U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > U.S. Forums > Massachusetts > Boston
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
 
 
Old 10-10-2009, 10:45 PM
 
36 posts, read 109,294 times
Reputation: 19

Advertisements

I moved to Boston a few weeks ago, and just joined Zipcar for practical reasons. I'll only really use it for occasional shopping and whatnot.

But now I'm slightly worried -- I am a relatively novice when it comes to driving in general, not to mention driving in a foreign city (and the foreign city being... Boston). Before Boston, I come from a small and quiet town, where everyone's pretty laid back on the road. It seems that Boston drivers are pretty impatient! Also, there are a few strange things like... if you're driving on Huntington Ave where the Green T line runs, do you drive on the T tracks?! That never quite made sense to me.

Any tips for driving in Boston or anything in particular I should watch out for?! Anything to prevent me from getting in a silly newbie-to-Boston-roads accident would be greatly appreciated!
Rate this post positively Quick reply to this message

 
Old 10-10-2009, 11:38 PM
 
Location: Dallas
4,621 posts, read 9,975,110 times
Reputation: 3891
Before you make a right hand turn, look in your rear view mirror for bicyclists.
When the light turns green, allow 5 seconds for as many as 4 cars to blow the red light before proceeding.
Take down this information for future reference: Directions to the BTD Tow Lot - City of Boston
Dial 511 on your cell phone.

For the best info on how to become a true Boston Driver and tips like screening, blocking, driving in reverse, illegal parking (is it for you?) and other fascinating skill sets, consult The Boston Driver's Handbook, written by an actual Allston Cab driver.
Rate this post positively Quick reply to this message
 
Old 10-11-2009, 07:19 AM
miu
 
Location: MA/NH
17,683 posts, read 38,589,052 times
Reputation: 17692
Plan and know your driving route before getting into your car. Be a decisive driver rather than driving slowly and waffling along your route uncertainly looking for street signs and building numbers. Always use your turn signals. Use your mirrors and be aware of you holding up the traffic behind you. And if you are holding up traffic, pull over and let the other cars pass you. Don't use your cell phone while driving.
Rate this post positively Quick reply to this message
 
Old 10-11-2009, 05:26 PM
 
Location: East Boston, MA
11,362 posts, read 19,927,944 times
Reputation: 13039
I agree with the advice about planning your routes. knowing exactly where your going (to the point where you know which lanes you need to be in when you're driving) can make it a LOT easier on you and the other drivers (who will let you know if they're displeased). Unfortunately, this all takes time and practice to gain. It wouldn't hurt to pour over maps. Google maps and their street view feature are very helpful (drag the little orange man on top of the zoom buttons on the map onto the street to see actual photos of the street).

Yeah, the Green Line can be strange on this stretch) Many intersections have left-turn arrows. The Green Line mostly runs along the median strip but is separated from the traffic by fencing, curbs, stations, etc (This is the case on Beacon Street and Comm. Ave as well). However that median strip/barrier ends (or begins depending on how you look at it) at Brigham Circle and continues like that Until Heath Street (The end of the E). I treat driving with the trolley like driving with a bus. Be aware of it but don't block the tracks when it's coming (they WON'T hit you... it's not like trying to stop a freight train). Yes, you do have to cross the tracks to turn, but it's not as big of a deal as you think, especially in the area where the median strip is. If you're at an intersection with an green arrow to turn, you're fine. If there's no arrow, simply use your mirrors to check for trains and use your best judgement in distances... keep in mind, like a Bus, the Green Line obeys traffic signals, if the light is green (NOT an arrow) for you, it's green for the T as well and also like a bus, the train, which is going straight, has the right of way over your turn.

Also, whenever possible, avoid the busiest times of day to drive. This can make a world of difference. If you get a chance, take the car out during off-peak hours and drive your routes. There will be fewer cars (and trains!) on the road to contend with so you can focus on learning your route.
Rate this post positively Quick reply to this message
 
Old 10-11-2009, 07:21 PM
 
Location: Boston, MA
289 posts, read 991,582 times
Reputation: 134
Take the T!!! The roads here are terrible and tons of traffic!
Rate this post positively Quick reply to this message
 
Old 10-11-2009, 08:22 PM
 
Location: Way South of the Volvo Line
2,788 posts, read 7,737,346 times
Reputation: 2843
I learned to drive in Boston. My Dad taught me that you always have to maintain your two-thirds of the road so you won't get cut off. Other than that I find that turning up the stereo really loud minimizes the tension.
Rate this post positively Quick reply to this message
 
Old 10-14-2009, 02:11 AM
 
5 posts, read 21,212 times
Reputation: 10
I moved here about 6 weeks ago from Dallas and think Boston is crazy as hell road/driving wise. I've heard more honking (some at me some not) in a day than I've had my entire life living in Dallas, Austin and Seattle combined. There will be bumper to bumper traffic at a red light and people are honking and I have no clue why or what purpose it serves. My GPS goes crazy and has to reset itself all the time because the streets aren't nice and straight but I'll admit that's my fault. I was told beforehand that Boston wasn't built on a grid but I didn't really know what that meant until I got here.You always have to watch out for the parked cars if you're on the right lane because people will randomly pull out/pull in or open their doors w/out looking. If you have to make a left turn and there's no arrow there, sometimes you just have to wing it in the traffic or go on a red light because there will be cars behind you honking endlessly.

That's been my experience so far. Is it normal?
Rate this post positively Quick reply to this message
 
Old 10-14-2009, 11:30 AM
 
Location: SoCal
2,261 posts, read 6,954,969 times
Reputation: 959
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eme19 View Post
I moved here about 6 weeks ago from Dallas and think Boston is crazy as hell road/driving wise. I've heard more honking (some at me some not) in a day than I've had my entire life living in Dallas, Austin and Seattle combined. There will be bumper to bumper traffic at a red light and people are honking and I have no clue why or what purpose it serves. My GPS goes crazy and has to reset itself all the time because the streets aren't nice and straight but I'll admit that's my fault. I was told beforehand that Boston wasn't built on a grid but I didn't really know what that meant until I got here.You always have to watch out for the parked cars if you're on the right lane because people will randomly pull out/pull in or open their doors w/out looking. If you have to make a left turn and there's no arrow there, sometimes you just have to wing it in the traffic or go on a red light because there will be cars behind you honking endlessly.

That's been my experience so far. Is it normal?
I was born & raised in Boston and now I live in Austin. Boston has some of the worst traffic & driving ever, HOWEVER, I have seen more accidents in Austin then I have ever seen anywhere else (including LA). I have been almost hit more times than I can count.

The past couple of months haven't been too bad, oddly enough, but before that, I would see a pretty significant accident about once a week. i.e. someone being carried on a stretcher to an ambulance while their car sits there totalled, a pedestrian lying on the side of the road after being hit by a car... surrounded by people, etc...

It's one of the major reasons I'm moving back.

Boston drivers are far more aggresive, definitely. And they beep more, too (no one honks their horn in Texas... it's considered rude), drive through red lights more, etc... but I'll take Boston (and, in fact, any other city) over Austin ANY day for driving!
Rate this post positively Quick reply to this message
 
Old 10-14-2009, 11:38 AM
 
Location: East Boston, MA
11,362 posts, read 19,927,944 times
Reputation: 13039
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eme19 View Post

That's been my experience so far. Is it normal?
Yeah, that's pretty much normal. A lot of times the honking at the red light does serve some sort of purpose. I have honked at a vehicle in front of me at a red light for leaving too much space between he and the car in front of him (about two car lengths). The problem with leaving a lot of space is that the cars behind him were now backed into the intersection behind us (blocking traffic there) because he wouldn't pull up enough. Other times it's because someone can turn right on red and isn't doing it (this matters for everyone because green lights are only so long... The more cars that turn on red, the more that get through at the green when it comes and traffic moves faster). Other times it's because cars crossing the intersection are stopping in it and causing grid-lock. Many times, yes, it's just arbitrary and pent up frustration coming out.

I'm not saying Boston drivers are considerate... they're not. But often times there is SOME reason for the madness... even just a little one.

My advice to you would be to utilize public transit (The subway, commuter rail, buses, ferries, etc). You may not like the idea of it coming from a place that doesn't have much; but if you expect to drive the same way you did in Texas you're going to be absolutely miserable here. It's an adjustment and if you resist it, you'll hate Boston more than you can imagine.

I see it all the time... people move here from a place where they were heavily dependent on an automobile and don't try and change. Boston is a SUCKY place to drive. The good news is that you usually don't have to. There are commuter rail stations and subway stops way out in the 'burbs that you can use if you live outside the city. There are subways and buses within the city that cover the entire area. Learn those systems (MBTA.com > Official Website for Greater Boston's Public Transportation System) and love them. You may love your car, but driving in Boston is a nightmare I wouldn't wish upon anyone. You'll be happier if you minimize your dependence on it.
Rate this post positively Quick reply to this message
 
Old 10-14-2009, 12:21 PM
 
Location: Newton, Mass.
2,954 posts, read 11,894,020 times
Reputation: 1503
Quote:
Originally Posted by lrfox View Post
A lot of times the honking at the red light does serve some sort of purpose. I have honked at a vehicle in front of me at a red light for leaving too much space between he and the car in front of him (about two car lengths). The problem with leaving a lot of space is that the cars behind him were now backed into the intersection behind us (blocking traffic there) because he wouldn't pull up enough. Other times it's because someone can turn right on red and isn't doing it
Amen.

Also, even where there is enough room for cars going straight to get past a car turning left, it drives me nuts when the car turning left doesn't pull up enough. If the second or third cars turning left are already into the intersection, they can complete the left turn when the light turns red. If they're not, they have to wait for the next one. Pull up people!
Rate this post positively Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


 
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:

Settings
X
Data:
Loading data...
Based on 2000-2020 data
Loading data...

123
Hide US histogram

Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > U.S. Forums > Massachusetts > Boston

All times are GMT -6.

© 2005-2023, Advameg, Inc. · Please obey Forum Rules · Terms of Use and Privacy Policy · Bug Bounty

City-Data.com - Contact Us - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37 - Top