When Boston gets busy, we don't mess around.
Not only is some sort of baseball game happening today (I kid, I kid) ... but President Obama will be coming into town to speak about the Affordable Care Act. But hold on -- that's not all -- Drake will be performing tonight at the TD Garden. All of this, combined, should make for a crazy evening traffic-wise -- especially if the weather continues to be drizzly and messy. However, it could likely not be as bad as you would think. Let's tackle these events one by one:
While the countdown most people have been talking about is the one for the government shutdown, Western Massachusetts residents who are frequent users of the Mass Pike are dreading another upcoming date: October 15th.
That's the date tolls will begin to be collected between Exits 1 and 6 -- it will now cost you $1.75 to travel between 291 and the New York state line, and $5.85 to travel the entire length of the Pike. Don't forget, though -- there's a special step you have to take if you're a Western Massachusetts resident who already uses EZ-Pass.FULL ENTRY
So tonight I took a ride over the Longfellow Bridge on my way home from work. It's going to be the last time for a while that I'll be able to scoot over to Cambridge that way, as they'll be shutting down Cambridge-bound traffic starting Saturday. For up to three years.FULL ENTRY
Ah, welcome to one of the busiest travel days of the year - the day before July 4th.
Many would think, "Why is the day before the holiday busiest?" Lots of people are taking off and they want to beat the traffic - but, of course, they're going to be the traffic themselves, as everyone is going at the same time. There won't be as many people this year, however. The International Business Times reports that, according to AAA, only 40.8 million people will be hopping in their cars and heading out of town (to a destination at least 50 miles away). Now, you might wonder, why is that an "only"? That number's down at least one percent from this past year for a variety of reasons - money and time, namely.
Either way, it's going to feel like all 40 million are on the road with you at once for the next few days at times. Expect gridlock through this afternoon on all of your major highways heading out of the city to the usual vacation spots.FULL ENTRY
There's been word all week about the DOT closing down two popular ramps to the O'Neill Tunnel and Zakim Bridge northbound for work over the weekend. However, the wet weather has foiled the plans, and it looks like that won't be happening.
Michael Verseckes of the DOT says the work was going to be taking place on the ramps from Haymarket Square and the Sumner Tunnel. They were set to be closed at 8:00 PM tonight and 10:00 PM tomorrow night. There's been no word as to when the work will be rescheduled for, but of course, when I find out, I'll pass it on.
Keep in mind, though - there's more in the way of closures coming up in the next few days...FULL ENTRY
UPDATE (10:55 AM): State police are reopening the Mass Pike in both directions as I type. Should be completely opened by about 11:15. Heavy delays remain in place, so give yourself lots of extra time. Storrow Drive is going to be gridlocked, too, on the westbound side because of that lane closure at the Hatch Shell for the Children's Hospital Walk.
... at least downtown. Just passing it along that, if you were planning on taking the Pike through the Prudential Tunnel this morning, it's not going to happen.
State police have shut down the tunnel in both directions for a variety of reasons. Their Twitter account cites safety reasons - it's been pitch black in there since early this morning and the ventilation systems are down too. Plus, NStar crews likely have to access the area to get to the Scotia Street substation where this snafu started.
The Department of Transportation has reported that traffic eastbound is being detoured at Exit 18 (Allston Brighton tolls). Westbound traffic will be detoured coming out of the Ted Williams onto the Expressway southbound. Storrow Drive is going to be your best bet for an alternate but keep in mind that the right lane westbound will be closed through most of the morning into the afternoon by the Hatch Shell due to an event there.
So far there is no estimated time of reopening, but NStar has reported that the lights will hopefully be back on between 12-1 this afternoon. I'll let you know when it does.
Stephen, a reader of the blog, wrote in to me recently. He said, in part:
"... I saw that the Mass DOT said the Chelsea Street bridge will be closed weeknights until July 1st. While this may not seem to be a big thing it is for the thousand of us that work at Logan Airport. The employee garage sits just across from this bridge and when the bridge is closed it takes a 10 minute bus ride and turns it into a 20 to 30 minute bus ride and that’s each way.
The bridge was completed (supposedly) last May at I believe the cost of over $200 million dollars to the taxpayers and there has hardly been a week in this past year that it hasn’t been closed at night for something. Do you think you could find out why this bridge never seems to be working properly and when it will finally be open and functioning as designed and paid for with our money?"FULL ENTRY
So you're sitting on the Green Line, for example, at Copley Station. Your phone's not showing any sign of service, as you're used to in that stretch of tunnel. All of a sudden, you hear what you think is a ringtone. Really? Underground? Here?
Sure enough, the train starts going, and someone starts up a loud conversation. (Which, as any courteous T rider knows, is just downright rude, but that's for the Courtesy Critters to determine.) Wait a minute. There's cell phone service here? Why are they having a conversation and I'm stuck here, devoid of connectivity (as pleasant as that may be at the time)?FULL ENTRY
It would be difficult to argue that traffic here in Boston, at times, is anything but mind-numbingly horrible. Think about it - especially in the summer, on a Friday evening ... a commute that normally takes you half an hour can jam up to easily two or three hours.
Every so often, a survey comes out comparing our traffic to other cities - and, this time, a survey by INRIX, a traffic information group, has put us in the top ten (but just barely!).FULL ENTRY
You may have noticed I haven't blogged since Marathon Monday. Where does one begin with the past week and a half we've had in this city? I'm sitting here at my keyboard trying to answer that question, and I honestly don't know.
I can tell you that, as both a city resident and a member of the media, it's been hectic on many levels on my end. It's nice to finally see life starting to ease back into some semblance of normalcy - which includes talking with you about transportation. There's a little bit of everything in today's entry as we get back into the swing of things. I can only hope that you and yours are well and coping as best as possible after the terrible events at the marathon. For those reading from out of town - thank you for all of your positive energy and love. #bostonstrong
Now, let's talk about some closures we've got coming up over the next few days... starting with major shutdowns through a chunk of Cambridge today. Regular construction lists will come back starting up next week, by the way.FULL ENTRY