Is state partly to blame for weekend bus crash?

Paul Levy considers the latest news about the state of warning signs along Soldiers Field Road.



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Expecting the city & the state and the DPW to do more to save people from their own inattentiveness reminds me of the joke where a guy drowns in a flood while all the time believing God will save him.

When he gets to heaven he yells at God, saying 'why didn't you save me?' and God says 'I sent you two boats and a helicopter, what more did you want?'

I agree

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There are six signs he should've seen and because one of them was down, now it's the state's fault? Give me a break. Paul Levy needs to go back to not running a hospital.

Frankly, I think that the bus driver bears responsibility.

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Frankly, I think that the bus driver bears responsibility, not the state, in this particular instance. First of all, the bus driver should've been driving a little bit slower in the dark, especially when he had a bunch of other people in his charge at that time for whom he was responsible for protecting. Secondly, in any case, a professional bus driver should have enough sense not to go into a too-low tunnel, sign or no sign. If so many people fail to see those "cars only" signs for low underpasses, maybe the state should make bigger signs that really glow in the dark, and to also create warning signs for vehicles, especially trucks and buses, to slow down when it's dark, or when the weather's bad.

Are you people kidding?

This road is run by people who don't see fit to a) post big orange signs at all on-ramps telling you what the height limits are and b) can't even accomplish the simple task of placing roadside message boards informing people of a lane closure well in advance of the closure. In 2013, it shouldn't take WBZ to tell me why I'm standing still right after the Fenway exit on a Saturday afternoon.

The driver is clearly at fault, but the state is complacent at best and incompetent at worst. The worst part of all this is that nobody will learn a (expletive) thing from this. Gee whiz, we get happy hours banned in 1984 for one drunk driving death, but wreck a bus with 30 kids on it, and we don't appear to have taken any immediate tangible steps towards preventing these accidents. Maybe we cared more about safety in 1984 than we do now, I don't know, I was an infant.

Agree 100%. MA has the worst

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Agree 100%. MA has the worst traffic management (light timing, pedestrian signals, crosswalks, lane markings, loading zones, you name it) of any state that I've been in.

Poor signage around these low clearance bridges is merely a symptom of a larger problem.

Also agree

This state has the worst signage of any highways I've ever driven on. They can't even managed to post "Keep Right" signs (or "Merge" signs) at confusing intersections like the Rt. 2/Alewife Brook Parkway mess or the tangled spaghetti between the Eliot Bridge and BBN. And good luck if you expect to see either (a) the name of the road you're turning onto or (b) the cardinal direction. If if it isn't good enough to know that you're going towards "Newton", then fuck you.


Note that all the examples I cited are from DCR roads. Not to let the other state agencies off the hook (they're all pretty bad) but the DCR roads have atrociously bad signage and always have. The question isn't why this accident happened, but why it doesn't happen more often.

your exasperation with the

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your exasperation with the gubmint for not letting you know about lane closures has nothing to do with this. The question is was this driver given proper warning of danger he encountered.

Does anyone know where they got onto Soldiers Field Road? Everything I saw said they were coming from Harvard so I'm going to guess they got on at JFK/Harvard Street. If so he saw this:,-71.123491&s...

Not exactly subtle. Even take one away, your pick, and there is ample warning. I too am often exasperated by the various quirks of boston area traffic and management, but if the driver drove obliviously past these signs I don't think anyone can reasonably bitch about there not being enough signs (in this specific situation)

Google street views are not necessarily up to date

Sure, that's what it looked like when the Google Street View car took that photo in August 2009.

But did it look like that last Saturday night, when the bus driver saw it? Paul Levy says the 'CARS ONLY' rubber sign was missing, and some other commenters here agree. Without it, all you have is the much higher bar holding the DANGER LOW CLEARANCE sign -- with no sign that gives the actual clearance height.

I see a good case for contributory negligence on the DCR's part.

Yeah and "no busses" could be

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Yeah and "no busses" could be interpreted several ways.......

Sorry there are still 3 other signs in absence of the rubber bumper.

Do we need to have 4 stop signs in order to figure out an intersection?


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I miss the MetroParkways signage that the MDC used to have on Storrow and a few other roads (Fellsway?). It made the point that you were on a parkway and not a highway. And it was in a nice font that I found more readable than the mishmash of typography out there now.

Must say I always found "Cars Only" to be an odd statement. Perhaps "NO TRUCKS OR BUSES" along with a height limit would get the point across more clearly. Signage could definitely be better, but at least there are signs to warn trucks and buses that they don't belong. And bring back the cow bells!

Regardless, it's the driver's responsibility to know where he's going and pay attention to the signs that are there.

Needs more cowbell

And yeah, standardized "NO TRUCKS OR BUSES" signage, complete with height restrictions, would be a help, too.

"Cars only" isn't even correct, strictly speaking, since motorcycles are permitted on those roads.

Which leads me to be curious: was there ever a time, decades ago, when motorcycles were banned on Storrow and Memorial Drives? Motorcycle bans on "Parkways" used to be a fairly common thing all over the U.S.; when I was a child, for example, they were banned on the Garden State Parkway in NJ.

Limited access highways

State law prohibits it.

But I do get your point here - some of the same road warriors who whine about there not being enough sights to get through marblehead(s) are the ones who whine about bikes on the roads, too.

Bikes on limited access roads

The law says that the state can legally prohibit bicycles on limited access roads, but only by posting a sign saying so. I don't know if 'CARS ONLY' counts as such a sign.

I've never seen a 'No Bicycles' sign at any entrance to Storrow Drive or Soldiers Field Road, even though the state could legally post such signs there.

The DCR did try putting up such signs on Alewife Brook Parkway last year, but they were rightfully slapped down since Route 16 isn't even remotely a 'limited access' road. (The signs are gone now.)

Some blame has to go to the

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Some blame has to go to the fact that every other road in the Boston area is signed "NO TRUCKS", for no reason other than the residents don't like the noise.

Also didn't see any national standard point on end square height signs leading up to the bridge.

Don't like which noise?

The noise of cars getting scraped because the road is far too narrow to navigate turns in a truck? Ever see that colonial era road in Roxbury where the guy takes the pictures of stuck trucks trying to make a curve?