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State seeks storrowing-stopping signs

The Dig reports DCR is soliciting bids for a $75,000 contract to create new signs that are somehow bolder and more, um, impactful, than the current "CARS ONLY" signs in preventing reading-impaired truckers from getting on the river roads.

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But seriously, will distracted overtired truckers even notice them if they didn’t notice the ones already there?

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Voting closed 11

Possibly.

Your rental truck bangs against the hanging "No Cars" signs that have been there for 30+ years. You hear a sound, but you're already past the sign, so you have no idea that you just hit the sign. If you banged a 2nd or 3rd hanging sign, then you might get the idea that you're someplace you're not supposed to be.

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The downtown ramps to I-93 have a thick curtain of chain that would hard to ignore if hit. Why are these not installed on the river roads?

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I live next to one of these ramps and the truckers seem to take pride in hitting the chains. In the past year I have witnessed no truck stopping, yet alone backing out and finding an alternative route.

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Having rented a U-Haul to move to Somerville last year, I was astounded by how many streets had "No Trucks or Busses" signs. Eventually, I had to start ignoring them- there was no way to get to the new address without going down a residential street with one of those signs. The cherry-on-top at the end of the day was that the U-Haul drop-off location was on a "No Trucks or Busses" road.

The problem may not be with the signs on Storrow, but with the saturation of "No Trucks" signs on streets where, technically a smaller truck can (or has to) pass, causing drivers to ignore signage altogether.

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Ha, I read your first sentence and immediately thought "How about the damn UHaul rental location on Rt 16 in Medford?". The signs seem to randomly show up at some point when you're in Arlington and it's kind of late to get off. There's a sign at the intersection right in front of the rental. Bonus - there's a UHaul truck AND a school bus on 16 in that street view picture!
2nd bonus: as you exit the UHaul lot, a sign says "Trucks must turn left". So how are they supposed to get to 93, right around the corner? Go through residential areas instead? The attendant said "just take a right" and there's really nothing after that bridge near whole foods to prevent a truck from getting on 93. They might mean '18 wheeler trucks'?
Boston...

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... Might not be able to hold / support a big 18 wheeler truck?

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B-U-S-E-S

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I was just making essentially the same argument on r/boston yesterday but was accused of diverting blame. I think that people who drive box trucks are constantly seeing signs that say "No trucks", and assume the signs are for noisy big trucks, not me, and they get used to ignoring the signs.

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In other states, they distinguish truck bans for neighborhood quiet versus roads where trucks don't fit, by putting an "except local delivery" sign at the former.

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"DESTROY YOUR TRUCK - STRAIGHT AHEAD"

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i recently had to drive 10 hours, and i can't remember in which state these were in, but i saw effectively cameras which estimated truck heights and then triggered massive stop signal lights. unsightly, but effective.

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We have those here in Massachusetts.

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There are a bunch of laser-activated overheight vehicle detection systems scattered around the state, including this one in Westboro that apparently is so effective at stopping bridge strikes /s that the town wants to just turn the bridge into a drawbridge.

It seems like there may be no level of technology, no amount of lasers and flashing lights and other warnings, that can compete with GPS for a driver's attention.

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There's a perfect example on Youtube called the "11foot8 bridge" -- http://www.11foot8.com/

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Our forefathers built Storrow Drive with its low underpasses to lure hapless travelers to their doom. Why they did this no one knows, but these are the Ways of the Ancestors, and it is not for their poor foolish descendants to question them. Who knows what may come of such folly? Dogs flying spaceships! Paedophilic pizza-parlors! Pickled eggs! Horrors unimaginable!

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Storrow Drive was never supposed to have been a highway. It's a failure of our transportation policy that the park system has become a highway system. Cars and trucks don't belong on Storrow. It wasn't designed for them, and it's not even an efficient use of the space.

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Storrow wasn't designed for horses. It's a road for cars.

The original Esplanade wasn't for cars, but that's history, since Storrow took its place. They built a new Esplanade by filling in the river and moved the monuments over to it.

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Way back when (mid-1960s) pickup trucks and vans were considered trucks, and were banned from Storrow Drive, left lanes on multilane highways, and the like. Were those the days? Those were the days.

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Storrow Drive was constructed in 1951.

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Restore it as parkland and allow no vehicles to drive on it.

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"Restore"?
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Reconfigure, maybe.
You can't restore something that didn't ever exist. A lot of Storrow is filled land. The parkland didn't come in very much longer before the carriageway, did it?
If you want to "restore", you need to un-dam the Charles (and re-write property values in the Back Bay)

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As you acknowledge yourself, there was a period (decades long) when the Esplanade was parkland with very modest amounts of pavement and no bridges/flyovers.

He clearly meant restore to then.

I agree with him, for what it's worth.

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"no turn on red" signs on surface roads, nor do they seem to comprehend red lights and walk signals. you think they're gonna be doing that kinda critical thinking while going 60 down storrow?

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A very simple sign like this might be a deterrent...

Storrow Drive
MAX HEIGHT 10' 10"
CARS ONLY

NO ENTRY FOR COMMERCIAL VEHICLES AND BUSES
SEVERE FINES + LICENSE POINTS FOR VIOLATIONS

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TLDNR

NO TRUCKS ALLOWED

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Over height commercial trucks and buses have been crashing into the bridges for decades; drivers ignore the "No Trucks Allowed" signs (if there are any) thinking, "nope, I'm not going to get hit..."

Hence, the additional language of stiff fines and higher license points (or increase in steps) on a huge red sign will grab attention. You can't plead "TLDNR" if it's explicit.

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LOW BRIDGES AHEAD
TRUCKS TAKE NOTICE
THE BRIDGE ALWAYS WINS

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That one put a smile on my face - and it's the truth!

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Yeah, TLDR.
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Don't they usually make signs a little more... laconic? succinct? terse?
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Too much content and they're either a distraction or get ignored, right?

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No, not across the roadway: a curtain of heavy chains like the set installed at the entrances to the Big Dig tunnels in South Boston. Something that slaps the top of the truck so hard and so loud that the drivers know something is wrong.

I figure they work because we don't hear about weekly Storrowing in those tunnels.

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Slapping the top of the truck doesn't seem to be working. A modest proposal: Mount chains lower, so they slap the windshields of overheight trucks. If your windshield goes BANG and is suddenly cracked, I think it would get your attention. Have to fine-tune the weight of the chains, so they don't completely bust out the glass...

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Better-designed signage would probably help, but it would also be helpful if Google Maps etc. warned you about under-clearance bridges on your route and offered to route around them. Commercial GPS units already do that.

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THIS IS NOT A BRIDGE OF HONOR
No highly esteemed deed is commemorated here...
Nothing valued is here.
What is here was dangerous and repulsive to us.
This message is a warning about danger.

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Those "Storrowing signs shouldve been in place since storrow drive was built---DUH!

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YOU WILL HIT THAT BRIDGE

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Maybe some entrances have five or six signs. But some have one, right at the decision point rather than in advance (Charlesgate, 93 North/Sumner Tunnel) or even after the decision point, when it's too late to go a different way (Pinckney Street).

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you still have the opportunity to turn right on Revere Street, or exit to Charles Circle, before you reach any bridge.

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Ok, those are technically ways out of the situation.

But how is a truck driver supposed to figure that out on the fly?

There are no signs about trucks at Revere Street.

The Charles Circle exit ramp has a sign saying "Trucks and buses must exit", but the main road says nothing about banning trucks. And the sign is at the decision point, not on the bigger advance sign. If I were driving a truck here https://goo.gl/maps/txbjGiUgCHrJAAxB9 , I'd probably assume heading the Interstate was a safe choice, but that's a big mistake.

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Why would anyone oppose this?

If truck drivers sometimes get on Storrow by mistake, whose responsibility is it to address the problem, and what solutions are there?

Saying "truck drivers don't know how to read" is not a solution.

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who think such signs restrict their freedumb.

"There is no bridge! It's all a conspiracy!"

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Storrow is doomed anyway. It leaks, it will go under when the sea level rises and storms top the dam.

Just spend the money on a couple of pike onramps and close the goddamn thing already!

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Forget it. You can't fix stupid.

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Stupid is the arrogant people at DCR who observe crashes month after month for decades, and have refused to even try to do anything about it, until now, because it's more satisfying to point fingers at others and say "Not my problem".

They don't have to totally fix it, just slightly improve it, or at least try.

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One that hasn't been tried here?

http://11foot8.com/

On the 11 foot 8 site you can look back over the years and find that bright flashing lights don't work, signals set to turn red for overheight trucks don't work, etc.

https://vimeo.com/271945574

Truckers and RV owners still hit the damn bridge on a regular basis.

What we really need is a higher bar for drivers and driver training and driver experience. Most of these jackasses crashing into bridges are younger than my sons and paid less than someone working in Market Basket.

I think the only real answer is to declare Storrow Drive obsolete and junk it. The next big hurricane or Nor'easter may be making it more obsolete anyway.

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Like Sydney, Australia, where they've come up with an ingenious solution.

">https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NoTMC-uxJoo[/youtube]

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Wouldn’t work 3-4 months a year every winter. But a soft mechanical item that swings down as say the 3rd or 4th sign would do the trick. That, and a $1000+ fine for getting that far along.

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A big part of the problem is that many of these Storrowing incidents occur because new students coming to Boston with their rental trucks are using GPS and they're just following those directions right to their "just a little off the top" conclusion.
Somebody told me that GPS can be set to know you're in a truck and which roads you're not allowed to use. Can any truck drivers confirm this?

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GPS is not a thing that can be set to know anything, other than where you are on the planet. Different apps and software packages (as installed in Garmin devices and the like) may be able to be configured for big trucks, but not all of them are. Waze doesn't seem to be.

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If the DOT put up a foam rubber sign just low enough to brush up against the windshield of vehicles of a certain height reading "TRUCK DRIVERS: Get Off This Road At Next Exit" might work.
It needs to right in the face of the driver.

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When it hits the windshield, it should trigger really loud sirens and really bright flashing lights conveying the message STOP RIGHT NOW!

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