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Old 04-28-2008, 08:44 AM
301 posts, read 1,289,085 times
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Driving in Boston in good weather is challenging enough, how do Bostonians do it when the brutal winter weather hits? Do a lot of drivers invest in snow tires?
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Old 04-28-2008, 09:01 AM
Location: Marietta, GA
7,887 posts, read 16,412,664 times
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Originally Posted by eastwestman View Post
Driving in Boston in good weather is challenging enough, how do Bostonians do it when the brutal winter weather hits? Do a lot of drivers invest in snow tires?
It really depends on the car you own. If you own a rear wheel drive vehicle, then you should invest in good snow tires. Front wheel and AWD/4WD vehicles can usually get along fine with all season radials. Any car will drive better in snow with snow tires, but having said that, I always used a good set of all season radials with my front and AWD vehicles and never had any problems 15 years living in the hills in central MA.

Boston itself is right on the coast and really doesn't get that "brutal winter" in the same way as communities a few miles inland do. Inland communities north/west of 128 can get many inches of snow while Boston gets rain. You can always get that big nor'easter that dumps on Boston, but not the same way as inland towns north and west.
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Old 04-28-2008, 09:13 AM
Location: Fort Hill
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I just stay home.
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Old 04-28-2008, 03:31 PM
Location: Dallas
4,621 posts, read 9,959,882 times
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Originally Posted by eastwestman View Post
Driving in Boston in good weather is challenging enough, how do Bostonians do it when the brutal winter weather hits? Do a lot of drivers invest in snow tires?
For the most part, brutal conditions in the winter amounts to a few days, often for a few hours. Many people stay home, arrive late, wait until the plowing gets done. For the most part, it's no big deal.

Every three or four years you have one of these though:

http://www.mediamax.com/colek98/Hosted/Tremont%205pm.jpg (broken link)
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Old 04-28-2008, 09:34 PM
24 posts, read 68,610 times
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Good all-weather tires should do the trick just fine. I haven't used snow tires in at least 25 years and I drive a regular sedan, no 4WD, etc. As already mentioned, "brutual" weather is usually short-term. When storms are predicted, the snow plows are usually ready to go as the first flakes are falling although, arguably some locales do a better job clearing the roads than others.

A little planning (leave for work early/late, head home early/late, stay home, take public transportation, etc) is usually sufficient for 98% of the drivers. Frankly, I cannot even recall that last time I heard anyone here mention snow tires nor have I seen them for sale (I'm sure you can still buy them but tire stores don't 'push' them.) Better than snow tires is a full tank of gas when nasty weather is predicted. This serves two purposes: (1) keeps you from running out of gas if you get stuck in a traffic mess (2) extra weight helps with traction.
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Old 04-28-2008, 10:16 PM
Location: MA/NH
17,680 posts, read 38,541,526 times
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Originally Posted by eastwestman View Post
Driving in Boston in good weather is challenging enough, how do Bostonians do it when the brutal winter weather hits? Do a lot of drivers invest in snow tires?
Do you live right in Boston? How often would you be driving your car? If you use the T a lot, then I suppose that you can skip the snow tires. I lived in Cambridge for a while and now I live in Newton. I've always put good snows on my fwd cars for wintertime just because I drive around a lot and can't always wait for the plows to come by. If I had an awd car, I still would get good snows for the wintertime. My boyfriend and I see lots of awd cars off the roads in the winter because they were on summer tires. Our favorite snow tires are Nokian Hakkas. They are made in Norway and for that country, they use them all year around.

All the tire shops in MA sell snow tires. We usually get our snows used off of craigslist. They are really cheap to buy in the summertime.
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Old 04-30-2008, 10:52 PM
2,652 posts, read 8,309,088 times
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That picture is awesome!!
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Old 04-30-2008, 11:28 PM
Location: Dallas
4,621 posts, read 9,959,882 times
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Originally Posted by Luke9686 View Post
That picture is awesome!!
I took that right out my front window. Traffic jams like that on Tremont are not unusual, but what was unusual about this one is those cars you see there sat in that very spot for 2 hours solid. People ran out of gas.

Channel 5 liked that pic too:

http://www.mediamax.com/colek98/Hosted/headline.jpg (broken link)

And if you think all that was interesting, nothing was more fascinating than reading the discussion forums on Boston.com that day. I saved a few. These tales are incredible:

How was your commute?
Message #22996.1
Posted by BostonDotCom on Dec-13 4:22 PM

Traffic is reportedly at a standstill this afternoon because of the blinding snow storm. How was your commute on the highways, byways and MBTA?

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Message #22996.2 in response to #22996.1
Posted by RunStephen on Dec-13 4:40 PM
Re the MBTA, I am planning on taking it at 6:30pm. But I just went to MBTA.com > Official Website for Greater Boston's Public Transportation System and it seems to be down. So I'm interested in hearing if the trains are running okay. Not a vote of confidence that they can't keep their web site up in the snow!


I hope everyone had or is having as much fun as I did just to get to work! It took me 3 and half hours! I decided to get off of 93 n and I ended up in my old nieghborhood in Mission hill and left it there! And I took the train in from there!! So, think before you drive!! And if my car gets towed I know its in a safe place at the BTD Lot! The trains are running faster then anything else!!

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Message #22996.5 in response to #22996.1
Posted by dottiej on Dec-13 4:41 PM
2 hours from Lawrence to Woburn at 1pm this afternoon - had ticket to John Mellencamp in Providence tonite - they JUST cancelled after I called 4 times to tell them they were being completely irresponsible to keep the show on - yay - a refund at least.
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Message #22996.6 in response to #22996.4
Posted by 3x3 on Dec-13 4:42 PM

I'm going drinking after work.

The roads will be empty by 9pm.

Then I can do power slides and donuts.

Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee eeeeee
Santa baby, hurry down the chimney tonight.


Message #22996.7 in response to #22996.1
Posted by UK0409 on Dec-13 4:44 PM
Why does anybody think that cutting into the traffic, blocking intersections or passing on the opposite lane will do anything to make the traffic flow better under these road/weather conditions? A little courtesy and consideration might go a long way.
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Message #22996.8 in response to #22996.6
Posted by BobC2 on Dec-13 4:44 PM
South Station was positively dangerous about 20 minutes ago, far too many people crowded on the commuter rail platform waiting for trains.
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Message #22996.9 in response to #22996.2
Posted by hudijoe on Dec-13 4:46 PM
I agree with RunStephen - I can't get to the MBTA's website to check on trains from my laptop or blackberry. Gives me a lot of confidence in them if they can't keep their site up in a situation like this - I've been trying for 3 hours! Am I going to get home tonight or should I find a cot and stay at work?


ed by mzmass on Dec-13 5:01 PM

I was soooo scared on the drive home today. I thought I was being smart by leaving work at 1:00, thought I'd be ahead of it. I left Quincy Adams T station at 2:00pm and started driving home down Route 3. The traffic trying to merge onto 93N was at a standstill and going south on Route 3 crawled.

But it was much worse once I got off the highway. I started not being able to see anything because of all the ice that got lodged in my windshield wipers. And I started skidding out and fishtailing on streets that were at a slight incline--like streets I never even considered 'hilly' before. I was soooo scared that I'd end up stuck on the side of the road. FINALLY, I made it home at 3pm. I couldn't park in my driveway the normal way, I just kept sliding right out (thank god I don't live on a busy street) so I had to park at a weird angle.

I am so happy to be home.... what a horror show. They said on the news that the time between the first flakes and heavy snow was only 7 minutes.


Message #22996.27 in response to #22996.1
Posted by Im_a_sock on Dec-13 5:32 PM
Left work at 2:30 (Prudential building). Kenmore square by 4:00. Park behind Kenmore at metered spot at 4:15. Huffed it to Allston st and got home at 5:20.

Total distance traveled: 3.1 miles
Average speed: 0.9mph

Please note: the average speed was greatly increased by the 1.5 miles of walking at a brisk pace.


Posted by phomaster on Dec-13 6:57 PM
I bike to work downtown from Brighton Center - the commute home was awesome! It usually takes about 25 minutes, today was much slower, it took about 35! Nothing better than biking along the river, laying down first tracks in 6 inches of snow.


Message #22996.64 in response to #22996.1
Posted by caps139 on Dec-13 7:15 PM
Why do people feel they can go through red lights as long as they go slowly? WTF is wrong with people?!@


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Message #22996.65 in response to #22996.1
Posted by dawng877 on Dec-13 7:16 PM
It took me exactly FIVE hours to travel 30 miles from Woburn to Hyde Park. 128 south was a complete nightmare...spinouts, breakdowns, cars off the road entirely, state police pushing cars out of the roadway on foot, and everyone's windshield freezing over every few miles. I left at 1:00 pm, walked into my house at 6:00 pm on the dot. Terrible!


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Message #22996.75 in response to #22996.1
Posted by bryanonaro on Dec-13 7:35 PM
Governor Patrick needs to fire the MBTA board and the political hacks that run the MBTA.

With multiple hours of notice a major storm was coming, they performed horribly.

The MBTA site was down for most of the day.

The 2:45 framingham local train bypassed Back Bay and a 1,000 or so people since it was over crowded. I sat there and watched it pull in, a few people get off, then people attempt to climb on. What a zoo. It was a 7 car train when they needed the larger 14 car double decker. So they left 1,000 people stranded.

Realizing it would be no better at the 4:10 express, we made our way to south station at least to be at end of the line.

There, the MBTA performed no better. South Station was packed, the platforms were packed an no announcements except to say "all trains are running at or near schedule" -- they may be -- thats because they are not picking people up.

After jamming the platform for 30 minutes they finally directed us to the right train and platform. Why they don't know which platforms a train is going to pull out of ahead of time is beyond me.

Terrible terrible service.

MBTA needs a new board.

Check out the people on it ----- do any of them have transit experience?

MBTA > About the MBTA > Leadership

Not until the riders revolt against poltical patronage in the system will any of this get fixed.


Message #22996.82 in response to #22996.1
Posted by mvnh on Dec-13 7:46 PM
Took the 2:45 Framingham commuter rail train out of Back Bay. 10 mins late, then Annoying Back Bay Announcement Woman proclaims: "The 2:45 Framingham train will not be stopping at Back Bay due to overcrowding." The throngs on the platform don't exactly rejoice. Train pulls into Back Bay. Train stops anyway (?) Train is packed. Back Bay throngs throw the doors open, and cram themselves into the already packed cars. The access gates weren't lowered - so people had to climb onto the trains. Most of the people that got on at South Station are more than helpful in assisting the Back Bay patrons up onto the train. Train was ridiculously crowded. However - the train actually did not go 2 MPH - it went at a decent speed. First time in about a year. Something tells me if I didn't squeeze myself onto that train - I'd still be at Back Bay. Waiting. I was never so happy to see the Natick station in my life. FYI - MBTA - I was the one opening and closing the door assisting people out at the stops - and my time is billable. Why is the Framingham/Worcester line such a constant and unrelenting #### show?


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Message #22996.85 in response to #22996.1
Posted by mandabunny on Dec-13 7:57 PM
I drove 3.6 miles from Northeastern to the Dorchester/South Boston line. It took me just under 4 hours. There were not too many road rage SUVs on my commute because no one was able to move more than a few inches. I had my car turned off for 15 minutes at one point on Mass Ave. I saw cars run out of gas, rear wheel drive cars abandoned all over the place, batteries die...I am so happy to be home. I have a small small car and do not know how I didn't end up in a snow bank.


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Message #22996.93 in response to #22996.1
Posted by saltmarsh on Dec-13 8:07 PM
Providence wasn't any better. Normally it takes minutes to get through from 146 south to 95 south to 195 East. Today it took over two hours. Were the commuters the only one's watching the weather? Where were all the plows? Of course to see the four wheel drives being pulled back on to the road by tow trucks as their owners watched made it a bit more entertaining...


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Message #22996.115 in response to #22996.1
Posted by metronomic on Dec-13 8:48 PM
what a nightmare! i live in providence (just moved down here from boston in june). left work hoping to catch a 2pm train in back bay and arrived to learn that the train would not be stopping at back bay because it was overcrowded after its first stop in south station. the next providence train doesn't leave until 3:45 pm. i swear, people almost rioted hen they heard this, and the poor woman who makes train announcements had to call for the MBTA police over the intercom. (she did make the mistake of saying that the T "wasn't prepared" for the weather situation, as they didn't add extra trains to the line for the afternoon).

i then bought an amtrak ticket to providence for 3:25 departure...although the acela left at 3:20 and one other commuter rail line came through on time, my train was then annoucned to be "delayed indefinitely." i hustled over to wait for the 3:50 providence train, which people had been told would have the first 2 cars reserved for the back bay stop. finally, we're told the amtrak train is coming next and i blissfully got on...only to find out from my boyfriend in providence that traffic was at a standstill and he wouldn't be able to pick me up from the station.

so, lucky for me, i nabbed a bus immediately from the trian station...then i spent 1 and 1/2 hours watching videos on my ipod, and we traveled approximately .25 miles during that time. people kept fleeing the bus to brave walking. finally, a car hit the bus and pretty much everyone bailed. it then took me 30 mintes to walk the two miles or so home. i saw countless accidents and spinouts during my walk. i was also happy to see my boyfriend show up heading towards the train station, as my cell phone battery had died and i had only been able to borrow someone's phone once when i first got on the bus and let him know what was going on.

i made it home at 7:02 pm. total commute time was about 5:50 minutes.


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Message #22996.128 in response to #22996.127
Posted by dolphintattoo on Dec-13 9:13 PM
There are more than a dozen children stranded at a daycare center in Canton because their parents can not get through 138 which is blocked by jacknifed tractor trailers, Canton & state police are doing nothing. THIS IS OUTRAGOUS


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Message #22996.129 in response to #22996.1
Posted by SoxFan401 on Dec-13 9:17 PM
Left office in the Back Bay at 2:30 pm, then headed to the Arlington T stop. Had to let maybe six or so Green lines pass before one wasn't too packed to board. Transferred at Park after about a ten minute wait for an Alewife Red line. Got off at Porter, got some food, then 12 minute snowtrek home to Somerville. T was packed, but after reading 10+ pages of car horror stories, I'm so thankful to live near the T. Total commute was maybe over an hour (mostly waiting for a nonpacked T), as opposed to 35-40 minutes regularly.


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Message #22996.130 in response to #22996.1
Posted by Eddieboy1 on Dec-13 9:21 PM
Took the 3:30 boat to Hingham. Enjoyed a Guiness on the back watching the snow come down. Home at 4:45. Same as always. No traffic on the water.


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Message #22996.133 in response to #22996.132
Posted by hewls183 on Dec-13 9:32 PM
Going from Comm Ave. to South Boston just took me eight hours. In need of a stiff drink after that one.


How was your commute?
Message #22996.151 in response to #22996.148
Posted by FP1122 on Dec-13 9:58 PM


4 1/2 hours from Lexington to Burlington, a 3 mile ride. Huge kudos to all the $%@heads (a/k/a the actual "morons") with plows on their pickups -- who drive AROUND the poor fool in a matchbox car stuck on a mild incline -- heaven forbid they drop the blade JUST FOR THE INCLINE. That way the hundreds of jerks behind the matchbox car wouldn't have to sit, in PARK, for 45 minutes while additional cars now get stuck, people just plain leaving their cars and walking, I have never seen anything like this! Unreal. Oh, and a HUGE special thank you to the PAID plowers who did such fantastic work in the empty parking lots everywhere, rather than on the roads. Driving in the equivalent of a foot of mashed potatoes is bound to lead to problems. Those of us who had no choice but to retrieve their children from schools that were closed had NO choice but to suffer the consequenses created by the absent plows and sanders/salters. They decided to wait until the roads were in lockdown.


Message #22996.155 in response to #22996.10
Posted by southiegal on Dec-13 10:03 PM
i work in woburn -- left at 2:45... took me 1 1/2 hours to drive through town and get gas (only about 2 miles). traffic was HORRIFIC, the plows were barely doing anything and it was complete madness at every intersection. once i got onto 93 south, it took me 3 HOURS to get to southie and the roads were really bad. there were abandoned cars in the middle of the highway (people ran out of gas or broke down?). then of course in southie, the plows had trapped all the cars on the street in and i had nowhere to park - luckily my friend has a driveway. boston city officials really need to get the city better prepped for this kind of "disaster."


Message #22996.168 in response to #22996.166
Posted by Richie42 on Dec-13 10:34 PM
Oh my god. It took me an hour and a half to get from Brookline Village to Brighton (Washington at Comm). Anybody who knows this route know it usually takes five minutes, 15 at most. Complete mayhem. I was watching the guy in front of me, whose rear window defroster was working much better than anyone elses. He was moving from side to side, occasionally beeping, trying to maneuver around other drivers for a 7 ft advantage in the bumper to bumper traffic. As for me, I did what I always do, having been born and raised here, I just sat back and relaxed and enjoyed the flakes. Hell, at one point I smoked a bowl and listened to christmas music. lol. be safe, merry christmas.


Message #22996.169 in response to #22996.164
Posted by heatherparker (heatheraparker) on Dec-13 10:34 PM
5 hours on a vespa scooter in gridlock from central square cambridge down mass ave... no radio to pass the time, and only car horns in stand-still traffic to listen to while time passed. through back bay then down a treacherous marlborough street - no a soul, including plows..... tremont street was intersting because cars in one lane were going in both directions, traffic lights weren't working.


Message #22996.172 in response to #22996.170
Posted by MontyN on Dec-13 10:41 PM
Well, I got home after 9:00 after leaving at 2:45 from Boston, but the worse part of my commute was getting out of the Quincy Adams T parking garage -- 3 hrs. Because the exit ouf of there feeds onto Rt 3 and 128, and since they were backed up, so it was up the driveway to the garage, and well inside it. I'm still coughing from breathing exhaust fumes for hours.


Message #22996.174 in response to #22996.167
Posted by Marg on Dec-13 10:49 PM
6,3 miles from Brighton to Dorchester. This morning it took me 15 minutes, post rush hour. This evening it to SIX *$#@^* HOURS. There were poilce at major intersections. But there were many intersections that had five or six lights and the men seemed to lose track of where they were in the sequence. 20 cars in one direction, 3 cars in the next, that sort of thing. There were abandoned cars. Nothing had been plowed. If I can drive on a road, why can't a plow? And these were major roads like Columbia and Dudley.

There were constant sirens and blue lights. People were making u-turns at will. Pedestrians were walking down the middle of the street, sometimes in between lanes of stopped traffic. In the Fenway I actually turned off my engine for more than five minutes. Turns out there was an abandoned Towncar - just sitting there, with six inches of acumuated snow, on the major road feeding Storrow Drive and Kenmore Square. Then I got to BU - dry as a bone.


Posted by t73a on Dec-13 10:55 PM
If I hear one more news anchor say that the T was running smoothly today I am going to scream. Apparently, while I was one of the thousands of commuters stranded at Back Bay in the middle of a near-riot, Dan G. was on Channel 7 news saying how smoothly the T was running. Can you tell me why they would ask him how it was running rather than go to South Station and see the mob scene and stampede when they finally announced the VERY LATE trains? Or come to Back Bay and watch riders hurl themselves up into the train, nearly hanging out the door out of desperation. Riders were yelling at the train, the conductors, and each other. The news stations should have asked the commuters' opinions on the wisdom of sending a train with all single-decker cars in the middle of a snowstorm. That was my commute on the "smoothly running" T.


Message #22996.178 in response to #22996.1
Posted by asot on Dec-13 10:56 PM
Harrowing...absolutely harrowing. Left Barnstable, on the Cape, at 12:45. Made it to home in the South End at 8:15. Thinking about finding a job in the city. 7 1/2 hours...under normal circumstances, I'd have made it to Buffalo, NY!

How could it possibly take 2 hours to get from the Southampton St. on ramp off of I-93 north to the intersection of Mass Ave. and Melnea Cass Blvd.?

I'd say there was an equal amount of courteousness mixed in with discourteousness. I dabbled in both and sorry to those I may have inconvenienced.


Posted by hoochiemama on Dec-13 11:08 PM
Got a hotel room at the Sheraton. Will be at work nice and early tomorrow. Bought a new suit and sacs was kind enough to tailor it on the spot. Spent some quality time with a coworker and we are closer for it.

Not problems to report. It just takes a little planning.

Be happy where you are and make the most of it. Life is what is happening to you while you are busy driving from A to B.


Message #22996.184 in response to #22996.183
Posted by shellb on Dec-13 11:22 PM
took me 6 hours to go from Longwood to Charlestown (of which 5 1/2 hrs of it was spent getting from Children's Hospital to Boylston off the Fens)

Only to get home and have no where to park.

I was a bit frustrated to say the least!

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