Look, you can change the path of Rte. 1 so it no longer goes down the VFW Parkway, leading us to wonder how to tell people where the Dedham Mall used to be.
But now Channel 5 is running a poll to see if traffic reporters should start calling the highway between I-95 and the Braintree split I-93 instead of Rte. 128.
Listen, Cindy and Jeff: Leave it be! And dagnabbit, part of the fun of being a Boston driver is heading south on 128 and north on 93 at the same time. Newcomers get confused? Hey, newcomers don't know how to pronounce "Copley" or "Tremont," either, but they learn. So knock it off, 'kay?
Cindy and Jeff give today's blazingly obvious traffic tip: Don't speed on the Leverett Connector/Tobin loop ramps, and you probably won't plunge 70 feet into either sand or gravel.
Lewis Forman notes the latest plunging-vehicle news and wonders:
With another vehicle falling off the Leverett Connector loop and onto a vehicle 70 feet below, is it now time to say that ramp is extremely unsafe? I'm still grappling with how a 3 and a half foot (a personal guess) barrier is supposed to stop a vehicle from going over the edge. Even at low speeds, let alone a heavily loaded tractor trailer.
And why, in our infinite wisdom (don't we have MIT close by?), there wasn't a much safer design done? I'm sure the extra $300,000 or so on the bloated Big Dig project would have gone unnoticed. Kind of like the ceiling tiles in the Ted Williams Tunnel. ...
Yet another Charlestown ramp plunge.
... I do admit I have concerns of crime once moving to Boston, but that has more to do with the "unknown" factor and the fact that America is obsessed with guns. It most likely has also to do with the fact that I have been living on a small island almost no crime and the fact that I ever so often I forget my keys in the front lock overnight and nothing ever happens. The idea of locking my accessible windows seems odd to me.
But again a five year old gets shot, for that five year old the fact that he is more likely been hit by a car than a gun doesn't matter, period. As long as you are not victim of either these data might be marginal meaningful, once you part of the data it's not.
A very special kind of idiot, according to Cindy at SmartRoutes, who reports watching him (via a traffic camera on the Fortress building) cross the highway rather than use the nearby Southampton Street overpass:
... For the next several minutes, we watched as he stood against the guardrail in the breakdown lane and seemingly waited for the right time to dart into highway traffic. There is no right time to dart into traffic, by the way. He stepped out, saw traffic coming too fast, ran back to the breakdown lane, and started the cycle over again. Every venture into the travel lane meant that drivers reacted by braking and swerving, doing their best not to hit him. ...
Car plunges to gravel site from ramp, killing man (although the absolute worst roadway in America for us acrophobes has to be the High Bridges into Charleston, SC - shudder!).
Disclosure: Back when I worked at a daily newspaper, I programmed our wire-service story-alert system to notify me whenever Associated Press moved a story about bus plunges - with which I would then compile the weekly newsroom bus-plunge tally-o-matic. I recently read some story bemoaning the end of bus-plunge stories, but I see that there are still plenty of bus plunges.
Cindy and Jeff drive home the point that local traffic patterns have changed since the Largest Highway in the History of Mankind opened up - and they show you who's got it better and who's got it worse on brightly colored maps that will look familar to anybody who's ever played later models of SimCity.
On a morning when the lead story in the Globe announced the T's new random-bag inspections have turned up nothing, the Sullivan Square T stop and I-93 both get shut down so police could blow up a suspicious device found on a girder above the station. The Globe quotes a guy who ran toward the station to see what all the commotion was about:
"It was nerve racking," said Robert A. Ellington, 29, who ran to Sullivan Square to investigate when he heard whirl of television news helicopters. "It's scary, but exciting though."
Private Idaho reports:
So a friend of the family, Christie called my wife at home to say "Please help! my cell phone is running out of power and they've closed the subway and I'm stuck somewhere called Wellington Station!!! Can you come get me?" ...
Kimberly wound up walking to work because the buses got so overcrowded:
... It's only about 3 miles but crossing the bridge with the wind off the Harbor is a bit much but I trucked it and feel great! I should keep it up, an extra 3 to 6 miles a day would do wonders plus my daily workout. ...
Cindy and Jeff at SmartRoutes made it official: This morning was an eventful Wednesday.
Note: Channel 4 has the best photos so far of the thing in question.
OK, John Daley isn't arguing for that, but he examines how to get to Roxbury from the Southeast Expressway these days and concludes:
... In many ways, we were better off before the Big Dig.
Joshua Simons, meanwhile, says one way to restore public confidence in tunnel safety would be to install bolt monitors in the tunnels and make the data available in realtime on a public Web site.
No, we're not talking about anti-terrorism stuff here. We're talking about how impossible it now is to actually get there - even if you live just 15 minutes away, as Korte reports:
... I amble over to Southie and find Broadway, eventually getting back on Rte 93 North. Amusingly, there is no exit directly to the airport on 93 North anymore (chuckle chuckle)
I think to myself, "Hey, self... if you get off at Government Center, the airport is RIGHT THERE. There used to be an exit to shoot right into the airport, this isn't THAT bad after all. A quick glance at the clock tells me my friend has been waiting for about twenty minutes. As I approach Government center, exit 23, there are THREE SIGNS, three, and two of them lit AND blinking which state "Government Center ONLY" and Government, NO EXIT. ...
It's not just the eastbound Ted Williams Tunnel that was ordered shut today. Mac Daniels reports:
... Two lanes of I-93 North from the Oâ€™Neill Tunnel entrance to the Atlantic Avenue on-ramp will closed at night until further notice from 11:30 p.m. to 5 a.m. the next morning. The two tunnel lanes will close alternately. Tonight the right lanes in the tunnel will be closed; tomorrow the left lanes will be closed. ...
State Sen. Marian Walsh wants another Ward Commission to keep the Big Dig debacle from ever happening again (for you whippersnappers, the Ward Commission exposed endless corruption and greed after UMass buildings started crumbling).
Great idea, Sco writes:
... I can't see how DiMasi could object unless he's afraid of what such a commission might uncover or whose feathers it might ruffle. The best way for Beacon Hill to regain any of its credibility is to haul everyone and anyone who was ever involved in the Big Dig in front of a camera and microphone to answer tough questions under oath. If that means some current and former politicians have to sweat it out, even better. ...
Ah, but who should be forced to testify? Charlie on the MTA has a list, starting with:
Jim Kerasiotes: Head of the Big Dig from 1991-2000. Dictator. Had hard drives sand-blasted so data couldn't be recovered by investigators. The biggest villain. ...
Kimberly Atkins has the details of Romney's formal effort to remove Matt Amorello from office - which also includes a suit by three Romney appointees to the turnpike board against Amorello.
Spatch: Romney to Amorello: It's on, bitch:
... Too bad A. Romney's looking right into the eyes of 2008 when he bares his teeth, and B. someone had to die for the shakeup (shakedown?) to happen.
But don't worry about Matt. The turnpike authority will be paying his legal bills - starting with $92,000 for one legal brief.
What's that about history and farce? Blue Mass. Group Blue Mass. Group has the scoop:
... Capka was hired as the Big Dig's project director in December 2000, and was soon criticized for failing to get a handle on spiraling costs at the massive construction project. Others lambasted him for backing million-dollar, six-month severance contracts for three lawyers who were involved with the project -- deals that he later acknowledged were mistakes. ...
Also investigating: The National Transportation Safety Board:
... Augmenting the investigators who have been on-scene since shortly after the accident occurred, the NTSB is sending additional highway engineers, a metallurgical engineer, and the agency's director of highway investigations. There will be a total of seven Safety Board personnel working on-scene, supported by other specialists, as needed, from NTSB headquarters. ...
Harold M. Clemons casts a Roxbury eye on the Big Dig scandal:
... They compare it to the Hoover Dam and the Panama Canal. I compare it to the New Deal because, on its account, good, decent, hardworking white boys that aren't highly educated can still make honest wages sufficient to provide for their families, while darkies of similar education and rearing fill the unemployment rolls and watch the prosperity from afar. On my word I ain't seen a nigga workin' the 'Dig' yet and it's been goin' on since I was like 10! ...
Jay Fitzgerald wouldn't be surprised if the scandal takes down Reilly, Healey and Romney in the 2006 and 2008 elections:
... [Romney] may try to spin this in campaign commercials as another Salt Lake City take-charge moment. But it's not going to work. The Big Dig is now a national joke. Mitt's going to get hammered for it by rivals in debates and in commercials, whether he deserves it or not. Can't you picture a future GOP or Dem rival, ala George Bush's bold 1988 Boston Harbor gambit, coming to Boston and posing for shots outside the mouth of a Big Dig tunnel? ...
Elias notes how Romney rushed up to NH for his vacation:
... You now see just what Governor Romeny really thinks of the whole matter...fodder for fear-mongering and posturing nothing more. A crisis sufficiently trivial that it can be left to his staff to sort out with "Lt. Governor Barbie" to act as an acceptable and decorous cut out at the press briefings. ...
Sure, there's lots of blame to go around, as many of you pointed out in response to my rant from yesterday. But it wasn't the legislature that was sand-blasting hard drives in the Big Dig's offices.
Hub Politics, however, detects raving hypocrisy in Demmie leaders handing over the investigation to a Republican governor while blasting the GOP:
... So, if Travaglini and DiMasi are meaning to imply that it's not Democratic leadership failures in the state legislature, but rather the "16 years of Republican control" in the governor's office that is more to blame, why on earth would they give control over the inspections to, that's right, a Republican governor?
Andy at Mass. Revolution Now doesn't like the investigation handover:
This is patently a mistake and another example of how the state legislature utterly fails to accept its responsibility to prevent further problems with the CA/T project.
Mitt Romney has had 3 years to address the problems at the Big Dig. Last year we learned of leaking walls. Why didn't he ask for this oversight authority then? ...
The Outraged Liberal, though, says all the outrage is misplaced:
... Where is the outrage at Bechtel/Parsons Brinckerhoff, the mammoth organization that "managed" this project. Or Modern Continental, which has a very checkered, but unchecked history in constructing this mess. Not to mention a history of ignoring the rules.
None of these logical targets have in the sights of our (former) governor as he has professed anger over the Big Dig and focused instead on ousting Matt Amorello. Only now, sensing a potential threat to his sham image as a great manager, Mitt has "grabbed the reins" by seeking to head up the investigation. The Legislature, wanting to avoid the obstructionist tag, went along. ...
Mass. GOP News actually credits two of the three Democratic candidates for governor: Deval Patrick, Chris Gabrieli and Kerry Healey Brilliantly Quiet on Big Dig.
Tim Lavallee notes that the state has a Big Dig fraud hotline(1-888-TIP-BGDG) and suggests: Let's all call and say that a fraud has been perpetrated on the public trust.
Dan Kennedy has more links.
Because nobody died on Lay's watch, Christine argues, suggesting that instead of a payment to make Amorello go away, the state should exile him to some remote Boston Harbor island.
Joe Dwinell tallies up the number of problem bolts - it's grown from 60 to 242.
One Boston visitor reports his anxiety in driving through the Ted Williams Tunnel today:
Tim Lavallee reports that northbound traffic through the Tip O'Neill tunnel slowed this morning when some guy started strolling through the tunnel:
... He seemed to come from nowhere and crossed all four lanes just near exit 26 to Storrow Drive. ...
Tim Lavallee took a deep breath then drove home via the Big Dig last night:
left work tonight expecting the longest commute home ever. Instead, the Big Dig was empty like a Sunday morning. Traffic on the southbound side was very, very light. Even the usual slow down areas, such as the tunnel exit to the South Bay mall, was a speed limit breeze. ...
At least some of those missing motorists must have been people commuting from MetroWest to the North Shore, all of whom jammed up the 128/turnpike interchange last night.
John Daley wonders:
Did 2 ton, CONCRETE hanging tiles cost more than a conventional tunnel ceiling? Was it simply a way to present a higher bill to the Turnpike Authority? How else can one explain such a ridiculous design?
I suspected they were cheating us, but I thought, at least, that someone was watching to see that the overpriced construction met basic safety design standards. That 'someone' would have been the Turnpike Authority. ...
Matt Margolis notes a story that says the ceiling slabs (why do they keep calling them "panels"?) weren't even necessary:
... So, if it is true that it is safe without the ventilation passage, then it wasn't neccessary to begin with, and a gratuitous expense to the taxpayers that has now resulted in loss of life.
Perhaps the investigation into the accident should start with the people who profited from the Big Dig. ...
Dan Kennedy digs up and comments on 2003 and 2004 Globe articles on Big Dig malfeasance.
Blue Mass. Group does the media roundup, with a special Assclown of the Day award for the Herald's Joe Fitzgerald, who manages to blame the tunnel collapse on gay-marriage supporters in the Legislature.
"Charles Foster Kane" wonders why Gerry Callahan feels qualified to comment on the problem on WEEI:
... Listening to him try to discuss the engineering of the project is like watching a dog look at someone riding a bike. The dog can snap at the heels of the rider but it is never, ever, going to get up and ride that thing. ...
Melvin Dubnick also reads the papers and worries that the real cause of the accident will be lost in the urge to scapegoat somebody:
... It would make us all feel safer, I suspect, if we could just instantaneously find the specific individual or event or thing that led to this tragic death, and ironically we would feel better if we could zero in on some single individual to blame for committing this "criminal" act. But as much as we wish to revert to such medieval witchhunting, I hope wiser and cooler heads will prevail and a more careful and thorough investigation is conducted. ...
EnuhCorK is no longer a Big Dig fan:
... Like an old friend told me once: "Things have to get a lot worse before they get any better." Well, I think it's a lot worse now.
Charles Laquidara Is this for real?
I must be having a nightmare...)Holy sh_ Someone pinch me- quick.
Train Mon expresses sympathy for the family of Milena DelValle and says the time it took to deal with problems on Acela and Green Line trains shows how long fixing the tunnel could take.
... It's time the MTA care more about our citizens driving on and within its projects than about shielding themselves from responsibility.
Adam Reilly wonders what motoring tips the turnpike Web site might have for drivers affected by the collapse. The answer probably won't surprise you.
Also out in the Midwest, Diane Moyer was watching a St. Louis newscast that mentioned that Big Dig officials have been advising the state on reconstruction of a St. Louis-area highway:
... I laughed so hard I couldn't fall asleep.
Somebody must have been wondering what an Onion story on the tragedy would look like.
On Boston Crazy Driving, Tim notes the latest appearance of SYMS graffiti in an improbable place, this time on the giant sign hanging over I-93 alerting drivers to exits 11A and B in Dorchester:
... But he ran out of room and could only paint SYM on it. It was painted in black with a white outline. There were other markings in red paint that said R.I.P. for someone, apparently turning the tag into a tribute. ...
On the one hand, Tim admires the graffiti tagger who has gotten his giant "Syms" on locations that are obviously difficult to reach - such as the side of the I-93 upper deck.
On the other hand, Tim wishes the guy would knock it off already:
... There's a lot of graffiti out there that actually makes things look better. This doesn't. This is just about ego, and Syms should be ashamed rather than proud.
Eka's son needed to be rushed to the Children's emergency room yesterday - forcing her to make this request:
... Please - if you see an ambulance behind you with glaring lights and it's sirens on full blast - MOVE OUT OF THE WAY. It was awful - I was terrified that something was going to happen while we were trapped on 93 and that the ambulance wouldn't be equipped to help him. An absolutely awful feeling. ...