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In a game of inches on the river roads, the bridge always wins

Storrowed Bridge on Soldiers Field Road

BostonDirt reports she got to see her first storrowing, about 11 a.m. on Soldiers Field Road.

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This happens because out-of-towners are utterly baffled by the notion that a major road in a major city has such low clearances. There is nowhere else in the US where this is the case.

Until that changes, or all truck rentals with a Boston destination require the customer to write out "I will not drive this truck on Storrow" before getting the keys, the trucks will keep getting smashed.

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It happens to professional, local drivers too. People get careless, follow their GPS, and forget what type of vehicle they are driving.

Bring back the cowbells.

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There are parkways in New York City boroughs and suburbs (Hudson River and Long Island) that have low clearances and restrict traffic to passenger cars only. There is also the Merritt Parkway in Connecticut with its low clearances. These are major thoroughfares with high traffic that are even longer than Storrow Drive (not sure how frequent Storrowings occur on these roads). When driving to and from the city, I take these roads to avoid having to share the road with the truck traffic.

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There are low bridges all over the country and the world. Boston is hardly unique. And local truck rental agencies warn people not to drive on Storrow or Memorial drive. All U-Hauls and the like have the truck dimensions clearly labeled on the website, rental literature, and even the truck itself. You can't stop dumb people from being dumb.

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Do the rental agencies just warn people not to drive on Storrow or Memorial Drive, or do they explain what is likely to happen if they do? If it's the first, renters may interpret it as, "these are nice scenic roads, and the nice scenic people of Boston don't want big ugly trucks on them, but I have a dispensation, because I'm an asshole." The agency's warning should state clearly: "THERE IS NO ASSHOLE DISPENSATION. If you drive on Storrow or Memorial Drive in this truck, you will crash into a bridge. It will cause serious damage to the truck, and we will hold you liable, which we can do because we are WARNING YOU NOT TO DO IT. It will really ruin your day, and possibly your year. It will take all day to get the truck out of there, and getting you your stuff back won't be our highest priority. And we won't rent you another."

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The fact is, if you look through the archives of UHub, Storrowings happen all year and most of the markings on the trucks are local.

Then there was that bus wreck that nearly killed kids.

The problem: Jackasses using google maps.

It is also not true that "Boston is the only place ...". Nope. ANY and EVERY Eastern city has this problem - I got caught in Traffic coming into Ottawa that was due to a "Storrottawing". Montreal, too. NY, Philly, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Raleigh/Durham ... could go on and on.

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You've been around long enough to know that "Storrowings" have been happening since the founders of google were in grade school. It ain't google's fault. It's people's inability to read road signs. The only difference between 2018 and 1988 is that everyone has a camera in their pocket and the ability to show large numbers of strangers their photographs of vehicles getting stuck.

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It used to be student jackasses in rental trucks.

Only very rarely a bus or a semi.

Now? Seems to happen much more often. For that I blame teh google and deregulation in the trucking industry.

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It ain't google's fault. It's people's inability to read road signs.

The fact that it happens so often suggests that the design of the road/signs is the problem. If Storrowing only happened once or twice a year, then it's fair to blame the drivers. When it happens monthly, then the blame shifts.

There are GPS units for trucks that have low clearance warnings. It wouldn't be unreasonable to require them in rental trucks.

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This awesome site proves it's not just a Boston thing.

http://11foot8.com

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A) No one knows the height of their vehicle
B) This happens way to often.

We can blame and piss and moan, or we can actually create a real solution.
The system needs to detect the high at the previous pass and then squawk and flash red lights.

We need a realistic approach to solve this, more than just an sign...

https://www.tapconet.com/solar-led-division/overheight-warning-system

We need two of these and more light and more siren's
We need a common sense fix for those without common sense.

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people are stupid.

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Return Storrow drive to parkland, as the Storrow family intended. Maybe run a modern trolley line on the part nearest Boston, and dramatically improve the bike infrastructure there to make a bike highway, to get people back and forth without cars. Problem solved. No more trucks getting opened up, and we get a huge part of our open space back.

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Ban trucks from the road.

There is a bikeway feet from this road. Take the road out and the transportation infrastructure of the area goes out of whack. Banning overheight vehicles would seem to be the best course of action.

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It hasn't helped.

And the bikeway is nowhere near big enough. It should be a full traffic lane in each direction. Much as building a road invites more traffic, so would building a proper bike highway invite more bike traffic. The thing is, we want less of one and more of the other.

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to the problem of the fly buzzing around my living room. I open up the gas...and you get the idea.

What's that you say? Stupid on any day, particularly insensitive these days?

Why yes it is. Just like defaulting to bikes! bikes! bikes! bans! bans! bans!
Taking out a major road will not magic the people who take that road onto bikes and trolleys that service the urban zone around the trolley. That traffic will go onto other roads, making everyone more miserable and marginally increasing the number of pedestrians and cyclists who have unfortunate run-ins with automobiles.

I wonder...if the Longfellow had been rebuilt with modern construction methods, would the cost savings have been enough to raise the clearances on some of those bridges?

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Put ginormous tolls on the road to pay for it.

Storrow should never have been built. If you find it convenient, you should pay for it. It is a state road and can be tolled - six bucks each way should cover your convenience.

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Storrow Drive and Soldiers Field Road see on the order of 100,000 vehicles per day. If you established toll points at the Weeks, BU, Harvard and Longfellow bridges at 25¢ each, you'd raise $100,000 per day, or $30 million per year (given weekends). If you doubled the toll at peak hours to manage congestion, you'd net more like $40 million. The tolls would be low enough that not many people would clog other roads, but it might lead to some reduction in trips or use of transit. With open road tolling, it's easy to set up gantries. There's no federal funding at risk as there might be with interstates. (There should, of course, be a penalty for not just getting a goddamn EZPass already.)

The DCR could use the money: the state keeps their funding low and our parks suffer. The agency has lost hundreds of staffers, and the public loses out when land statewide is not maintained. Some money could be earmarked for the Charles River Basin master plan to improve all the paths without relying on private donations.

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In fact, given the rise of electronic tolling, high mileage and hybrid/electric vehicles, and people's general blah-ness about being tracked wherever they go, I'd (seriously, not facetiously) suggest that all high-traffic roads get gantries and that instead of paying a gas tax and excise tax, you pay a direct road use tax that's pegged to the weight of your vehicle and the roads you actually use.

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Nope. Good public transit and bike infrastructure will get people out of their cars and onto trains and bikes. Ever been to Copenhagen? More people commute by bike than car. Why? Because they have good bike infrastructure and a much higher gas tax(drivers there get less handouts than the selfish US drivers). The result? Healthier people, nicer parks, a better city, less wasted tax dollars. Educate yourself by looking up "induced demand". If you reduce the number of streets you will reduce the number of cars.

So, long story short, turn Storrow back into a park. Stupid drivers who refuse to read signs shouldn't get such lovely riverfront property.

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Fix Public Transit First.

Chicken --> Egg

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The vehicles that are getting damaged are not commuter vehicles; they are trucks transporting many cubic feet of someone's belongings. That's not something that can be easily replaced by public transit or bicycles.

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The trucks transporting many cubic feet of someone's belongings are already NOT on Storrow. We could shut Storrow down tomorrow and it would not impact moving trucks one bit, except to reduce the number of Storrowings to zero. Those vehicles already need to seek alternate routes.

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I still dont see the problem with tearing down the bridges and rebuilding some of them higher.

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You can't just fix some of them. If you want trucks to move down Storrow, you need to raise ALL of them. And you need to raise them significantly, by about 4'. Which is neither cheap nor easy, and not really necessary since there are alternate ways for these vehicles to get where they're going.

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Why isn't there better signage? In some (most?) spots, you don't even see the "cars only" sign until it's too late to go another way.

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Any reason why ALL entrances to Storrow can't have an "at height " gate at the START of the entrance ramp so that the trucks can't get onto Storrow?

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And someone else here knows better than I what happened to them.

Of course, with the toll idea floated above, the gantries could be the height needed to stop the trucks.

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Voting closed 12

Poor people ride busses. Rich people drive cars.

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