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Author Topic: Boston Traffic Reporter/Blogger Defends Use of '128' moniker  (Read 85018 times)

bob7374

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Boston Traffic Reporter/Blogger Defends Use of '128' moniker
« on: September 14, 2012, 02:07:12 PM »

Today's Roads and Rails blog at Boston.com (the Boston Globe's free site) is partly a response to a comment I sent to the blogger and traffic reporter, Nicole Davis, last week regarding a previous post of her's commenting on the confusion the use  of '128' by traffic reporters has for some drivers, especially when its applied to the stretch between Braintree and Canton, not officially part of 128 for more than 2 decades now. I suggested maybe there would be less confusion out there if traffic reporters and others referred to it as it is actually signed today, I-93 (or I-93/US 1). Her response was not unexpected:
http://www.boston.com/community/blogs/roads_and_rails/

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Re: Boston Traffic Reporter/Blogger Defends Use of '128' moniker
« Reply #1 on: September 14, 2012, 02:36:51 PM »

 :banghead:  This seems like a losing battle.  No wonder New York uses names for a good number of their expwys and pkwys...doesn't matter what you name it numerically, people will always refer to it by the correct name!  In this day and age of GPS (which will refer to the correct route numbers), I think that the local traffic reporters/media do have a responsibility to stay consistent.

Good post Bob...glad you wrote into that blog!
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Re: Boston Traffic Reporter/Blogger Defends Use of '128' moniker
« Reply #2 on: September 14, 2012, 02:39:47 PM »

and you wonder why the mainstream media is dying.

this person, and the one who wrote the op-ed piece that there is too much jargon in the transportation industry, should get stuck in an elevator together for several decades.
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Re: Boston Traffic Reporter/Blogger Defends Use of '128' moniker
« Reply #3 on: September 14, 2012, 02:59:05 PM »

Retaining the 128 moniker is about as useful as referring to Interstate 476 as the Blue Route. You won't find it signed anywhere, but traffic reporters have always used the nomenclature when referring to the freeway. Losing battle indeed as southshore270 posted and I also agree with him on your comment.

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Re: Boston Traffic Reporter/Blogger Defends Use of '128' moniker
« Reply #4 on: September 14, 2012, 09:36:14 PM »

Ah! Nichole Davis! Sounds familiar to me. So does Malcolm Alter. You hear both of them at times on WDRC-FM 102.9 in Hartford. I swear I heard Malcolm slip one time, in his distinct way of saying "Route 91" (I-91). He started to say "Route 93".

We're a number-happy area...except for CT Route 99 from the Hartford/Wethersfield line to Cromwell. For some reason, traffic reporters will insist on referring to that road only as the Silas Deane Highway.

As for 128, it really irritates me when it's used on its own between Peabody and Canton. In my own notes, I will mark it only as I-95/MA 128.
« Last Edit: September 14, 2012, 09:39:09 PM by KEVIN_224 »
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Re: Boston Traffic Reporter/Blogger Defends Use of '128' moniker
« Reply #5 on: September 14, 2012, 10:00:44 PM »

I-95 should use 91-15-84-90-495. Bring back 128.
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Re: Boston Traffic Reporter/Blogger Defends Use of '128' moniker
« Reply #6 on: September 14, 2012, 11:11:29 PM »

Ah! Nichole Davis! Sounds familiar to me. So does Malcolm Alter. You hear both of them at times on WDRC-FM 102.9 in Hartford. I swear I heard Malcolm slip one time, in his distinct way of saying "Route 91" (I-91). He started to say "Route 93".

We're a number-happy area...except for CT Route 99 from the Hartford/Wethersfield line to Cromwell. For some reason, traffic reporters will insist on referring to that road only as the Silas Deane Highway.

And they'll always refer to Routes 5 and 15 from Wethersfield to Meriden as The Berlin Turnpike, and the highway section to the north and the Charter Oak Bridge as only Route 15.  Route 5 does not exist for traffic report purposes between the end of North Broad St in Meriden and Main St. in East Hartford.  Plus, Route 202 might as well not exist beyond Five Corners in Canton (always Route 44 or Route 10).
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Re: Boston Traffic Reporter/Blogger Defends Use of '128' moniker
« Reply #7 on: September 14, 2012, 11:57:05 PM »

Well, it's an interesting article, if only for sentimental reasons. After all, I-95 was originally planned to go through Boston instead of around it, and everyone knows how that ended...unbuilt, thanks to vehement opposition to the many expressways in the area.
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Re: Boston Traffic Reporter/Blogger Defends Use of '128' moniker
« Reply #8 on: September 15, 2012, 05:27:18 AM »

Plus, Route 202 might as well not exist beyond Five Corners in Canton (always Route 44 or Route 10).
Is there really a Route 202 in CT? For that matter, it's not even state maintained in NJ north of 53. I'd truncate US 202 at US 5 in Springfield. You have 10 and 44 from there (and 7 and 6 later). In NY, revert it back to state routes. In NJ it would become 53. US 122 would then begin at US 22/206 as it used to. (It's not fictional, it's historical, so I get to have it.)

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Re: Boston Traffic Reporter/Blogger Defends Use of '128' moniker
« Reply #9 on: September 15, 2012, 03:50:46 PM »

:banghead:  This seems like a losing battle.  No wonder New York uses names for a good number of their expwys and pkwys...doesn't matter what you name it numerically, people will always refer to it by the correct name!
I assume you mean incorrect name...
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Re: Boston Traffic Reporter/Blogger Defends Use of '128' moniker
« Reply #10 on: September 15, 2012, 05:28:04 PM »

I'd actually ask the opposite- if the role of the state government is to serve the people within the state, and the people of the state persist in calling it "128" even after all these years, then it's time for the state government to co-sign the road as 128 again from Braintree to Canton. Hell, give it top billing over I-93 and 95. You probably still want 93/95 shields for tourists, but demote those to second billing. Nowhere do the feds require that interstate designations take preference over other designations. 
« Last Edit: September 15, 2012, 05:31:52 PM by corco »
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Re: Boston Traffic Reporter/Blogger Defends Use of '128' moniker
« Reply #11 on: September 15, 2012, 07:21:28 PM »

I'd actually ask the opposite- if the role of the state government is to serve the people within the state, and the people of the state persist in calling it "128" even after all these years, then it's time for the state government to co-sign the road as 128 again from Braintree to Canton. Hell, give it top billing over I-93 and 95. You probably still want 93/95 shields for tourists, but demote those to second billing. Nowhere do the feds require that interstate designations take preference over other designations. 

Which is why CDOT will NEVER pursue an Interstate designation for either C-470 or E-470. The entire Denver metro area is too used to calling the free portion of the "470 beltway" C-470 and nearly all the tolled portion E-470.

It also explains why ADOT will likely never pursue changing Loops 101, 202, and 303 into some variants of x10 or x17.
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Re: Boston Traffic Reporter/Blogger Defends Use of '128' moniker
« Reply #12 on: September 15, 2012, 08:20:42 PM »

Retaining the 128 moniker is about as useful as referring to Interstate 476 as the Blue Route. You won't find it signed anywhere, but traffic reporters have always used the nomenclature when referring to the freeway. Losing battle indeed as southshore270 posted and I also agree with him on your comment.

In the case of I-476, it never was signed as the "Blue Route".  It was commonly called that during planning in the 1970s.  But it was not even a planning name, the planning name was Mid-County Expressway.  As far as I know, the Mid-County Expressway name has never been posted on the highway or its connecting routes.

Is there any MA-128 designation on any part of the beltway?
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Re: Boston Traffic Reporter/Blogger Defends Use of '128' moniker
« Reply #13 on: September 15, 2012, 09:04:53 PM »

Which is why CDOT will NEVER pursue an Interstate designation for either C-470 or E-470. The entire Denver metro area is too used to calling the free portion of the "470 beltway" C-470 and nearly all the tolled portion E-470.

It could be I-470 Beltway, and that number would fit the Interstate numbering rules perfectly.
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Re: Boston Traffic Reporter/Blogger Defends Use of '128' moniker
« Reply #14 on: September 15, 2012, 10:27:24 PM »

No wonder New York uses names for a good number of their expwys and pkwys...doesn't matter what you name it numerically, people will always refer to it by the correct name!

This generally works within the five boroughs of the city but not so well on Long Island.  They generally only post the numbers for state routes, but people know them primarily by name, at least in Nassau County.  If someone tells you to get off the parkway at Sunrise Highway and you don't know that it's NY 27, you'll wind up at Jones Beach in the middle of the winter.  You'll have similar problems if you're looking for Jericho Turnpike, Hempstead Turnpike, or the Seaford-Oyster Bay Expressway, which everyone calls by their names.

Oh, and don't get me started how currently half the signs for what's now the RFK Bridge still say "Triboro Bridge," even though the bridge was renamed four years ago.  This can only confuse people who don't know the area.

I personally prefer signage that gives both names and numbers, as is usually the case in Connecticut.  Whether someone tell you to get off at Boston Post Road or US 1, you'll find the exit either way.
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Re: Boston Traffic Reporter/Blogger Defends Use of '128' moniker
« Reply #15 on: September 15, 2012, 11:19:21 PM »

Is there any MA-128 designation on any part of the beltway?

Yes, it's dual-signed on all the roadside reassurance markers between Canton and Peabody.  The BGS's that have been replaced on that same stretch over the past ten years or so only refer to I-95.

You gotta love the reporter's stellar piece of gibberish: 128 is "...the correct local designation..." for the road between Braintree and Peabody.  Did she just make that up or is that some kind of quasi-official jargon we mere mortals know nothing about?
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Re: Boston Traffic Reporter/Blogger Defends Use of '128' moniker
« Reply #16 on: September 15, 2012, 11:22:39 PM »

Prescriptive vs. descriptive linguistics ahoy.
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Re: Boston Traffic Reporter/Blogger Defends Use of '128' moniker
« Reply #17 on: September 17, 2012, 01:48:07 PM »

Is there any MA-128 designation on any part of the beltway?

Yes, it's dual-signed on all the roadside reassurance markers between Canton and Peabody.  The BGS's that have been replaced on that same stretch over the past ten years or so only refer to I-95.

You gotta love the reporter's stellar piece of gibberish: 128 is "...the correct local designation..." for the road between Braintree and Peabody.  Did she just make that up or is that some kind of quasi-official jargon we mere mortals know nothing about?

You have to remember that the reporter who wrote this piece works for the Boston Glob(e).  They have always been the most prominent "cheerleader" for the "Keep 128 Forever" movement.

And, lest we lose perspective, be reminded that the reason 128 is no longer on the I-95 BGS panels between Canton and Peabody is because FHWA specifically requested it be removed from signs as they were replaced beginning in the early 1990s.  So, if the good citizens of Massachusetts indeed feel that retaining an outdated designation is so important, it would be interesting to see if they would be willing to forfeit a bunch of Federal interstate funds to keep it in place.
« Last Edit: September 17, 2012, 01:51:44 PM by roadman »
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Re: Boston Traffic Reporter/Blogger Defends Use of '128' moniker
« Reply #18 on: September 17, 2012, 02:34:24 PM »

Currently, exit signs on the Mass Pike (I-90) identify I-95 & MA-128 together (Exit 14 EB, Exit 15 WB).  Do you think that they will also drop the MA-128 in the new round of signage replacement?
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Re: Boston Traffic Reporter/Blogger Defends Use of '128' moniker
« Reply #19 on: September 17, 2012, 02:51:09 PM »

Currently, exit signs on the Mass Pike (I-90) identify I-95 & MA-128 together (Exit 14 EB, Exit 15 WB).  Do you think that they will also drop the MA-128 in the new round of signage replacement?

The next MassPike guide sign replacement projects are tenatively scheduled to be let for bids in early to mid 2015.  As the MassPike is now part of MassDOT, and given that current MassDOT and FHWA policy is to omit 128 from BGS panels along I-95 (and intersecting roads) between Canton and Peabody, it's more than likely that the 128 shields will be dropped from the Exit 14 and 15 signs when they are replaced.
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Re: Boston Traffic Reporter/Blogger Defends Use of '128' moniker
« Reply #20 on: September 17, 2012, 03:30:38 PM »

I was just in Manchester, NH last week, and I noticed on I-93 approaching I-95/MA128, they still introduce or sign them separately, but on the Mass Pike, they're signed together on introduction...It would be nice to see some consistancy...
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Re: Boston Traffic Reporter/Blogger Defends Use of '128' moniker
« Reply #21 on: September 17, 2012, 04:31:33 PM »

Currently, exit signs on the Mass Pike (I-90) identify I-95 & MA-128 together (Exit 14 EB, Exit 15 WB).  Do you think that they will also drop the MA-128 in the new round of signage replacement?

The next MassPike guide sign replacement projects are tenatively scheduled to be let for bids in early to mid 2015.  As the MassPike is now part of MassDOT, and given that current MassDOT and FHWA policy is to omit 128 from BGS panels along I-95 (and intersecting roads) between Canton and Peabody, it's more than likely that the 128 shields will be dropped from the Exit 14 and 15 signs when they are replaced.

I wonder if that will mean odd-ball control cities of "South Shore/N.H.-Maine" will also be changed to "Providence RI/Portsmouth NH," which are the current control cities at the I-93 terminus.
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Re: Boston Traffic Reporter/Blogger Defends Use of '128' moniker
« Reply #22 on: September 18, 2012, 09:43:04 AM »

I wonder if that will mean odd-ball control cities of "South Shore/N.H.-Maine" will also be changed to "Providence RI/Portsmouth NH," which are the current control cities at the I-93 terminus.

It's my understanding that the signs for I-95 on the MassPike will be changed to read Portsmouth NH and Providence RI (current control cities) when the panels are replaced.
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Re: Boston Traffic Reporter/Blogger Defends Use of '128' moniker
« Reply #23 on: September 18, 2012, 09:50:10 AM »

In Tulsa, locals refer to the OK 51 freeway as "The BA" (short for Broken Arrow Expressway.)  I rarely if ever hear anybody refer to it as anything else.  Sadly, there are no BA route markers along the road.
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Re: Boston Traffic Reporter/Blogger Defends Use of '128' moniker
« Reply #24 on: September 18, 2012, 10:37:12 AM »

The locals never liked the idea of changing Route 128 to I-95.  Not only did it not 'sound right' to them, but it also doesn't do as good of a job of differentiating the 128-belt from other sections of highway in eastern MA.  What I mean by that is that I-95 also runs from the RI border to former 128, then follows most (but not all) of 128 up to Peabody, then continues on a different roadway up to the NH border at Salisbury. 

To make matters worse, I-95 SOUTH magically becomes I-93 NORTH in Canton, MA, while you're still (in reality) traveling southeast, then east.  Very confusing to the average driver who always knew this roadway as "128".   And, clearly, a solution that was a 'forced fit' which never actually fit. 

Yes, I get it: the former proposal for I-95 to be constructed through Canton/Milton/Mattapan was never going to happen, so a section of MA 128 needed to be badged as I-95 to keep the roadway continuous.  And the southern end should never have been badged as I-93, which is then marked with the opposite cardinal direction as the I-95 portion was.  To the average commuter, that smacks of idiocy.

You all need to remember that Boston is a metropolitan area of steady habits.   People there - despite their progressive political proclivities - are VERY resistant to change.  In this case, I don't blame them.    When you say '128', people know what you mean.  Even weather reports refer to it (as in: snow outside of 128) and let's not forget the "128 technology corridor" that is even familiar to techies in Palo Alto and Austin.  Face it, this is a much deeper concept than mere MassHighway badging.  To this day, few in the area refer to the roadway as I-95, unless they just moved in from Atlanta.  To the natives, it will always be 128.   And that's why traffic reporters call it that.  Because everyone knows what they mean. 

And, it still makes a lot more sense than the damn "blue route" near Philly - which is truly meaningless.
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