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A bit early this year, but the Storrow Pool is now closed

Crushed truck

Around noon today, what State Police described as an "overheight box truck" plowed into a low-hanging bridge near Charles Circle eastbound. Tim was there to capture the scene.

Truck in repose. Photo by Tim.Truck in repose. Photo by Tim.

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Comments

Looking at street view for this location, is it possible to enter Storrow Drive from Pinckney Street without seeing a "No Trucks" sign?

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cause that truck was heading south on Storrow, opposite side

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which, on this part of Storrow, is equivalent to "northbound". So I think you're wrong.

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If you're heading eastbound on Storrow Drive (i.e.: from Charles Circle towards Leverett Circle), you're actually traveling both northbound on Route 28 while at the same time traveling southbound on Route 3.

Westbound on Storrow (i.e.: from Leverett Circle towards Charles Circle) is both northbound on Route 3 and southbound on Route 28:
IMAGE(http://www.universalhub.com/files/images/2011/anotherdayanothertruck.jpg)

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that's a good point...

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Not only is the turn from Pinckney onto Storrow not marked "Cars Only," but Pinckney is one-way towards Storrow. So trucks making deliveries there (like this one: http://goo.gl/9pPo0p) would need to back themselves up onto Charles St.

The turn from Mt Vernon (http://goo.gl/maps/5a9Eb) is well marked with something similar to the Montreal solution. But by the time a truck sees it, there's no other direction to turn.

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Any truck turning right onto north/east-bound Storrow from either of the Beacon Hill side streets should be able to safely exit at Charles Circle without encountering any low-clearance bridges.

Even earlier than that, the truck could turn right onto Revere Street (one-way eastbound).

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There should really be a "cars only" (or equivalent) sign over the through lanes just before the Charles Circle exit: http://goo.gl/maps/VHNp1

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they were heading to the Christmas party in Allston...

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How many hipsters came pouring out of the back after the accident? Did anyone get a tally?

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When will the city do something about our hipster infestation? We are trying to raise families here!

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There's considerable scientific consensus that we're now at, some even say past, Peak Hipster, after which we'll see the species largely collapse. They won't go away entirely, of course, but their numbers will be drastically reduced.

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over more boring old people who complain about hipsters on the internet.

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Without boring old people hipsters wouldn't be getting a check in the mail from mummy and daddy to pay for their slacker lifestyle. It is also worth noting that hipsters are emulating the fashion of those boring old people back when they were young.

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IMAGE(http://www.m5board.com/vbulletin/attachments/e39-m5-e52-z8-discussion/273354d1372826903-random-m5-pic-day-oh-snap.gif)

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The hipsters will start wanting to raise families and they'll all move to Brookline and the South End.

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So, I've asked this before and I'll keep asking:

Why don't we just install two signposts and an I-beam that is the minimum height of all the bridges that follow, with a giant warning sign?

Then the idiot truckers take out the I-beam, we don't risk damaging the bridge, the truck is stopped in a place other than the middle of storrow drive (where it will block one lane of an entrance to storrow, and be more accessible for tow trucks?)

If that's not gentle enough: a height-sensing system coupled with a row of stop lights and a security barrier that comes down, preventing the truck from progressing before it is damaged?

Or, make it a criminal charge to hit a bridge with an overheight vehicle?

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I once commentated a similar idea. Though I think the difference is my imagination is the signpost and beam would fall over and land in front of the windshield and very visibly dragging if kept going. I don't remember it was taken very popularly. But I think like your idea.

Another person suggested that a sensor that spray a heapton of water could help too (though not stop at 100%).

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we should just abandon this nonsense of "scenic (hah!) parkway - passenger cars only", and rebuild the road to eliminate the clearance restrictions.

Then we don't have to worry about truckers ignoring signs at all.

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It is beyond stupid that Bostonians feel smug about the "fools" who ram their trucks into bridges that have no rational basis for being so low in the first place. Parochial madness.

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You shouldn't drive if you can't read and abide by signage that, contrary to complaints, is as clear as can be.

That's not parochial, that is hostile and for a good reason.

Tired of people treating my neighborhood like a public toilet.
I don't care if you live somewhere for one year, or four years, or all your life. You don't litter and piss and puke in public.

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that don't tell the driver what the clearance is?

Like "No Trucks" signs that are posted in an area where a number of such signs are often posted on other roads not for engineering reasons, but at the request of local residents who don't like trucks (why else do you have roads where it's OK for trucks to travel during the day, but not during night?).

Like the "Cars Only" rubber baby bumper signs that look like they're made by a fourth grader and have a color scheme that bears no relationship whatsoever to any real traffic signs.

Like signs that are placed so you can see them ONLY after you've commited to entering the highway.

Care to explain to us how all these things are the driver's fault.

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No Trucks and Cars Only means no trucks and cars only.
It is not for the driver of said trucks to decide - oh maybe they just don't like the noise or maybe there is a low bridge.

And you can see the Cars Only signs on most ramps from a million miles away, long before you turn into the road. They are placed right at the entrance to the ramp, and are bright yellow and red and black and hang way down so they are practically at eye level.
It doesn't matter what color they are though and if they meet some national standard. They are big and bright and easy to read and impossible to miss.

The most common ramp where erroneous entrances occur is where the commercial truck traffic from the Mass Pike comes out by Cambridge Street and gets onto Storrow there and thus there is a emergency exit designed just for those trucks to get off before really getting on the road.

I don't understand why people keep making excuses for these morons. Did you all hit a bridge when moving in some September years ago and feel sympathy instead of the scorn you should be expressing?

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meet none of the established Federal or state standards for highway signs.

One of the basic principles of highway signs is that they must command respect. Non standard signs, or signs used for political convenience instead of actual engineering reasons, do not command that respect. If a driver has continued experiences with signs or other traffic controls that aren't justified or look "homemade", they will tend not to obey such signs even when they are justified.

Over the years, MDC/DCR have put in lots of signs (most non-standard and/or too small and/or poorly placed). Yet drivers of overheight vehicles continue to find their way onto Storrow Drive. Well, something tells me it's not because all drivers are that inattentive and/or ignorant.

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Don't forget that Boston has a long and proud tradition of posting signs that are simply factually false. I don't know how many times I've driven by a sign that says "Right Lane ends, Merge Left" or something similar and it simply isn't true. For example, this was the case for years on I-93 north, at the Rt. 28 exit. After the big dig, they revamped it so that exit actually did "swallow" a lane, and I would have to dodge people pulling over suddenly to the left because they didn't realize that a sign that was inaccurate for 20 years was suddenly accurate (I also noticed, the last time I drove up that way, that they've changed the exit again so that the highway lane does *not* disappear anymore, but I don't think they've changed any of the "Exit Only" signs).

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just want to make sure I understand your point of view: You're suggesting a driver's inner monologue goes something like this:

that sign says 'no trucks - low clearance' -- but it doesn't look like other road signs. I bet I can safely ignore it.

Is that right? And you're saying that a driver should not be held responsible for their actions because of it?

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be absolved of all responsibility for these incidents just because of inadequate signing. However, given the large number of drivers that disregard the warnings and end up on Storrow and Memorial Drives, it is not unreasonable to ask the question "hey, perhaps there might be something wrong with our signs."

Let's look at the "low clearance" signs. Joe Freshman comes in from Iowa in a rental box truck with all the gear for his new dorm room (or apartment, if you prefer). Traveling the interstates all the way between Iowa and Boston, Joe passes numerous signs that read "Low Clearance (with a measurement somewhere between 13'-6" and 15')" for overpasses that his rental truck has no problem going under. He then gets to Storrow Drive and sees signs that just say "Low Clearance", but without a measurement.

Now, Joe (at 18 or 19) probably has little experience driving, and probably even less experience driving a box truck. Therefore, it is far more likely that Joe's thought process would be something like "I made it under all those other bridges, so I won't have a problem."

Although they probably should know better, I'm sure many professional drivers fall victim to a similar thought process. Especially where, unlike Joe Freshman, they are trying to meet a delivery deadline.

As far as the "No Trucks" signs go, most states don't require U-Haul type box trucks to stop at weigh stations because the gross vehicle weight is below their minimum limit (usually 10 tons GRVW). So, again, Joe's thought process when seeing "No Trucks" signs - without a weight - is probably "Well, that doesn't apply to me."

So, yes, I agree that the driver is mostly to blame when they smack a "too low" bridge. However, having a road that is improperly or inadequately signed exacerbates such driver errors. That is one of the reasons we have established standards for such things.

Finally, I will point out that how well the agency that owns the highway conforms to signing standards can become a huge deal when incidents like this end up in court and you're up against a defense attorney.

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Actually it makes me say "Hey, perhaps there might be something wrong with drivers."

People are dumb, and currently we don't take steps to breed out dumbness [or have saber toothed tigers anymore to do it for us], so it gets worse and worse.

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IMAGE(https://elmercatdotorg.files.wordpress.com/2013/08/dscf0047.jpg)
IMAGE(https://elmercatdotorg.files.wordpress.com/2013/08/dscf0046.jpg)

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I agree that the signage should be standardized and specify the height restriction. That would be logical and helpful. And assholes will still drive overheight trucks onto Storrow and Memorial Drives. Do you really believe that if we institute all the signage steps you're advocating the problem would go away?

Maybe for some of the professional drivers this would be helpful and probably prevent some of the tie ups of a semi or other truck backing up to avoid a bridge. But for the vast majority of the Uhaul driving types moving into the city who will, in a matter of months, be demonstrating phenomenally bad judgement on issues concerning alcohol, fashion, sex and whether or not they should jump from a bar balcony to a stage/the harbor/their bros' arms, I doubt they will appreciate the uniformity of the signage if they are incapable of noticing the geometrical mismatch of the tons of steel they are driving and the looming bridge hanging in front of them.

They are young. They are fuck-ups. Fix the signs and then hang an I-beam on the on-ramps. Much cheaper than replacing a bridge.

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I'll reply, since clearly you just arrived from that libertarian paradise of Mogadishu...

Like "low clearance" signs that don't tell the driver what the clearance is?

While you may not know either the clearance of your vehicle, or the clearance of the overhang ahead, you DO know that you're in a 400 year old city (well, 387 year-old-city, anyway). Drive accordingly, and look at the archives of 2m40.com for what the problems of a 1000 year old city are.

Like "No Trucks" signs that are posted in an area where a number of such signs are often posted on other roads not for engineering reasons, but at the request of local residents who don't like trucks (why else do you have roads where it's OK for trucks to travel during the day, but not during night?).

It's not just because of "residents", but because residents have asked their municipalities (and now the Commonwealth as well) to stop semis from using their residential neighborhoods as cut-throughs; our side streets aren't engineered for the traffic of the snow routes or through-routes. I live on one of those "disputed" streets; we demonstrated what damage the trucks were doing by driving through our neighborhood rather than the parallel through road. So we have our "No Trucks" sign back. It doesn't stop a tow truck from coming to fetch a dead car, or a moving truck or furniture delivery, but it does stop the lumber company from sending 20-tons of lumber down our block.

Night-only truck restrictions are usually about delivery congestion. If these trucks only go through (and stop, blocking a lane) from 8pm to 6am, they're not going to stop the abutters from getting to and from work and home.

"No Turns 7-9am 4-6pm" are usually about stopping traffic congestion by those turning or preventing kids from getting run over on short streets being used by Speed Racer to skip sitting at the light.

Like the "Cars Only" rubber baby bumper signs that look like they're made by a fourth grader and have a color schem that bears no relationship whatsoever to any real traffic signs.

Haven't seen one of those, but it sounds like a legacy municipal sign, or a private-way sign. Take a picture and send it to your town hall's traffic department to let them know about the non-standard signs; a lot of time these are simply old and undocumented.

Like signs that are placed so you can see them ONLY after you've commited to entering the highway.

Again, take a picture and notify the appropriate agency.

Care to explain to us how all these things are the driver's fault.

It's called a social contract. If you see something that you believe is a mistake or negligence, you can let the working stiffs know it needs fixing. You can try to remember that your priorities aren't everyone elses'.

The drivers' fault is in ignoring the sign, even if you (or they) believe the sign is inappropriate.

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Especially the part about the lawyers. Then maybe you'll have a better understanding of my point of view about this issue.

And, for the record, I often bring sub-standard or non-standard signs and traffic controls to the attention of the appropriate party in those cases where I've determined the issue has the potential to create a legitimate hazard. I've done this not only in Massachusetts, but in several other states I've traveled through.

In the past 25+ years, I've had about a 60/40 success rate in getting changes implemented - not because my ideas or concerns are unworkable or too expensive (signing costs about 1 percent of total highway expenditures), but because I'm dealing with agencies (like the MDC/DCR) that are so set in their ways or determine that frivolous concerns (like aesthetics) are more important than insuring driver safety.

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Every truck rental place makes a point of telling renters not to travel on the river roads because of the bridge and underpass clearances. There's hanging signs on virtually every entrance that says "CARS ONLY". (They didn't used to be there.) Short of putting all the roads on grade which would create continuously horrendous traffic jams at the inevitable intersections or deepening the underpasses (hint: they dug into landfill and are under groundwater levels already) there's just no feasible way to allow trucks on those roads. You rarely see professional truck drivers stuck there. Just the amateurs.

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You rarely see professional truck drivers stuck there. Just the amateurs.

That doesn't really seem to be the case.

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have taller vehicles that get snagged before they can make it all the way to Charles Circle.

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No, it's beyond stupid to assume that you can drive any sized vehicle on any road whatsoever, just as it's the antithesis of stupid to expect drivers who manage to procure a license to operate a vehicle can and will see, read and understand posted traffic signs and signals. Or do you view stopping at stop signs to be "parochial madness", too?

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Eliminate the Storrow, make a road like Comm Ave at most and add necessary ramps to the Pike where possible. The Pike is there -- let's use it, instead of it simply slicing it's way through Boston.

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please this. PLEASE this.

http://flic.kr/p/fCt9LL

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Where?

Trust me - it's not as easy as it sounds - I know people that have been looking at this for years including people in state DOT and the only remote solutions they've found - each of which has problems, would be adding a westbound off-ramp around Kenmore by reversing the on-ramp from Mass Ave - but it's EXTREMELY tight and might not work under federal interstate guidelines. Also, if you bring traffic in you have to get it out - where do you build the eastbound on ramp (the only solution I've seen is under the Pru - but that involves lowering the train tracks - which means you have to re-grade for about a mile in each direction to get the proper elevations).

Any other suggestions?

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Close the damn road and tear it down. It should never have been built in the first place, and it would have to be done with ONLY state funds.

Unless, of course, you plan to privately finance the reconstruction.

Make them take the Pike instead. Feds pay for some of that, at least!

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"Much of Harbor Drive, a former a major urban freeway in Portland, Oregon was redeveloped as a park in 1978, now know as the Tom McCall Waterfront Park and is often cited as the first instance of freeway removal in the USA and as a milestone in urban planning."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harbor_Drive

I must say thought that a ton of Portland Water front is still fairly unpleasant when compared to what we have here in Boston.

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And pull up the road and put in a trolley line. Given the speedy pace at which we build new lines, we could have it done by the next century.

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If you mean that trolley line where the Embarcadero was at, it's still a road with rails that is almost made for tourists. Do you mean D-line or B-line road? Neither seems ideal to me.

Personally, I imagine before the idea walking down the Esplanade with the Charles on side and the back of the Back Bay brownstones on on the other. That mean river|Park|House (with wall with service alleyway that exist between Storrow and House). Reducing it to Comm Ave style won't accomplish that. Not even rail line (D-line B-line style at least).

I vote for set the Pike with ramps to replace Storrow and no roads at all. As a compromise idea, keep Storrow from the Longfellow or a rework intersection near the Hatch Shell. I do recognize that part isn't parallel to the Pike anymore and the real gains of removal is the Back Bay area.

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Cute Adam

Keep in mind that Embarcadero freeway was never completed. It was suppose to connect to the Golden Gate as a loop around the city along the water front.

As built, it just ended on city streets. Also, it was also torn down and replaced with a boulevard because not only was it useless since it was incomplete, but it also was heavily damaged in the 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake, AND was voted to be torn down in 1985 anyways. (the earthquake just made sure it was torn down LOL)

Storrow Drive is a main thruway or bypass of the City and connects several key points around the city. The Embarcadero Freeway did not.

The Embarcadero Boulevard that replaced the freeway is OK now, because unlike Boston, San Francisco believes in 'Urban Wave' so traffic flows as it did when the free way was there. Plus it connects to all city streets along the way (and a large underpass near the Ferry Building so there's a plaza)

AND that "trolley" um there's two. One is a tourist trolley one (which runs along the Embarcadero), and the other is the T line intersects the Embarcadero then which it goes to Caltrain and points south. And ask any resident, they don't ride the 'tourist' trolley lines (F-Market, Embarcadero, Cable Cars), so transit along the Embarcadero is kinda moot (except maybe a bus in addition to the tourist line)

I'm not sure boulevarding Storrow Drive and/or building transit along there would work for Boston like it did for SF. Storrow drive is too much of a bypass now, and in sorts, a section of what was to be I-695. I think if I-695 was built, Storrow could easily be shutdown/deleted/boulevard'd since people would have a way to bypass downtown. But now, Not so much, its now a main artery.

Transit maybe. Only because original MTA/BERy plans call for a Riverbank Subway (but I think this was more to bring heavy rail to the Backbay, Allston, and Brighton).

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How exactly do you propose to do this? Put the whole thing in a big trench, or somehow raise all of the many bridges over it?

It was never intended for trucks.

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Perhaps we need to rethink this whole "parkway" concept.

And you would improve clearances by a combination of lowering the roadway in some areas, and raising (or replacing) bridges in others. For example, with current technology, there's no reason why the overpass that this guy struck needs to be made from thick deck girders.

Haven't really looked into detailed costs for this, but my gut tells me that the work would be less expensive, result in more efficient traffic flow for that section of Boston, and result in far less disruption to construct than either the "let's build more Pike connections" or the "let's bury it to create even more unmaintainable parkland" options.

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than anyone else -

How much would your proposal above cost (I presume that the rebuild to eliminate clearance restrictions would also eliminate weight restrictions, or at least make them commensurate with other highways or at least city streets)?

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If people don't hit the bridges with trucks then there will be no need to fix the bridges.

No sense permanently fixing a problem which perpetually employs us.

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On the A-25 in Montreal, overheight trucks receive fair warning by hitting steel guard rails on a hinged mounting:
IMAGE(http://elmercatdotorg.files.wordpress.com/2013/08/dsc00038.jpg)
If they ignore that, they'll crash into this next barrier, well before entering the tunnel:
IMAGE(http://elmercatdotorg.files.wordpress.com/2013/08/dsc00046.jpg)

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That looks like that anon's idea above with I-beams. Do you know how effective is it?

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The first barrier must make a loud noise and probably gives a jolt that's hard to miss. Judging from the marks on the second barrier though, the first barrier can't be 100% effective. However, the second barrier is the same height as the tunnel itself, so nothing that's too tall can get past it.

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Note that they actually post the actual clearance, in clear, unambiguous text, directly above the lane of traffic affected.

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Does anyone really the height of their vehicles? I certainly don't know how tall my boyfriend's car is, and I've rented moving vans and had no idea either.

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I rented a Uhaul a couple times and the height of the truck was made clear just to the left of the steering wheel, on the column between the windshield and the driver's window.

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also had the clearance marked on the outside of the box, just behind the driver's door. It was marked on the body in backwards lettering, so it was legible in the side mirror.

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Does anyone really know the height of their vehicles? I certainly don't know how tall my boyfriend's car is, and I've rented moving vans and had no idea either. Not that I went on Storrow, because I read and signed the rental addendum which said not to, but still.

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That's actually pretty cool. I bet some artists have made interesting works with similar technique and technology. I for one would love to have a display like that (on a smaller scale and of other subject matter than a stop sign) in my house.

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I was jumping the gun by predicting Friday for the first truck to hit an overpass.

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of the "Labor Day Creep".

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They'll be renting U-Hauls out of the Roche Brothers parking lot in April - right next to the Halloween Peeps.

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.

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In just 10 minutes on Storrow west yesterday at around 4PM, not one,not two, but three fucking U-Hauls on the drive near Harvard. Of course the one I pulled up next to refused to even look at me while I beeped at him and of course the asshole in the X5 behind me was too busy beeping incessantly for my slowing him down.

Of course if that truck had gone under that underpass, he really would have been slowed down,no?

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You can't fix Stupud!

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You would think after all of these years, local universities would warn students about height restrictions on Storrow.

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They do! As does every truck rental place in the metro Boston area! The special snowflakes don't listen!

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Seems like the local truck driving crop of snowflakes doesn't believe height restrictions apply to them in the other 11 months of the year.

Oh, and I'm sure that bus driver from Philly that maimed all those high school kids was a student, too, eh?

It isn't students hitting the tunnels in Sydney or the trestles in Durham, either!

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State Police haven't said, and the fact that the truck isn't marked "Ryder" or "Hertz/Penske" might lead one to believe that it's one of them there pirate trucks or something. But the timing is suspicious.

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The week before Labor Day and three U-Hauls on Storrow Drive near Harvard, 2 of which were in line to get off at the bridge to JFK street. And you have a doubt that they're students? How long have you lived in this town?

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I got the emphatic "Don't take this to Storrow! You'll be SOL and your insurance won't cover a dime!" talk.

I ended up scouting the route ahead of time just to be sure there weren't going to be any surprises.

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at freshman orientation after they've arrived on campus.

And I strongly suspect that the U-Haul or Ryder agencies in Santa Fe, NM or Billings, MT (or other places distant from Boston) don't have giant signs proclaiming "DON'T TAKE OUR TRUCKS ON STORROW OR MEMORIAL DRIVES".

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... the swimming pool on the Esplanade, between the Longfellow Bridge and the Hatch Shell. Which I think has been closed for years now. Any idea when it's going to reopen?

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Sadly, I would be surprised if the pool ever opens again, so long as the MDC/DCR has anything to do with it. Although there's an adjacent toddler splash pool, the main swimming pool has been closed for many years and only continues to decay with neglect.
IMAGE(https://elmercatdotorg.files.wordpress.com/2013/08/dsc00024.jpg)
IMAGE(https://elmercatdotorg.files.wordpress.com/2013/08/dscf0597.jpg)
Although the MDC/DCR champions ice hockey rinks, swimming is a health benefiting activity people of all ages can do. It's too bad the hospital doesn't renovate the pool for their employees and patients to use.
IMAGE(http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3178/2807407740_f4b2f27d34.jpg)
IMAGE(http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3256/2807407862_cf7e41093b.jpg)
Note that although the Blossom Street pedestrian bridge has a single switchback, there are also stairs that can be used to bypass it, on the side going towards the pool building. I also like its minimalist design complete with cast aluminum railings and balustrades bearing the Alcoa name. Still in lovely condition after fifty-three years, these fixtures really have passed the test of time!

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