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DCR cancels Sunday closing of Memorial Drive to make room for cars

DCR is alerting pedestrians and bicyclists they better stay off Mem. Drive between Western Avenue and Mount Auburn Street in Cambridge this Sunday, because it will be open to traffic so that motorists don't have to be inconvenienced by the narrowing of the turnpike across the river.

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Comments

Here's the law:

the metropolitan district commission may at its discretion suspend
any authorized closings, if in the judgement of said commission such
authorized closing poses a threat to public safety and should any
emergency arise in which said commission in its judgement deems it
necessary to alter the authorized closure.

Note that it's way too early for something to be an "emergency." So it would have to be that the closing would "pose a threat to public safety."

A bit of traffic doesn't seem like a threat to public safety to me. This is ridiculous.

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and Cambridge are totally gridlocked and then decide to open Memorial Drive to cars with no prior notice?

With respect, the law you quoted that requires an "emergency situation" or "threat to public safety" to cancel a planned closure is what's ridiculous here.

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Gridlock is not an emergency.

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an excessively restrictive law instead of applying some common sense to this situation - namely being proactive before the fact and avoiding potential problems instead of being reactive after the fact once the problems have already occurred.

Bad idea.

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I'm advocating that the DCR follow its statutory requirements. This is not an emergency and there is no threat to public safety. Not to mention the timing of the announcement, less than 48 hours, reeks of terrible planning and sloppy management.

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And when an ambulance can't get where it's going, who's going to be screaming bloody murder literally?

Chris Christie maybe?

An ounce of prevention...

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And when an ambulance can't get where it's going, who's going to be screaming bloody murder literally?

Really? That's the logic? Well, we better start outlawing traffic jams and providing an extra lane on every road which is reserved solely for emergency vehicles. Maybe we should outlaw non-emergency vehicles entirely just to be safe.

There is bumper to bumper traffic on the major highways of everyday around Boston. No one ever seems to think it's critical failing of public safety except when there happens to be a protest or some particularly annoying construction.

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The Pike is not usually gridlocked mid-day on a Sunday.

Just because there are sometimes traffic jams in a few places doesn't mean we can't make special plans for big road closures.

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... isn't a closed-off Memorial Drive ideal for that purpose? I trust pedestrians and cyclists to get out of the way of an ambulance if they need to.

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i agree that they should have given more notice, but gridlock is a problem when emergency vehicles can't get through. definitely should have given more notice though.

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but gridlock is a problem when emergency vehicles can't get through

This happens every single morning. Traffic can't move out of the way when it's bumper to bumper and there's no shoulder. That describes the river roads during rush hour every weekday.

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There's one every day. Twice.

Sounds like we should be banning/limiting cars.

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If you don't take transit/don't leave your car at home, that shouldn't become the problem of people who aren't causing the mess.

Drivers don't get special rights.

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And the closures of Memorial Drive to vehicles Sundays so pedestrians can exclusively use the road for their leisure activities is giving them special rights over others. Plus, you're losing those special rights FOR ONE DAY - hardly the end of the world here.

With respect, it should be fairly obvious to anyone who can look at this situation objectively that minimizing potential impacts to traffic flow on regional roads that WILL be used as alternate routes because they're restricting lane use on a major highway than closing those roads so pedestrians can use them for recreational purposes is a PROPER and REASONABLE action for a public agency to take.

But continue to take the position that car drivers can quickly and easily use alternate forms of transportation, especially at the drop of a hat. Hint: It' isn't a realistic view.

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The concern is that this "situational" cancellation will become more and more common. It's not even like the Pike is getting totally shut down on a weekday. It's lane closures, on a Sunday, when traffic is lightest.

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No?

Perhaps you should. He's right - they had no authority to do this.

This is why the EOEEA people have very low regard for their little bastard stepkid DCR. Your enabling them doesn't change the facts: unnecessary, penalizing people not responsible for the problem, etc.

Wanna bring your car into the city? DEAL WITH IT.

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Even though I consider myself to highly fluent in Swirly, I'm at a losss to understand what "EOEEA" is. Would you please elaborate?

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Perhaps the original poster who used the acronym could explain what the acronym is so people know what the heck she is talking about?

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Or observe this policy:

"Using obscure jargon and internet acronyms negates communication attempts outside of whatever discussion forum you use most."

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If you don't know how your government is structured or how it works, you shut up until you figure that out?

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That sentence takes too long to pronounce. Can't we have an acronym to abbreviate it?

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"Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs"

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And the closures of Memorial Drive to vehicles Sundays so pedestrians can exclusively use the road for their leisure activities is giving them special rights over others. Plus, you're losing those special rights FOR ONE DAY - hardly the end of the world here.

Seems to me the "special rights over others" is giving Memorial Drive over to motorists exclusively every day, save a precious few in summer months. Motorists "losing those special rights FOR ONE DAY" is not, as you say, "the end of the world".

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A "threat to public safety" is one thing; an "emergency" is something else. Some threats to public safety may constitute emergencies, while others range through a spectrum of chronic and/or looming hazards. The notion of a threat is separate issue from the notion of an emergency.

The law doesn't say this:

the metropolitan district commission may at its discretion suspend any authorized closings, if in the judgement of said commission such authorized closing poses an emergent threat to public safety

Nor does it say:

the metropolitan district commission may at its discretion suspend any authorized closings, if while in the judgement of said commission such authorized closing poses a threat to public safety, any emergency also arises in which said commission in its judgement deems it necessary to alter the authorized closure.

In addition, the fact the words: "judgement" and "said commission" are used twice, infers there are two different judgements available, which the commission may choose to invoke: a judgement of threat to public safety, and a judgement of emergency.

Of course it would be perfectly clear if the law read:

the metropolitan district commission may at its discretion suspend any authorized closings, if in the judgement of said commission such authorized closing poses a threat to public safety OR should any emergency arise in which said commission in its judgement deems it necessary to alter the authorized closure.

Grammar notwithstanding, "OR" instead of "AND" is the only logical interpretation of the law.

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ahhh, the DCR finds a new way to disappoint me. I thought it had covered them all already.

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It's perfectly legal to ride a bike on any part of Memorial Drive, even when it is not closed to vehicular traffic on Sundays. I don't see how they can legally stop, say several hundred people on bikes who just might show up there from using it this Sunday.

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Time for a local warmup for the WNBR?

IMAGE(http://www.worldnakedbikeride.org/World%20Naked%20Bike%20Ride%20%28WNBR%29%20-%20Naked%20Bicycle%20People%20Power%21%20Stop%20indecent%20exposure%20to%20vehicle%20emissions%21_files/indecentexposure.jpg)

Warning: color scheme not safe for some eyes!

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Piss off people who are probably already pissed off. FIGHT THE POWER! That attitude will not get you far, son.

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Jeepers creepers Neil - what are you thinking! Driving makes people angry. That's why so many drivers erupt in "traffic tantrums" and die an early death via heart attack.

Jeeeeesch, don't you know?!!?!?

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Adam, normally I feel your headlines and summaries are well balanced while reflecting your personal views as a journalist. However, this particular lead, especially the word "inconvenienced" feels like you've crossed a line from reporting to just being petty and it's a bit disappointing. It reads more like a two-bit alternative transportation blogger than your usual tone.

A quick survey of Boston.com, Cambridge Day and Cambridge Chronicle shows that none of those sites have this news available, at least as prominently displayed as you do (this article is currently first on UHub). But the way it's written doesn't reflect that it's important hard news.

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People do work on the weekends... it's not just car drivers inconvenienced on their way to
the Burlington Mall. Sheesh!

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The people who live in Cambridge and environs and do not own cars also need to get to work on Sunday, when pathways are particularly crowded. They also save their errands and shopping for the time when they have free access to fill up a car-free space with far more people than would fit in cars.

Bicycles in urban areas are for transportation, not recreation. You put-upon suburbanites need to get that through your excessive-tint addled heads.

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So... if they're not using bikes for the reason YOU say is most important, they don't count?

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Bicycles in urban areas are for transportation, not recreation.

Wait, so it was bad of me to ride my bike recreationally yesterday because it was in an urban area? Good to know!

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They are not toys that people "play" with just to annoy motorist. Bike people also have to get places, not stay home so some surburban doesn't have to look at a map and change their driving.

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in that it was totally out of the way between my origin and destination points (Davis Square and Beacon Hill), but I had time to kill and it was a pretty place to ride.

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It is only for one frigging day! CHILL!

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As I reported earlier today in the other thread, Riverbend Park / Memorial Drive was closed off to car traffic today, just as it is on all other warm-weather Sundays.

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Aside from any arguments for/against loss of the non-vehicular use of Mem drive on a Sunday, it seems like it invalidates the results of the "closing lanes" test.
If they want to see what happens when they close a couple of lanes, in something close to real conditions, it seems like they can't create an entirely new detour. It's not like the river roads have weekday capacity to take a huge increase in cars.

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