MBTA update: No parking available in Ashland lot during renovations Town officials frustrated at sudden change in plans
By Theresa Knapp
Ashland’s MBTA commuter rail station closed on Aug. 19, and shuttle buses are available to take riders to the Framingham and Southborough stations, however, the parking lot at the Ashland station is closed.
At a meeting of the Select Board on Aug. 16, three days before the Ashland station was to be taken offline, Town Manager Michael Herbert gave an update on the project. “What was stated [by the MBTA to the town] is that people could park there and do that, and what we found out…there was conflicting information being posted on the MBTA website that said the parking lot was going to be closed.”
Herbert confirmed with MBTA officials that, “Yes, the parking lot is going to be closed and the buses would only be available to walk-up riders.” He also learned that buses will pick up only on the south (Route 135) side of the station, which is difficult for riders to reach that side of the street.
He said, “They are going to be doing some work in the parking lot and they are also going to be using it as a staging area, but it is a huge parking lot.”
Select Board member Brandi Kinsman said, “I do know that Daniel’s Table, which is in Framingham, is offering to rent spaces,” though she was unclear on the logistics and knows the lot fills up early. “That parking lot on the Howard Street side or Franklin Street side [near the Framingham train station] is a decent size but it really does fill up.”
Herbert said, “I have heard that there are different businesses that are publicizing the fact that they have spots available for rent in Framingham, which I think is good, and I would just encourage them to advertise.”
The board expressed frustration about the latest development and acknowledged residents are going to be inconvenienced and frustrated.
“It is MBTA property,” said Herbert, noting the town has no real control in this issue. “My main disappointment has been that we were basically told ‘these’ were the options and ‘these’ are basically the mitigation measures that we’re going to put in place and as we get closer to that date that seems to have kind of fallen apart,” said Herbert.
“That’s really weird,” said Select Board Chair Robert Scherer. “They’re discouraging ridership, they’re making it difficult.” Shuttles will operate on a weekend schedule on Labor Day (Monday September 4, 2023) and a weekday schedule on Columbus Day (Monday October 9, 2023).
Neighboring Station Parking Information:
Framingham Station (4.1 miles, 12 min drive):
$4/day M-F; $2/day Sat/Sun; $70 Monthly Pass
Zone 5 fare: $9.75/One-Way; $311/Monthly Pass
Southborough Station (2.6 miles, 5 min drive):
$6/day M-F: $2/day Sat/Sun); $105 Monthly Pass
Zone 6 fare: $10.50/One-Way; $340/Monthly Pass
Same as Ashland