Skip to main content

Boston Signage, The Good, The Bad, and the Missing

I posted an entry back in November 2013 displaying examples of new signage being placed in the streets of Boston, some of which was completely wrong. A February 2014 'expose' report on the local Fox television station led to Boston DOT officials blaming contractor error for the sign mistakes and vows to fix them. During last Spring much of the wrong signage was removed or replaced. For example this reassurance marker for West MA 2A that had a wrong directional banner:


Was corrected with a replacement West banner. Most of the MA 2A signs put up in error further east along Mass. Ave were removed, such as these at the corner of Tremont and Mass. Ave:

A couple though stayed but had their directional banner replaced with 'To', such as by the Christian Science Plaza, before:

And After:

Mistaken signs were placed for routes that did exist as well. In the case below, drivers on Beacon Street approaching Arlington saw signs directing them to MA 28 North to turn left:
When in actuality, Beacon Street is already MA 28 North here and to stay on it you just have to take the next right (or stay on Beacon and you're now on MA 28 South). This was fixed last spring also:
Although, as you can see, the incorrect 'To' banner remains.

However, a tour of city streets taken in March 2015, showed some mistakes still remain. For example, drivers looking for the Mass Pike or I-90 West on Boylston Street still see this sign:




Directing them straight through the intersection with Mass. Ave. You can get to I-90 by going 1/2 mile to Dartmouth Street and taking a right, but it would be much easier to take a left and take the next left onto the on-ramp on the other side of the Mass Ave bridge over the Pike. Drivers on Comm Ave (MA 2) heading west into Kenmore Square still see this sign pairing:
While, again, technically true, Comm Ave becomes US 20 west of Kenmore Square, it does not, as signs placed in 2013 still say, become MA 30 also. MA 30 does not begin until the split of Comm Ave with US 20 in another mile or so from here.
Fortunately, these mistaken MA 30 signs were never placed eastbound near Kenmore Square (and yes, you can park for the Red Sox game for only $40).

Despite the increase in route signage, the city still has a strange habit of not marking the beginning of routes. For example, MA 9 West begins at MA 28/Charles Street by the Park Plaza Hotel. There's no signage though:

Go a block west though, and you see your first West MA 9 trailblazer:
MA 2 West Begins (and MA 2 East Ends) at the corner of Boylston Street and Charles Street / MA 28 North. No sign of Route 2 here though:
You have to go to the other side of the Public Garden to see the first West 2 reassurance sign:
(behind the MA 28 trailblazer):
Another MA 28 sign like the one above would be useful at the corner of Stuart and Tremont Streets where the route goes left, but, only if you see the reassurance marker on Charles Street would you know it turns there:
And don't get me started about MA 2 west of Kenmore Square. While there are several new MA 2 markers along the route back to Comm Ave:




This is one of the few trailblazers that were placed on the roads between Beacon and Comm Ave. You will not find any MA 2 shields telling you where the route west leaves Beacon or that to go East you have to turn left on Beacon. Another habit is not putting up the most important sign. Approaching the intersection of Arlington Street and Columbus Avenue you see these signs for I-93 and MA 28:
However, there is an entrance to the Mass Pike West two blocks south of Columbus Ave. You guessed it, there's no trailblazer for West I-90.

Part of the problem with signing MA Routes within the city of Boston is due to some of the convoluted paths many routes take. If I were in charge of MassDOT I would make, at least, the following changes:
1. MA 2 would revert to its old route through Cambridge (current MA 2A) and continue in Boston beyond Comm Ave. down Mass Ave. to the interchange with I-93 at Melnea Cass Blvd.
2. US 20 would be extended east from Kenmore Square to re-take its original route to Arlington Street.
3. MA 109 which currently ends at the former US 1 at the VFW Parkway, would be extended along the old US alignment to MA 9 / Huntington Avenue.
4. US 3 could end at I-95/128 in Burlington, or its path could be changed so it follows I-95 South to MA 2 East to Cambridge, then follow what was MA 2's route onto Memorial Drive. It would also replace all of MA 3 to Cape Cod, until the MA 3 / Pilgrims Highway could be designated an I-93 spur route, then US 3 could end at Leverett Circle. 

If anyone has any comments, or suggestions, feel free to post them.








Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Hidden California State Route 710 and the Pasadena Gap in the Long Beach Freeway

Infamous and the subject of much controversy the Pasadena Gap in the Long Beach Freeway has long existed as a contentious topic regarding the completion of Interstate 710 and California State Route 710.  While the Pasadena Gap of the Long Beach Freeway effectively has been legislatively blocked the action only came after decades of controversy.  While the Pasadena Gap of the Long Beach Freeway is fairly well known what many don't know is that a small segment was actually constructed south Interstate 210 and the Foothill Freeway.  This disconnected segment of the Long Beach Freeway exists as the unsigned and largely hidden California State Route 710.  On June 29, 2022 the California Transportation Commission relinquished California State Route 710 to the city of Pasadena.  The blog cover above depicts a southward view on the completed Pasadena stub segment of the Long Beach Freeway which ends at California Boulevard.   Part 1; the history of the Pasadena Gap of the Long Beach Freewa

Deer Isle Bridge in Maine

As graceful a bridge that I ever set my eyes upon, the Deer Isle Bridge (officially known as the Deer Isle-Sedgwick Bridge) surprisingly caught my eye as I was driving around coastal Maine one Saturday afternoon. About 35 miles south of Bangor, Maine , the Deer Isle Bridge connects the Blue Hill Peninsula of Downeast Maine with Little Deer Isle over the Eggemoggin Reach on ME 15 between the towns of Sedgwick and Deer Isle . It should be noted that Little Deer Isle is connected to Deer Isle by way of a boulder lined causeway, and there is a storied regatta that takes place on the Eggemoggin Reach each summer. But the Deer Isle Bridge holds many stories, not just for the vacationers who spend part of their summer on Deer Isle or in nearby Stonington , but for the residents throughout the years and the folks who have had a hand bringing this vital link to life.   The Deer Isle Bridge was designed by David Steinman and built by the Phoenix Bridge Company of Phoenixville,

Paper Highways: Proposed US Route 66 Alternate to Las Vegas, Nevada

During February 1956 the State of Nevada in concurrence with the States of California and Arizona submitted a request to the American Association of State Highway Officials to establish US Route 66 Alternate to Las Vegas.  The proposed US Route 66 Alternate would have originated from mainline US Route 66 in Kingman Arizona and followed a multiplex of US Routes 93-466 to Las Vegas, Nevada.  From Las Vegas, Nevada the proposed US Route 66 Alternate would have multiplexed US Routes 91-466 back to mainline US Route 66 in Barstow, California.  The request to establish US Route 66 Alternate was denied during June 1956 due to it being completely multiplexed with other US Routes.  This blog will examine the timeline of the US Route 66 Alternate proposal to Las Vegas, Nevada. The history of the proposed US Route 66 Alternate to Las Vegas, Nevada On February 15, 1956, the Nevada State Highway Engineer in a letter to the American Association of State Highways Officials (AASHO) advising that six c