Trump protesters unfurl banner over Rte. 2; promise to take it down

Trump tax protest over Rte. 2 in Arlington

David Weininger spotted a Trump tax-protest sign on the pedestrian bridge over Rte. 2 in Arlington this morning. He reports the protesters fastened a smaller sign for DPW workers on the back of the sign:

Promise to take sign down

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What

the protesters fastened a smaller sign for DPW workers on the back of the sign

Pike as well

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There's one over the Pike as well, I want to say near Kenmore but I could be misremembering.

Um, no.

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If you don't care enough about your issue to be present along with your sign, why shouldn't it be taken down immediately?

With That Logic, Take Down All The Flags

I travel a lot around New England. On a number of highway overpasses there are American flags, Service Flags, POW-MIA Flags, Gadsden (Tea Party / Don't Tread On Me) Flags, strung from overpasses, 24/7, 365 days a year. .

Somehow, I never see people standing next to these overpass flags. It is a form of political speech, and if you think it isn't, it is, as is this banner. The flags on overpasses took off after 9/11 and has not let up in some places, but somehow you appear to feel differently about this form of patriotic speech versus the other.

As a Boy Scout I was taught the Flag Code, which isn't law by the way, only a guideline. I was taught to never let it touch the flag touch the ground, salute the flag when in uniform, fold it properly, display it property, and keep it lit at night if you are to display it at night.

If you want go see, look at Main Street in Acushnet over 195 and Route 140 over 495 in Franklin. They typically have the most flair. I'm sure you can go ask the local DPW office to take down that form of political speech, and they will treat you with the utmost grace and respect, maybe. At least the people with the banner over Route 2 have that.

MA helps with the flags

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When this first started happening, many of the flags and signs were not fastened well and there was concern about them falling off, hitting cars and so on. The state decided to be proactive, and helped people design signs that will stay up. Not sure if there are official guidelines, but I do remember reading about this in the paper.

Right.

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This is exactly like a banner welcoming the troops coming home after a deployment.

That's the same reason I want

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That's the same reason I want reps from all the companies with billboards to stand out there all day while I drive past. I mean, I'm driving, so it's not like we will talk or anything, but we just can't have unaccompanied signs in this day and age.

A thoughtful gesture I guess,

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A thoughtful gesture I guess, but if a public works employee (or more realistically a MassDOT D4 employee) were out there to read that, it would mean they had already been sent out to take it down. So you've already created extra work for them. And taxpayers have already incurred the extra expense of sending someone out to take it down.

"extra work"

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Are they being called in from home on a day off? Working unpaid OT? If they're clearing this sign during working hours, is that really "extra work"?

Guess you're right

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Yeah, there's really nothing else in Boston they could be fixing or cleaning up, we run a pretty tight ship here.

Guess YOU'RE right

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Yeah, I'm sure that removing this sign will go right to the top of the fix-or-clean-up list, to the exclusion of all else, and everything else will collapse into decay and fetor as a result.

Have you heard of this thing...

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...called "the tragedy of the commons"? It's when people just do whatever they feel like, straining resources meant for the public via selfish acts (intentionally or unintentionally). Consuming city or state resources when we are in a condition well below "everything's okey-dokey, let's rest on our laurels" means that yes, with finite manpower in a finite workday, sending a crew out to Arlington to remove an illegal sign that COULD (not 'will for sure') pose a hazard to motorists does consume time that could be allocated otherwise, content of the sign notwithstanding.

I have indeed heard of this thing

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I have indeed heard of this thing. I'm just curious why you decided that this will be the hill you die on. Were you equally wrought up over the yellow ribbons and flags and SUPPORT THE TROOPS signs?

"content of the sign notwithstanding"

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I'm a liberal who voted against Trump and rolls my eyes at ostentatious pro-military displays, actually. The only thing I'm arguing with are people who are trying to say that dismantling a potentially hazardous, unapproved, illegal banner is somehow zero work for the people whose job it is to do that. It's insane. The content of the message does not make the action the correct one.

E: I guess, to try to stretch that gray matter, how would you feel if that banner was a handmade pro-Trump MAGA banner, or pro-ICE, and had a similar note left on the back saying "Please don't touch, I'll remove it soon"? Would you be cool with it being left up?

Would I be cool with it?

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E: I guess, to try to stretch that gray matter, how would you feel if that banner was a handmade pro-Trump MAGA banner, or pro-ICE, and had a similar note left on the back saying "Please don't touch, I'll remove it soon"? Would you be cool with it being left up?

I sure wouldn't be in a froth about it, or pointing it out as if it were some kind of unique burden to the highway department/those in charge of dismantling such things. Maybe it's just years of experience of driving Massachusetts highways and seeing signs, solo cups, yellow ribbons, flowers, crosses, etc. beside every road and hanging from every overpass. I don't see people getting up in arms about those. What makes this one special apart from the content?

Oooh, we're getting closer to agreement!

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some kind of unique burden to the highway department/those in charge of dismantling such things.

Ok let's get rid of some extraneous adjectives. Do you agree with my one and only point that I have been arguing, which is that assembling such a banner is:

a burden to the highway department/those in charge of dismantling such things

Fail

I am sure there are things they could fix in Boston. Because the bridge is in Arlington, they wouldn't be fixing those things even if there were no sign on it.

wow. much fail. very lol.

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I know Arlington isn't in Boston, but is it not in Massachusetts either??? Because the comment thread I was replying to was referencing MassDOT... jeez, news to me.

I doubt they'd call in

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I doubt they'd call in someone on OT, but some dispatcher had to tell an employee to go grab the necessary tools and drive over there in a state vehicle to take it down.

Even though it's during working hours, that doesn't mean it's not "extra work". The state doesn't employ a bunch of people to sit around doing nothing, so anything outside of planned work is "extra work" that costs the state - whether it be through additional fuel and supplies, or the necessary labor delaying other things the employee otherwise would have been doing.

So...

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...when someone's trash barrel blows onto Route 2 and someone has to go and remove it because it's a traffic hazard (a real one, not an imagined one like this sign), they put that down in a category called "extra work"?

Intentionality makes a big difference.

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Someone's trash barrel blowing onto Route 2 is an accident. These things happen. This is what DOT deals with. Trees fall, deer get hit, trash barrels blow away. Unless it was due to unusual negligence or a repeated issue, generally society views things differently whether there was intention behind the act. If I trod on your foot on the T by accident, you are likely to forgive me. If I trod on your foot on purpose, probably less so.

I guess to tweak your metaphor, imagine someone throwing their trash barrel into the road with a note taped to it saying "Don't worry, I'll come get this later! You don't have to gather this!"

Yes, that definitely counts

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Yes, that definitely counts as "extra work". That person likely got pulled off of something else to go respond to that traffic hazard.

Same as any other unforeseen circumstance.

However, something like a trash barrel blown onto the highway would likely be removed by a police officer and never even involve the DOT. The difference with that is that it can be done in 30 seconds by anyone, and doesn't require any sort of tools, like cutting this sign down.

Because...

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...we remove graffiti immediately. Or at all.

Yes we try to, Boston has a

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Yes we try to, Boston has a dedicated 311 category and the T has a graffiti hotline to call.

Hotline

the T has a graffiti hotline to call.

Not sure if I should make a rotary phone, or morse code joke. Just pretend I made whichever you'd find funnier.

Carry on.

"Since we're promising to

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"Since we're promising to remove it tonight, that means it's okay for us to us the state's highways for our political speech."

also...

"Our political message is sincere and populist/real-people/working class/______ (fill in the blank), therefore it's okay and shouldn't open a can of worms obligating the State to allow equal access time on the fences for anybody else's political speech 'cause they're crackpots!"

Honestly - Folks, just stop now before you ruin everything.

The "unwritten" rule of a flag or banner being allowed on an overpass fence for something personal like a funeral procession or a military unit deploying/returning (as long as it gets removed within 48 hours) seems to work. Can't we just leave well enough alone?

Because...

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It is potentially dangerous to the motoring public

Because it's dangling down and blocking windshields? Well, no.
Because it's obscuring a sign? Nope, doesn't seem like that's the case either.
Because there aren't other unnecessary items hanging from other overpasses, particularly of the red white and blue variety? Uh uh.

Because it's promoting an idea that you find threatening? Well...

Not quite

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There is a law against hanging things there for a good reason. It has nothing to do with my personal politics. Things have a tendency to dislodge and potentially cause accidents, be it a flag, banner or effigy. Plus it's ugly

Please explain

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Why all the plastic cups were allowed?

Even beyond the potential to

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Even beyond the potential to become dislodged and potentially cause an accident, things like this are also a distraction to drivers.

It also may run afoul of billboard regs.

A distraction to drivers

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things like this are also a distraction to drivers

Nonsense. I drive that stretch frequently, and there are plenty of other things equally distracting that no one sees the need to regulate away, and that show no evidence of causing accidents. You're gonna sprain something if you keep reaching so hard.

I'm not doing your homework

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I'm not doing your homework for you, but many studies have shown that billboards are distracting (that is the point after all, for you to notice them!). Things like this just add to the clutter even more.

Every second a driver's eyes are on something other than the road is another chance for them to miss something - another car changing lanes in front of them, debris in the road, etc.

Best engineering practice is to minimize things that take drivers' eyes off the road. Especially things that drivers might find amusing or want to share with others. Which is why those humorous messages MassDOT has been posting on message boards around the state lately are so bad.

Please give examples of other things equally distracting though. Because I bet I can explain them away.

Please

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I'm not doing your homework for you, but many studies have shown that billboards are distracting

And that's why we're getting rid of them, right?

Every second a driver's eyes are on something other than the road is another chance for them to miss something - another car changing lanes in front of them, debris in the road, etc.

Oh, is that why Massachusetts had such an easy time passing a law outlawing using cellphones while driving? Oh wait...

Please give examples of other things equally distracting though. Because I bet I can explain them away.

I believe I just did.

And that's why we're getting

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And that's why we're getting rid of them, right?

Some places are getting rid of billboards. More places ought to. The problem is that they're a lucrative revenue stream that many places are hesitant to give up. So it comes down to money winning out over safety.

Oh, is that why Massachusetts had such an easy time passing a law outlawing using cellphones while driving? Oh wait...

Are you referring to texting while driving? Because I don't remember there being any difficulty at all passing that. As for cell phone use while driving, that's still legal. And irrelevant to this discussion, since it is distracting for a different reason than having to take your eyes off the road.

I believe I just did.

Believe it all you want, but the only things you even vaguely alluded to in this comment were cell phones and billboards. I actually brought up billboards myself, and they are regulated. So that doesn't fit your narrative. And cell phones are not specific to that stretch of Route 2, and again, they are regulated.

You said you could give other examples of things along that stretch of Route 2 equally distracting that we don't see the need to regulate. Please provide said examples.

Passengers are distracting, too

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We should ban them from cars. Children, too.

If you can't deal with a banner or a billboard or other visual stimuli, I'm betting that you really should not be driving at all, at any time, anywhere, ever.

Unfortunately, and this seems

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Unfortunately, and this seems to be what you guys are missing, we have to design roads for the lowest common denominator. Many Americans should NOT have drivers licenses. But because having access to a car is so ingrained in our culture, I don't see that changing any time soon. Therefore we have to design things to be as idiot-proof as possible.

You also have to pick your battles. The goal is reducing driver distraction as much as possible. It's not feasible to require cars have a separate, isolated cabin for drivers so that no one else in the vehicle can distract them. That is neither feasible, not practical, for myriad reasons. Things like banners illegally hanging over freeways are something easily addressed.

You can't remove all distractions - but that doesn't mean you shouldn't try to remove the ones you easily can.

Gotta love it!!!

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Mr. "OMFG YOU CAN'T MAKE PEOPLE PROVE THEIR MEDICAL FITNESS TO DRIVE ONCE EVERY FIVE YEARS OMG OMG!!!" is now MR. SAFETY when it comes to stupid things like banners!

You really need to get your brain checked - or check some statistics on deaths and accidents caused by preventable and forseeable medical emergencies versus banners!

How about this-it should be

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How about this-it should be taken down because it can distract drivers. Let's say you or Adam or anyone else who thinks it's a cute sign and wants to snap a pic while already going 13 mph over the speed limit. Next thing you know, in the blink of and eye, you swerve and cause an accident.

As above

What are you planning to do about all the solo cups jammed into fences on overpasses throughout the area, announcing the arrival of returned soldiers and candidate's names and such?

There have been numerous instances of these things staying up until the cups crack.

These are also much harder to clean out/remove than a simple banner inside the fence.

"Numerous instances"

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Care to provide specific examples for our edification.

And just because MassDOT may have not removed the solo cups fast enough to satisfy you, doesn't make banners like this one less illegal then they are.

What rock do you live under?

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Ever been on I-95 north of Saugus? or is that "West of Woostuh" for ya?

Every time somebody comes home from one or the other of our wars there are announcements of welcome. Also when there is a declaration of love or even a prom woo hoo! Spelled out in different colors of solo cups shoved in the hurricane fencing

Every stinking overpass, all summer long.

And how long do those displays remain up

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Not until the cups start to fall apart, as you have suggested.

And, despite the fact I commute to and from my office via the T, I do a fair amount of driving throughout the state. Mostly for my job, but personal driving as well. And I have yet to see a single overpass given the solo cup treatment where the cups remained in place for over a week at most.

BTW, I-95 does not go through Saugus.

Really? Can you honestly not

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Really? Can you honestly not think of how this would be potentially dangerous? People are distracted enough while driving(think of a cell phone) and putting a sign up will result in some people attempting to read whatever is on the sign.

Really? Do you not drive?

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Really? Can you honestly not think of how this would be potentially dangerous?

Really? Have you honestly never driven a car? Your threshold for "potentially dangerous" is absurdly low; I assure you that if you ever drive a car in the Boston area, you'll see many more "potentially dangerous" things that you don't seem in a twist about. Could it be you're advocating selective enforcement?

And so you're saying taking

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And so you're saying taking you eyes off the road even a split second is not "potentially dangerous?" Based on other responses, they are in agreement with me. I'm not advocating anything, just agreeing with others that this banner(or others like it) could be dangerous(i.e. distract drivers). You essentially made the idiotic claim that this is by no means dangerous because its not like "...it's dangling down and blocking windshields..."

Hey everyone!

Based on other responses, they are in agreement with me.

Care to play "count the logical fallacies"?

Honey, if something like this would cause you to run off the road, do us all a favor and turn in your license now before you kill somebody.

The banner is over the road

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Quick glance up to read the banner, and suddenly you hit the car that abruptly stopped in front of you. Considering how the traffic at this location can back up, it's not an unreasonable scenario. And it's TOTALLY PREVENTABLE by the simple expedient of removing the banner in the first place.

Every banner?

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And it's TOTALLY PREVENTABLE by the simple expedient of removing the banner in the first place.

So you're gonna get right on that, then? Removing every banner?

All banners illegally hung

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All banners illegally hung like this are just that - illegal. They are a distraction to drivers and should be removed.

Allowing one to stay 'because there are others that haven't been removed' is a very bad precedent to set.

Let's Be Real Here

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People only want a banner removed if it promotes an ideology different from their own. You could have two banners of identical size, material, color, font, etc, with one reading "Stop the Tyrant Trump" and the other reading "Stop the Tyrant Obama" and the people who want one taken down as a distraction would say the other is no different from a DOT-issued highway sign.

Actually, no. I want the

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Actually, no. I want the banner removed, but I am not a Trump supporter. In fact, quite the opposite.

The ideology doesn't matter. Driver distractions are driver distractions.

So

Since you are now into safety, then I assume that you now support the idea of requiring drivers to demonstrate that they have had a recent physical to renew their license? I seem to remember that you had a rather intensely irrational reaction to that idea despite evidence presented given your "SAFETY SAFETY SAFETY" chant here.

Or are you going to even try to argue that banners harm or kill more people than preventable medical emergencies on the roads?

Or make other disingenuous statements from your strawhorse regarding road safety.

I don't remember exactly what

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I don't remember exactly what I said (or even remember which post those were comments on so that I could find it again). So I'm not going to try and defend statements I made then.

However, the difference here is the practicality. Yes, absolutely, preventable medical emergencies on the roads likely injure more people than drivers distracted by banners. But that is not an argument for why banners should be made legal. They're still a distraction, and a very easy distraction to eliminate.

You can't eliminate every danger on our roads - some are a lot easier than others. Removing illegal banners and similar driver distractions are cheap, quick, and easy. Changing the whole country's licensing procedures requires a LOT of political will that just isn't there, and a major shift in everything from social services to urban planning and transportation policy (so that people who shouldn't be driving for medical reasons are able to still get around and function in society - not everyone is lucky enough to live where there's public transportation), not to mention lots of time and money. I'm not saying that shouldn't happen - I'm just saying that there are other, easier things to do to make the roads safer.

I've always been "into safety". As a civil engineer, I have to be. The first canon of the American Society of Civil Engineers' code of ethics, states that "Engineers shall hold paramount the safety, health and welfare of the public". And that is what I'm doing here. You can call my statements disingenuous all you want, but I stand by them. Banners hung over freeways are a distraction to drivers, and should remain illegal. It doesn't matter if there are other things that are also distracting. It doesn't matter if there are other causes of injuries and fatalities on our highways. Grab the low-hanging fruit while climbing towards the higher stuff.

And at this point I'm not even sure what you guys are arguing anymore. This has just devolved into personal attacks and I'm losing interest in responding to them.

Oh, sure

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Just wanted to point out an error if he wanted to correct it. Meant no animosity by it.

Posters, banners & signs are

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Posters, banners & signs are giant wind-catchers, which leads to two potential hazards.
* some amateur does a bad job securing something like this to a fence or rail on an overpass - and the banner goes airborne, distracting drivers or hitting someone below.
* some amateur does a good job securing something like this to a fence or railing that ISN'T designed for the wind load - and damages it

When it's advertising or a political message, the state can't let it "stay up for just a little while" or "stay up because the person will take it down soon". If they let some advertising or political speech (or, really, just about any sort of speech) use the space, they have to let ALL advertisements/politics/speech use the space.

Also, speaking of "advertising" and billboards, I'm pretty sure there's some law on the books regulating placement of billboards - not much allowed over the road, needs some sort of lateral offset.