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Citizen complaint of the day: Excessive beeping on a North End street

A vexed North End citizen files a 311 complaint about all the bleepity-bleep beeping on Salem Street:

The constant beeping on Salem st is out of control. Ban Uber pick ups and drops off on Salem - make them pick up and drop off at cross street. Ubers block the street and impatient people lay on their horns. Every damn night. Only to get worse with outdoor dining

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Comments

There's no reason to ban pickups and dropoffs on this street. An easy solution would be creating some loading zones. More difficult but maybe still worth it: enforce the law against honking when it's not to prevent an imminent accident.

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Voting closed 16

Have you ever seen a loading zone at an airport or anywhere else? They're constantly full of people idling, parking, or blocking other people. Not exactly a solution to intense traffic and horn blaring.

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So your solution is to forget them entirely, and make Ubers stop in the travel lane?

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There's literally zero space for a loading zone. If there was, people would be using that space now to pull over or drive around a stopped car and the honking wouldn't be an issue.

Banning pickups and dropoffs is easier, the North End is so walkable theres no need to get dropped off at an exact address unless someone can't physically walk.

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Voting closed 5

Cars should never have been allowed on Salem Street. Ban them and this and many other problems are solved. It’s the only solution since drivers aren’t going to stop being lazy assholes and cops aren’t going to start ticketing for double parking and improper use of a horn.

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Voting closed 64

The problem isn't just Uber. It's cars. All of them. What the hell are they doing in the North End? It wasn't built for cars.
Uber is actually less of a problem than all the parked cars wasting half the space. Make everyone stop their car at a cross street and walk into the North End as the designers originally intended.

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Voting closed 52

What should one do without a car? People would move out en masse if you got rid of parking in the north end.

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Walk, bike, train? I'm sure there are plenty who would jump at the opportunity to live in the North End without a car. Less demand from the car people means rents might even temporarily decrease, win-win.

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They get to move somewhere more conducive to their preferred car-centric lifestyle, and leave a bunch of empty apartments conveniently located next to several public transit options.

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Actually streets were done when horsies ruled and if you think the smell of cars is bad imagine the smell of tons if horseshit on a hot humid day - or maybe worse, dry horse shit blowing around on a dry windy day.
I hear you though, i find the North End has both a car and a trash issue. Europeans have solved this problem already. Where’s Boston???

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Salem has been noisy since I lived there 30 years ago. I remember looking at a 2nd floor apartment there and there was huge amounts of car noise.

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As others said, car culture in general is to blame.

But as someone who has driven rideshare, I will also say that the companies need to do better. They very briefly mention that you shouldn't stop illegally and should always pull over into at least a loading zone if not a parking space. But passengers get angry and rate drivers badly if you aren't willing to accomplish a door-to-door ride by stopping in a bike lane and endangering cyclists or double parking and blocking traffic. The rideshare companies then side with the angry passengers (and often if you let the passenger know, hey, I can't pull over in a bike lane because that's illegal and unsafe, so I'll let you off on the corner 200 feet from your door, they rate you low with no feedback or they make a complaint about something else that didn't happen). The rideshare companies need to do something like an email/popup campaign reminding riders and drivers that drivers are not permitted to break laws including pulling over in bike lanes, accessible parking spots, blocking crosswalks, etc., and need to set it up so drivers don't get dinged for following laws and making safe choices.

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Voting closed 29

I appreciate your point and sympathize with the drivers who get dinged for refusing to break the law, and so passenger education is called for. But drivers are a different matter: drivers are all adults with licenses; they already know not to stop illegally, not to block travel lanes including bike lanes, etc; teaching basic driving civility to people who already know the rules isn’t Uber and Lyft’s job.

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Voting closed 13

no bike lanes on Salem St. Its really the people. I remember during the snomagedon of 15, every street was one lane. I remember needing to deliver some papers. Stopped in the street got out. Put the envelope in the door. 3 cars waiting by the time i got back to the car (stairs). no beeping.

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Voting closed 7

As a bike commuter, I wouldn't say that drivers know not to travel in bike lanes. The police won't enforce it (and constantly park in the bike lanes to go into food places), and my interactions with people stopped in bike lanes suggest that people honestly don't know it's illegal if cyclists are able to go around them.

There are frequent threads on Twitter in which people take pictures of vehicles stopped in bike lanes (usually with plenty of legal parking spots visible, and often city/BPD/mail/other business vehicles) and half or so of the comments are people completely calmly and politely saying that the cyclist can go around so they don't understand the problem.

I have a kid who has some issues with coordination and depth perception who can't safely dart out into traffic. I've had to teach my kid to pick up the bike and walk around on the sidewalk, which is tiring, adds a lot of time, and shouldn't be necessary.

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Voting closed 5

Lyfts honking at Lyfts.
It happens all over.

I saw it, heard it on Warren Ave yesterday evening. Big tip for the driver.

Drivers and passengers are equally to blame …. along with our legislators.

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The 311 complaint is correct. Ubers have greatly increased the amount of traffic and noise in the North End. It is always interesting to see how eager people from other neighborhoods are to belittle the concerns of North End residents. We understand that the neighborhood is noisier than some but at a certain point enough is enough. The idea of a Cross Street Uber pick-up and drop-off is a good one. And I do wish that people who don't live in the neighborhood would stop telling North End residents to get rid of their cars. In case they haven't noticed, we do not have a transportation system that makes that realistic.

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and generally agree with you (I lived right above the St. Anthony's Feast, I know some noise) but this strikes me as a stretch.

And I do wish that people who don't live in the neighborhood would stop telling North End residents to get rid of their cars. In case they haven't noticed, we do not have a transportation system that makes that realistic.

The North End is very well situated, transit-wise.

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Voting closed 12

we do not have a transportation system that makes that realistic.

Try again.

I haven't owned a car since 1999. And I live just over the water from you in Chelsea AND I don't have 2 downtown subway stops less than a 10 min walk from me.

You can't even use the "BuT My JoB iS OUt oN 128" as an excuse anymore. Last job hunt, i learned that there's lots of shuttles that service office parks that connect to MBTA services. And many companies are offering hybrid working so it makes it even more attractive.

Might take you an hour to get there, but it'd take you that long in a car sitting in traffic.

Kids? Lots of people live pretty much car-less in the city. You can too.

Errands? You can do it, and get some exercise too. And not for nothing, maybe if we focused less on cars in the 50s and 60s, many of the neighborhood markets (and hell, even urban Stop & Shop's) wouldn't have moved out to the burbs. There was a time when you could walk to just about anything you needed in your Boston neighborhood. But thanks to the car.. not so much anymore.

You can make it work if you want to make it work. Many do. I have. Yes it has its downfalls (home depot & large purchases being one) but its nice to know I never have to worry about parking when it snows.

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Voting closed 47

That's great you don't have a car, but you aren't the only people in the world. Another reason for a car you didn't mention is having family and friends that live in the suburbs. Not very convenient or practical or cost effective to depend on public transportation, taxi, ride share, or other people who have cars for a ride....

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Sure, lots of people have a reason to have a car. We have one, since there are a few places we go that don't have transit availability.

We use it infrequently. What we don't do is routinely drive to places where we could walk/bike/take transit (and usually it's frankly quite a bit easier to not use a car in the city).

This confuses the hell out of people here. When we say we're biking or taking transit somewhere, people assume we're unable to have a driver's license, tell us that non-car methods are substandard or unsafe, and feel that the proper thing for them to do is have someone with a car go get us and give us a ride or send us a Lyft voucher or whatever. When I let them know that I do have access to a car that day but won't be driving somewhere two miles away from my house, they're particularly confused by this. I was told when I had young kids that carrying them (on my cargo bike in seating meant for transporting children) was unsafe and uncomfortable and I should make their appointments when I could get a car. I've had work folks tell me it's unprofessional to show up places on a bike, have a helmet in my belongings, or mention biking (this is working at places with disabled and/or lower-income folks; do you view our clients as unprofessional as well?) I've had people fixate on the fact that my kids had biked a mile or two (biking a mile takes about 5 minutes) to a class or activity and actively pity them, saying they were surely exhausted so they wouldn't be expecting anything of them. You know it's normal in public schools for kids to go run laps right?

People here are either super defensive about using cars and judgmental of people who don't exclusively use cars, or they're hostile toward any car use. Being car-lite is great for the environment and our health, and I wish we car-lite folks would get support from the car folks OR the r/fuckcars folks.

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It’s a step in the right direction and more and more car owners are going that way.

Your descriptions of how some of the car crowd try to convince you to drive when you’d rather not made me laugh. Even though it’s not that funny.

Not so much anymore, but for years people used to look at me like I had three heads when I said I preferred to walk even at night or ride my bike or take the T to driving or taking a ride share or a cab.
“It’s so dangerous!! The T is full of murderers! You’ll get mugged! And you don’t wear a helmet! Are you crazy!!!”
I would just ask them when was the last time they tried my modes of transportation and since it was generally never, I would tell them thanks, but I only consider advice from people who actually do these things.

You have my support!!

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What if you have a vacation home that’s not near transit? What if your kids have team sports activities that are spread all over the state? For many people, being carless is not an option. You’re a single dude, stop trying to moralize to others who have different lifestyles and responsibilities.

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think of the poor skiers or second home owners in their time of need?

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There are a shuttles and T buses to a (very) few office parks. If you're lucky, there's one to your office park that connects to the T line which you live near, and it will take you an hour on a good day. Longer if the train is 10 minutes late and you miss the bus connection. You could leave more than 10 minutes as a buffer, but do that enough and you're spending more time standing around waiting than the drive would have been.

In many more cases, there is no bus to your office, or it goes to the wrong T line so you have to go into Park Street and back out, or the trip from your house to the T is already a 20-minute ride on an infrequent bus, so the whole thing will take 90 minutes to two hours each way.

Don't believe me? Play around with Google Maps, drag the start and endpoints around, and switch from driving to transit directions.

"There was a time when you could walk to just about anything you needed in your Boston neighborhood. But thanks to the car.. not so much anymore" -- aren't you trying to argue that car-free living is convenient? It could be, and it used to be, but for many people it is not.

Want to do something about it? Don't just nag people to give up their cars. Ask your local officials to increase and expand bus service and allow small stores in residential areas. I've done it. It hasn't accomplished anything yet, but if you don't get in touch, it certainly won't ever change.

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Voting closed 15

I do not drive. However, not knowing the precise circumstances of all those who do, I do not assume that my life choices will work for them. I do use public transportation regularly. Your rosy view of how it operates makes me skeptical as to how regularly you use it and whether you ever need to transport kids, which can be done but is far from easy. And who attends to those kids while you spend all of that time in transit to and from work? I am still optimistic that we will have a transportation system which will lessen our reliance on cars but we don't have one yet. In the mean time, I am happy that there are people in Chelsea who can serve as a shining example to the benighted car-owning residents of the North End.

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T is fine if you’re working mostly in one place during normal hours, but really horrible if you’re a cook, bartender, speech pathologist, visiting nurse, wine rep, plumber, anesthesiologist, state senator, bus driver, swimming instructor, or carpenter. Or if your spouse is. Would you like your kids to see their grandmother in Tyngsboro every once in a while? Few great MBTA options for that. Maybe all these people should just GTFO, but that doesn’t sound like a good solution to me.

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“But what if you ski, have kids, and a reverse commute etc…?”

…then you are probably moving to Winchester, Wellesley, Wayland or some other W town in 2-3 years anyway so wtf does it matter?

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Is it your goal to design the city for transients, and give up on people who want to put down roots?

I'd prefer to accommodate people who want to live in the city long-term yet travel outside of T range from time to time.

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Does the Charlestown navy yard still set off a cannon every day at 8am that sets off all the car alarms? My building was so old I could literally hear silent gulls walking on my roof. Stop pretending that you are so different.

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Fantastic, we should only have feedback on the Mass Pike viaduct planning from Allston-Brighton residents. (I guess maybe Cambridgeport and parts of Brookline too, who knows)

After all, it creates a great deal of air and noise pollution from eager people from other neighborhoods and towns. At a certain point, enough is enough and people who don't live in the neighborhood should stop calling for more travel lanes.

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Voting closed 9

Meep-meep!

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Is it Ubers causing the traffic ... or the people calling for Ubers causing the problems... ?

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Voting closed 9

Obviously cars are inanimate objects, but if we're talking about rideshare availability leading to humans using it more, yes, there have been studies that while rideshare is contributing to people living car-free/car-light, a sizable percentage of it is also trips that would have otherwise been taken by public transit, foot, bike, or not at all.

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Voting closed 19

I think restaurants that want to make extra money via Doordash, Uber Eats, etc should be required to staff a runner to hand-off food curbside to the drivers. The biggest problem is a driver not familiar with the North End blindly navigating to Salem St to pick up food and having to get out of the car and wait in line to pick up an order. Theres nowhere to pull over so they just park in the street and get out.

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Voting closed 9

If the problem is Uber/Lyft, the city has absolute control over that.

In DC, the city forces the companies to use specific drop-off and pickup points in certain neighborhoods. Ever used Uber at an airport and it asks for details like arrival/departure and door#? Same system. You choose between pickup A or pickup B.

And the city can pick those locations on Commercial Street and ban them inside the neighborhood

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Voting closed 11

To cars. To families. And ESPECIALLY to the older professionals who want it as quiet as a backyard on a Sunday night in Concord.

Ban the cars. Make it pedestrian and bikes only and watch as the area flourishes.

And for the people worried about their real estate prices, if the North End converted (even partially) to a Quincy Market type of business zone every single property value within that area would instantly increase (regardless of the economy).

For a popular tourist destination, you'd think they'd all have figured that out by now.

It's such a giant chunk of untapped potential that done right, would ironically benefit those yelling the loudest.

Frankie D needs to have a sit-down with the families.

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Voting closed 10

You suck! No YOU suck!

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