Any U-Haul haircuts yet?

So – how many U-Haul haircuts do you think we’ll have this year?

[poll id=”5″]

A U-Haul haircut is defined as when a driver from outside of the Greater Boston area, who, while driving a rental truck, strikes the underside of a bridge inside the Greater Boston area. This commonly occurs on Storrow and Memorial Drives during September, when one of the many new students at local universities (or, their parent) ignores the DANGER LOW BRIDGE warning signs, hanging chains, and other warnings at the entrances to local roadways, and drives down the road smack into a bridge.

Now it seems so far this year that we may have been spared any U-Haul haircuts – an amazing thing! For all things Boston, I trust in Universal Hub, and I haven’t seen any reports of U-Haul haircuts yet. A few Googles of likely news stories doesn’t show any either. Could this really be our year? A year of no U-Haul haircuts? We’ll see.

Storrow Drive Loves You

Seen above this morning’s commute, a professionally printed white banner with foot-tall red letters:


It’s hanging on the railing of the footbridge immediately after the BU bridge. Driving by it gave me a warm fuzzy feeling this morning all over. And then I thought…

It’s maddeningly inspecific. Is this message for me? Or perhaps – glancing at the solid bolus of cars from the Elliot bridge stoplight speeding along beside me – for someone else? Is this some private message, who’s real meaning is known only to the intended recipient? If so, it’s not very private anymore, as several thousand people have seen it so far at least.

Is this a message from Storrow Drive itself, or perhaps James’ or his wife Helen’s ghost; one of affection for the thousands of drivers who rely on it daily to get them to work, and sometimes back home again. Or could it be an altruistic message of hope; one put up by an anonymous do-gooder who was seeking to spread the fuzzy warm feeling like I had this morning to all their fellow citizens?

Who knows. Only the internet – and the person who put up the banner – will tell.

Please: I’d love to see a photo of this one, if anyone can snap one.

Storrow Drive: MAX HEADROOM

I can’t duck out of this one. I know I’ll get cut down to size, and it’s dangerous to post something like this without enough clearance. September’s sweet singing to the coming college constituents is driving me to dare to dive into the pool over at UniversalHub: Beantown bloggers bet on when the fell fate will befall some incoming buffoon:

When will the first truck be peeled back like a sardine can on Storrow Drive?

Now I think Adamg was fishing for some entries with that title, but it’s a good one, and it’s a good pool to be in. When I think about it, I really look up to those that drive on Storrow – and to those who look up before they drive on Storrow.

In any case, I”ll come out from under my rock and give my prediction: the first stuck Storrow truck of September will not be a U-haul, but will be a major rental companies, and it will happen before 11:30am on this Thursday, as some foolish new freshman is being driven to school by their father. I know it’s a stretch up to believe it’ll be that early, but hey, someone’s gotta go first.

Hey, anyone have a graph of the number of stuck Storrow trucks for the past few years? Or anyone wonder how much the local truck rental places would pay someone to stand by the likely onramps on Saturday to attempt to wave off clueless rental drivers?

Storrow gets ’em every time

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.

Stupid 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?