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If only there were signs to warn truckers about the low bridges on Storrow Drive

Truck whose driver avoided a Storrowing

Nilesh Gandhi captured our latest near-Storrowing tonight - and the "CARS ONLY" warning sign at the entrance to Storrow inbound at Charlesgate that the trucker plowed through.

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Comments

There's something wrong with the signs?

Generally, if people are unhappy with the results with a road, they change signage or rules (e.g., the 20->15/10mph limit change proposed earlier today).

Maybe we could quit doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results? Nonstandard signage and next to no warning before entering the road doesn't seem to be working as well as one might hope. It's a very unique road situation, and we're stuck with it in many ways. Surely we can do better as far as signage though?

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There is nothing wrong with the signs. What is wrong is we do not cull stupid people in a manner that allows quicker evolution.

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a) "Cars Only" in dull orange on black is an accepted standard sign, and b) where it's acceptable to post 'Low Clearance' without stating the actual clearance.

From the 2009 MUTCD:

Guidance:
02 To be effective, a traffic control device should meet five basic requirements:
A. Fulfill a need;
B. Command attention;
C. Convey a clear, simple meaning;
D. Command respect from road users; and
E. Give adequate time for proper response.
03 Design, placement, operation, maintenance, and uniformity are aspects that should be carefully considered in order to maximize the ability of a traffic control device to meet the five requirements listed in the previous paragraph. Vehicle speed should be carefully considered as an element that governs the design, operation, placement, and location of various traffic control devices

.
Based on how frequently overheight vehicles manage to get far enough onto Storrow Drive to find themselves in trouble, it seems pretty clear that the DCR's signing has failed in meeting these requirements.

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The sign in question reads: Clearance 10'6 and does display the actual clearance. And the sign at the entrance reads Cars Only and hit the truck on the windshield thus "Command attention" and "convey a clear, simple meaning".

Look its very simple in general though, signs or no signs. Large vehicles are NOT welcome in ANY part of the city. It's bad enough those things are on ANY road anywhere in the country. All large scale freight should move by trains or maglev or vacuum tunnels to distribution points at which point it is loaded onto van sized or smaller vehicles for the final destination. The only exception should be when a single piece, oversized load [larger than van can carry] needs to be delivered and like oversized are now such a delivery should involve street closures and escort vehicles and lots of money to the city for the inconvenience.

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Most of the Storrow signage fails the last criteria IMHO:

E. Give adequate time for proper response.

Admittedly I only use certain storrow on ramps, but usually the hanging rubber sign is *after* you're committed and have no other option.

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The information provided by the Cars Only signs is too late to be actionable.

Also, it's better to provide instructions saying what you should do, rather than what you shouldn't. So like, "Trucks Must Exit Here" rather than "Cars Only".

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a clearance on them I was referring to are at the entrance ramps onto Storrow. The clearance signs posted on the actual overpasses along Storrow Drive are actually pretty good. But by the time a trucker sees them, he/she usually doesn't have an option to take an exit ramp.

DCR should suck up their aesthetic pride for once and follow the Big Dig's lead. Low clearance and other restrictions are posted on the advance signs for the I-90 and I-93 tunnels well before these vehicles have committed to entering the highway.

Of course, there's the larger question of why DCR is still in control of an arterial highway used daily by commuters and others. But that's a discussion for another time.

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One could make a similar argument about Speed Limit signs.............of course, part of being a licensed driver is supposedly knowing the varying speeds for highways, school zones, residential streets, etc. Just because those signs aren't posted every 5 feet is not a valid excuse for speeding.

Shouldn't a professionally licensed truck driver be able to think critically and understand that "Cars Only" and "Low Clearance" means that a truck doesn't belong there?

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actually looked like real traffic signs, perhaps you might have a point. As for Low Clearance signs, per Federal standards, it is not uncommon for these signs to be posted when a clearance no more than one foot greater than the maximum legal height for trucks. In Massachusetts and most other states, max legal height without a permit is 13'-6", so Low Clearance signs would be posted for anything 14'-6" or lower.

Now consider the average trucker coming from Georgia or Alabama. He/she has probably passed dozen of these clearance signs on their trip into Boston and made it under ALL the bridges without a problem. Then they see signs indicating "Low Clearance" with NO indication of what the actual clearance is. Do you really expect them to do the critical thinking and say "Hey, the clearance, which isn't stated on the sign, MUST be lower than the height of my truck. I'll go another way." Especially when to do so requires backing down a ramp they've just entered.

And, as I and others have previously pointed out, that is the crux of the matter. Drivers of overheight vehicles are not getting the critical information they need until they've already committed to entering the facility. This is sign design at its worst.

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MUTCD-compliant "yield to pedestrians signs" often have no effect on drivers when pedestrians are in crosswalks.

https://goo.gl/maps/5ZSLTbNdUHU2
http://mutcd.fhwa.dot.gov/htm/2009/part2/fig2b_02_longdesc.htm

Just because truck drivers have a different class of license, what makes you think their ability to comprehend and follow signage is any different?

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C. Convey a clear, simple meaning

"Cars Only." I don't know how much clearer that could be.

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"Cars Only." I don't know how much clearer that could be.

And yet, the parkway in question is lousy with vans, pickup trucks, etc. How is an out-of-state driver supposed to know that the "Cars Only" is a matter of necessity, and not simply a matter of aesthetics as it is on virtually all of the DRC's other roadways?

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When I moved to the Boston area and began riding a motorcycle again, I saw the "CARS ONLY" signs and wondered if motorcycles were banned on Storrow Drive for some reason. They're not.

Motorcycle bans on major public roadways are not unheard of. The Garden State Parkway, for instance, banned motorcycles until Malcolm Forbes exerted pressure to get the ban lifted in the late 1970s.

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I would think that a professionally licensed driver would understand the general size difference between an SUV and the massive truck they are driving.

Whats with this general attitude of aesthetics as an excuse for ignoring signage?

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Interstates don't allow pedestrians, bicycles, tractors, horses, but do allow cars, SUV's, pickups, minivans, vans, trailers, buses, box trucks, flatbeds, and motorcycles.

So yes "cars only" could be made clearer. Even "no trucks" would be clearer.

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How often *do* people speed around here? Is it more often than people speed around there?

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If Storrowing only happened a couple of times a years, then sure blame the drivers 100%. But when it happens so often, the blame shifts to the people who designed the signs.

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They spent years (maybe decades) trying different stuff to prevent trucks getting on Storrow Drive. Those dangling Cars Only signs were the best, most effective thing they came up with. Before those signs it was way worse. Drivers will be confused, distracted, and stupid. The only solution would be to remove all motor vehicles from Storrow Drive.

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What "different stuff" did they spend decades trying?

If you spend decades trying to solve a problem, and this is the best you come up with, then I don't think you actually tried very hard.

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Time for a "LOW BRIDGE AHEAD, AND THE BRIDGE ALWAYS WINS" bright flashing red sign with air horns activated if an overheight truck passes it?

Or something like that.

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Sacrificial beam at the entrance to Storrow Drive.

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Metal plate at every entrance ramp that only supports up to 1 ton of weight, over a huge pit with spikes in the bottom.

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Pinata, full of glitter and glue.

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What about moving the "CARS ONLY" sign all the way back to the very start of the onramp entrances, and install them on a steel beam..physically blocking the trucks from entering? Then they aren't stuck with the "well I am already this far and don't want to back up, maybe I'll fit" mentality.

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The bridge is the second notice...

The digital sign says "Truck Warning Bridge Too Low Exit Here"
There is also a hanging sign that says "Cars Only" that will hit the truck.
If they STILL keep going, they will see another "Cars Only" sign on the bridge.

Take a look at this:
https://www.google.com/maps/@42.3579999,-71.0907926,3a,63.8y,242.4h,93.79t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1s1rsnDQwqPz7t4Vld42oxzg!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

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because they haven't been properly maintained. Or the digital signs that illuminate every time a car or truck or squirrel or something passes the sensor, even if it's not too tall to fit under the bridges.

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with the federally mandated okey-dokey signs, that way when storrowing still happens every day, people can finally stop saying it's the signs.

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I did this once.

For three weeks I drove a manual-transmission, right-hand drive, over-height van around Europe as a tour manager. Never drove a manual, right-hand, or over-height vehicle before that. (or since).
Had a 10 minute lesson from the harried rental guy. ("I gotta go! You'll be fine.") 1 hour later I was in stop&go London rush hour traffic for 3 hours on the way to the Dover ferry. With a band I had just met.

The Brussels airport had signs in English, but wasn't clear on where to park. After the band was unloaded and headed to security, I had to park the van and get back on the same plane. The main terminal had a garage, but it seemed to be labeled short-term parking only - I didn't think I could park it there for 3 days, so I drove frantically around the airport complex looking for some kind of parking. The nearest garage had a hanging sign that said low clearance and hit the roof as I drove onward. I was in a huge rush, as the plane was leaving within the half hour. I was also sleep-deprived, and annoyed at the tour in general because the label I was working for wasn't being straight about finances.

So I took the garage ticket, drove slightly forward, and encountered the first low concrete beam of the garage. From my driver seat, I leaned out the right(!) side window and thought to myself "thats not too low, this is Europe, they make the sign lower than the real thing to deter potential offending vehicles." I gave it some gas, and the roof promptly crunched. I backed up, got out, and found the roof deformed about a foot down, pushed in a few inches.I sort of panicked, because now I had to find different parking spot quickly. Backwards through the ticket gate and backwards partway down the ramp, 3-point turn, back to the terminal. The man on the intercom said I could park it there for 3 days (with lots of big equipment cases visible in the back). I jumped thru a no-line security and thought I'd be right on time. Then I saw the signs for my gate: "Gates 120-140: Estimated walking time 20 minutes". For the duration of my 10 minute run to the gate, my name was announced 3 times, in 3 languages, echoing across the empty corridors. The plane to Barcelona was packed. Every single person was seated, 3 seats on each side of the center aisle, glared at me in the penetrating way that only Northern Europeans can get away with. No hint of understanding, no gift of empathy in their eyes. I passed 25 or 30 rows of one dozen eyes lazering my face off, and all I could say was the only thing I thought they would all understand: "C'est la vie, mes amies..... C'est la vie"

In my non-reclining middle seat in the last row next to the bathroom, I slept the entire one hour flight, which arrived early after all.

BTW, insurance paid for the roof.

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anyone proposes sign additions/design changes/removals/placement ideas/etc., you will still have people who are ignorant to what is obvious to many others.

An investment in updating signage could certainly help the cause, but no degree of investment will eliminate the issue.

Plain & simple, you can't cure stupid.

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So what?

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Bu..bu...bu signs!

Please.
Visit this website

http://11foot8.com/

All your federal signs. Still dozens of idiots ramming into the bridge.

Maybe the problem arent the signs. Maybe its that our licensing standards are top tier garbage.

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for all the streets surrounding the infamous 11foot8.com underpass. You will quickly realize that there is nothing advising truckers in advance of the low bridge, nor any signing indicating how to avoid the street with the restriction.

This is the same problem that we're having with Storrow Drive. Fairly decent signing at the hazards themselves, but little or nothing useful in advance telling drivers of the hazard before they've committed to using the road.

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I've actually driven in that neighborhood fairly recently (nice bakeries and restaurants there) and there are quite a few signs on Gregson in either direction - just not every two or three houses leading up to it for a mile ahead I guess.

EDIT: now I see your problem: I was last there in early 2015. Some of the Google street view is from as early as 2007, some from 2012, 2014, and 2015. There have been changes made since 2007 - a LOT of them! (I've spent quite a bit of time in Raleigh Durham on business over the years) The 2015 images on part of North Gregson show at least three warning signs when approaching - all of them standard.

Drivers of overheight vehicles STILL hit the damn bridge, despite beefed up warnings, flashing, alarms, etc. So much for that.

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However, there are NO warning signs on North Gregson Street PRIOR to West Main Street, which is the logical alternate route for trucks to avoid the bridge. While there are warning signs on the far side of the North Gregson Street/West Main Street intersection, it's easy to see how a trucker focusing on the traffic signal at the intersection could miss these signs.

Regardless, stating 'Well, proper signs apparently don't work in this situation, so we shouldn't bother to place them on Storrow Drive." is not an acceptable response.

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Regardless, stating 'Well, proper signs apparently don't work in this situation, so we shouldn't bother to place them on Storrow Drive." is not an acceptable response.

We also don't have any actual data on whether the new signs have reduced the number of incidents. So maybe the proper signs are reducing the frequency of collisions, even if they haven't eliminated them entirely.

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It's just that many, if not most people are too short-sighted, stupid and/or willfully ignorant to read them.

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