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What road planner thought this was a good idea?
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Old 05-03-2012, 04:37 AM
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Default What road planner thought this was a good idea?

Crazylegs' lane discipline thread reminded me of this intersection my friend and I have to brave each year as part of our con-going experience.

For the con I sell art at each year in Boston, I save some money by staying with my friend up just across the border into NH and commuting down to the convention each morning via car and then the T. We park at the Alewife station and take the train in from there, and overall it's a bit cheaper than renting a hotel room.

But I dread this one intersection coming out of the station. It's tricky to describe, so I've included a Google maps screenshot with arrows.

See, the exit road hooks around a bit, then comes up to this star-shaped nest of roads (blue arrow). The first light, where it crosses the first road, is simple enough. It goes green, sending the cars traveling with the blue arrow to the next intersection, where three directions of travel cross right in the middle. The light there is red at first as traffic coming off the Concord Turnpike get a turn, and people coming off the Alewife Brook Parkway onto the Turnpike get a turn. Then the blue arrow gets its green light.

At the same time that the green arrow gets a green light. Both going the same direction, two lanes from the green and one lane from the blue. Three lanes funneling onto the red arrow...which is only two lanes wide. No, there are no yield signs. Both roads get their green light at exactly the same time.

Seriously, who thought this was a good plan? I assume it was someone thinking that the traffic coming from the train station wouldn't be too heavy and could seamlessly "zipper" into the other two lanes of traffic.

Except that each time I've driven it, it's been near-midnight and already bad enough. I can't imagine what this intersection is like during peak hours. OI.

And yes, I've been nearly sideswiped once or twice by cars on the other road who didn't seem to realize that my road had a green light too.
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Old 05-03-2012, 04:34 PM
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Ok, both roads getting a green light is beyond stupid. Signal discipline could probably make this intersection no worse than the one right by my office (same number of roads, except that two of them are 4 lanes each way). But that's just messed up.
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Old 05-03-2012, 08:28 PM
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I know. If the lights were staggered, or if one of the two merging roads had a yield sign in addition to the light, I'd understand what they were thinking. But just funneling everyone from three lanes to two with no actual merging room seems, to put it bluntly, moronic.
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Old 05-10-2012, 05:33 PM
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Oh yeah. That intersection. It's very messed up.

It used to be worse. It used to be a rotary aka the Circle of Death. Either traffic was moving fast and you'd risking dying in a crash or it was moving so slowy you'd risk dying before you got out of it.

There is a workaround I used to use when exiting that station but it may not be available any more. Instead of using the spiral ramps go back down to the entrance you came in at and go left when exiting. Two more lefts and you're on Alewife Brook Parkway (Rte. 16).

If you're heading for Rte. 2, you'll go through the same messed-up light but at least you can stay in the left lane an avoid having to play fit-two-cars-into-one-space with people coming out of the access road.
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Old 05-10-2012, 07:23 PM
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Quote:
Quoth Dips View Post
It used to be worse. It used to be a rotary aka the Circle of Death. Either traffic was moving fast and you'd risking dying in a crash or it was moving so slowy you'd risk dying before you got out of it.
That's...rather terrifying.

But thanks for the alternate suggestions. We'll have to try those next time.
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