State of emergency at noon; T shuts at 3:30 p.m.

Gov. Patrick's holding off on shutting roads, though.



Free tagging: 


Woman with fan

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What was up with that woman with the fan behind him the whole time?

she was overwhelmed...

By on the idiocy of not closing the roads. Remember how in '78 people got stuck on the highways in their cars and it required massive rescue operations?

You know how in every storm, the cops are going crazy dealing with all the idiots crashing into things?

Completely, 100% idiotic. If you don't have a VERY good reason to be traveling (ie lives or...maybe...major property will be lost otherwise), STAY OFF THE ROADS.

If you have a fan, use it. -- Menino

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The woman with the fan reminded me of one of my favorite Menino moments. During a severe heatwave a few summers back, Menino advised, "if you have a fan, use it" as if we needed to be told. Buffoon.

Thanks MBTA!

Let me be the first on Uhub to thank the MBTA for their dedication to the citizens of Massachusetts. Less dedicated agencies might keep running throughout the storm and some might even reduce services but it takes true class to close completely.

Like thousand upon thousands of people, I have a job which I need to work though the evening. No, I can't telecommute. All I need is the red line from South Station to Alewife, a stretch almost entirely underground. But even this is too much to ask, I suppose.

So I'll be riding my bike though the snow. I look forward to seeing all the stuck cars blocking the streets from being plowed, filled with people who had no choice but to go to work.

Thanks MBTA!

Stuck on Trains

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I read the article. For each person stuck on a train how many made it home that day thanks to public transportation? How many of them were happy to risk the chance of being stuck on a train in exchange for the ability to not have to sleep on the floor of their office or on the the street when the work in the thousands of jobs which are considered "critical".

Faced with the possibility of a big storm the MBTA can do one of two things:

1. Warn customers of delays, some being possibility long delays. But bring in extra staff and emergency plans. It's not like Boston hasn't seen snow before. This isn't a class 1 hurricane or a tsunami, or earthquake or anything else so extreme and strange. They should consider public transportation to be a critical service much like police, fire, and plowing.

2. Give up and preemptively close the whole thing down.

It's sad that people are satisfied with critical services being shut down during normal winter weather. Call me a bastard if you must but I think public transportation in Boston should be able to find a way of dealing with snow that doesn't involve pulling the plug and going home.


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You are naive and do not understand how public transportation works. All it takes is one accident, one tree, one derailment, one bus getting trapped, crashing or flipping over and the lawsuits would be unimaginable. While an argument *could* be made for keeping underground segments of the subway system running, there is no reasonable argument to keep the above ground segments of the subways, the Commuter Rail or the bus system running in the conditions as they have been predicted. And without the bus system running, the amount of people on the subway (which would be dismal already) would be near zero. It does nothing but put the passengers, operators and employees of the MBTA/MBCR in danger. This is going to be an enormous storm that no one except emergency workers should be out in.

T employees

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If the storm is as bad as it is forecast to be, how do you propose that T employees get home after their shift, say at 10 p.m.?

I'm as big of a supporter of mass transit as they come, but I do not equate buses and subways with fire and ambulances. What are these critical jobs that you describe, that do not already have contingency plans to deal with inclement weather when employees cannot safely get home?


You honestly can't think of people who work jobs that require them to work when it snows? It seems people posting in this forum are under the impression everyone works at desk jobs for large corporations. You people lead sheltered lives.

- People who work in Hospitals or other healthcare operations
- People who work at Universities with dining halls and dorms (kids gotta eat...)
- People who work in hotels and other hospitality
- People who work in lab research
- people who self employed and work on contacts and have deadlines
- People who get paid to shovel and keep the heat running, etc.
- People who work in jobs that interact with those outside of New England who still expect a service to be provided.

Are all these people scum who deserve to sleep under their desks or in the break room? (That is normal "contingency" plan in places where I've worked.) The governor wants people off the road but also dosen't want to keep the T running?!?

I do think public transportation is a critical service and the state has an obligation to provide some level of service. If the MBTA is incapable of doing so when it snows (not exactly a freak occurrence) that is shameful.

You're right: snowstorms with

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You're right: snowstorms with 50mph winds and two feet of accumulation happen every few weeks. Silly memory. Must be my advancing age.

Besides, public transit can't be that much of a critical service if it shuts down for five hours every night.

I hear you're you offering to personally drive each T employee home at 10 or 11 at night at the end of their shift. That's very kind of you.

I guess NY showed its true

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I guess NY showed its true colors too when the MTA shut down all NYC mass transit before Sandy.

But NY's a small town and hardly anyone rides the trains and buses there anyway.

I work at a hospital

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And it has a plan in place for emergencies and sets up places for people to sleep if need be. It is understood that part of the job is to possibly stay during an emergency and sleep at work, and people figure out a way to deal.

Is it fun? No. Does it happen every day, or even every year? No.

I don't know, drive like they normally do?

I mean, it's not like they'd *gasp* actually ride their own transit system home, would they?

I'm one of the fortunate ones to be going in early and getting out just before the last trains come through, but at my job we have over four dozen employees who will getting off work after 3:30 pm (and up to 10:00 pm) and will have no choice but to drive home in the thick of the storm. Oh, and did I mention they're bus drivers? That's right--just like during Sandy, after the precious MBTA shut down completely, the private company that I work for kept running . . . until 10:00 pm that night!!

But lord knows, let's make sure the precious MBTA employees get to drive home before the going gets rough. Maybe if more of them actually took the T to work they'd understand the importance of, um, taking the T to work . . . and taking it home.

Well your company is stupid.

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Well your company is stupid. Ever stop to think about that? Its going to be DANGEROUS out there and your company is still on the road. Nice that your company ignores the Governor's warning..

Even my work is closed, and we never close. EVER.

The airport's about to be

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The airport's about to be closed. Airport personnel are not all essential. They bring their truly essential people in before the storm, so they're there when it's over to clean up.

Some healthcare employees are essential. Some aren't. Hospitals have plans for major storms, and they, too, bring in who they need before the storm.

In what universe is anyone in shipping and receiving essential?

You're right. I forgot that

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You're right. I forgot that the last driver of each route's run takes his personal bus or Red Line train and parks it in his house's driveway.

Kinda pathetic if you ask me

That two of the biggest transit agencies in the country in one of the snowiest areas of the country can't effectively evacuate people during bad storms. Maybe they can parlay some of that funding that goes into all the fire and bio-terrorism drills into, um, learning how to evacuate people in case the third rail gets fried.

I'll even get them started. Two words: diesel switcher. Third rail fried? Send a diesel switcher down the tracks to pull a train out rather than sit around with thumbs up a$$e$ trying to figure out how to turn the power back on.

Actually, no. Money should be

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Actually, no. Money should be spent on maintenance and new cars and equipment for the 363 days of the year when there are not conditions as forecast for this storm.

Money spent on ensuring that the T can continue to safely run -- even in an above-ground environment -- on the one day every three years with two feet of snow and 50mph winds is not money well-spent, unless it also makes the T more reliable in usual winter weather.

Now granted, if it can do the latter -- and we have seen how miserably the T has run during some of the coldest days this winter -- then it would be worth it.

Would it be better if I said RENT the diesel switcher?

Let's be fair--the T also has the Godzilla grand-daddy of all track snow blowers, a behemoth that guzzles kerosene like an old 727 and whose sole purpose is to clear snow in these situations. One diesel switcher, which, let's be honest, a large agency like the T can acquire for next-to-nothing, isn't exactly going to break its budget. Thing is, they already have one, which moves the freight cars that are often seen parked on the Inbound siding at Sullivan Square.

And, speaking of new cars, the T doesn't exactly have a good track record, pun intended, of making wise purchases with the Green Line trains: the Boeings were lemons and, two generations later, the Bredas are no bargain either.

Your short-sightedness is

Your short-sightedness is overwhelming. How would you like to be on a train when a sudden gust of wind blows on a snow-loaded tree and sends it and or its limbs straight down on your train while travelling at full speed?

That fact that your commute is underground is meaningless. All lines have outdoor exposure at some point.

surface subway..

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as I recall, on the Red Line, there are no plows for the tracks and it needs to run continuously through the storm to keep the tracks clear on the sections that run above ground.

I understand that the ped areas around the stations and platforms might not be cleared when the crux of the storm hits, but there is no reason to restrict passenger access to trains that are already running if the exterior conditions do not warrant it!

You really have no idea how

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You really have no idea how public transportation works, do you? Like, I'm really not trying to be a dick, but that statement reeks of ignorance.

#1 It is more cost effective for the state to cease operations than to cart the 10 people down miles of exposed track just to make sure their life is easier. This makes absolutely no sense. There is going to be a state of emergency, with a lot of power going out, and you don't know why the governor didn't think of just you while making this decision?

#2 There will be trees and lines down all over the place. They would much rather listen to you bitch and moan than risk your life on the train.

#3 If you know someone with a car, ask them to drive you from work to your house. See what they'll say. I bet it's what the T said, too.

#4 I'm not one for making a lot of judgements about people I do not know, but man, you just sound really, really selfish and ignorant. I'm sincerely sorry that your work commute sucks, but blame your boss, not the MBTA.

Please, tell us all, Professor, how does it work?

#1 Ten people? I guess I'll tell the other 240+ people on the Orange Line train this morning (roughly 40 people/car x 6 cars) to go home--they don't exist.

#2 Maybe over the five hours the T shuts down every night they could, um, evaluate things like trees so see if they *might* fall on tracks sometime in the near future. The one that fell along the Southwest Corridor Orange Line tracks after Sandy was just pathetic. Even a fifth grader knows old rotted tree=fall.

#3 After 3:30, I'm guessing there's going to be a lot of carpooling. Miraculously cars don't stop driving just because there's a State of Emergency.

#4 So on a nice, sunny day, we can blame the MBTA for a bad commute? Just checking.

Again, I'll ask: so what's

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Again, I'll ask: so what's your threshold at which running the system is no longer safe? How much snow? How much wind?

Or should the T never shut down because of adverse weather?

Shut down the trains, boats, fine, but . . .

There's no reason a 20-ton bus can't handle the snow. Take all the height and weight advantage an SUV has and multiply it by at least nine. No, you can't go fast, and you're definitely not going to keep schedule, but don't give me the "impossible" BS, because I don't think--I know--it's not true.

Core routes like the 1, 39, 66 and 111 should be running.

Please stop, troll

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No, they couldn't. How would the employees get there? None of the bus stops are plowed out, people would have to wait in the street, if they could even get to one. Your naiveté is painful.

So you work for assholes?

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My employer is closed tomorrow. My husband's employer shuts at noon.

Too bad you don't get that - AND you expect MBTA employees to be stranded as well.

Get over yourself and find a new job.


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Some places of employment can't close. Like certain jobs that involve caring for people or property.

well obviously...

....people who work at those places of employment need to get over themselves and get new job, right?

Hospitals, nursing homes and the like--they just run themselves. Everybody just go home and let the patients fend for them selves. After's gonna snow!

Snow is negligible; winds overrated

Snow is negligible since, as anybody who's lived long enough in Boston knows, they're going to keep running a few trains anyway 24/7 to keep the tracks, third rails and overhead wires as clear as possible. Yes, I'd sign a waiver to ride if that's what it came to.

The highest steady winds will be 35-36 mph. A single 60 mph gust isn't going to blow over a 20-ton bus moving at 25 mph or 40-ton train car moving at 40 mph. All 220 pounds of me+bike+panniers managed to make it back and forth over the Mass Ave. bridge last week with gusts of 25 mph.

You heard it here: there is

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You heard it here: there is no such thing as dangerous weather. All the people who have been killed in inclement weather were just doing it for the attention. As a bonus, thetrainmon has volunteered to drive! MBTA: take notice! This man will drive every bus you have the next time we're predicted to get three feet of snow.

I drove buses in Western Mass. during blizzards!

Boston is flat as pancake compared to the very hilly terrain of Western Mass. I'm willing to be 99% of these candy-a$$ T drivers haven't driven on roads so icy they're bus did a 90-degree spin in the middle of the street and thank God nobody was coming the other way--I have. And they still didn't shut down the route I was on. Lesson learned--go even slower, brake less and counter-steer. Or do they not teach that anymore?

You are obviously "non

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You are obviously "non essential". You may want to thank those that are essential to be taking care of business while you are home.
Just because a storm hits doesn't mean people don't get sick, homes catch on fire and even IT positions that are 24/7.

Not everyone has a cubicle job.

It does seem a little early.

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3:30 does seem a little early (and somewhat arbitrary) considering that the NWS consensus seems to be that the onset of the heavy snow will be later.

I could see wanting to get the buses back to the barns before the heavy stuff starts, but it's a little tougher to understand for the rails.

Notwithstanding the above, at least they made the announcement today, so as to at least allow people a chance to plan for tomorrow (as opposed to making the announcement during the day tomorrow, when people have already planned on having service available for the evening - a scenario which, if I remember correctly, occurred the last time the system was shut down early).

My personal feeling is that I will be something approaching all alone on my way in tomorrow morning (I have a reverse commute). Even in a normal week, it seems like half of the workforce does not work or at least does not commute on Fridays anymore.

The NWS is saying that

The NWS is saying that beginning at 2pm we will start to see the worst of the storm with near white-out conditions at times. I get the timeframe. Remember that the MBTA employees are people too, who live all over, and would like to get home safe like the rest of us.

Isaacg this post isn't to you, must have clicked the wrong link.

The T kept running thorugh the whole Blizzard of '78

Not all of it, certainly, but definitely the underground parts of the Red and Green lines, and the Red LIne across the Longfellow Bridge (which was kept running all night to keep the tracks clear). I see no reason that the T can't handle this storm the same way. There is no good reason for a total shutdown.

There are plenty of reasons

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MBTA Infrastructure is worse now than it was then. A more lawsuit happy populace. Even on a normal day the amount of disabled trains, broken railed, dead buses is scarily high. During a huge storm, the system would end up grinding to a halt anyways.

The MBTA infrastructure was

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The MBTA infrastructure was actually worse in many ways during the 78 storm compared to today. The Green Line was still mostly very worn PCC cars and some of the problematic Boeing LRVs, half of the Blue Line fleet dated to 1924, the commuter rail fleet was worn out Budd cars on the north side and coaches from the 1920-40s on the south side.

The entire surface portion of the MBTA was shut down during the Feb 78 storm. Limited service was operated underground.
Here are some of the low lights from the two big 78 storms (a lot of people forget that there was a huge storm on January 20th 78, followed by the even larger storm Feb 6-7 78.

During the January 78 storm:
-PCCs were snowbound on the B, C, and E line requiring shuttle buses. Type 3 snowplows derailed several times while attempting to reopen the lines.
-Two Orange Line trains collided at Sullivan Sq. injuring 29
-Two Red Line trains on the Quincy Line (didn't go to Braintree yet in 78) stalled out in heavy snow near Freeport St. Dorchester. People (over 1000 passengers) were trapped on the trains for hours until the fire department was able to cut holes in fences and evacuate them.
-The MBTA had to cut power in the Orange and Red Line tunnels downtown because people began walking through the tunnels.

The February storm saw PCCs again snowbound on the B, C, and E lines and in this storm Wonderland Station was flooded (it din't reopen until some time in March 78). Service was curtailed on all lines, and initially resumed in the underground segments only. All bus service was cancelled. The storm ended on a Tuesday, and full service on the subway and trolley lines did not resume until the following Monday. Lines reopened gradually as they were dug out.

With that historical context in mind, the decision now to have a planned shut-down does not seem unreasonable. In 78, police and fire departments assisted hospitals, nursing homes, etc in getting staff in and out. I would not be surprised if that happens now, if the storms does turn out to be as predicted.

roads & transit

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Considering that snow/wind is the word for some time before that, and will start getting heavy at 2-3 pm, and that "3:30 shutdown" mostly means starting no new trips after 3:30 (trips already in progress will mostly complete their runs, so passengers will be on the system for another hour or two) - the 3:30 figure isn't too bad.

It's not inconceivable that there will be highway shutdowns at times, too. Even if there aren't, the highways may not be a viable option at times.

Let's talk about all that fan

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Let's talk about all that fan waving some more. I really like Ms. Cabral when I see her on Greater Boston every once in awhile but I think in future we might put the lacy black fan in our pocketbooks when the cameras are present.

I thought it was inappropriate

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I understand people get warm, but she was standing directly behind the governor, in full camera range, and it was distracting and unprofessional.