Now, I’m not going to talk about the single accident that doubled my commute today. I’m not going to mention it, even though it took what seemed like forever to get into the Storrow Drive tunnel. I’m not going to let it distract me, even though it left me with that unsatisfied feeling when the accident is cleared and all the police cars leave literally 10 seconds before I drove by, precluding me from getting out all the tensed up rubbernecking that had built up.
No, today I want to talk about trucks.
Actually, if we want to anthropomorphize the trucks, they probably have a headache at this point; the stupidity should not necessarily be assigned to the truck itself, rather to the driver.
For those not fortunate enough to live near the Hub of the Universe, you may not be aware of our local roadways. We have a lovely river – the Charles (much cleaner now) that wends it’s way through the dense city, separating the Hub of Boston from our fair city, Cambridge. Alongside the river – one might say encroaching upon it – run two arterial roadways.
On the Cambridge side, we have Memorial Drive. This 4 lane, surface road features picturesque views of the river, of the yards of Harvard, and of the many boathouses alongside. It also features stop and go traffic, since it intersects with local roadways every few blocks with stoplights that inevitably have someone attempting to turn left across oncoming traffic.
On the Boston side, we have Storrow Drive. This 4 lane road is divided with ancient metal barriers, and alternates between limited access surface road, and sunken underpasses. While the posted speed limit is 40mph, average speeds are highway speeds, which makes for quite exciting driving with all the twists, turns, and quick elevation changes. None of which is terribly important to the story, with the exception of the sunken underpasses.
Storrow Drive was designed after WWII as a parkway, meant for pleasure vehicles. The underpasses – below each of the major cross streets – feature very low clearance. This fact is advertised with overhead signage at each entrance to the roadway. Normal-height steel beams cross the roadway, holding giant yellow and black “LOW CLEARANCE – TURN BACK NOW, LEST YE HOLDUP TRAFFIC ALL DAMN MORNING” signs at the approximate height of the underpasses.
A bonus feature remaining on most signs (depending on their age) is a wide swath of short chains hanging down another few inches. This serves to make a really loud banging sign against the top of your over height vehicle as you pass underneath. So, for example, if a truck driver attempted to enter Storrow Drive – let’s say a blind truck driver, since they clearly didn’t see any of the signs. So our blind truck driver is driving down an entrance “ramp” onto Storrow Drive, and they suddenly hear a loud BANGCLATTERCLATTERCLATTER from above their heads. Don’t you think they’d notice?
Apparently not, since this morning featured one eastbound truck with a headache sitting – peacefully, for the next several hours of rush hour I imagine – in one of the few pull off areas on Storrow, just past the Doubletree. It also featured a westbound truck stuck near the Hatch Shell, presumably with it’s own headache. Sigh. When will people ever learn?