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Storrow Drive lane change messes with drivers' minds

WBZ reports on the elimination of a lane outbound at the start of Storrow Drive.

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DOT always creates asymmetrical "lane ends ahead" situations instead of symmetrical "lanes merge ahead". These create lots of road rage and bad driving since some will merge early, and some late, creating an unbalanced mess.

It's a horrible practice and I don't understand why they keep doing it.

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Voting closed 31

This whole thing sounds like a total mess, which will create total chaos. It has already.

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Voting closed 5

They should change it back to how it was originally. And by that I mean parkland by the river instead of a loud, ugly, polluting hell hole that cuts off the Charles River from the city of Boston.

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Voting closed 50

THIS! THIS! THIS!

There is no use in trying to create anything to "standard" on this roadway. It is obsolete and it should never have been built in the first place.

Add a Fenway exit to the Pike and convert this mess to rapid transit and a maintained nonmotorized vehicle arterial.

Time to rip the band aid off.

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Voting closed 7

Raze all evidence of civilization to the ground, dig up back bay, and it'll be survival of the fittest back in the tree tops, flinging shit at each other.

I should warn you Kinopio, I've got a lot more shit to fling than you do.

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Voting closed 22

With Belmont. All of Belmont should be returned to farmland because that's exactly what people say they want any time anyone wants to build 40B housing.

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Of course, your comment (albeit funny in dark sort of way) is not surprising from an Ayn Rand aficionado such as yourself.

I bet you have her face as your screen saver? No?

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His own!

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n/t

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40 people agree with it because it is true.

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That usually has to do with federal standards - in the US, we have to have someone who has the right of way.

Of course, federal standards have nothing to do with Sorrow Drive.

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It's a horrible practice and I don't understand why they keep doing it.

I'm going to guess that the answer is "Because we've always done it this way."

Shit, when I lived in Boston, I considered myself lucky if DOT even painted the lanes to match the signage (e.g. turning lanes).

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Voting closed 4

Try the new ramps and exits at Needham Kendrick Street. If your coming from TripAdvisor and attempting to go South onto128 there isn't a lane notice to get in left lane for turn onto downramp.
Dangerous and highway dept needs more signage quickly.

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"MassDOT says the change is part of a pilot program to see if the traffic will get better with the new configuration,"

This is one of the dumbest things I've seen on a road. The road itself hasn't changed. It's just a stretch of the right lane is painted over with stripes. And then a touch farther the paint goes away. It's like a sudden forced merge for no reason at all.

Give it a week until drivers figure out they can just ignore the paint and drive straight over it. For that week, expect Storrow to back up worse than usual.

Whoever had this idea should be fired for incompetence, before they get a new idea.

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Voting closed 32

Remember when Fenway/Kenmore had 2 exit only lanes for a brief period in 2010? Or when Memorial Drive had the weird lane drop before the left hand turn onto Western Ave in 2014 that everyone ignored? This idea is probably from the same person.

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The Fenway/Kenmore lane restriction had good intentions - to prevent accidents with the cars merging onto Storrow's right lane. But it failed miserably backing up westbound traffic all the way to MGH during the evening commute. They should have learned from that failure.

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Voting closed 8

This change should be beneficial to everyone. Coming in to this part of Storrow, the left lane comes from 93 northbound and the Sumner Tunnel, the center lane comes from 93 southbound and route 1, and the right lane comes from route 28/Nashua St by the MoS.

Previously, everyone coming from 93 northbound or the Sumner had to try and merge right to stay on Storrow, as that lane exited for Charles Circle.

Under the new configuration, the right lane (carrying traffic from 28) ends, and the left and center lanes continue through, with no lane dropping at the Charles Circle exit. This is much more balanced with traffic volumes (as relatively few vehicles actually take that exit, and the two heaviest volumes are in the center and left lanes). The linked article includes an aerial photo that very clearly shows it: https://cbsboston.files.wordpress.com/2018/12/storrow3.jpg

Basically this eliminates a lot of lane changing and should theoretically flow much more smoothly. And I bet it will once people get used to the change. It seems right now traffic has worsened because people are still set in their old habit of trying to force their way out of the left lane when they no longer have to.

The problem isn't the road, it's drivers not responding well to change. Things will calm down once people get accustomed to it.

Disclaimer: While I am a traffic engineer, I had no involvement in this project.

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Voting closed 29

Who invited you in here with your alleged expertise on the subject, logical explanation, and insight that people will adapt their ingrained behavior over time?! Everyone knows this was surely change only for the sake of change and for the DOT to have a good laugh at drivers expense!

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What is gained by dropping the right lane? I agree that eliminating the lane drop on the left is the correct move, as this exit is little-used, but the new merge on the right is eliminating the benefit.

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First of all, in the new configuration ... THERE IS NO MERGE ON THE RIGHT. Vehicles aren't supposed to be there in the first place.

Secondly, the left lane used to be an exit only for a low volume exit, meaning traffic had to suddenly merge left rather than continue.

This makes perfect sense. Drivers are just stupid and refuse to look where the hell they are driving and follow marked lanes. The more you drive ...

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Lol you're funny. Now go and try to merge at rush hour

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The right lane has to drop if the left two lanes are allowed to go straight. There isn't room to continue all three lanes after the Charles Circle exit.

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Voting closed 9

d'oh

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As sockpuppet pointed out , drivers will just ignore the striped lines and use the right lane anyway. Drivers ignore similar striped areas everywhere else.

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Did you take into consideration the idiotic lights on Nashua st before this comment?

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Perhaps theoretically that is true. But in reality, it doesn't work that way.

The far right lane includes traffic from the Leverett Connector which includes Tobin Southbound and 93 South traffic. Many people driving the Connector, take the exit at the Jail and sit at the light before entering Storrow.

This right lane also includes anyone coming from points West who travel over the Gilmore Bridge (Somerville, Medford, Winchester etc). The traffic coming from the far left lane (93 North into town) is much lighter than that coming from the MOS area. These vehivles come primarily from the South and many of those people, if they are heading West, get off at the Pike Interchange near the South End.

The backup is caused by the two right lanes suddenly forced to merge, not from the left lane thinking it still has to merge. Rather than relying on computer modeling, the experts at DOT should drive the area. Repeatedly.

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Many people driving the Connector, take the exit at the Jail and sit at the light before entering Storrow.

Ever consider that the fewer people do this, the fewer people will have to merge?

Now that thru traffic from the Leverett can use the left lane too, there should be less of an incentive to exit at the circle and merge back on. Again, once people have a little time to realize this and adjust, things will flow better. People are just stuck in their old habits.

Rather than relying on computer modeling, the experts at DOT should drive the area. Repeatedly.

You need to remember that engineers are also real people, with homes, and social lives. We don't just sit behind a desk at a computer 24/7. We drive these roads too in our daily lives, just as much as anyone else.

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This isn't rocket science here. You just have to pay attention to marked lanes.

I wonder how many traffic tickets idiot massholes get when they visit other states and actually have to pay attention to these things?

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Before this change, there were 3 lanes, but the far left lane became exit only to Charles Circle, and the far right lane came from Leverett Circle/MOS, and continued as a through lane. What this meant almost everyone in the left lane coming from 93/1 had to merge into the middle lane in a short distance. This change makes the two left lanes (coming from 93/1) into through lanes, forcing the cars coming from Leverett Circle on the right to merge. This makes intuitive sense but it's not what people are used to. Based on watching the video, a lot of people going straight are not using left lane because it's never been allowed to in the past. There needs to be very clear signage and an adjustment period to see if this will work or not.

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Voting closed 5

I think it could use some more signage in the short tunnel from 93/1- left lane continues straight. I do think its a good idea because that left exit lane was a waste of blacktop. People just need to get used to it. Drivers still approach it pensively and merge right, and then realize they can continue in their lane.

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It's similar to the area on the left as you pass MGH. They created an employee parking lot that intercedes w/the flow.
A cluster for sure.
Once I merged onto Storrow going into Boston the first stop would be at the intersection/merge to the Garden or MOS. Always moved along no matter what.

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And they still haven't fixed the inanity of it. Also done after Thanksgiving with no signage.

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Take it further and eliminate Storrow Drive completely. A scar that separates the city from the river all thanks to misguided 50s planning dedicated to suburban commuters. The namesake, James Storrow, was a community activist that worked to improve the Charles riverbanks and they named a road after him that he nor his family ever wanted there in the first place in an insult.

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Are these the same people responsible for the painting and new lanes approaching Wellington Circle heading north? What a mess.

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On my reverse commute from Wakefield. Took me 53 minutes to get home to Brighton during PM drive. For a reverse commute! I got to work in 33 minutes midday.

I figured out second time to get to the left once I confirmed what the actual pattern was. Of course, the sign indicating the change is maybe 20 yards before the actual merge. Maybe the sign just before the top of the Leverett downramp would be a better place to tell people, but WTFDIK?

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The markings on the pavement tell you what to do.

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That are 100 yards ahead on the surface when you're in a subterranean tunnel and there's cars everywhere obstructing your view? Can I have your superpower?

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Voting closed 4

How in the freaking world do you ever drive through and to places that you have never been before?

Good heavens you are a special one! Have to memorize the lane markings before you can follow them.

HOW ABOUT YOU JUST SLOW DOWN AND PAY ATTENTION???

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Slowing down is clearly not a concern when it took me 13 minutes today to get from the top of Leverett Circle to the MGH exit.

Even gave a series of horn taps to the vehicle in front of me who was blocking me from getting to the exit, because they decided that they had to make an (unnecessary) right lane change at that precise moment, in spite of the heavy volume in the two lanes merging next to them, while slowing to a near stop.

Fear not, I still made the Kinsale in time for kickoff. #COYS

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I guess we're one step closer to my dream of eliminating all the lanes! Storrow is such a scar on the city.

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This change is absolutely an improvement. Give it a week so people can get used to it and there will be improvements.
Before this, there were 2 lanes through the tunnel, but 1 of them (on the left) became an exit only. This would mean that everybody in those 2 lanes would have to merge . Ever stop to wonder why Leverett connector and the 93NB off ramp to Storrow back up so much? They are both 1 lane, Storrow Dr is 2 lanes (at least). Shouldnt be an issue, BUT since they are 1 lane each and there was only 1 usable lane after the tunnel it forced a merge. Its absolutely better if they could both continue in their respective lanes onto Storrow.
of course that means the 3rd lane (from at grade through leverett) now has to merge onto Storrow, you know like almost EVERY OTHER on ramp in the world!
This isnt rocket science, but the simple truth is that people (especially New Englanders) dont handle change well and continue doing what they want instead of following the new, beneficial rules.

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Voting closed 7

As everyone has pointed out, people will continue to drive over the stripes, as they always do in Boston. They'll get worn out and repainted the old way, or DOT will have to put in some bollards or other physical structures. I predict the former.

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Voting closed 3