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Author Topic: Massachusetts  (Read 249001 times)

Alps

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Re: Massachusetts
« Reply #1325 on: April 19, 2020, 11:13:31 PM »

One thing the coronavirus shutdown has given me is time to finish a planned critique of the current Massachusetts highway system and suggestions to fix them, something that I've promised on my Massachusetts highways website for over 5 years. The first draft of the site is at: http://www.malmeroads.net/mass21c/improvements.html. Feel free to offer any suggestions or comments which I will take into account before a formal launch.

One subject I discuss is better, or at least less confusing, route signage. MA 38 for example. It was truncated to the intersection with MA 28 in Somerville in 1971. In the 1990's, however, signage appeared that implied it extended to Sullivan Square in Charlestown, though no complementary signage was installed in the other direction. Most just assumed the signage was in error. In recent years however, not only was the 1990s era signage replaced with new signs with the same information:


Additional guide and trailblazer signage was installed on and around MA 28:


Still no complementary signage for the other direction though, so where does it end? One of the questions I hope to answer with the new site.
I'm sure we'll get another thread going to discuss your ideas, so here are my suggestions:
* Break your site into pages. For now, have one page for renumberings, one for reroutings, etc. About 3/4 of the way down my brain started protesting.
* If you have multiple routes that depend on each other (like 25 and 28, or 2 and 3), provide a general overview map showing all the affected routes and what you would do to them, and then go through each route individually. Makes it easier to see how the changes fit together.

I look forward to having a place to discuss these!

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Re: Massachusetts
« Reply #1326 on: April 20, 2020, 09:07:56 AM »

A very interesting read! Thank you for taking the time and effort to do this! I don't personally agree with all of the decisions (e.g. eliminating 28 where parallel to 495, as it provides a useful alternate route in case of congestion or incidents), but see the logic behind them.

A few things of note though:
  • The last MA 99 standalone reassurance sign may in Everett, but there's still plenty of signage in Charlestown. There's a 'paddle' sign at the beginning of the Sullivan Square underpass reading "99 south to 93 south Boston", and the new overhead signage approaching Sullivan from 93/Somerville includes 99 shields. Southbound signage does disappear after Sullivan, though all you're really missing is an end sign at City Square (and southbound signage at Austin St, but I can forgive omission of signs for a route than ends in a quarter mile anyway. Northbound there's a 'paddle' sign on Austin St for "99 north to 93 north", and a brand new (and weirdly blue) "99/Encore keep left" sign before the Sullivan Square underpass, plus overhead signage at the underpass split itself, though there doesn't seem to be a mention of 99 north for traffic leaving the rotary. On the whole, it's signed decently well for an urban route in MA. I do really like the idea of signing it down Washington St to Haymarket though.
  • Extending 203 up the Jamaicaway is a bad idea. No trucks, very narrow lanes, not exactly state highway material, which is a big part of why 1 was removed from it in the first place. If the issue is the route having a 'hanging end', and the Jamaicaway routing needs a number, resurrect the old 1 routing as 1A.
  • I question the need for 328, with its long concurrency with 3A. It seems inconsistent with your other proposals, which seem to have a goal of reducing unnecessary concurrencies.
  • Improving signage on Memorial Drive is a lost cause that would provide little benefit to the traveling public. At this point it would probably be easier to just reroute/truncate affected routes. They'll always be secondary to the road names, and the routings generally prioritize continuous numbers rather than routes useful for navigation.
  • I'm as intrigued as you are by the 38 signs, especially because Mystic Ave actually has mileposts - the 0.0 for 38 can be seen in one of your pictures right next to a new sign showing 38 continuing south. Interestingly, while signage for 38 has popped up all over the place on surface roads, it's actually been disappearing on 93. The 38 shield was removed from Exit 29 advance signs in 2015, and even the 28 shield came off in 2018!

These are just my personal thoughts though!
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Re: Massachusetts
« Reply #1327 on: April 22, 2020, 02:19:06 AM »

Curious...since MA never did sign a "MA-44A" in Plymouth, have there been any plans to extend MA-80 to MA-3 exit 6 (15)?
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Re: Massachusetts
« Reply #1328 on: April 22, 2020, 11:44:39 AM »

Curious...since MA never did sign a "MA-44A" in Plymouth, have there been any plans to extend MA-80 to MA-3 exit 6 (15)?
None as I can tell, but they really need to do something about this road. It's signed east-west when it should be signed north-south.
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Re: Massachusetts
« Reply #1329 on: April 22, 2020, 01:17:46 PM »

One thing the coronavirus shutdown has given me is time to finish a planned critique of the current Massachusetts highway system and suggestions to fix them, something that I've promised on my Massachusetts highways website for over 5 years. The first draft of the site is at: http://www.malmeroads.net/mass21c/improvements.html. Feel free to offer any suggestions or comments which I will take into account before a formal launch.

One subject I discuss is better, or at least less confusing, route signage. MA 38 for example. It was truncated to the intersection with MA 28 in Somerville in 1971. In the 1990's, however, signage appeared that implied it extended to Sullivan Square in Charlestown, though no complementary signage was installed in the other direction. Most just assumed the signage was in error. In recent years however, not only was the 1990s era signage replaced with new signs with the same information:


Additional guide and trailblazer signage was installed on and around MA 28:


Still no complementary signage for the other direction though, so where does it end? One of the questions I hope to answer with the new site.

My favorite sign here and noted on your page is the 38 south straight sign with the 0.0 MM right next to it.
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Re: Massachusetts
« Reply #1330 on: April 25, 2020, 08:44:47 AM »

  • Extending 203 up the Jamaicaway is a bad idea. No trucks, very narrow lanes, not exactly state highway material, which is a big part of why 1 was removed from it in the first place. If the issue is the route having a 'hanging end', and the Jamaicaway routing needs a number, resurrect the old 1 routing as 1A.
If extending the 203 along the Jamaicaway is a bad idea for the reason(s) you listed; wouldn't similar apply for 1A, which would also mean it would extend onto Storrow Drive as well for continuity?

I mentioned similar in the Fictional Section and the Task of Cleaning Up One's State Highways thread several times in the past and I'll mention this here again for reference only.  One way to address the hanging ends of MA 203 and MA 109 would be to simply extend 109 up to and have it replace 203 in its entirety  Such a routing would not include the Jamaicaway in the mix and would address the awkward hanging ends of both routes that's existed for now 30+ years.  It's also worth noting (and this is real) that MA 109 east of I-95/MA 128 now has a truck restriction on it. 

Additionally, a portion of that stretch of 109 immediately east of the interchange in Dedham was recently road-dieted to further emphasize the restriction.
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Re: Massachusetts
« Reply #1331 on: April 26, 2020, 02:55:48 PM »

You're missing my point. If this "hanging end" is bad enough to warrant extending 203 on the Jamaicaway, then you might as well resurrect the old US 1 routing as MA 1A instead. It's not any lower of quality and is much more useful for actual navigational purposes.
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Re: Massachusetts
« Reply #1332 on: April 29, 2020, 06:18:19 PM »

You're missing my point. If this "hanging end" is bad enough to warrant extending 203 on the Jamaicaway, then you might as well resurrect the old US 1 routing as MA 1A instead. It's not any lower of quality and is much more useful for actual navigational purposes.
Au contraire.  Extending 203 along the Jamaicaway would not involve placing such along Storrow Drive (with its low clearances) that a 1A designation along the former US 1 corridor would have likely involved.  A 203 extension would likely follow the pre-1971 MA 3 alignment into Cambridge where such would meet US & present-day MA 3.

That said, and if MassDOT and/or DCR even cared about addressing the hanging ends of both MA 109 & 203; they would've likely left the Jamaicaway alone and extended 109 to and replaced MA 203 as I previously mentioned.
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Re: Massachusetts
« Reply #1333 on: April 29, 2020, 11:07:08 PM »

We'll just have to agree to disagree here. Seems a bit ridiculous to me to say that the Jamaicaway is a better quality road than Storrow Drive just because Storrow has some low clearances.

I maintain that a 1A along the old US 1 routing would be much more useful for actual navigational purposes than extending MA 203 across Boston and Cambridge.
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Re: Massachusetts
« Reply #1334 on: April 30, 2020, 06:21:13 PM »

Based on the comments I've received, I've made modifications to my suggested MA Route Changes page, giving it a page of its own and putting the new route suggestions and better signage listings on separate pages, plus adding some additional material. The 'final draft' changes page is at: http://www.malmeroads.net/mass21c/routechanges.html for any additional comments and suggestions.

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Re: Massachusetts
« Reply #1335 on: April 30, 2020, 06:46:12 PM »

How about an extension of MA 169 to Worcester?
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Re: Massachusetts
« Reply #1336 on: May 01, 2020, 09:22:46 PM »

Unrelated to previous post: My 2009 traffic count spreadsheet includes an entry for MA 140 Bypass in Garnder in 2001. Its only segment has the description "South of Route 101". It is much more lightly used than actual MA 140. Does anyone have any information on whether it ever actually existed?

This document also claims that MA 15 is in Sturbridge as late as 2005 (and does not recognize the extension of RI 15 as MA 15, where it is now), but it does not have any mention of the nonexistent MA 44A.
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Re: Massachusetts
« Reply #1337 on: May 02, 2020, 06:12:28 AM »

Unrelated to previous post: My 2009 traffic count spreadsheet includes an entry for MA 140 Bypass in Garnder in 2001. Its only segment has the description "South of Route 101". It is much more lightly used than actual MA 140. Does anyone have any information on whether it ever actually existed?

This document also claims that MA 15 is in Sturbridge as late as 2005 (and does not recognize the extension of RI 15 as MA 15, where it is now), but it does not have any mention of the nonexistent MA 44A.

https://www.google.com/maps/@42.5565405,-71.9789777,3a,55.1y,342h,92.49t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sJfB3IhWgyRceYi0vvIoI9g!2e0!7i16384!8i8192

I wonder if that finally explains the foolishness of this random sign. I want to say the sign itself was put up in the late 2000's/early 2010's. This sign would have been accurate before 140 was built to swing around Gardner.
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Re: Massachusetts
« Reply #1338 on: May 05, 2020, 08:01:34 PM »

Saw this on The Sopranos. The guy was supposedly driving on I-90/Massachusetts Turnpike! :-D
[/URL]
« Last Edit: May 05, 2020, 08:12:47 PM by KEVIN_224 »
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Re: Massachusetts
« Reply #1339 on: May 05, 2020, 11:31:54 PM »

Wow.... they got the Mass-style exit tab right, but it was never used on the Mass Pike.
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Re: Massachusetts
« Reply #1340 on: May 06, 2020, 01:31:21 AM »

Wow.... they got the Mass-style exit tab right, but it was never used on the Mass Pike.
Close, but not quite.  In the old MassDPW 'integral exit tab' design, 'EXIT' and the numeral were top justified, and the bottom of the numeral noticeably overlapped onto the main sign panel.  On the Sopranos sign, the numeral 14 is centered on the exit tab, and does not overlap onto the main sign panel, but ends just above where the border of the main sign panel would be if there weren't an exit tab.
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Re: Massachusetts
« Reply #1341 on: May 06, 2020, 08:22:05 AM »

Wow.... they got the Mass-style exit tab right, but it was never used on the Mass Pike.
Close, but not quite.  In the old MassDPW 'integral exit tab' design, 'EXIT' and the numeral were top justified, and the bottom of the numeral noticeably overlapped onto the main sign panel.  On the Sopranos sign, the numeral 14 is centered on the exit tab, and does not overlap onto the main sign panel, but ends just above where the border of the main sign panel would be if there weren't an exit tab.

My guess was that they filmed one of these (since-replaced) signs on I-91 approaching the Mass Pike, the dimensions look about the same IMHO https://www.google.com/maps/@42.1536916,-72.6479525,3a,41.2y,354.05h,94.55t/data=!3m7!1e1!3m5!1sBvavBAmiWVfUS62g9uFnLg!2e0!5s20110901T000000!7i13312!8i6656!5m1!1e1?hl=en
and then just edited to show I-95 instead.  Which is more effort than most tv shows give to road signage, so props to them! :clap:

Great show by the way, I binged the whole thing over the summer before my senior year at college.  When I was a kid, my parents would let me watch the intro sequence of Tony coming out of the Lincoln Tunnel, getting on the NJ Turnpike, etc.  And then quickly send me off to bed before the real action started :sleep:
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Re: Massachusetts
« Reply #1342 on: May 13, 2020, 11:08:59 PM »

Today, I took advantage of a nice spring day and abbreviated traffic volumes and travelled a large portion of I-495.  I really dread this road in normal conditions.  It has high traffic volumes.... is long and boring.... have been stuck in traffic on it many times.... and it was that stretch on family vacations between "are we there yet" and "almost home".  Nevertheless, today it was a joy to drive.  I did notice a few things today as I travelled NB from Marlboro to Salisbury, and SB from Salisbury to Mansfield/Foxboro:

*  All of those god-awful MassHighway oversized I-495 signs are gone.  The replacement is much smaller, and in many locations, on a single girder post, similar to those on the Mass Pike. 

*  Between Hudson & Foxboro, the signs are mostly new, but there are numerous 1990s-vintage signs still up, on old gantries, including several button copy interstate numeral shields.  I thought this project was completed, but I observed at least 4 or 5 guide signs SB not replaced.   There were no mini orange tags observed, so I don't know if they were left out of project plans or what.  One is the 1/2 mile advance for Exit 14B southbound, which lists two control points for US 1 South.  Strangely, one of them is the solo Exit 14A destination.  And in another instance, there is a new Hartford CT/New York City-use I-90 West ground-mount sign, with the older overhead sign just before it.

*  Between Hudson & Lowell, a sign replacement project is in its infant stages.  No new guide signs observed, but plenty of orange tags.  Some new ground-mount regulatory signs are up.

*  Signs from Exit 38 in Tewksbury to Haverhill feature newish signs with single-side signs mounted on 4-chord style cantilevers, while those north from Haverhill to the end of I-495 use the older style cantilevers.  There are still some old signs on the bridge in Lawrence.  It seems like each sign replacement contract uses a different support structure style.  Signs from Mansfield up to Hudson are mounted on the single-post style. 

*  I was surprised to see I-495 Exit 40B use "Salem NH" over "Concord NH". 

*  North of Exit 53 in Merrimac, there is a new speed limit sign that has "speed" and "limit" text reversed, so it reads "LIMIT/SPEED/55".  I couldn't get a shot of it.

Link to I-495 sign photos is here:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/shadyjay/sets/72157684290796051/

In the past several weeks, I have also driven large portions of other roads in Mass, including:
All of 128, Canton to Gloucester, as well as all of I-195, I-295, MA 25, I-395/I-290, and I-90 east of Sturbridge.


Link to all photos is here:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/shadyjay/collections/72157657234163953/

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Re: Massachusetts
« Reply #1343 on: May 14, 2020, 04:02:54 PM »

We'll just have to agree to disagree here. Seems a bit ridiculous to me to say that the Jamaicaway is a better quality road than Storrow Drive just because Storrow has some low clearances.

I maintain that a 1A along the old US 1 routing would be much more useful for actual navigational purposes than extending MA 203 across Boston and Cambridge.
Okay, some explanation & history is in order here; some of which you probably know & some you may not be fully aware of. 

During the Portsmouth, NH meet that took place several years ago; I asked a meet attendee who works at MassDOT & its predecessors about the 1989 reroute of US 1 off of Storrow Drive (& the Jamaicaway).  His replied the reasoning for such was indeed to reduce the frequency of trucks getting stuck on Storrow Drive's low overpasses (a term commonly known as Storrowing).

However, I did not ask him why MA 1A could not have been used for the old routing per your suggestion (in hindsight, I should've of).  My guess is that in order for a road to receive a route number... any number; it needs to be able to accommodate truck traffic.  If a short stretch can not accommodate trucks due to either low clearances and/or weight restrictions; a truck route to bypass such has to be signed (whether as a bannered truck route of said-number or just as a simple truck route/detour).  Apparently when the then-MassDPW made its decision to reroute US 1 onto I-93 (& I-95); they saw no feasible alternative to have US 1 bypass Storrow Drive and keep it along the Jamaicaway. 

I guess having US 1 exit off I-93 at either Mass Ave., using Melnea Cass Blvd. or having it exit at Granite Ave. and replace MA 203 as a means of maintaining more of the pre-1989 alignment of US 1 south of MA 203 was either rejected or never pondered.

As for the reasoning why Storrow Drive was assigned route numbers in the first place; it is worth noting that, based on reviewing older maps, there were two concurrent routings of MA C1 & C9 (such was an oddball IMHO) when Storrow Drive was opened to traffic during the early 50s... the routing along Storrow Drive and the pre-Storrow alignment along Commonwealth Ave.  The older Commonwealth Ave. routing was maintained, although not fully signed as such from what I can tell, as an alternative truck route for C1/C9.  Both routings were shown on maps well into 1960s.

As most here know, the phaseout of Boston's C-route system coincided with the 1971 reroutes of US 1 & US/MA 3... with the latter reroute resulting in the creation of MA 203 & the former being placed along Storrow Drive (old non-truck C1/C9).  However, the decision for those reroutes of US 1 & US/MA 3 clearly did not take into consideration that the future of the Inner Belt (I-695) & the Southwest Expressway (original I-95) was in doubt if not already dead at the time.  Had those highways been built; truck traffic would've been signed & directed to use those roads instead of then-US 1 along Storrow Drive.  How such (the truck route for US 1) would've been signed is not known.

The absence of those two proposed highways obviously left truckers without a realistic route to travel in the immediate southwestern part of the city.

In retrospect & hindsight, the 1971 reroutes of US 1, US/MA 3 along with the phaseout of the C-route system should've taken into consideration that the two originally planned highways were going to be cancelled and that the Southeast Expressway (then mostly-unnumbered) was going to become a de-facto Interstate (I-95 initially then ultimately I-93).  That coordination alone would've probably eliminated the need to reroute US/MA 3 (and the creation of MA 203) to its current routing southeast of Cambridge.  As far as US 1 is/was concerned; such would've probably been rerouted onto the Central Artery (then I-95) from the Sumner/Callahan Tunnel to as least as far as the Mass Ave. interchange with the building of Melnea Cass Blvd., that followed a partial path of the dead-Inner Belt/Southwest Expressway, as far as the Fens.  Or it would've followed its current routing.

*  I was surprised to see I-495 Exit 40B use "Salem NH" over "Concord NH".
It's worth noting that the 1977-era signage listed Methuen for that I-93 northbound exit.  Many signs along that stretch of I-93 prior to the 1990s used to list Salem, NH as a northbound I-93 control city.  Maybe whoever decided to sign that interchange for Salem, NH must have had a little bit of a nostalgia bug.
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Re: Massachusetts
« Reply #1344 on: May 30, 2020, 12:16:03 AM »

I-290 east of I-495- what route was it supposed to take and why was it cancelled?
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Re: Massachusetts
« Reply #1345 on: May 30, 2020, 02:58:52 AM »

I-290 east of I-495- what route was it supposed to take and why was it cancelled?
Basically roughly parallel to US 20 on in to Route 128. I don't know that they had a final route determined, but they were down to a few choices north and south. Just ran into environment/communities, the usual.

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Re: Massachusetts
« Reply #1346 on: May 30, 2020, 09:39:15 AM »

I-290 east of I-495- what route was it supposed to take and why was it cancelled?

Some of Technology Dr, on the opposite side of MA-85 in Hudson, was right-of-way bought to make it, then sold off to what I think was Digital or one of the defunct Massachusetts tech companies.
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Re: Massachusetts
« Reply #1347 on: May 30, 2020, 11:07:07 AM »

I always envisioned it as part of an extended I-84 that would follow the MA 49 corridor then bend around and take over the east/west portion of I-290 and extend to I-95/MA 128 near Hanscom Field in Lexington.
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Re: Massachusetts
« Reply #1348 on: May 30, 2020, 11:49:23 PM »

I always envisioned it as part of an extended I-84 that would follow the MA 49 corridor then bend around and take over the east/west portion of I-290 and extend to I-95/MA 128 near Hanscom Field in Lexington.
There was a weak plan to extend then-MA 15 Northeast through Worcester County.
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DJStephens

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Re: Massachusetts
« Reply #1349 on: May 31, 2020, 01:43:27 PM »

I-290 east of I-495- what route was it supposed to take and why was it cancelled?
Basically roughly parallel to US 20 on in to Route 128. I don't know that they had a final route determined, but they were down to a few choices north and south. Just ran into environment/communities, the usual.

Grew up in that region, but never viewed 290 as being "realistic" E of 495.   Today the US 20 corridor between 128 and 495 is some of the most expensive suburban real estate in the country.  Was kind of amazing they were able to build so much then (sixties/seventies) in the outer suburbs at that time - 52, 146, 190, 290, and 495.  Am of opinion that if they had started on the urban Boston sections earlier (inner belt, unfinished radials) and if the designs were sound (depression, cut & cover, some tunnels)  that would have been better in the long run.   
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