++ UPDATE (2:45 PM) ++ The governor's administration has now placed a travel ban in effect on ALL Massachusetts roadways as of 4:00 PM:
Kurt Schwartz, director of the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency, said at the news conference that the travel ban applies to all roads in the state, but there are various exceptions, such as for public safety, media, and vehicles supplying esssential businesses like convenience stores and hardware stores. Violating the travel ban, he said, could incur a penalty of a year in jail and a $500 fine.
Tolls are no longer being collected for the duration of the storm on the Pike and Tobin.
All right, change of plans. "Nemo", as it were, is going to take front and center stage for this post. I'm hoping beyond hope that traffic for the Friday afternoon commute will be minimal, considering this Thursday evening brought some of the worst traffic I've seen in months. (Actually, now that I think about it, Superstorm Sandy was the last time.)
Regardless, below the cut, I'll have the rundown of how transportation across the area is set to be affected. This info is current as of very early Friday morning. I will try to update as often as possible if anything major changes. You can also follow me on Twitter, where I'll try to send through any major developments. Be sure to stay tuned to boston.com for all the latest, though.
Be safe! Back to "normal" posting Monday.
All service will be terminated at 3:30 PM on Friday until further notice -- this includes subway, commuter rail, bus and commuter boat service.
Final commuter rail train times are as follows:
2:10 PM - Middleboro/Lakeville
2:40 PM - Franklin
2:45 PM - Framingham/Worcester
2:47 PM - Kingston/Plymouth
3:00 PM - Needham
3:30 PM - Fairmont, Providence
2:20 PM - Rockport
3:00 PM - Fitchburg/South Acton, Haverhill
3:10 PM - Lowell
3:20 PM - Newburyport
- The MBTA says that service will run throughout the morning and afternoon, but as conditions worsen, you should expect delays.
- When buses start running again after the worst of the storm (likely sometime on Saturday), the T says many of them will be running on special "Snow Routes". Be sure to check the T-Alert Bus page for a list of those routes running as Snow Routes.
- The only RIDE service available will be for necessary medical purposes. The T says you should contact your provider if you are in need of this service.
To keep on track of the latest service changes, visit the MBTA's website, sign up for T-Alerts to be sent to your email or cell phone here, or follow the MBTA's official Twitter feed at @MBTAGM. You can also get up to date information at boston.com.
It is going to be a busy Friday morning at Logan Airport as everyone tries to get out of town before the storm moves in. However, while Logan will remain open for all intents and purposes, there will be no incoming or outgoing flights operating from Friday afternoon until late Saturday afternoon.
Massport officials mentioned that planes will start arriving Saturday afternoon and evening, but most outbound flights will not start up until Sunday morning. All international flights have been suspended for Friday except for one flight to Tokyo on Japan Airlines which leaves at noon. Your best option is to check with your carrier if you have a planned flight for this weekend.
It's looking like all Amtrak service will be suspended before 2:00 PM on Friday.
The agency has announced that the last southbound trains out of South Station will be the 1:15 Acela Express and the 1:40 PM Northeast Regional. The last northbound trains out of Penn Station in New York to Boston will be the 12:30 PM Northeast Regional and the 1:03 PM Acela Express.
All Vermonter train service has also been suspended between Springfield and Saint Albans. Service between Springfield and New Haven will be shut down after the 10:30 AM southbound departure from Springfield.
Downeaster customers, your last chance to head south on Friday will be on the 7:05 AM train out of Brunswick. The last northbound Downeaster train for Friday will be the 1:00 PM train out of North Station.
Amtrak has not yet announced their plans for reinstating service Saturday as of this writing, but I will try to update this as soon as they announce it.
Peter Pan Bus Lines has announced that all service north of New York City will be cancelled at least for Friday and part of Saturday -- there is no official announcement from the company as to when they plan to reinstate service. Greyhound is also cancelling service on several of their lines, including Boston to and from New York, Montreal, Bangor, and Albany.
All Registry of Motor Vehicles offices across the Commonwealth will be closed Friday.
Crews have already started to treat the roads, as of this writing. Transportation Secretary Richard Davey mentioned at Thursday's press conference that the crews would be laying a preventative layer of salt and sand to try to give plow and sanding crews a bit of a head start during the storm. The plows will make their way out as soon as the flakes fly, if not beforehand. According to the DOT, over 4,000 vehicles will be out treating the roads during the course of the storm.
Keep in mind that, while utilities say they are at their highest preparedness level, the governor has made it clear that any power restoration will not begin until the storm has completely moved out. This means that if there are any traffic lights or street lights out, they will stay out throughout the duration of the storm. Expect this to be the case on many secondary roads.
Of course, as most everyone has mentioned, you probably shouldn't be out on the roads at all. The governor himself said in his press conference Thursday that he will shut down the highways statewide if need be, so that's something to consider when taking into account just how dangerous it will be to commute during this storm. According to the majority of forecasters across the region, visibility could be cut to a quarter-mile at times because of the heavy, blowing snow. Speaking of blowing snow - we're talking about gusts up to 65 miles per hour. There's set to be some significant damage with this storm, and I won't be surprised if trees and lines are down all over the place on your local roads.
Please stay inside, and stay safe. Let me know how you fared in the comments.
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