Driving, Boston

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  • MatthewMetcalfe's Profile Photo

    Driving in Boston - Slow and Painful

    by MatthewMetcalfe Written Aug 24, 2004

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Even though a lot of the big dig is complete, the Downtown area is still suffering from massive construction headaches. Expect detours dur to road closures and delays caused by congestion. The best bet is to get in town, park, and take public transportation (or walk!)

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  • Now NAVIGATING is a different story

    by FoxWMulder Written Jul 12, 2004

    My other Boston driving tip was about how easy the actual driving can be. Now keep in mind that my driving experience in the heart of the city didn't involve a lot of map-reading. I got it easy, and was able to simply follow the signs.

    Anyone who know what those squiggly lines are on a map can tell you that Boston streets are not exactly planned quite logically. In actuality, they have absolutely no method of organization whatsoever. So buy yourself a very nice map before you go to Boston, and make sure that does a VERY good job of labelling one-way streets. I didn't have to do too much map navigating, and I'm glad I didn't! The streets weren't very well labeled, and traffic moves too quickly to constantly be checking your map. So plan your route well, know your route, and be prepared to whip around and backtrack.

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  • I did it!!

    by FoxWMulder Written Jul 12, 2004

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Yes, Boston is a tough city to navigate, and yes, the drivers are a little crazy. But it isn't loads of city driving experience that you need to survive them. You just need to be able to drive on their level.

    My driving experience in Boston was getting into the aquariugm area, driving on 93, some driving north of the city, and getting into/around logan airport. So I was right in the heart of things, and guess what? I survived.

    The secret to driving in Boston is to understand why these people drive the way they drive. They have a place to go, and they want to get there quickly. And because stop-and-go traffic is so common and so mentally taxing, when they don't have to stop, they MOVE. And that's what anyone driving in Boston has to understand. You need to do everything QUICKLY. Accelerate from a stop quickly, because that will keep traffic moving. When you need to stop, then STOP! Not making assertive stops means that you lose time reacting to traffic patterns. And if you're going to make a lane change, signal, and then move it on over. You can't wait around for traffic to wait for you, because it will not happen.

    Everything you do behind the wheel of your car in "The Hub" has to be firm, quick and assertive. Don't worry about being polite, don't let yourself get scared, just GO!

    Finally don't worry constantly about your speed. Just move with traffic, and don't even look at the speedometer. Bostonians will pass you if you're not going at what they think is the fast enough speed, and that can be even more dangerous than you going a few miles faster than you are comfortable with. (and while you're looking at that speedometer, the *** in front of you might have just stopped suddenly!)

    So good luck, ye hearty souls that will be tackling Boston. Driving in Boston has been a goal of mine ever since I went there last year. Well I got my opportunity, and I'm glad I did.

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  • I did it!!

    by FoxWMulder Written Jul 12, 2004

    Yes, Boston is a tough city to navigate, and yes, the drivers are a little crazy. But it isn't loads of city driving experience that you need to survive them. You just need to be able to drive on their level.

    My driving experience in Boston was getting into the aquarium parking lot from the highway, and getting into/around logan airport. So I was right in the heart of things, and guess what? I survived.

    The secret to driving in Boston is to understand why these people drive the way they drive. They have a place to go, and they want to get there quickly. And because stop-and-go traffic is so common and so mentally taxing, when they don't have to stop, they MOVE. And that's what anyone driving in Boston has to understand. You need to do everything QUICKLY. Accelerate from a stop quickly, because that will keep traffic moving. When you need to stop, then STOP! Not making assertive stops means that you lose time reacting to traffic. And if you're going to make a lane change, signal, and then move it on over. You can't wait around for traffic to wait for you, because it will not happen.

    Everything you do behind the wheel of your car in "The Hub" has to be firm, quick and assertive. Don't worry about being polite, don't let yourself get scared, just GO!

    Finally don't worry constantly about your speed. Just move with traffic, and don't even look at the speedometer. Bostonians will pass you if you're not going at what they think is the fast enough speed, and that can be even more dangerous than going a few miles faster than you are comfortable with. (and while you're looking at that speedometer, the *** in front of you might have just stopped suddenly!)

    So good luck, ye hearty souls that will be tackling Boston. Driving in Boston has been a goal of mine ever since I went there last year. Well I got my opportunity, and I'm glad I did.

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  • Driving in Boston

    by grkboiler Written Apr 28, 2004

    Unless you have a death wish, don't. First of all, the roads are not on a grid system which complicates things. Second of all, some Bostonians can be dangerous drivers, especially cab drivers.

    I would only drive in the city if you have plenty of experience driving in big cities. This is by far the worst city I have driven in. OK, maybe not as bad as Athens. I am exaggerating here, but driving in New York and Chicago is like driving in Dayton, Ohio, compared to Boston.

    If you are driving into Boston, park your car where you are staying and use public transportation.

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  • Driving to Boston

    by grkboiler Written Apr 28, 2004

    Driving to Boston is easy. From the west and north part of the US, just make your way to I-90 and head east. From the south and east US, make your way to I-95 and head north.

    Driving IN Boston is another story...

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  • londonlover's Profile Photo

    A Driving Nightmare

    by londonlover Updated Apr 9, 2004

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    what a mess!

    THIS picture illustrates why no tourist should be driving around Boston. The "Big Dig," as they call it around town, is the massive construction project that is going on in Boston, and has been for the last 10 years. I believe it's nearly finished, but it has made central Boston a mess for driving. So until things change, don't try this unless you're willing to sacrifice your car for your trip! :)

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  • jessicadf's Profile Photo

    Dollar Rental Car was okay by us

    by jessicadf Written Nov 17, 2003

    4 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    We had a good experience with Dollar Rental car. Their shuttle service to and from the airport was very, very prompt and friendly. The man behind the desk, Ron, was very friendly and helpful, even at 6:45 on a Sunday morning. We paid for a compact car but got a mini-van, because... well... there aren't very many cars in the lot on a Sunday morning -- so it's a good day for an upgrade. If you can call a mini-van an upgrade. ;-)

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  • jessicadf's Profile Photo

    Driving really IS horrible in and around Boston

    by jessicadf Written Nov 17, 2003

    4 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    There! THERE!  THAT'S the road we want! GO GO GO!

    Yes, I'd read plenty about this in warnings here on VT, and heard it by word of mouth over the years. But with needing to go to Stow and Weymouth Heights, we really did need to drive. So... there we were. Why does driving stink so much? Street signs that tell you one thing and then disappear for miles at a time... if you stop to ask for directions, people call streets different names than they're labeled (if they're labeled)... traffic, even on a Sunday, can be bad... Oh, and toll roads. Yikes! We went through the Ted Williams Tunnel 3 TIMES in one day, paying $4.50 each time. Ouch!!

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  • shohman's Profile Photo

    crazy drivers

    by shohman Written Oct 11, 2003

    Boston drivers aren't really bad, its everyone else who can't drive. Boston roads make no sense, and the Big Dig (ENORMOUS CONSTRUCTION PROJECT) makes it 10 times worse.
    The T (subway) is good for getting around Boston, but some stations are scummy and not much fun. But you'll be ok if you use common sense.

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  • meteorologist1's Profile Photo

    Don't drive into downtown Boston...

    by meteorologist1 Written Aug 4, 2003

    I strongly discourage driving your car into downtown Boston. The traffic is horrible, especially during this Big Dig project.

    Take a subway. It's cheap and very convenient. See my other travel tip on the "T" in T/subway.

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  • genki44's Profile Photo

    Guilty as Charged: Bad Driers in Boston

    by genki44 Updated Jul 9, 2003

    Boston is a SMALL walkable city. Also, the train, aka, the "T" is great: safe and reliable.

    My advice to tourists that are only coming to Boston and don't need to leave the city: don't rent a car because the big dig (our infamous gazillion year long construction project), makes driving very confusing, (even for us) also pedestrians are all over the place and walk whenever they want whenever they want, (I'm guilty of that myself!) so you can't really look around and sight see while driving because you have to watch out for people who might be walking in front of your car!!

    Overall, unless you plan to leave Boston for a trip to Cape Cod, or somewhere else, if you are staying only in Boston, don't rent a car!

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  • Driving to Boston

    by zChris Updated May 27, 2003

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Stuart St.

    Driving in Boston can be a nightmare. Driving to here isn't that bad. New England roads radiate out of Boston like spokes on a wheel. Check out the highway routes below to plot your route to the city:

    From Maine: Take I-95 south to I-93

    From New Hampshire: Take I-95 south to I-93, take I-93 south, or take US 3 south

    From Vermont: Take I-89 south to I-93 south

    From Albany: Take I-90 (toll) east

    From New York City: Take I-87 north to I-84 north to I-90 east (toll) or take I-95 north

    Driving can be a rat race in Boston. Once you get to your hotel, I suggest you leave it there until exiting the metropolitan Boston area. You'll thank me later.

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  • Cabana_Boy's Profile Photo

    Driving and parking is simply impossible...

    by Cabana_Boy Updated Nov 28, 2002

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The

    Driving and parking is simply impossible for people visiting Boston, so, don't attempt it unless you are a masochist.

    The picture here is of the “Big Dig” which seems to be a huge public works project that has most of the streets in the downtown core totally ripped up, a true mess. So, if you are staying downtown (or even near downtown), forget about renting a cah (again, car) and use the subway.

    In Boston, the subway is simply called the “T” and runs above and below ground through the city and surrounding area. Check out the MBTA website (www.mbta.com) for more information about schedules and route maps. There are also commuter rail trains that run further aboard. Unfortunately, the “T” shuts down at 12:30 am, rather early in my opinion. But never fear; taxicabs are readily available throughout the city as well.

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  • dinhyen's Profile Photo

    "She drives like crazy like noone else"

    by dinhyen Updated Sep 16, 2002

    1.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Boston is based on a system of squares or plazas, such as Kenmore Square or Harvard Square (pronounced squay-ah). Streets connect square to square, public transportation stops at squares, directions are given in relation to the squares, you name it. The streets here follow no logical layout. There are many one-way streets. Many streets are not clearly marked. Even when they're marked, some of them change names at town borders, or at seemingly random places, just to keep you on your toes. For instance, one of the streets near where I live changes name 3 times in a mere 3 block stretch. The streets are narrow and not very good because they keep getting dug up. There are very few parking places; garage parking costs a small fortune and it's practically impossible to find meter parking in a busy area. Traffic snarls are usually horrendous around any area worth visiting. Did I mention Massachusetts is the rotary capital of the world? If you haven't found yourself in the middle of one, count your lucky stars. Now that was just the infrastructure. Don't get me started on the humans. Boston drivers have a pretty nasty reputation, which I would have to say is fully deserved. I can say this from the perspective of an impartial pedestrian, cyclist, and driver. So what does this mean in a nutshell? Avoid driving at all costs. The public transportation system will get you to most places you want to go. Chances are, many places that you want to see are within walking distances, as Boston is a relatively small city. Don't take any chance and leave your car at home. Thanks for doing your part to keep our lives sane.

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