We're number one! OK, for worst rush-hour traffic in the country, but still!

WBZ reports that an annual study shows Bostonians who drive spend more time stuck in traffic than people in any other city. Suck it, New York?






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we suck it while we proudly fuck ourselves out of cleaner air and safer streets.

Probably because 3 major

Probably because 3 major intersections in a row will allow pedestrians to push the cross button when it should be automatic thus keeping the traffic flowing.

Why not both? It's possible

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Why not both? It's possible to have too many cars on the Interstate causing jams, as well as city traffic (including bus traffic) being slower than it could be because of inefficient traffic lights.

What!? Pedestrian crossings

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What!? Pedestrian crossings at major intersection are automatic. The crossing buttons don't do anything. And traffic is 100% created by lazy, selfish drivers who take up a ridiculous amount of space. Pedestrians do not create traffic. The traffic lights were created because of cars. Take the cars out of the city and we would have no need for traffic lights. Sounds like nirvana to me.


Hold on to your panties

I’m talking about the intersections where you can’t turn on red and when you finally can, it’s now okay to cross for pedestrians. I think pedestrians should have a full moment to cross all streets.


Quick Question

How many pedestrians are crossing vs. how many drivers are waiting?

Try it on foot and see for yourself - a line of five cars, one honking, while 20 people cross.

Transportation is about moving PEOPLE not cars.


Sure, but...

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There are plenty of places in the metro region where the situation is reversed.

In your town, I recently needed to cross the Mystic Valley Parkway at Wellington Circle on foot. I was the only pedestrian while there were dozens of cars waiting. I've waited in a line of ~50 cars on Rt. 9 in Chestnut Hill for a single pedestrian to cross at the signalized crosswalk. And yeah, there are dozens or hundreds of intersections in the downtown core where pedestrians outnumber cars for much of the day.

Both modes are important, but transportation planners can do a better job of not artificially inducing congestion (or speeding for that matter) with better timing of traffic signals as well as making public transit more reliable and convenient.

Well, the solution to the Rt.

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Well, the solution to the Rt. 9 problem is overpasses. Or underground crossings. But we don't build them here.

Rt. 9 in Brookline....

Has like 4 intersections in a row where pedestrians will set off a good 20-30 second delay.

But I take my helicopter in so I'm good. Looks bad though.


Pedestrians aren't delaying anyone

They are being delayed by cars, if anything. (and bikes, too, if you want to go there).

Downtown, tens of cars delay hundreds of people in the areas around North and South Station alone!

Remember: there is no right to drive, but there is a right to move around on the public ways.

Simple matter of perspective.



I could care less but it is still a delay. Drivers make walkers delay and when a walker pushes a button the driver is delayed. It doesn't make the walker an evil person or anything. But at Rt. 9 and Warren St the pedestrian light makes traffic stop for about 30 seconds when at the most 2-4 people cross (it is usually one jogger).

Sometimes I get delayed by rush hour traffic.

Or maybe a truck breaks down and traffic backs up. Or maybe the weather got real bad, or there was a roadrace I didn't know about. Or maybe someone was crossing the street and tripped and fell and couldn't get up and cars had to "wait their turn"

It doesn't have to have a negative connotation.

Some are, some aren’t. All should be.

Boston (the City of Boston proper) is terrible when it comes to pedestrian light settings. There is a lack of a uniform settings, which sows confusuon and frustration among those of us who walk. The standard, as it is in much of the world, should be concurrent walk with the green (“and not in between!”), with exclusive phases as an exception. Beg buttons outside of mid block pedestrian crossings, should be outlawed. Cambridge has actual professionals on its transportation staff that seem to know what they are doing, whereas Boston appears not to. Cambridge runs circles around Boston (and Somerville for that matter -though they are slowly improving) when it comes to acknowledging that walking is is an important part of the transportation system, and sets an example that Boston has a long way to go in order to meet.


No, it's the Gridlock

It's the idiots who drive into the intersection when there isn't room for them on the other side. So then they get stuck and waste 1/2 the next cycle while the cross traffic can't move.

This happens Every. Single. Time. at the big intersections. If only people waited for room it would be much quicker to get through the intersection since 1/2 the cycle wouldn't be wasted every time.

But yet it's "bike lanes" and "pedestrians" which get blamed, not the assholes who had to jam up the intersection because they couldn't dare wait for space.


if we gave a shit MassDOT,

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if we gave a shit MassDOT, the city, the state need to do many PSAs of “DON’T BLOCK THE BOX” and if you do $250 or $500 ticket like in NYC. it’ll stop real quick.


And the assholes behind them

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And the assholes behind them who honk and honk and honk when you don't block the box. Where the fuck you gonna go, buddy?

I call BS

I've driven in LA, San Fran, thousands of miles around NYC. Those three cities are much worse. In the case of California, there is bumper to bumper traffic nearly 24/7 whereas at least Boston isn't so bad outside rush hour.

I don't like to drive anywhere but I'd rather drive in Boston vs the other big coastal cities just for the time savings alone.


Actually the report points

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Actually the report points out that Boston has the worst traffic during rush hour. It points out that other cities have worse traffic overall.


Agreed on BS

I live near Cambridge St near downtown. During a week day it is an absolute mess. Certainly worthy of complaining about the various things people bring up. After 7, if there is no game at the Garden, it is practically empty. And this despite there being thousands of people living in the area.

I have to agree. LA traffic

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I have to agree. LA traffic is nearly around the clock. Boston, just avoid our short window of rush hours.

i DUNNO....

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Can count on my hands the number of times per year I am on a briskly moving I-93. I'm not even using the words "clear" or "empty" here. Just MOVING at a steady pace. Saturday 8 am? NOPE 3pm? NOPE. Sunday night 9pm? NOPE.
They call it the Distressway for a reason.

It depends on how you define things.

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It depends on how you define things. The actual report and methodology seems to be behind several levels of clicks and giving them contact information, but just looking at the precise phrasing of their press release, what they're ranking is hours lost in traffic, which is different from how congested the roads are. New York has a ton of traffic, but people are more likely to take the subway. Los Angeles has a ton of traffic, but the traffic is more spread out. Commuting to work does seem to be the focus of their report.

And yet

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the City is allowing every inch of open space to be developed and the tearing down of houses to build large condo/apartment buildings which will further exacerbate the situation. The mayor keeps harping on climate change and rising sea levels which will flood Boston yet by allowing the cutting down trees and paving over of open green space he is helping fuel that very climate change which will literally ruin our City. The City's disregard for its residents is apparent. The mayor cares more about his buddies in the building union that about those who actually live here.

Where do you propose these

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Where do you propose these people should live? The suburbs? Where they will need a car and drive? hmmmm

Meanwhile in Minneapolis and Seattle

Even with low gas prices, even with population growth, even with Uber and Lyft circling 24/7, Minneapolis and Seattle have reduced the amount of driving in their cities.

Vehicle miles traveled are down 2 percent in Minneapolis between 2007 and 2016, according to city officials. During that time the city gained roughly 30,000 residents.



Good article

tl;dr - It's because they invested in transit.


In the last decade, Minneapolis has made some important investments in public transit. The city opened its popular Green Line light rail in 2014 and it now carries 37,000 riders a day. The region has also been building a network of bus rapid transit service, beginning in St. Paul.

The city is also famously bike friendly and has been steadily adding bike infrastructure. In 2016, bike commuting rates reached an all-time high of 5 percent.


In 2016, Seattle passed its third successive light rail expansion package, which will add 62 miles of track across the metro region for the cost of $53 billion. The same year, the city completed a major light rail/subway project, University Link extension to Link Light Rail, connecting downtown to University of Washington in eight minutes (versus a 50 minute car ride). The opening of the new stations caused light rail ridership to soar 51 percent year over year across the light rail system.

But plenty of cities — Los Angeles, Denver — have added a lot of rail transit and still seen ridership slump.

What also distinguishes Seattle, to some extent, is its tandem investment in bus transit. In 2014, King County metro was facing a funding shortfall. Rather than let the transit system fall into the “transit death spiral,” where service cuts lead to ridership losses which set the table for more cuts, Seattle voters dug into their pockets. They approved a city-only $60 vehicle registration fee and a 0.1-percent sales tax hike to beef up bus service, adding 270,000 service hours. Using those funds, the city was able to make huge strides in the number of households that are served by frequent transit, running every 10 minutes.

Gee, "transit death spiral" sound like a better name for the transit authority near the Massachusetts bay.


Good transit will do wonders

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Of course, Seattle is ranked 6th in this survey, with motorists spending more time stuck in traffic than in New York and incurring more costs than drivers in Pittsburgh, but they are trying.


Seattle, like SF, has starker geographical constraints than Boston so it takes more effort.

Seismic and Tsunami concerns, too

Boston has coastal storm flooding risks, but Seattle has had two 7.0 earthquakes nearby in the last century. Worse yet, the Cascadia Subduction has become a growing concern for violent shaking (last quake in 1700 was around a 9.2 on the Richter scale) and potential tsunami.

The design and reinforcement of anything being built now has to consider that sort of mayhem.

Two things to add

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Boston also is #1 in the percentage of commuters into the city on a daily basis and distance many of these commuters travel (that is those living 40,50 miles or more from Boston.I'd suggest this a huge reason for the traffic and congestion.

I wonder how relevant that is

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I wonder how relevant that is. We have a tiny geography so of course many people live outside the city. LA is more than 5 times larger than Boston so people may commute further but still live within the city.

True. And it shows that metro Boston

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Is quite large. Some people may google Boston and say, hmmm, around 700,000? What many don't realize is the City of Boston is only 48 square miles in LAND AREA (50% of the City of Boston territory is water). It is the 3rd most densely populated big city in the U.S. after NYC and S.F. S.F. Is 46 square miles in land area, so it also is geographically small by the standards ofa big American city, but the Bay Area metro S.F. Is quite large.

With Bakers upcoming T fare

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With Bakers upcoming T fare (but no toll/gas) increase we will pad our lead! Even the Ts own report said ridership will decrease again, more cars on the road!

The Pachyderm in the Immediate Vicinity

Rush Hour happens because:

  • State and Federal offices are inflexible about 9-5 schedules
  • The MBTA and Commuter Rail is completely geared to 9-5, forcing others onto that schedule (just look at the commuter bus schedules, frequencies, etc.) and forcing people into cars
  • Everyone being in the office during these hours also pushes car commuters onto this schedule
  • There are no programs to mitigate this lockstep commuting pattern

Consequently, a huge chunk of "rush hour" might be avoidable if it were more possible to use the MBTA without the extreme squishing or absurd rail schedules causing inflexibility for parents, etc. The rush hour Critical Mass effect could also be lessened if the peak crush of commuters got spread out a bit through initiatives to get employers to allow for more flexibility rather than rigid schedules - starting with the State setting an example and the MBTA offering better coverage.

(h/t to Will LT for being one of our most frequent elephant spotters on this issue)


Additional contributer: the

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Additional contributer: the complete spoke-and-wheel design of public transit. Malden to Downtown? Fine. Malden to Waltham? Get in the car or spend two hours and 4 transfers getting to work.


Haverhill Line to Fitchburg

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Haverhill Line to Fitchburg Line, 51 minutes.

Of course, that's only if you win the transit lottery twice, and both trains run when you need them. Plus you pay $9 for the privilege, and that's only because Malden is Zone 1A. Melrose to Waltham would be $13.50 -- two Zone 2 fares, with no transfer discount.

That's why we should run the commuter rail more often, and cut the fares in half.

Most of the long car commutes

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Most of the long car commutes extend into commuter rail land.

Some trips are hopeless, like commuting to a suburban office park from most places.

But we could still do a lot better with commuter rail service to downtown. Here's how: cut the fares in half, and run trains every 10 to 15 minutes all day. It's easy to do this cost-effectively, like they do in other countries: EMU and DMU trains of the appropriate length, rather than slow smoke-belching breakdown-prone monster hulks every 40 minutes to 2 hours.

Running commuter rail every 10-15 minutes all day

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is a non-starter. Besides slotting issues on the NEC and some other lines, the MBTA does not have the equipment or employees to do that, although I am a big proponent of electrifying the entire system, converting to high platforms and decreasing headway.

A good place to start would be for the T to recognize that rush hour now begins at 6am, and the afternoon rush begins at 2pm. There is not enough service systemwide in the 5:30am-7am and 2-4pm time periods.

One of the first things Baker

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One of the first things Baker did as governor was kill the DMU plans the Patrick administration had begun. Baker and republicans as a party are wholly against public transit as they see it as socialism. Baker has spent his whole political career undermining the T, fist when he was Welds right hand man, and now as governor. With the Baker Globe as his cheerleader, he will never be questioned.

An easy way to make Boston better

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Change the metrics.

Seriously, read the Globe article. We’re #1 because they tweaked the formula. And remember, the survey only counts automobile commuters, not the rest of us.