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Narrowing down new navigation aids, and what's in a name?

Posted by Nichole Davis  September 12, 2013 04:03 PM

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Voting for the MBTA's New Perspectives MBTA Map Re-design contest is well underway. As a self-described transit nerd, of course this is something that's right up my alley (and, if you're reading this blog, I'm assuming it's something that probably interests you too).

If you're not familiar with what the contest is all about, essentially the T put the call out to designers and artists (as well as other transit nerds!) to put their own spin on the well-known T map. There were dozens of entries, but a panel has narrowed it down to just a few for the public to choose from.

Here's my thoughts on the top six entries...

  • #1 is simple, clean, follows the lines accurately and is easy to read. Those familiar with the current map will be able to use this one easily.
  • #2 has WAY too much going on in one map. Same with #6. Simplicity is key! You don't want to completely confuse people who are new to the system.
  • #3 looks far too much like the one we already have. What's the point?
  • #4, to me, seems to be a bit too artsy to be used as an agency map
  • #5 has a bit more artistic flair, but still looks professional and clean.

I already voted and chose #1 and #5 as possible contenders. Don't forget to do the same here. Which one did you choose? What are your thoughts on the entries? Did you submit your own version of a map? What would your perfect map include?
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A friendly reminder... don't ride your motorized scooter down the Expressway, as this person decided it would be a smart idea to do earlier today... your fate might not turn out nearly as well as theirs.

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(image via MassDOT website)

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FYI, Pike commuters -- it's happening again ...

The Ted Williams Tunnel westbound (leaving the Airport) is shutting down completely through the overnight hours this coming Tuesday (September 17th) for some intensive cleaning and maintenance. According to the DOT, crews will be washing the ceilings, walls and walkways, as well as cleaning out the drains inside the tunnel.

Traffic will be diverted to the Sumner Tunnel starting at 11:15 pm on Tuesday night, and the closure will be in place until 5:00 Wednesday morning. Here's the detour that will be in place, via MassDOT:

Inside the Sumner Tunnel, traffic should keep RIGHT and take the Storrow Drive ramp to reach Leverett Circle. From Leverett Circle, take I-93 Southbound to access I-90 Westbound. A second detour will be active for truckers. Trucks will be directed Northbound on Route 1A to Route 16 Westbound to Route 1 Southbound (Tobin Bridge) to I-93 Southbound.

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Apparently there's about to be an identity crisis in the city of San Francisco.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that one of that city's main bridges, the Bay Bridge, doesn't actually have a designated name (and hasn't for over 75 years!) Some officials there now want to give a specific span of that bridge a new moniker honoring former mayor Willie Brown. While that's nice, some fear the new name simply won't stick and people will continue to call it the "Bay Bridge" instead of the "Willie Brown Bridge".

An interesting tidbit:

John Goodwin, a spokesman for the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, said he thinks many drivers don't pay attention to official names ... "Probably very few people traveling over the new Benicia-Martinez Bridge think of it as the George Miller Bridge and the other direction as the George Miller Jr. Bridge," he said. "I think it's like the corporate naming of stadiums. Some of them stick, some don't."

I realize this isn't about Boston traffic, but it made me wonder if we have this issue in the city. As far as I can tell, not particularly. While many of our bridges and tunnels have specific official names, more often than not people address them by some variant of that name. Just off the top of my head...

  • Leonard P. Zakim Bunker Hill Memorial Bridge ("Zakim Bridge")
  • Lieutenant William F. Callahan Tunnel ("Callahan Tunnel")
  • Thomas P. O'Neill Jr. Tunnel ("O'Neill Tunnel")
  • Ted Williams Tunnel ("Ted Williams Tunnel")
  • William H. Sumner Tunnel ("Sumner Tunnel")
  • Maurice J. Tobin Memorial Bridge ("Tobin Bridge" - or, to some, "Mystic River Bridge")

Of course, I'm more than likely missing a few -- that's just Boston. So, my question to you is this: can you think of any transportation-related structures (bridges, tunnels, etc) around Massachusetts that have a common nickname that has nothing to do with the officially designated name? One example would be the O'Reilly Bridge in Lawrence. You likely know that one as the "Double Decker Bridge" that takes 495 over the Merrimack River.

(Many thanks to my pal Bernie Wagenblast for tipping me off to this train of thought with this article.)

In case you missed it...

Look, I get it. It's been a tough summer. So, of course, the minute the temperature dips below 70 many of us are wont to rush for the fall and winter clothing. Apparently some people are getting a little too into the winter spirit -- UniversalHub features this pleasantry as an example. (Don't forget that space saving is only sometimes legal. I would have to argue that it's definitely not legal when there's no snow on the ground. It's not even Allston Christmas anymore, so finding a space for your wayward moving truck [should that be the case] shouldn't be THAT hard!)

Time to leave the keys on the counter and pick up the T-pass ... or sneakers ... or bicycle helmet. Next week is another "Car Free Week" here in the Commonwealth, culminating in the celebration of World Car Free Day on the 22nd. In an announcement, MassDOT says they're hoping citizens will "pick a day" to "commute another way" -- however that might be. Of course, not everyone can walk or bike or skate to work, in which case they suggest carpooling or vanpooling. The DOT says Massachusetts is the only state in the nation that holds a state-wide Car Free Day. Learn more about the benefits, as well as initiatives the DOT's putting forth, here.

MBTA Matters

Blue line riders are very familiar with the Orient Heights project, which has the station actually shut down completely for some time. Shuttle buses are going to be in service again between the Airport station and Wonderland this weekend so crews can get some work done on the tracks by Orient Heights. Shuttling will be in place all day on Saturday the 14th, but not on Sunday. Look forward (?) to shuttling as well from the start of service September 21 to the end of service on the 22nd, as well as on the 28th and 29th. The shuttle buses will make all stops.

The busing continues on the Orange Line, too, as crews make progress on the Assembly Station project. Watch for busing from Sullivan Square to Oak Grove from 9:00 PM until the end of service on September 22, the 24th through the 26th, and the 29th through October 2nd. Shuttle buses will make all stops there as well.

You might notice, by the way, that there's a lot of noise going on at night around Oak Grove. And water. The T says contractors are using an intriguing process called "hydrodemolition" to tear apart the platform so they can rebuild it. They're only going to be doing this work at night (between 8:30 PM and 4:00 AM). Still, expect a commotion until just about October 9th with this work.

This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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About the author

Nichole Davis is a Boston-based traffic reporter and news anchor. She’s been seen and heard on television and radio airwaves across New England since 2003, providing commuters with all the More »

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