Thanks, Obama: Cambridge traffic to be a living hell tomorrow evening

Elizabeth reports:

Harvard just sent notice that most of Harvard Sq will be closed to cars 4-6:30pm tomorrow. Major traffic issues expected.

The president will be in town for fundraisers.

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    Comments

    Cool!

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    A Harvard Square without cars has always been a fantasy of mine.

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    Right?

    Bill Clinton jogged the streets of DC when he was in office, and the Secret Service jogged along with him. They can't hop on a bicycle?

    That is, of course, if Barry O has previously thumped his chest about how everybody should cycle.

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    Yeah, why bother trying to

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    Yeah, why bother trying to keep the leader of the free world safe, right?

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    What's wrong with going to

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    What's wrong with going to extremes to keep the leader of the free world safe from the people of the free world? Freedom.

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    Good advice

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    Yes, a town of 100,000 people of various walks of life with the best live music in the area, great bars and restaurants, and interesting neighborhoods that you can easily walk or ride public transit to is "dreadful". Please Markk02474 and Lmo continue to avoid it as much as possible.

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    Adam

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    Have you considered adding a "Wingo" feature to this site?

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    Since when

    Has Harvard Square not been a living hell at those hours?

    I mean, if you drive through there you volunteer for the joy of being a part of a massive traffic jam anyway ... but it has been thus for at least 30 years.

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    Around the Charles Hotel & Kennedy School

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    The announcement sent to Harvard employees mentions JFK Street between Memorial Drive and Mount Auburn Street; Eliot Street; Bennett Street; University Road; parts of Winthrop and South Streets next to JFK Street; and part of Memorial Drive near JFK Street as the streets that will be closed. Mount Auburn Street, Brattle Street, and Mass. Ave. are NOT among the streets mentioned as being closed. So it sounds like the main portion of the square will be open, except, of course, during the few minutes when the dignitary actually passes through. The real pain will be the closure of JFK Street; no word on the Anderson Bridge.

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    W/Calahan closed, this will be a traffic nightmare

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    Traffic is bad enough trying to get from Boston North, but with President Obama in town, they will close one of the two routes left across the harbor. I am not going into work tomorrow. It's just not worth it.

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    Okay, can you explain how

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    Okay, can you explain how there is a route from the airport to Boston that includes Harvard Square?

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    Usually, the preferred route

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    Usually, the preferred route for Obama to get from Boston Logan to Cambridge is via the Williams Tunnel, to the Pike Westbound, coming off at River Street to cross the river, then along Memorial Drive to JFK Street. I have no idea if that's the route he'll use this particular time - although the Secret Service generally prefers the Williams Tunnel/Pike because they're limited access, lined with walls, and thus relatively easy to secure.

    While he's on these roads, they're shut. While he passes under a bridge, officers stop traffic from crossing the bridge. The whole closure doesn't last terribly long. But shutting down the Pike westbound at rush hour creates a mess that spills over throughout the area, even if it's just for fifteen minutes.

    I agree with other posters that these precautions are...absurd. But it's a mistake to blame Obama for them. They come from a security bureaucracy that has every incentive to err on the side of caution, and remarkably little incentive to take into account the costs, direct and indirect, of its actions. They did the same for President Bush. And if Obama is succeeded by, say, President Chris Christie, and he wants to pay us a visit? Well, it'll be time for some traffic problems in Boston. Again.

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    Your route from Somerville to

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    Your route from Somerville to East Boston includes a jaunt down Mass Ave and through Harvard Square at rush hour? What if you were to take one of these newfangled "highways" I keep hearing about? Then, during the time you save, you could hit yourself repeatedly in the temple with a ball-peen hammer, to simulate the effect of sitting in Harvard Square five days a week.

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    This is the 21st century,

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    This is the 21st century, some of the biggest tech companies are US brain trusts, DARPA has a budget bigger than most small 3rd world countries, and the NSA has some control of every bit of communications equipment in the country. So why can the president appear in some super 3d holographic teleconference and spare the rest of us the cost of travel, security, and commuting headaches?

    In person appearances are so 20th century at this point.

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    Remember when presidents didn't get

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    More credible death threats than any other president in history? Remember when washed up attention-whore hacks like Sarah Palin didn't go on the news moaning about how she wished that her president was more like...Vladimir Putin? Is that more the style you're looking for?

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    Proof?

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    Can you cite where you got the "fact" that Obama has had more death threats than any other president in history?

    Pretty sure Palin (who I am NOT a fan of) was only brought back into the spotlight because Obama and his people made a joke out of her after she said Russia would invade Ukraine if there wasn't a strong response to their actions in Georgia. Much like his snide comment to Romney about Russia not being a geopolitical threat, it was just flat out incorrect and I can see Palin/Romney wanting a little "told you so" time.

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    It sounds as if

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    There's no real way to measure the number of death threats and "credible" threats--after the reports of skyrocketing death threats made after Obama's election the head of the secret service said that no, they were about the same as for the prior two presidents. And that seems to be the last time anyone spoke on the subject--five years ago. But do you really doubt that with the type of rhetoric we've been hearing that it is wildly untrue? And if not does that somehow lend credence to the notion that taking security measures makes him a "pussy" unlike...again, I'm not sure who the ideal in presidential machismo we're aiming for here.

    As far as I can see, Palin has never willingly disappeared from the spotlight--why she thinks she has the insight to opine about Russia (I'll resist the obvious punch line here) or to compare the US president unfavorably to Putin is beyond me.

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    An aside , maybe he can

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    An aside , maybe he can splain this....... Using 8 TV shows to understand Obamacare.........

    Americans have started shopping for coverage on the new health insurance marketplaces, or exchanges, ahead of more big changes from the Affordable Care Act, the US health care makeover commonly known as Obamacare.

    Experts familiar with the far-reaching law say health care reform means different things for different people, depending on where they live, their income, whether their employer currently offers coverage, and numerous other factors.

    “There’s no one-size-fits-all here,” says Gerry Wedig, a professor and health care economist with the Simon School of Business at the University of Rochester. “It’s a complex law designed to further regulate a very fragmented market.”

    You don’t hear about Obamacare much during prime-time TV. But what if art imitated real life and Walter White took a break from “cooking” to look for coverage for his family, or the “2 Broke Girls” were worried about the individual mandate—the requirement starting in January that practically every American must have insurance or face a penalty

    http://www.boston.com/business/healthcare/2013/10/02/using-shows-underst...

    Print press only, and the Q&A

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    Print press only, and the Q&A portion is supposedly off the record. If only say, a waiter or somebody, would sneak in a video camera... Nah, that only happens to the other side.

    The MBTA could have put signs on Mt Auburn St bus stops

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    The horribly run and always-in-debt MBTA couldn't afford to pay someone for the few minutes of extra time it would have taken to place signs on the Mt Auburn St bus stops that were closed due to Obama's fund-raising visit. So some commuters were left waiting forever for #71 and #73 buses that never arrived. Many got a hint that something was up because there was no traffic on the street, but it's often the case that streets that are shut down for other events still let bus traffic come through.

    Maybe bus commuters should be happy that Obama's budget proposes money for the MBTA to finally extend the Green Line?

    No. I see this as just another example of how nearly everything done by elected officials in either party is designed to deprive the general population while granting access to the wealthy. It's just too much for the President to expect the wealthiest Bostonian donors to take the time to drive to some hotel out near Hanscom AFB and leave the city center free for people who actually work for a living. They're more important than him or us.

    Goddammit. I grew up in a nation of citizens, and now it's just a nation of "stakeholders." What's wrong with you people who keep voting for the same two parties over and over? Time to withdraw into a dreamworld. Yes, President Jill Stein would not have done this to Cambridge on a Wednesday.

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    Not to ignore your larger

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    Not to ignore your larger point, but I'm curious about the bus issue. I went home on the 71 fairly early, probably around 5:10, and it definitely picked up on Mt. Auburn, even the first stop. They weren't originally planning on closing Mt. Auburn, were they? I had checked online before leaving work and there was an alert that the 66 and 86 were diverted between 1:30 and 6:30 and not picking up on Eliot Street, but there was nothing at that time (4:15 or so) that the 71/73 were going to be diverted or have any stops closed. I wonder when they made the decision to make changes, and why. Do you know where they were rerouting the buses?

    Part of the Obama fundraising

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    Part of the Obama fundraising traffic blockade was in Brattle Square between Brattle St and Mt Auburn St, so, come to think of it, the 71 was probably not rerouted because it passes under Harvard station opening its left-side doors like the electric streetcars usually do. But because the 73s haven't been electric for months, they've usually been coming out of the station with passengers on the side of Cambridge Common and looping back through the center of Harvard and Brattle Squares and down to Mt Auburn St. The 73 detour earlier today took them up Brattle Street (instead of Mt Auburn St) all the way down to Hawthorn (or maybe WIllard?) before heading down to Mt Auburn again. Three stops on Mt Auburn were skipped, and the first one was crowded with a teeming and furious mob who had been waiting for a 73 for weeks while a bunch of 71s passed by.

    However, I didn't check to be sure what individual members of the mob at the bus stop was thinking, and I didn't exactly search around for a long time for a sign, and heading down into the station itself is just a short walk away, so I'm not a 100% trustworthy source and I might just be some anonymous Cantabridgian making things more dramatic than they actually were in order to make a larger political point which you have successfully not ignored.

    Why couldn't they return the

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    Why couldn't they return the 73 to its normal pre-construction route yesterday, boarding in the tunnel's lower level?

    If diesel buses like the 77 can let people off on the lower level from the right-side door against the wall, why can't the 73 board that way for one afternoon?

    Why can't 73 board that way

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    Why can't 73 board that way every day during the construction instead of inconveniencing commuters by looping around through the square? I don't know. I'm not with the MBTA. I could make something up involving the Americans with Disabilities Act or safety/security issues, but it would probably be wrong.

    It could be an ADA issue, if

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    It could be an ADA issue, if they can't use the wheelchair ramp against the wall on the lower level. But how do they unload the 77? And is there even a ramp at the left-side doors on the trackless trolleys?

    It could also be an efficiency issue. It might be a lot quicker to send buses through the northbound tunnel, and immediately back south on surface streets through the Square to Mt Auburn Street, versus looping all the way around the Common. Since running buses on the 73 already causes an inefficiency by not allowing them to share the usual odd number of trolleys between the 71 and 73, maybe they needed to squeeze a few extra minutes off the 73 diesel runs in order to maintain a schedule while not breaking the budget. In this case, they should be able to change things for a few hours on one afternoon.

    Gosh, I'm sorry, I was

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    Gosh, I'm sorry, I was genuinely curious about the bus issue because I hadn't experienced it and by the time I read your post any alert that might have been up was no longer there. I just actually don't give a shit about your politics. Feel free to be unreasonably offended by assumptions you'd like to ascribe to me that I didn't make, though.

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    Huh? I thought it was amusing

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    Huh? I thought it was amusing for you to start out a comment with "Not to ignore your larger point..." and then to ignore my larger point. I'm not offended by anything you wrote and I don't think I'm making assumptions about anything you've written, but thank you for giving me the freedom to feel that way. If you're looking for confirmed facts to fulfill your curiosity about the rerouting of bus 73 during Obama's visit, contacting the MBTA is definitely the way to go.