If only there were some way to tell bus drivers Storrow Drive is just for cars

Bus on Storrow Drive

Troublewithtribbles shows us Storrow Drive inbound late yesterday afternoon after another bus driver decided he was really driving a car.

The day before:
Storrowing averted in Allston.

Copyright Troublewithtribbles. Posted in the Universal Hub pool on Flickr.



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Geez, it's almost like using

Geez, it's almost like using non-standard signs and non-standard nomenclature makes it more likely for things like this to happen! Inconceivable!

As someone who has driven buses & Trucks...

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As someone who has driven buses & trucks in the back bay area, it is surprisingly easy to end up in a situation where you're heading down a street perfectly fine and all of a sudden, if you go straight your going towards Storrow, and to the left and right there are "No Truck" signs. It's just likely that some of these drivers are from out of town and don't know enough to just says screw it, and go down "No Truck" streets like Newbury, as oppose to getting stuck on storrow.

Will signs help?

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Maybe drivers just assume that the "No Trucks" warning is just a suggestion - and since it's not like anyone barely ever gets pulled over for running a red light, double parking, texting while driving, hitting pedestrians, etc., they figure they can play the percentages and not get in trouble with the law....just the law of physics.

Will Google Help?

I mean, what would it take to have an overlay popup screen for routes in certain areas of the US (like older cities) that one would have to click to clear?


It might help.

why is this so rare in NY?

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There are all kinds of parkways in NY and it's common knowledge that they are NOT for trucks. I'm sure it happens that a truck ends up on one - but it's extremely uncommon.

Maybe because this is about the only truck restricted road in the state? Or does something happen to your brain when you cross the Mass border while driving a truck?

Perhaps it has something to do

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with the fact that every sign on connecting roads approaching the parkways includes a prominent black on white banner reading "NO COMMERCIAL VEHICLES". Far more effective than the Storrow or Memorial approach of posting non-standard signs that have never appeared in other states, and placing them so they're not visible until after the driver has committed to using the entrance ramp or is on the roadway itself.

Are commercial vehicles banned from Storrow?

That may be why they don't have those signs. No commercial Vehicles would also not stop RVs from trying to use the road. Joe the Plumber in his Plumber Van can drive them - the problem is the height restriction.

Most, but not all, commercial vehicles

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are banned. From MGL Chapter 90, Section 18:

that nothing herein contained shall be construed as affecting the right of the metropolitan district commission or of the department of environmental management to make rules and regulations governing the use and operation of motor vehicles on lands, roadways and parkways under its care and control. No such rule or regulation shall prohibit the use of passenger or station wagon type motor vehicles whose gross weight is less than five thousand pounds and which are registered for commercial use on ways where noncommercial passenger type motor vehicles are permitted to operate. No such regulation shall be effective until there shall have been erected, upon the ways affected thereby and at such points as the department and the registrar, acting jointly, may designate, signs, conforming to standards adopted by the department, setting forth the speed or other restrictions established by the regulation,

I included that last sentence because it vaildates an observation that I've repeated in previous postings on this subject - the current signing is non-standard and, therefore, unenforceable.

And you point about RVs is taken. However (and at the risk of tempting fate here), when's the last time you heard of an RV getting (or almost getting) Storrowed?

The best thing to do would be

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The best thing to do would be to ground all the storrow drive ramps and overpasses. Instead of having overpasses, have regular intersections. This was built before the turnpike, now people have a much faster way (even if they have to pay) to go east-west in Boston, and they are very close.
Grounding the intersections would slow it down a bit, but it would make getting to our parkland from Boston much easier, instead of just a few pedestrian overpasses there would be a way to get to the esplanade at every street intersection, like Memorial Drive. It would also open up a lot of space now used for ramps for more parkland to be returned open space along the water.
Safer for drivers, safer for pedestrians, and more access to more parkland along the Charles River.
Win win win.

This is a regular ground

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This is a regular ground-level intersection on Storrow, but you still can't cross: http://goo.gl/maps/5nAuJ

People run across the road here pretty often, since there's no connection from the river-side path to the BU Bridge: http://goo.gl/maps/CFkQ5

Crossing Memorial Drive is no picnic at the places without traffic lights.

I'd rather they just put in more pedestrian overpasses.

Restore the Storrow Drive crosswalk at BU bridge

In the 1970s, the Esplanade bike path dead-ended just before the BU bridge rather than continuing west along the river as it does now. There was a painted crosswalk, and a break in the Storrow Drive median, so that people could walk from the end of the bike path to BU and up the stairs to the bridge.

Perhaps the state should reinstate this crosswalk? Back then, there was no pedestrian signal, but these days you'd want one.

How Many People Were Hit By Cars There Before They Closed It?

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It's unrealistic to expect all drivers to stop for pedestrians in crosswalks, with or without signals. Why put the lives of pedestrians and bicyclists in such jeopardy when there are better solutions?

It's easier and much less expensive to build pedestrian bridges, than it is to build vehicle bridges or widen highways. When cars and people mix together on street level, inevitably someone gets hurt. Wherever it's practical to do so, grade separating the two makes the crossing safer than any other measure you could employ.

Grade separation (e.g.: a pedestrian bridge) eliminates either party from having to stop and wait for the other, and makes it stress-free, pleasant, and safe for pedestrians; surely preventing many needless injuries and deaths.

Also, a pedestrian bridge

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Also, a pedestrian bridge over a normal city street adds the inconvenience of climbing up and down. But in this case, the majority of pedestrians would be climbing up to the BU Bridge anyway. So adding a ramp up to the bridge only makes things more convenient.

There isn't a lot of space, so maybe they'd have to build the ramp over the river, like at the Mass Ave bridge.

Did anyone propose this during the planning of the bridge's recent major reconstruction? People are making a big deal about adding bike/pedestrian tunnels through the Western Ave and River Street bridges, but the Storrow situation is much worse.

Drive Storrow much?

The clearance problem isn't just the overpasses - there are tunnels as well. Oh, and the big bridges that predate Storrow have to vault the roadway, too. Like the BU Bridge, the Mass Ave. Bridge and the Longfellow Bridge. These aren't overpasses - they are the terminal ends of the bridge structure itself.

Grade level crossings for those would look like what Google Earth does to the world in some places - yikes!

If it were just the overpasses, it would likely have been changed by now.

Low overhead, no trucks/commercial vehicles allowed

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There is standard nomenclature indicating height restrictions for bridges and clearly Storrow needs to have signs using the standard terminology. I believe it is something to the effect of "low overhead, no trucks allowed" with a specific height limitation. Perhaps an additional sign at the exit before the first overpass instructing commercial vehicles to exit if above height limitation. But apparently MA would rather spend its money replacing its electronic "use ya blinkah" signs.

The correct phrasing is

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"LOW CLEARANCE XFT-XIN"@@(in black on yellow) and "NO TRUCKS OR BUSES" (in black on white). This information should be provided on EVERY guide sign for Storrow and Memorial Drives that is placed on any approaching roadway well before a vehicle can get on either the entrance ramp or the mainline roadway itself.

@@ The dimension displayed should reflect the lowest clearance along the roadway, and not just the clearance of the next obstruction upstream of the entrance ramp.

But there are signs

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Okay, I don't drive the area that often, but in looking at the street view, there are black, red, and white signs barring trucks, a height sign, and a sign that should bang off the top of an overheight vehicle at the only point the buses could have gotten on the road.

My only gripe is that the banging sign says "CARS LY" Are they saying that passenger vehicles are inherently dishonest?

As I've ponted out several times in the past

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the "height" signs on the entrance ramps don't indicate the actual clearance. Given that it is standard practice to post "low clearance" signs for certain heights (IIRC up to 15 feet) that are above the legal maximum heights for trucks (without a permit), doesn't suprise me that the lack of the actual clearance is confusing out of state drivers.

And it still would be far more useful to provide the low clearance and "No Trucks or Buses" information at a point BEFORE the driver has already comitted to entering the roadway.

Does that work?

I mean, the Australians have serious problems with their harbor tunnels despite some pretty extreme/epic warnings, and then there's the 11foot8.com website with all the things that have been done to prevent trucks from smacking the trestle ... and yet drivers still ignore them.

With the exception of snow and ice removal

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in the winter, Storrow and Memorial Drives are under the jurisdiction of the DCR, not MassDOT. As I've stated in previous posts, DCR's priority in maintaining the "parkways" is asthetics, not safety or standardization. That's the real issue that needs to be addressed here - and it's not just in regards to the inadequate low clearance warnings.

Of course, common sense and logic would dictate that a transportation agency (MassDOT) should be controlling highways like Storrow and Memorial Drives instead of a glorified parks department (DCR). Then again, this is Massachusetts we're dealing with.

DCR controls the parkways

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DCR controls the parkways because of fear that MassDOT would act treat Parkways like mini-highways or attempt to turn them into full blown highways like the MDC kept trying to do in its orgy of expanding patronage construction projects during the 1950s.

Guess what anon

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They're highways used by lots of through traffic every day. Now, I do agree that turning these roads into ten lane freeways (even if it were physically possible) is nonsense. However, to argue that these roads shouldn't have standard width lanes or proper signing for purely subjective reasons (aesthetics and/or "historical" importance), or because of this long outdated notion that they are really "parkways" intended for recreational traffic, is equally nonsense.

Just another example of this habit Massachusetts has of making policy on baseless and paranoid fears (and minority interests) instead of applying reason and common sense.

No they are not.

They're highways

Just because a large number of assholes treat them that way, does not actually make them highways.

Teaching buses not to use Storrow Drive.

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The reality of the situation on our highways is that there is a lot of contempt for highway safety among the folks who post signs and among the folks who enforce laws.

There are electric signs over our super highway which encourage bad drivers to block the second and third lanes. The law is: "Keep right except when passing." What is put on the signs translates as it is ok to block the second and third lanes, just do not block the left lane.

Signs are posted on protected intersections telling drivers to ignore the pedestrian lights. Drivers are told to yield to pedestrians no matter how stupidly they behave and whether or not the pedestrians have a do not walk light. The law is slow down for jaywalkers. It is not in the law that drivers must prostate themselves to pedestrian stupidity no matter how stupit.

Drive down those super highways and elsewhere. Look at the behavior of cop cars: tailgating, refusal to use turn signals, no problems with stupid blocking of intersections, etc.

The reality is that New England has contempt for highway safety and highway signs. The signs are ignored because the folks who put them up have contempt for their own work.

You could start by meaningfully requiring folks in these positions to know how to drive, but I realize that such dreams are probably impossible, especially as I go through the registry manual and see the registry telling folks to yield to tailgaters, among other things.