It's easy to get out and about in Worcester.
The ability for mobility is one of Worcester’s primary assets. Not only is it simple to get around within the region, but Worcester also sits in a centralized location, providing quick and convenient access to Boston, Hartford, Providence and Springfield.
Whether it’s walking along the restaurant row of Shrewsbury Street, taking the commuter rail to Boston, driving on any of the major highways that crisscross the area or catching a flight out of Worcester Regional Airport, getting from point A to point B is as easy as 1-2-3.
Worcester has taken some big steps in recent years to improve the city’s walkability, and the results are showing.
“There’s been a lot of thought behind making Worcester a more walkable city, and now, it’s an extremely walkable place.”
Ché Anderson, Downtown resident
This includes the $11 million Main Street Reimagined project, which involved such reconstruction efforts as widened sidewalks and brighter lighting to encourage walking throughout the downtown area. The city has also invested in improving pavement markings and crosswalks and adding audible devices to existing pedestrian signals.
“There’s been a lot of thought behind making Worcester a more walkable city, and now, it’s an extremely walkable place,” says Ché Anderson, who lives downtown and is assistant vice chancellor at UMass Medical School. “In addition to the infrastructure improvements, they’ve added public art to ensure that a person’s walk isn’t just safe, but also interesting and enjoyable.”
Numerous restaurants, retail stores, and entertainment options are located along an easily walkable, 1-mile stretch of popular Shrewsbury Street.
Similar amenities can be found throughout the historic Canal District, the site of Worcester Public Market and the new Polar Park, home of the Worcester Red Sox baseball team.
For 15 years, Courtney Cronin got in her car and dealt with rush-hour traffic along the Massachusetts Turnpike for up to two hours to reach her job in Boston. This entailed leaving home no later than 6 a.m. to navigate what was often bumper-to-bumper traffic, park her car and make it to her office on time.
Now Cronin commutes to work by rail, taking the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) train that runs from Union Station in downtown Worcester to Boston in about 80 to 90 minutes. There are more than 19 departures per day during the workweek, with the earliest pulling out at 4:15 a.m.
“It’s such a treat to let somebody else do the driving,” Cronin says of her new commute. “I can relax and drink my coffee. They have Wi-Fi, so you can go ahead and do a little work. I’ve seen people playing cards on the train. It’s just so much easier this way.”
the average commute time from downtown Worcester to Boston via public transportation
Worcester also offers reliable local bus lines. Having convenient public transportation is important both for workers who do not have a car and for employers such as Stephen Buchalter, who owns Enterprise Cleaning Corp.
“We clean about 165 offices, most of them in Worcester, and we’re able to handle that many because of the ease of public transportation in getting our employees to and from work,” Buchalter says. “It makes it much easier for me to attract employees who may not have their own vehicle.”
Of course, sometimes you have to drive, and Worcester has that mode of transportation covered, as well. Interstate 290 runs through the heart of the city, providing access to several other major highways.
From I-290, drivers can easily link to the Mass Turnpike and Route 9 toward Boston, I-90 toward Springfield, I-84 toward Hartford, Route 146 toward Providence, I-190 into the northern part of the state, and I-495 toward Cape Cod.
“The beauty of Worcester is it’s centrally located,” Buchalter says. “So you can be on one of those major highways in just a few minutes with relative ease and then get to pretty much anywhere in Central New England.”
For longer distances, Worcester Regional Airport, which serves about 165,000 passengers annually, offers regular flights to New York City and will begin offering flights to Orlando in October 2021. The city is also a short drive from four other airports: Boston Logan International, Manchester-Boston Regional, T.F. Green International in Warwick and Bradley International in Windsor Locks.
the number of passengers who travel through Worcester Regional Airport each year
“I’ve taken over 250 flights from Worcester Airport. It’s convenient to get in and out of and very reasonable for parking,” Buchalter says. “It’s a user-friendly airport that’s not overwhelming.”