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Forest Hills this afternoon: The Gordian knot of Boston-area traffic

As Jessica Burko reports on the second day of the rest of our lives without the Casey Overpass:

Traffic parking lot from Forest Hills up thru JWay to Centre St rotary AND all up South Street to Centre. Bad.

To which Mike, sitting in a Boston firetruck, adds:

No way for even the mighty Tower Ladder 10 to get out of overpass traffic!

It gets better once drivers get used to the new surface roads and lights, right?

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Comments

... was pretty disastrous during rush hour last night -- and again during rush hour this morning. Bus delays last night were over 20 minutes, and over 15 minutes this morning. No reason to think this won't be our new norm.

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...backed up to Hatoffs last night...needed 3 staties to direct traffic despite the working signals.

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They should have cops at each intersection ready to write tickets for blocking the box. Do that for a week and hopefully people would learn not to do it and it would pretty much cover the construction costs.

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... (unlike yesterday) things weren't too bad -- but my children report it was pretty miserable in the early rush hour (4:30-5:30).

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I'd love to see $1000 tickets for this BS.

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Agreed. Put them at South & Washington - it took four light cycles for my bus to get out of the upper busway at 5:30 last night because northbound drivers on Washington kept blocking the intersection.

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On our drive from the Arboretum down to the Monument. Two state troopers, kitty corner from each other, where South crosses under the overpass. I miss the construction guy with the clipboard; had grown fond of him.

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And for some reason, they think it's a good idea to move the 39 stop over there.

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...backed up to Egleston tonight on commute

passed and counted:

From Egleston to Green: 62 vehicles
From Green to Williams: 51 vehicles
From Williams to FH: 47 vehicles

side streets also jammed

things eventually moved through FH pretty well;
staties and BPD not directing traffic but counting cars: each one had a little note pad?

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i usually drive or ride my bike through the Casey tear down area around noon, and again at about 8:30 PM. My ride in the past week and a half has been the best ever in my 15 years of making this commute.

The lights are timed more sensibly, there are fewer traffic-blocking turn options, there are more multiple lanes going where the cars want to go. My Waze has had to reset itself to cut minutes off my trip as I breezed from Shea Circle to a left turn down Washington St. without even having to stop once.

I know, it's not everyone's experience, but it is not all gloom and doom.

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Who cares what traffic is like at noon and eight pm?

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We exist.

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Who cares about the complaints from the dummies who drive towards a construction site during rush hour?

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... the largest public transportation hub in that quadrant of the city. Wahat a maroon....

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So why aren't the people driving using said public transportation?

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You mean the busses that are the only method to get south of town from Forest Hills? The ones also stuck in traffic?

I mean i'm all for extending the Orange line here to alleviate traffic up and down washington and hyde park but come on

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The buses would be jam packed, but there would be no traffic.

In that scenario, I would just start driving, even though I don't commute via car now. I'll just assume that no one else will start driving, or need to do a commute where the T is the least efficient means like reverse commuting to the suburbs.

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... many buses running along Washington (and Hyde Park Blvd) are already at or near capacity.

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You just have to be creative. Like why does only one person sit in each seat. A second person could sit in the first person's lap. Also, what about the roof of the bus. It's just sitting there empty.

I think BlackKat is on to something. We all just have to be creative.

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There is usually a two week learning curve for any new traffic pattern.

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Please provide a link of your bs analysis. Try THREE years!

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Traffic: Why We Drive the Way That We Do (And What it Says About Us)

The whole book is very good reading about car culture, with an emphasis on why, among other things, the average lazy-brained American driver can't do simple things like merge without coming to a complete stop (as opposed to a continuous zipper) and why too much signage is just as ineffective as no signage at all.

Getting to the point, there a short section that talks about new traffic patterns and why and how it takes a few weeks (not years) for people to adjust to them.

http://www.amazon.com/Traffic-Drive-What-Says-About/dp/0307277194/ref=sr...

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People have known for 2 YEARS that this was gonna happen yet they haven't adjusted their commute, work schedules, or started carpooling or taking the T. If you are sitting in this traffic blame yourself.

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We live in Roslindale, the kids go to school on JP. There are only 3 ways to get from one location to the other and all 3 ways are being affected by this traffic. Even if we could go by bus (which we can't because I need my car for work) we would still be badly affected by the slow downs. Also, do you really know anyone who can alter their work and school schedules to accommodate construction?

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Busses are stuck in the traffic too.... it's not all filthy evil drivers who are suffering, here.....

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Nor is it only suburbanites as I've seen some people suggest. Lots of city residents in the southern part of the city are affected by this. And not everyone can easily change their work start times, day care drop off times, etc. There is no subway service south of Forest Hills and the commuter rail times don't work for everyone's schedule. I'm not a pro-bridge person and think the new road configuration will probably end up ok, but the lack of empathy from some folks for the current gridlock is grating too.

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I think the anti-car crowd should stop crowing its own superiority and explain why it's solutions are better for everyone. (Which, in may cases, they are.)

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We told you so. This intersection didn't work in the 1950s, that is why the overpass was built. Back then there where a lot less cars than today. As for the bicycle advocates, I can't trust the judgement of people who choose to ride their 25 lb. vehicles with 3000 to 5000 pound passenger vehicles and big scary trucks. They remind me of the fools who run with the bulls in Pamplona Spain.

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The overpass was going to come down even if the answer was another overpass, so the temporary mess would have been the same.

And it's not like the state just tears down the overpass and leaves. Not sure why it's so hard for some people to realize there's a whole new road system coming.

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But the end result is debatable, and if you're honest with yourself it's not going to improve.

The need tear down a shit bridge is nonnegotiable, however in three years when the yuppie clowns who voted for this are long gone, were going to be the ones stuck with a cluster F____!

I stopped going to ferris wheels after 15 years because he supported the boondoggle.

And for the people who don't have kids, fuck you. I'm not bringing my kid to a hockey or soccer game on a unicycle.

Get over yourself, you're NOT that important.

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Just when we thought that commentary about this project couldn't get less coherent or more ill-informed, the random walk of life brings a new surprise.

You've managed to raise the relative quality of the rest of the discussion. Thanks!

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IMAGE(http://i.imgur.com/mH9uty9.png)

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  • obsessively like your own comment repeatedly so that it looks like it was popular
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It stops counting like clicks after the first one.

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this is great. right-click-saved for future interweb shouting matches!

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the fact that you think Jeff Ferris supported the at grade solution shows that you have zero clue.

The only people whining about how important they are right now are drivers. One of the benefits of the new at grade plan is that the balance between the preference/support given to cars versus the way that many, many people travel through this transportation hub, will be much more even.

Also, I drive essentially parallel of this mess each and every day, and the route is much, much better than what others seem to be experiencing.

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Are equally unhappy about their delayed commutes.

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I stopped going to ferris wheels after 15 years because he supported the boondoggle.

Really?! Because I'm pretty sure anybody who has been following the development of this project has known that Jeffrey Ferris, despite running a bike shop in what is arguably the neighborhood with the highest level of earthy crunchy bike usage in the City, has a been a staunch supporter from the beginning of a replacement bridge.

Angry letter to the Jamaica Plain Gazette about pro-bridge people not getting their due at a MassDOT meeting:

http://jamaicaplaingazette.com/2015/02/13/letter-casey-protesters-were-a...

More recent article; a quick mention of Ferris's steadfast opinion on the project:

http://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2015/05/09/casey-overpass-coming-down-d...

I guess you can go back to patronizing his establishment.

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Get over yourself, you're NOT that important.

Projection: It's not just for movie theaters anymore.

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he'd have a field day with this guy!

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If this mess is only temporary, all well and good, and I hope that the new road system will work wonders.

Yes, the overpass was in dire shape and needed to come down. Whether the decision to not replace the same was a good one, that still remains to be seen.

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Yes, instead trust the people who hand over thousands per year to Exxon Mobil and kill 35000 Americans every year.

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Do you grow your own food? I thought not. You are contributing to

Exxon Mobil and kill 35000 Americans every year

as well then by purchasing goods that are shipped by semi's which use gas and oil in order to distribute food and products. You want to see things in black and white? Then YOU are also GUILTY of the accusations you throw out there. It's not all or nothing. There are shades and nuances of issues.

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We all rely on gasoline powered cars and trucks, even if we don't personally use them.

I think certain posters need to get over their innate superiority.

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..uh, wait, that would be ......us.

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I'm just going to keep reposting this until the pro-bridge crowd stops making this asinine argument:

We all know that if the replacement overpass had been built, it would have materialized, fully-formed, from the æther before the current bridge was torn down. It would have gloriously spanned from Arboretum to rotary, twinkling brightly in the twilight sky and causing Forest Hills to smell faintly of fresh-baked bread. Frederick Law Olmsted himself would have shed a tear at its gentle majesty.

It's all right there in the BFH literature.

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The traffic snarling right now is due to the demolition, which was going to happen no matter what because the bridge was well past repair. You cannot pass judgment on a new road configuration that does not exist yet.

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If people would just stop "blocking the box" and wait a bit, things would go much more smoothly (and not just here, everywhere that's there is traffic). Ticket the scofflaws for a couple of weeks and we'd see a dramatic change.

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Before someone's tweet is taken for reporting they should be required to write clearly. What is Jessica talking about??

Forest Hills connects to the Centre Street rotary by the Arborway, not the Jamaica Way.

Meanwhile I breezed through the Centre Street rotary this morning at 7:15 am. There was so little traffic I thought there must be a school holiday.

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Jway, Arborway, Riverway. All the same road going through different neighborhoods.

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Was a tad heavy but no different to normal.

I will be happy when things become more predictable.

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a little slower than normal - and I didn't have any issues coming home this evening around 6:00 or so...

Yesterday evening was horrible, though - I'm thinking the normally fly-over people were confused.

Also - I rarely went over the overpass when I went through there - and I know that traffic the past couple years had gotten a lot better and now it feels like we're back to how it used to be.

I think it'll sort itself out - although I'm also secretly hoping the suburbanites who use the area as a cut-through to and from 93 will go someplace else.

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You realize rte 203 is a state road ? The suburbanites are paying for its upkeep and it's not a "cut through" but a highway to the highways in both ends.

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You realize that suburbanites AND urbanites pay for its upkeep right? State roads are supported by everyone.

And the "highway" at one end (Centre St.) is no longer Rt. 1, and hasn't been in years.

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The former Route 1 lost its number, but it's still the biggest road in the area.

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But then again, I went through the area earlier (before 5) than I did yesterday (about 5:30.)

The morning commutes inbound on Washington Street seemed good both days, and I stupidly walked on Monday morning (and got passed by 6 buses, all between the gas station and Ukraine way, 3 buses for the 36 route.) There seemed to be some white collar woman noting traffic patterns. Monday afternoon seemed hellish- I walk home anyway, but the inbound traffic was backed up to Cibao Market and there was barely anything going outbound, including buses. There were 2 cops at Ukraine Way, but they were barely doing anything Monday. Today they were definitely doing something- I had to stop midway across the street to let Tower 10 respond to the call that had them stuck in traffic on the way back. Still, no differences in traffic flows this afternoon on Washington Street south.

I did drive the Arborway to Forest Hills tonight. The configuration is interesting. We saw the oddest thing. A car at the red light at the busway in the right lane suddenly put on it's left turn signal and started into traffic. A car with the green on South Street had to stop, but the car also stopped. When the light turned green, I was curious about whether a u-turn or illegal entrance to the busway was to occur, but the car just proceeded in the left lane to the turn. Weird.

Let's see what Wednesday brings. Remember, the Square is a 20 minute walk, and traffic engineers designed Forest Hills back in the early 80s.

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Oh, if only the Orange Line reached into Rozzie, imagine if that had been planned out before this happened....

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We can only hope one day the CR to Needham will be replaced with more relevant (and working) trains. Fingers crossed!

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hadn't killed the Orange Line proposed extension.

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Besides, walking is good for you. I've taken the bus from Forest Hills less than 5 times this year so far. Admittedly, I've not gone to work some of those days, and driven to Forest Hills a handful of days, and throw in a couple of cab rides. Still, I am forever grateful to the person who pointed out to me how close the square is to Forest Hills. Yeah, you're suppose to get 30 minutes of exercise a day, but 25 is close.

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Yep. Forest Hills is almost exactly 1 mile from Roslindale Square. Just about anyone even moderately able-bodied should be able to walk that, or part of it anyway.

I see these mobs of people standing around the last couple of stops before FH waiting for the bus, and I'm always mystified as to why they'd rather stand there waiting for 15-30 minutes and then be squashed onto a packed bus to sit in traffic rather than walk for 10 minutes. (This is often where I get OFF the bus to walk the rest of the way, if I happen to be on it. Especially lately, you're probably gonna get there faster if you hop off anywhere between Archdale Road and Harvest Coop.)

A walk is a nice way to start your day too.

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I love making that walk when I'm able to time-wise. Not an option for everyone though. But I'm with you on always wondering why the people at the bus stops so close to FH don't just walk it, especially now. It'd be quicker during rush hour.

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... walking a mile isn't as easy as you make it sound. Wearing a walking cast, I'd estimate the walk would take me about 45 minutes -- not counting walking almost a mile to the Square in the first place....

As for those of crutches or using canes....

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Easy on the way down, not so much on the way up.

Yes, the walk isn't for everyone, especially those with mobility issues. But for the rest of us, food for thought.

On the other hand, a guy got off the bus at the lumber yard this morning and beat us to the station. Yes, I am kicking myself for not doing the same, but since I pushed a bunch of people to the back of the bus so that people at the municipal building could get on, I didn't want to be too pushy. Sadly, this doesn't work for the homeward commute.

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Just below Shea Circle and the demolition is more concerning for the concrete dust that is raised as they break it up. We have noticed a water truck working hard to make sure to keep the surface wet but big concerns for our lungs. The traffic changes are a secondary concern. I am confused why they have made Forest Hills St one way only allowing ttraffic to enter from the rotary rather than from Brookley St. I think if they opened it back up, the back ups under the bridge at Franklin Park would definitely abate. The new road is nice, smooth and during my commutes, has made for easy access to Washington St. Jeff Ferris can eat his hat, I look forward to my neighborhood becoming more vital and less of a fly over space.

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every anon looks and sounds like every other anon on the interweb...

Went to the Casey team office hours last night. The traffic engineers said they were seeing slow incremental improvement in the eastbound p.m. rush-hour traffic just as they did with the westbound a.m. rush-hour traffic last week. Drivers (and peds and bike) confusion while getting used to the new configurations is one part of the problem. They have been constantly tweaking the light sequences to improve things - but believe it or not, that effort is somewhat undermined by Staties directing traffic against those lights or stopping some of it to hand out tickets to those who block boxes or run the lights.

Once they remove some of the overhead steel between South Street and the western abutment, they'll chew into the northerly portion of the hammerhead piers, then the N-S abutment retaining wall at the end of the bridge and relocate a water main underground there.... and THEN they can add a second lane between the Arboretum and South (not just the expanded queue area near the light that they have now). That should lead to more improvement.

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Thanks for info!

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sitting in our little cars crying and complaining until something REALLY evil happens.

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I still can't believe how many crosswalks they removed in the interim configuration. It's hard to walk or bike to the T station from almost all directions.

Is this really the best they could do?

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Interim configuration.

Beat you to it, 500Monkeys.

Now, if us nay sayers are right, the 3 lanes of highway traffic separating Forest Hills from the northern end of JP will be a long term issue, but in the short run, an overpass has to be demolished, which does put a cramp on space.

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