Storrow signs are falling down, falling down, falling down ...

Fallen Storrow sign

Matt Karolian, who got delayed inbound from East Boston due to a work crew in the tunnel this morning, had to hit the brakes again as he got onto Storrow Drive outbound, thanks to a dangling sign - no doubt taken down by another truck driver, like the one who took out a couple of lane indicators in the O'Neill Tunnel the other day.



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Do we really want to go back

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Do we really want to go back to building interstates and bulldozing cities? The postwar spending binge saddled us with very high maintenance costs and grossly imbalanced our transportation priorities.

Who said that?

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I just want to properly fund maintenance on what we have so things don't collapse when I happen to be using them. Or built with an appropriate budget so they don't fall on me later when contractors cut corners, trying to cut costs, to come close to their horribly underbid contracts. Do we want to talk of the hundreds of structurally unsound dams in Massachusetts that threaten communities?

I don't think we can't increase maintenance funding for what we have, and at the same time make arguments from more sane infrastructure policy and capital improvements going forward. We can be cost conscious, repair some of the damage done from 50's polices, while still building for the future. The Casey Overpass is one example. Pushing to abandoned the Storrow drive tunnel and restoring the esplanade is another fight coming up.

Smarter spending needed

I wish we had projects run as smoothly as the deck replacements on I-93. Meanwhile, the Woburn I-93/I-95 intersection is the busiest in the whole state, has been complained about for decades, and might finally be improved in 5 or so years.

Flattening McGrath Highway is stupid along with not doing $15M to repair bridge sections. Waiting for a walk signal to cross a very wide and busy road at grade is slower than walking under an overpass. What everyone hates are the maze of turns under the bridges - fix them instead. Bridge repairs are far cheaper and environmentally friendly than tearing it all down and rebuilding.

Mass law prohibits diminishing state highways. That has been interpreted to mean the publicly owned land, not travel lanes. So tearing down bridges might only make room for government to lease land to developers to build new buildings, not sell any land.

How is spending money to

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How is spending money to repair McGrath Highway a smart investment when it is VASTLY overbuilt for the amount of traffic it carries, is greatly depressing land values in Somerville and impacting the quality of life of local residents? OH SORRY! I forgot the priority is for suburbanites to speed through. Screw the locals for not wanting their neighborhoods wrecked for the convenience of people that don't live there and could care less about them.

Depressed land value = affordable

Gentrifying areas makes lots of money for condo developers while forcing all the low income people out of an area. They need to live too. You can't send them all to Dorchester and Roxbury to get killed off. How is destroying infrastructure for 10x the cost to taxpayers to make profits for developers smart? The decline in traffic shows how it just went to I-93, thus no total traffic increase from the big dig and no justification for the Green Line Extension.

Why do so many cowards not want to register and identify themselves?

Yeah those fucking poor

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Yeah those fucking poor people should be happy that they have suburbanites wrecking their communities with highways to make it nice and cheap. Never mind that gentrification is a sign that a place is actually livable and people want to be there.

Coward? Yeah sure tough guy in Arlington. I'm sure you'd never set foot in an "affordable" neighborhood to lecture the residents how lucky they are to be subjugated by highways that have destroyed parts of their communities because the rent is low. You're also out of you mind if you think many people in poor areas affected by highways don't own their own homes and haven't lived in areas long before the highways were forced upon them by suburbanites.


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Poor zoning and protectionism makes lots of money for a few developers and land owners, while others worry about sound or their views, ect.

You can have high property values and dense, affordable housing. We just choose not to, via our actions and via many others inactions.

There's quite a few areas of the city where more density in construction is badly needed, but currently is impossible because of NIMBYISM and municipal barriers to building. A good start would be to rethink zoning use and building height restrictions around each and every light rail stop.

As for McGrath, studies would need to be done, but I'm sure it could be brought down to a surface street while at the same time improving traffic flow through several troublesome areas it created and were never fixed. Just because it's an elevated parkway doesn't mean it is really the best option for traffic flow in the area.

As a long-time Somerville resident,

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I think it's beyond disgraceful that D. O. T. has decided to take the easy way out and spend roughly ten million dollars on just repairing the McCarthy Overpass, thereby letting that overpass stand for another decade (or possibly more), rather than tearing it down and making it a ground-surface, pedestrian-bicyclist-walker-friendly boulevard.

If one walks under that overpass and really takes a close look at it, there are numerous parts where the rusty old steel frame is exposed, there are holes at least 6-8" in the concrete, and, moreover, throughout the years, the concrete has lost its integrity. The traffic moves far too fast on the McGrath hwy McCarthy overpass and needs to be slowed down, and, I can honestly say that, not withstanding that it's not safe to bicycle under that overpass because one never knows when a car will run the red light, I, as a woman, do not feel particularly safe walking under that overpass at night, either.

I also might add that I reside in the part of Somerville that is cut off from the rest of the city by the McCarthy overpass.

Having said all of the above, that overpass has to go!

Not necessarily.

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But we should at least be able to rebuild a heavily-traveled road so that the overpasses are high enough for the trucks that use them can pass underneath. And it shouldn't take 20 years of needless and wasteful studies, meetings, hearings, and "civic engagement" activites to accomplish that.

And rasing the clearances is the best and most logical solution to the current problems on Storrow and Memorial Drives.

All the more reason

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To get rid of the goddamn thing and improve Pike access instead.

The road wasn't legitimate to begin with

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Storrow Drive was armtwisted through the legislature and built in the 50s against the explicit wishes of Mrs. Storrow. So let's downgrade it from highway status back to something a little more befitting the Esplanade. It doesn't need grade separated junctions either, let's recover that land.

As for the clearances well... what to do with the Grand Junction bridge? Not sure where that could be moved. Perhaps we should just build the North/South Rail Link instead? ;)


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How do you "raise heights" on a tunnel?

Further, while the pedestrian bridges would be easier and more cost effective to increase in height (to the determent of people using them), the overpasses and tunnels are not. You're hundreds of millions in tear down and rebuilding.

Storrow needs to go.

With the CSX rail yard gone, there's no reason a better connection to the pike can't be thought up at that end. It could stay a parkway until the BU West area. Charlesgate would be where it ends and becomes a surface road / park all the way to MGH, reconnecting it with the Back Bay grid network. Smart use of traffic lights that talk to each other and time based on traffic could easily mitigate congestion issues.

Seems like a much better idea than filling in the old tunnel and paving over riverside parkland.


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Did you already have that post title ready to go, or did you do that because I linked to your 2010 post about Cambridge St. in Allston? It was pretty funny to see.

Looking at the photo, let me ask

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a question here:

What's the greater hazard to traffic, a dangling rubber sign that's designed so it intentionally bounces away when it gets hit, or the State Police cruiser blocking the middle of the road?