Living on storrowed time

Bus stuck on Storrow Drive

Rick Schimpf paid his regards to the bus whose driver rather suddenly discovered was somewhat taller than 11 feet, shortly before 11 a.m. on Storrow Drive inbound by the BU exit.



Free tagging: 


Maybe someday we will fix the

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Maybe someday we will fix the actual problem and improve signage?

Nah, too logical, damn truck drivers are stupid!

The signing needs to be BEFORE the ramps

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not on them. Because the goal should be to prevent overheight vehicles from getting on the highway in the first place, not warning them AFTER they're committed to entering, or when they're on the road about to crash into an overpass.

And how do we get adequate signing. Step 1 - rid ourselves of this silly notion that Storrow Drive is a parkway. Step 2 - transfer ownership from DCR to MassDOT and get proper signing installed prior to the entrance ramps.

Barring that

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I'm still a big fan of a giant I-beam hung from 2 other I-beams at 11' off the ground over every entrance ramp as deterrent AND preventative.

The problem with that

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The problem with that solution is now you need signage further off. When a bus like this crashes into the I beam people could be killed.

Low hanging chains in conjunction with the nationally recognized signage for low clearance seem to be a safer option.

Or just fix the signs.

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Or just fix the signs.

MassDOT isn't exactly a star in the well-designed signage contest.

Problem fix

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will be autonomous buses with a driver not in charge of route selection.

Current Problem

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Computer now in charge of route selection.

Good lord it is signed plenty well.

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The only way for an overheight vehicle to get on that stretch of roadway is off of Cambridge St.

Here's the "no trucks" sign on Cambridge. Small and easy to miss, I'll admit.

Now, here's the second no trucks sign on the ramp.

But you're not stuck yet, because you can still exit around the Doubletree. Here's the third and fourth sign, one which says "ALL TRUCKS EXIT NEXT RIGHT" and another no trucks.

Now if you've missed those four signs, here are signs 5 and 6, bracketing the on-ramp (trucks use the roadway to this point to access Houghton Chemical and deliveries to the hotel), as well as the overhead "cars only" sign and the variable message board which may or may not work telling trucks to exit.

Sorry, but the state has put up more than enough signage. If you can't read those signs, you're too blind to be driving.

Strictly speaking

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It's a bus, not a truck (this time.)

But yeah, somehow the bus driver missed the 11 foot clearance sign with the "CARS ONLY" sign that hangs, oh, 11 feet off the ground right by the last point to exit.

I've never understood those who drive tall vehicles and aren't looking for signs like this when they are driving, leaving aside that there is GPS software that will direct you away from places where your vehicle can get wedged.

And yes, it should be noted that 5 of the no trucks signs are MUTCD compliant.

For one thing, the "clearance" signs at the entrances

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to Storrow Drive don't actually state the clearances on them. And "Danger Low Clearance" without stating what that clearance is an ineffective message. Especially for the guy from New Mexici who's passed a gazillion low clearance signs on the Interstate for overpasses he's been able to safely pass underneath.

And how many times does it need to be repeated here - the "NO CARS" rubber baby buggy bumpers are likely disregarded by drivers because they bear no resemblance in any way shape or form to OFFICIAL traffic signs.

As I've stated, want to really minimize this problem. Then do what MassDOT does at the entrances to the O'Neill tunnel - place LARGE directional signs that include PROMINENT banners reading "CLEARANCE 9-'6" (lowest clearance along Storrow Drive) and "NO TRUCKS OR BUSES". Perhaps if thje DCR would wake up and realize that Storrow Drive is NOT a recreational parkway, but a principal arterial highway AND that providing proper signing is more important than aesthetics, then we'd have a real shot at preventing these types of incidents from occurring.

And this is hardly a new problem - it's been happening regularly since the 1970s. That tells me it's more than a handful of inattentive drivers at play here.

For one thing, the "clearance

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For one thing, the "clearance" signs at the entrances to Storrow Drive don't actually state the clearances on them.


Side note: Adam, is it possible to embed images in comments? I feel like I've seen it done before, but I can't get the html code for it to work.

Like this


only you replace the () with []

Then you set the "Text Format" below to "Filtered HTML"

Like so:

No it's not. Look at the

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No it's not. Look at the location again. If you're facing that sign, and realize you're too tall, you can turn right. I'll admit there isn't a full complement of "overheight trucks, this way!" signs leading them back out to Cambridge St, but it is perfectly easy to figure out.

These signs are NOT after you've committed to entering the highway.

"Now, here's the second no

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"Now, here's the second no trucks sign on the ramp."

A sign on the RAMP to enter the roadway is in no way an adequate piece of signage. Signs need to be BEFORE the ramp.

It is if there is another

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It is if there is another exit from the ramp, which in this case there is. The first 4 signs are located before you commit to getting on Storrow.

They are nowhere near large

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They are nowhere near large enough when you consider the consequences. The google photos linked in this thread make that more than apparent.

If Storrowing was a very rare

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If Storrowing was a very rare occurrence (say, a couple of times of year), then it would be fair to lay 100% of the blame on the drivers and 0% of the blame on the signage.

But, Storrowing is much more frequent. when you have a situation like that, then the blame shifts to the people responsible for the signage and who set the standards for the signage. They are not meeting the needs of their users.


I'm sympathetic with people who get storrowed. If you come from a place where you've never seen a low bridge on a main road, even if the sign is screaming at you, your brain won't be able to process it. I grew up in NM. I never encountered a situation where any vehicle or 18 wheeler couldn't get under an overpass. I'm sure I would have storrowed a UHual if I were new to the city. "Huh, what do you mean low clearance? This is a busy road, why would they build an overpass that low?" CRASH

I'm guessing

That out thar in New Mexicky CARS ONLY means y'can't ride yer ponies on th hahway?

I'm guessing that people in

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New Mexici, and most of the rest of the country for that matter, don't recognize that rubber baby buggy bumpers on chains with lettering that looks like it was applied by an eight year old are intended to be substitutes for actual traffic signs.

The Federal MUTCD sure doesn't. And truck drivers aren't supposed to be mind readers. Especially when complying with a non-official looking sign that gives no clue about the actual hazard (low clearance) and requires one to back up.

The Federal MUTCD sure doesn

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The Federal MUTCD sure doesn't.

However, the giant "CARS OLNY" signs are in ADDITION TO what the MUTCD requires. All the MUTCD requires is the small signs seen on each side here:

So DCR is going above and beyond what the MUTCD requires, yet there are still Storrowings. Hmmmmmm........

One flaw...

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That looks like a Mass plate on that bus.

Not a MA plate

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I zoomed in with the browser as close as it could get and I still couldn't make out the state. The word on the top of the plate, could be APPORTIONED.