess that the cost of having a good Santa.
Pearl Street Parking Garage
The distance from Framingham's Pearl Street Parking garage to the main waiting area of the MBTA train is .35 miles. Walking rapidly it takes about 6 minutes.
MBTA Parking in Framingham
In Framingham there are various choices when it comes to finding a place to park when taking the MBTA. There's a couple of things to consider. Monthly cost, and the location of the parking lot to the train station in bad weather and those days when you might be running late to catch the train.
The main MBTA parking lot, which is operated by the Central Parking, is near Howard Street and the train station. Parking is $4 a day, and you can get a monthly pass which costs $70 a month. The biggest problem with this parking lot is that it is always full. Monthly parking doesn't guaranteed you a parking space!
The Town of Framingham operates the following public parking facilities:
Pearl Street Garage - 289 parking spaces, located on Pearl Street, (across from the former Registry of Motor Vehicles). Spaces are sold by monthly permit. Rates are $65.00 per month for residents and $80.00 per month non-residents. There is an attendant on duty from 6:00 AM to 4:00 PM Monday through Friday. This is the best option, but a long walk to the train station.
Waverly Street Commuter Lot - 65 spaces located next to Republic Plumbing, directly across the Framingham commuter rail station. Spaces are sold by monthly permit, rates are $90.00 per month. Since this is the most expensive lot there are always spaces available.
Hollis Court Lot - 89 parking spaces located near commuter rail station. Spaces are available for daily parking on first come, first serve basis. Lot is lighted at night. Rates are $4.00 per day.
Alternative Parking Lots:
Silton Glass - Parking is within easy walking distance of the Framingham MBTA Station Rates: $5 daily, $20 weekly, $50 monthly, $550 annually 612 Waverly St., Framingham, MA
Columbus Club - on Fountain Street Carl D'Aveta, president for that organization, says the club has offered parking for at least five years at $40 per month. About 20 commuters park there.
Orlando Enterprises Dumpsters and Demolition Site - on Cedar Street, is also offering discount parking for commuters. They are located right across from the Train Station. There's a sign in the window to call them about the Commuter Parking rates.
This year I have seen quiet a few wild turkeys in the Boston area. I don't know if it's a population explosion or something, but it seems weird to see so many wild turkeys.
I have seen them in various locations in Framingham, near Cushing Park and in Lexington near Route 2. They aren't the same turkeys because of the different size and colors.
I don't know who the known predator of Turkeys, Wolves, Foxes? I got a feeling next year that they will be a population explosion of them.
Also in the Cushing Park area a Red Tail hawk has been flying around. Usually you'll see some crows attacking the hawk. I suspect that the crows are trying to force the hawk out of its territory.
This weekend we put up shutters on 10 windows on our house. Here are some of the lessons that we learned:
Never move a ladder with a drill on the top.
This happened during the first widow and I ended up getting a cut on my face. Lucky for me it was a small cut since it could have been worst.
Make sure to measure all the Shutters before drilling them
We mis-calculated on the bay window and decided that larger shutters would be better. We couldn't return the other shutter since I already drill holes in them. This mistake cost us $30. Hopefully this advice will save you money!
Make sure to drill all the way in the house.
There are a couple of shutter holes that I didn't drill all the way in, and as a result the placeholder isn't all the way in.
Shop around for shutters.
Both Lowes and HomeDepothad shutters, but HomeDepot had enough supply on hand to meet our needs. Both stores had them in the Window department near the back wall.
It took about 15 minutes to do each window. Some of the windows took a little bit longer because they were high off the ground a little tricky to do. Also it was difficult to maneuver the latter around some bushes and flowers.
We found that it does take two people to put up the shutters, if you want to get it done right this isn't a one person job. Also it best to drill the hole locations in the shutters first then put the bottom of the shutter on the house. This way the second person didn't have to hold the shutter while getting saw dust in their hair.