Soldiers Field Road
Paul Levy considers the latest news about the state of warning signs along Soldiers Field Road.
Paul Levy considers the weekend bus crash and recounts how the state solved the problem 30 years ago - by hanging cowbells from the warning signs at the entrances to Storrow Driver and Soldiers Field Road, after then MDC Commissioner Bill Geary told his underlings to call a cow farmer to ask where they got their bells:
The frequency of crashes in the underpasses went from one per week to less than one per year. ...
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts solved the problem of bus crashes on this road 30 years ago. A lack of maintenance or will or understanding on the part of the state administration caused this problem to recur this past weekend. It was, in a sense, inevitable.
And it will happen again and again unless the state agency gets it act together.
Meanwhile, Charles Bahne, who has led bus tours of the Boston area for 30 years, explains why he had trouble getting to sleep after hearing about the crash:
Clearly the driver was completely lost. He had not bothered to plan his route or to ask directions from anyone locally. When you, the bus driver, are responsible for the safety of 40 or 50 other people, that is the utmost of irresponsibility. And despite being lost, he was traveling at an excessive rate of speed.
WPVI in Philadelphia talked to the owner of the bus that crashed into the Western Avenue overpass last night:
"He said he looked at the GPS, looked down to make the turn and when he looked back up, the bridge was a low bridge, he hit the low bridge," said Talmedge.
Massachusetts State Police, however, say the driver should never have been there in the first place and that the entrances to Soldiers Field Road all have warning signs.
Is there any way to prevent this in the future? Clearly, the signs aren't working. Bring back the cowbells the old MDC used to attach to poles across onramps? Station troopers at every entrance? Suggestions?
Here are some thoughts from Twitter last night as the events unfolded:
Firefighters and EMTs are on Soldiers Field Road near the Genzyme plant trying to get people out of a bus that was too tall for the Western Avenue underpass it tried to traverse inbound around 7:30 p.m. State Police said the bus was "overheight."
The road is shut in both directions as firefighters and EMTs set up a triage area and order more backboards. Boston EMS says 32 passengers were injured; three of them critically. One of those had head trauma and required help breathing.
An hour later, two passengers were still trapped in the rear of the bus; not long after, firefighters got one of them out. The final passenger was extricated shortly before 9 p.m.
The Boston Fire Department reports the bus had just left Harvard on its way to Pennsylvania with 42 people on board, from a non-profit group's day trip to Harvard and Harvard Square. Federal records show Calvary Coach is a small charter company based in Philadelphia - with just two buses.
State Police say the road will remain shut for much of the night both for an investigation into the accident and for removing the bus.
More photos by Scott Eisen.
The Boston Licensing Board voted today to let the Soldiers Field McDonald's extend its closing time from 11 p.m. until 2 a.m.
At a hearing yesterday, representatives from the mayor's office and the Brighton Allston Improvement Association asked for an earlier closing time.
The mayor's office asked for midnight at the request of Boston Police and the neighborhood association asked for 1 a.m., saying it was concerned about the area being flooded by people getting out of area bars between 1 and 2 a.m.
The restaurant already has a 24-hour drive-thru and is near a 24-hour IHOP. It had originally sought 24-hour operations itself - in fact, was cited last year for opening around the clock without board approval - but scaled back to 2 a.m. after meeting with the BAIA.
Also today, the board voted to let the McDonald's open in the morning at 5 a.m., an hour earlier than previously.
The Soldiers Field McDonald's, which already has a 24-hour drive-thru, is seeking permission to keep its dining room open until 2 a.m.
The Boston Licensing Board considers the request at a hearing tomorrow.
Last year, the restaurant simply started running its dining room around the clock, figuring if the nearby IHOP could, so could it. Then, a Boston Police officer issued a citation and the franchisee learned you can't simply open a restaurant whenever you feel like it without permission of the licensing board.
McDonald's plans to seek permission to open the dining room at its Soldiers Field Road location around the clock - after learning it couldn't do so just because a franchisee felt like it.
Nicole Davis reports Soldiers Field Road by the Doubletree is shut as workers try to remove an oversized truck.
Dave Alpert discusses douche lanes - lanes on local roads that are full of douchebag motorists, such as the far right lane at "the end of Storrow Drive - where it forks into Soldier's Field Road and the bridge over to Fresh Pond Parkway." But he wonders: Do the roads turn people into Massholes or are Massholes just naturally attracted to them?
Nothing should stand between a girl and her Chanukah brisket, especially not the crappy, axle-cracking condition of Charles River Drive in Watertown, a grumpy Mels grumps.
Not as much as this guy. Fortunately, he knew how to swim.