Leaving Boston: Disappointed (Quincy, Woburn: calculated, living in, floor)
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Honestly, if you think that the streets in Boston are difficult to navigate or that the drivers are aggressive, try visiting Rome, Paris, or any major city in Europe for that matter. They're at least 10 times worse.
The world is a big place.
Add Istanbul Turkey & Athens Greece, and most bigger cities in those countries.! OMG I was standing road side in Rhodes and driver flew on by and hit my butt with his side mirror, lucky I got a hard a** but we laughed about it and I was more careful. They drive like I've never seen anywhere in the US, and no way would I drive in any city I wasn't familiar with. I'd rather enjoy myself and let the experts do the driving. We walked a lot, and it was well worth the effort. Because even being a passenger is not for the faint at heart.
I will be moving to the Boston area (as soon as I sell my house here). I was just wondering if it is possible to get to major places (well, malls and Target, Quincy and New Hampshire) on back roads. Do you have to drive on the highways to get places as you do here? I just do not drive on freeways , but I like to be out & about.
absolutely! Most of the cities and towns in the Boston area existed LONG before the creation of the freeways and they were connected by roads back then too. The Freeways (I use that term loosely) here are primary roads now, but there are secondary and third tier roads running the same routes. You have nothing to worry about.
Most highways here were built to add capacity to existing corridors. Most of our highways take the exact same routes as the secondary roads (which were once primary roads). Most of the big box stores are located along or near these major non-highway routes too.
Some big ones to remember... Route 1 essentially parallels I-95. You can get anywhere on Route 1 that you could get to on I-95. Route 1 is a freeway inside of the Route 128 belt in the Boston area, but not outside of it. For that stretch, you have Route 1a (the "a" stands for alternate) which works too. Routes 9 and 20 parallel I-90 and will get you anywhere that I-90 does. Route 138 Parallels Route 24 (24 isn't an interstate, but it's is a highway) and 28 Parallels I-93. Route 5 Parallels I-91. Route 6 Parallels I-195. You get the point. There are probably a dozen non-highway alternatives for every highway route. They just take a little longer (but are often more enjoyable if you have the time).
I'll be honest, and say up front, that I'm glad you had a bad time. When you come to my city with such a high level of ignorance, you get what you deserve. That said, I've got a few helpful comments for you, in case you ever decide to learn something and try again.
Originally Posted by Repubocrat
Spent the weekend in Boston and I am leaving this place disappointed, same nasty, rude, stressed culture you see in NJ, Philly and other places.
Differences in style are different, not better or worse. Yes, we speak differently in the NorthEast, we move at a different pace, we are less likely to engage in small talk. None of this makes us rude or stressed, and it's a mistake to read it that way. I'm sure you would agree that for somebody from Boston or DC to visit Iowa, it would be a mistake to assume that slower speaking is an indication of stupidity. It's just a different style.
Driving in this city is like driving in a 3rd world country, a system of roads that makes absolutely no sense, total lack of signs, sometimes, 4 streets intersect and you can't even tell where one ends and the next one starts, one of the most stressful experiences of my life.
As others have pointed out, no, it's not. You clearly haven't been out there in the big wide world enough to make an assessment like this. I'm sorry, nonetheless, that you found it stressful. Often operating on unfamiliar ground can be that way. I went for a hike once, and misjudged the timing. I ended up doing the last two miles in the dark. It was uncomfortable, it was stressful, it was confusing, and it was entirely my fault, for not properly understanding the environment. I didn't blame the trailblazers, I blamed myself. It's not well realized, but the road network in Boston actually does follow a logical pattern. That it is not a grid, in no way means that it is nonsensical. It is a node and spoke system, with a multitude of central gathering or collector points (usually labelled as a square, a village, or a circle), connected to one another by arterial paths. You only need to understand how the nodes connect to one another in order to fairly easily find your way about. The subway is laid out in exactly the same fashion. And why didn't you ride the subway, by the way?
Very rude, agressive drivers, absolutely no regard for other people. I was driving on one of the highways and suddenly, here comes a toll booth, no signs, no warning, no way to get off the highway to get some cash, ask the dumbass who works in the booth, how much, he goes "$5.50", I was like, Are you serious?
You might do well to pay more attention. The only toll road in the state is the Massachusetts Turnpike, and the only tolls as high as that involve a clearly marked ticket booth system when you enter the road, which should have made it quite clear that you were entering a restricted access, tolled roadway. I can't help you if you don't read the signs. They are there, and they are easy to see.
This dude had the nastiest attitude, he goes like "Do you have the money? It is a YES or NO question", what an *******! So I tell him, I only had $2.50, I am from out of town and I had no way of knowing since there were no signs, he treats me like **** and gives me a stupid piece of paper to fill out. So, I am filling out a piece of paper, while there are 40 cars behind me honking, I have never seen anything more ridiculous.
Don't say dude. Unless you are from a California beach city, you shouldn't use that word. As for his brusque attitude, he probably understood before you did, that there would be a back-up if you didn't quickly come to an understanding that a toll booth meant a toll, which you'd need to satisfy.
So, now I owe the Mass DOT, $5.50, and I am supposed to send a check in for that amount. I will be sending the MA DOT, a check for $5.50 next week with a nice "**** YOU" note, what a joke of a city that is!
They will have a good chuckle at that note. By the way, around here, when discussing a confused tourist, we almost always say they were from Iowa. It makes no difference that they may have been from somewhere else.
My only time in Boston was during a driving vacation through New England. I drove into Boston, and armed with a paper map (pre-GPS) I found the USS Constitution, parked there and walked around some, drove up around Beacon Hill, and by Harvard, a few other places, and then left the city. I remember at times I felt some frustration over "how to get over there from here" when traffic was heavy and I didn't know the lay of the land, but overall I did not feel fazed or overwhelmed by the experience. Drive like you know what you're doing and drive like you're not expecting an invitation.
I think it's clear the Ted Williams Tunnel made it infinitely easier to get to the airport but that the project did nothing much at all to improve the commute from the South Shore, which I thought was a major goal. I can't imagine how it would improve that; whether the highway's in the air or in the ground, there are limited exits and all those cars have to get off the highway and onto small, old streets. We might have done better spending a fraction of the money on improving commuter rail from the South Shore, which isn't up to snuff on several lines.
The Southeast expressway is the same snafu that it was before, until somewhere in Southie where the Big Dig begins. Nonetheless, the Big Dig has helped enormously. Driving from Boston to anywhere north is so much more pleasant. Downtown is more pleasant without the "Green Monster." That central artery was noisy, dirty, and an eyesore to boot.
The best improvement is Logan access. I remember grievously having to travel from Harvard Square to Logan and then crawling along city streets (because Memorial and Storrow Drives were often backed up) just to get to the tunnel. And those old tunnels! I think I spent thousands of dollars idling in taxis trying to get through them. And that's the stress just to get to the airport!
Now, it's a piece of cake from all points west to hop on the Masspike and arrive in Logan in minutes not hours.
Let me try to sum it all up for you in a nutshell. You come from Iowa which is not exactly known for being a fast paced place. Even a well known comedian makes a wisecrack about getting a speeding ticket in Iowa and telling the cop he was just trying to get the f@#$ out of Iowa. Anywho, you need to understand that Boston is full of life and energy, and while you're driving around, lost, looking at maps, wondering where to go because the ancient street network isn't anything like the open farm roads endlessly drifting through the corn fields back home, people need to go places, and do things.
Boston is where you go if you want to live life at max speed, its not a retirement community, or a place where people sit and watch the corn grow. It's a place where you lose teeth for talking about the Yankees, or you end up in a gutter for thinking you're better than a Boston native. I'm not trying to say Boston is a violent city, but a city full of people that are proud to call it home, and are willing to pick up their fists and whatever else to defend the name of their city.
I think people forget that Boston was the original stomping grounds for a group of men who didn't really take a liking to being told what to do by the crown, and consequently started a rebellion that led to the creation of our great country. Bostonians don't take s@#$ from anyone, especially some visitor clogging up the toll booth.
People want things to work--they want their electric power, they want to drive free of traffic, etc.--but they don't want the environmental or tax impact of building the things we need for systems to run smoothly. So the next time you have the pleasure of driving from Dorchester to Somerville, or from Cambridge to East Boston, in 20 minutes (rather than an hour and a half), take a moment to thank Dukakis, Fred Salvucci, Bill Weld, Jane Swift, Mitt Romney, and so many others who worked so hard to complete this huge public improvement.
More accurately, people don't want the massive corruption, union favoritism and cost overruns.
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