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What does DCR know about the VFW Parkway that we don't?

Rte. 1 sign on VFW Parkway

The state recently put up this Rte. 1 sign on VFW Parkway northbound where it intersects with West Roxbury Parkway in West Roxbury.

It replaces a sign that for more than 20 years had the "1" painted over, because the state highway department rerouted Rte. 1 from the Storrow Drive/Fenway/Riverway/Jamaicaway/Arborway/Centre Street/VFW Parkway route it used to take to some weird 128/93/95 thing. Is DCR getting us ready for a change back, or was somebody in the sign shop just feeling nostalgic?

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in Boston
US 1 replaced the cancelled I-95 on the Northeast Expressway, north of downtown Boston, in the 1970s. In the late 1980s, in anticipation of the 1994 FIFA World Cup, US 1 was moved onto I-93 south of and through Boston, leaving the old route - VFW Parkway, Jamaicaway, Riverway, and Storrow Drive through Dedham, Brookline, West Roxbury and several other Boston neighborhoods - without a number. There are still some street signs incorrectly indicating the former alignment as US 1, and many local residents still refer to parts of VFW Parkway and Jamaicaway as "Route 1", as if it still runs along its old trajectory

(Source - Wikipedia)

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I don't see what one has to do with the other.

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between Dedham and Charlestown in 1989 had absolutely nothing to do with the anticipated 1994 FIFA World Cup. The rerouting of US 1 was done by MassDPW, with the approval of AASHTO, at the specific request of the MDC - now DCR - as an attempt to reduce the number of overheight vehicles finding their way onto Storrow Drive..

The original Wiki posting that FredQuimby has quoted above (which I have taken the liberty of correcting) is an excellent example of why Wikipedia is not accepted as a source by most academic organizations.

Edit - Subsequent to this posting, I have revised the Wikipedia US Route 1 Massachusetts page (with citation) to reflect the above information.

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Uses it as own source.

The rerouting of US 1 was done by MassDPW, with the approval of AASHTO, at the specific request of the MDC - now DCR - as an attempt to reduce the number of overheight vehicles finding their way onto Storrow Drive.

Wikipedia Entry
US 1 replaced the cancelled I-95 on the Northeast Expressway, north of downtown Boston, in the 1970s.[2] In the late 1980s, at the request of the Metropolitan District Commission (now the DCR) in an attempt to reduce the incidence of overheight vehicles finding their way onto Storrow Drive

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U.S._Route_1_in_Massachusetts

You basically took the entire paragraph and changed a few words and abbreviated others.

BUSTED!

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printed it in his original posting, and was correct in phrasing (but not accuracy) at the time of my posting. And no, I didn't use Wiki as my source (as evidenced by multiple previous postings in other threads where I've referenced the US 1 rerouting). Rather, after posting here, I subsequently went into Wikipedia's Route 1 Massachusetts page and updated the part about the 1989 rerouting, including a citation for the information (which BTW the "fact" about the FIFA World Cup being the reason for the change did not have).

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There must be a little known rider embedded somewhere deep in the Mass General laws, probably but not particular in chapter 90, that specifically states:

"All road signage must be utterly confusing both in verbiage and physical placement and must in no way be clear, concise or even fundamental correct in any way in adding or assisting motorists, bicyclists, stake boarders, roller blades, equestrians, pedestrians or any wild life in their safe, timely passages & travels on the byways and highways of the Commonwealth."

Remember that in 1902, all motor vehicles had to have someone walking in front of them with a lite red lantern as a warning device.

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and started driving, I was stunned to realize that road signs in other states are typically large, clear, well-maintained and placed prominently at and before intersections, so drivers have time to sort out where they're going in time to make their turn.

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And the roads are smooth and well-maintained, the grass is greener (no declarations of a drought and watering bans three years after the fact), and the politicians are actually accountable to the voters. America's a nice place.

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MA is heaven compared to California execpt in weather.

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My job has me driving in many different places all over the country, and I consider Mass, and especially Boston to be one of the worst signed places anywhere. If I didn't already know my way around, I'd be constantly getting lost. Other cities use huge signs to mark streets off major thoroughways, while we get tiny, often rusted out, signs, if they even exist at all.

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You mean the Greater Boston area, right?

This is something that gets me. In the actual city, intersections are nicely marked with the signs for each street. The only problem in Boston comes with design- in the past 2 days I've taken a left from Columbia Road to Columbia Road at Edward Everett Square and a left from Poplar Street to Poplar Street at Sacred Heart School.

The suburbs, on the other hand, work on the assumption that we are going to be invaded so signs shouldn't be up lest the enemy get oriented. Or, the municipalities want to show frugality by only signing side streets, since obviously we know the names of the main streets.

The Menino administration took the street sign criticism to heart, hence there are big signs at small intersections (see Washington Street at Healy Field, where Firth Road and South Street have big signage over the street despite the fact they are one way into the intersection.)

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despite the fact they are one way into the intersection.

Street name signs are useful to other road users besides cars - like pedestrians. Pedestrians don't have to follow one way signs.

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This is what Boston does. In Dedham, Washington Street is barely signed since, you know, everyone knows it is Washington Street, so why should we waste the money putting up signs.

This is a true and very boring story. I was in Brockton yesterday and realized I was heading in the wrong directions (I wanted to go west to the Westgate Mall as opposed to west to the Brockton Fair.) I ended up on some side street. I got up to Route 27 by turning onto roads without street signs, since those were the more major streets. Suffice to say, I got to the Westgate Mall without much effort.

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As a result, several times a year a car drives the wrong way down South St.

Which is good for no one.

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How are the Do Not Enter/One Way signs? That's how drivers are supposed to know not to make a turn, not by the absence of a large street name sign.

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are more likely to be looking for street signs. So a large street sign at the end of a one way street may distract their attention from the fact the street is one way, especially if (as others here have pointed out) the one way and do not enter signs are undersized and/or poorly placed.

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To answer my own question, the Do Not Enter/One Way signs are terribly placed, so as to be invisible to approaching traffic, as expected. For each direction, the sign banning right turns is hidden behind a tree or building.

https://goo.gl/maps/d9KsPXnnWZC2
https://goo.gl/maps/P4SMTpDe68R2

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that has the directional arrow pointing directly to the one way street doesn't exactly help matters either.

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Are the arrows on the large street name signs allowed under federal standards? Maybe we should just get rid of the arrows.

Removing the large signs doesn't really make sense. One way or turn-prohibition signs need to be well-placed, and drivers need to look for them. What if a turn is prohibited at certain times -- would that mean the street name would have to be obscured as well?

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Federal standards allow the arrows. They're not mandatory, but are allowed per MUTCD §2D.43, ¶23:

At intersection crossroads where the same road has two different street names for each direction of travel, both street names may be displayed on the same sign along with directional arrows.

And like I've said before, street name signs are useful for other road users besides drivers, and thus should always be provided and visible, even if there are turn restrictions or the street is one way.

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99% of the intersections in Boston have the intersecting streets noted by smaller signs noticeable by people ambling on at 3 to 5 MPH, as pedestrians are want to do. The other 1% are the odd intersections where only 1 street is noted (Birch and Durnell in Roslindale being that exception that I have to note.)

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I was stunned to realize that road signs in other states are typically large, clear, well-maintained and placed prominently at and before intersections, so drivers have time to sort out where they're going in time to make their turn.

The most amazing thing in other states and cities, is the way traffic signs will give you *three* pieces of information. (1) The name of the road, (2), the direction it goes, and (3) where it will take you. In Boston, especially on DCR roads, you're lucky if you get one out of three.

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An instant inductee into the Uhub comments Hall of Fame

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The Legislator who wrote the text for a Law or the person who wrote the text for a Law of what the Legislator Filed can be looked up for a good historical understanding. Or ask the Reference Desk folks at
http://www.mass.gov/anf/research-and-tech/oversight-agencies/lib/ask-a-l...

or at
http://www.mass.gov/courts/case-legal-res/law-lib/libraries/services/ask...

or both !

For example, text for the previous Public Records Law was written by Jonathan Brant and Tony Winsor for the Legislator that Filed
http://masslawyersweekly.com/2010/11/30/district-court-judge-jonathan-br...
https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2013/11/22/tony-winsor-massachusetts-l...

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Your liberal bias showing, once again

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Am I missing some inside joke here?

What do street signs have to do with politics?

Or are you just one of those annoying assholes that have to turn every god damn conversation into R vs D?

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Very inside. Something somebody would only get if reading way, way, way down a discussion about some homophobic state-senate candidate (well, or way, way down in pretty much any discussion in which my political leanings come up).

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But, I'm one of those types of assholes, too.

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Some drivers enjoy venturing off the Interstates and following the historic routes of the earlier Federal Highway System. If you're not in a hurry, there are many interesting things to see along the U.S. Routes that typically parallel newer freeways.

So if you are a Roadgeek who wishes to experience the historic route U.S. 1 took through Boston, the current I-93, etc. routing would not suffice. Such a person would, of course, have prepared for the trip with historic maps and other research, so they'd know where they were going, but the sight of an actual U.S. 1 sign at that location would be a delightful surprise!

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be the Mystic River Bridge to me. I also refuse to call it E. Berkeley Street: Dover Street forever!

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          ( it's the MDC )

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I moved back to Somerville 10 years ago last month, after 4 or 5 years here for grad school & then 15 in CT; I still say "the thing that used to be MDC"

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Mystic Tobin Bridge. A reasonable compromise between old and new, if you ask me.

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Many urban areas have a US Route X leading up to the city. The original Route X might be designated Business Route X. The equivalent of 128 would be Bypass Route X, or Truck Route X. Original stretches of highway with a newer parallel highway might be called Old Route X. There's lots of ways to do it.

I'm not sure why Boston would not have the original Route 1 posted through Boston and just include a bypass or truck route that follows 128.

Anyway, it is more interesting to enter a city via the original US or state highways. It usually parallels a railroad, has cheaper motels and local restaurants, more character than the Interstates, and gives a much better feeling for the city and how it historically presented itself to travelers, at least in the motor age. But, as you say, you might have to be a geek.

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I thought I had read that the terminology "Route 128" was eliminated? I was surprised to see a state DOT crew putting up a large new sign with just "To 128" with an arrow pointing in that direction. The sign was plenty big enough to add 93/95 which was in the same direction but those routes weren't mentioned, so anyone without GPS or a map wouldn't know. Seemed odd/incompetent.

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as a secondary designation along I-95 between Canton and Peabody. However, it is signed only on independent route markers per a 1990 directive by FHWA.

The 128 designation was eliminated from the section of I-93 between Braintree and Canton as a condition of the 1989 US 1 rerouting. However, the Boston area traffic reporters have yet to figure this out some 26 years later.

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However, the Boston area traffic reporters still use the technically-outdated designation that describes the highway in the least ambiguous fashion so that they can provide as much useful information to their listeners as possible in a limited amount of time, some 26 years later.

Fixed that for you.

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More like "Completely inaccurate", as the former 128 designation no longer appears on any of the signs between Canton and Braintree.

If this simple concept is too difficult for the traffic reporters to understand, then perhaps they shouldn't be in the profession. When's the last time you heard a sports reporter refer to the football stadium in Foxborough as Schafer Stadium? There is no legitimate reason why the same principle should apply to traffic reporting.

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Yes, because sportscasters never refer to the Boston Garden......

Next analogy.

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Fleece Fleet Center, I don't recall many broadcasters referring to it as the Boston Garden. And the current TD Garden is generally called "The Garden", not the "Boston Garden."

Either way, it a sportscaster consistently used an outdated reference like "Schafer Stadium" or "Boston Garden" in their broadcasts, they would not have a job for very long. That was my point.

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     Can you imagine if the sportscasters called it that?

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Thank you very much.

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between Canton and Peabody, not to mention the mileposts and exit numbers on the I-95 mainline, would beg to differ with you Elmer. It's only the "professional" media traffic reporters who stubbornly refuse to acknowledge the proper designation for the highway, in spite of the fact that the I-95 designation has been in place since late 1974 - that's over 41 years folks.

When MassDOT changed the signs on I-93 southbound at Exit 35 to read "Park Street" instead of "Winchester Highlands" in 2013 - because the roadway at the exit hadn't gone into Winchester Highlands since the late 1960s - it only took the traffic reporters a matter of days to acknowledge the change in their reports. And guess what, once they did that, the world didn't end and people still managed to find their way around. There's NO legitimate reason to not do the same with I-95 between Canton and Peabody. And "nostalgia", "historical significance", and "because that's the way it's always been" are not good reasons to not make the change. Rather, they are poor excuses to not properly identify a highway - especially one that has carried its current designation for over 41 years.

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          You could try signing it I-999, but it's still going to  be  Route-128.

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My reason for not wanting the change: the physical configuration still feels like 128 is one continuous road, while 95 is two discontinuous spurs off it.

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128 still exists - when I-95 heads due north for NH and Maine, 128 heads through Danvers and all the way to Gloucester.

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Route 20 in Waltham is the old Oregon trail. I've gone as far as Chicago on it. In each state it is state route 20.

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It is near some spurs of the Oregon Trail in part on the western side - but you are probably referring to the Santiam Wagon Trail, which goes to the middle/southern end of the Willamette Valley, 100 miles south of Portland.

Otherwise the trail is very near/under US Route 30 for a very long stretch, part of which is also Interstate 80 or Interstate 84. US Route 30 starts in Atlantic City, NJ.

The actual Oregon Trail started in St. Louis.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Route_of_the_Oregon_Trail

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Route US 20 through Waltham was originally part of the Upper Post Road portion of the Boston Post Road system between Boston and New York City. And US 20 still carries its US designation in every state it passes through. In certain states where the original road has been re-routed, the old alignment of US 20 has been re-designated as either State 20A, an entirely separate State route number, or no longer has a route number . In order to minimize driver confusion, AASHTO route numbering rules (which were established in the 1920s for the US Route system and re-affirmed in the 1950s for the Interstate Route system) generally prohibit (with very rare exceptions) marking Interstate, US and State routes within the same state with the same number.

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Is DCR getting us ready for a change back, or was somebody in the sign shop just feeling nostalgic?

More likely that somebody wrote up a work order based on the original sign design (amending it to meet current standards), but didn't bother to verify whether the parkway was still part of US 1 beforehand.

Yet another reason why ownership and maintenance of the DCR "parkways" that people actually use as commuting routes should be transferred to MassDOT.

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MassDOT's solution to every road problem is to add another lane. That's the last thing we need on our parkways.

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That's why all the DCR parkways have bike lanes, traffic calming, signalized crosswalks, and are not some of the most dangerous roads in the city.

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Hahahahaha no it's not.

MassDOT, despite all of its shortcomings, is actually fairly progressive for a state DOT. And I've designed many, many MassDOT projects that involved taking away road space from cars. Plus they're huge fans of traffic calming and multimodalism. Look at the currently-ongoing freeway removals in New Bedford and Fall River, for example.

The only major lane additions MassDOT does are desperately needed (e.g. 128 add-a-lane). Clearly ignoring growth in highway traffic and hoping more people will take public transit, while still building more and more suburban office parks along 128 isn't working, and some new capacity is warranted. Note the dates on the overpasses along 128 sometime - there are plenty from 1959 that haven't been widened since. There is a lot more traffic now than there was 57 years ago, not to mention a significant change in land use patterns, and that's not going to change. There will always be people who live and work places that aren't practical to connect with transit. There will always be trucks for last-mile deliveries. There will always be service industries (contractors, deliveries, etc.) that require trucks. There will always be intercity travel that is not practical via transit.

Allowing our economy to continue to thrive requires investment in both public transit AND roads. Not Houston-level investment, but certainly some new lanes here and there.

--

I'd also like to note that MassDOT has the in-house knowledge and expertise to bring traffic calming and multimodal accommodation to these parkways, based on it managing thousands of miles of road across the state. DCR is a park department that also happens to maintain ~100 miles of road, mostly local. They do not have anywhere near the experience that MassDOT has, nor do they have the same number of engineers on staff (if they have any at all).

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I live on Rt 1 now.... Same as ever was.

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If they ever get rid of the greened-out 1 signs, I won't be able to follow the parkway route any more.

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