Few cities in the United States can claim the level of historical significance and cultural variety as the city of Boston. If you decide to visit, you can catch a game from storied sports teams, taste fantastic food and reflect on significant pieces of American history.
However, like any major city, traveling in Boston presents a challenge to the uninitiated. Review a few tips before you brave maneuver the streets of this magnificent city.
Tips for Driving
The city limits of Boston only claim about 675,000 residents, but the greater metro area is approaching five million inhabitants. As a very densely populated location, Boston can be stressful to drive in for locals and visitors.
Typical Driving Conditions
Like in other major cities, many motorists, cyclists and pedestrians take a casual view of the traffic signs and laws. As you move along the streets, pay extra attention to others.
Boston has many windy, narrow roads. Some streets are quaint cobblestone thruways that can be quite bumpy. While drivers should remain cautious, they should also be decisive since local drivers in a hurry likely won’t meet hesitant motorists with friendly responses.
Boston has some of America’s oldest roads. As the city is improving the streets, the ranking for road conditions is improving. Still, Consumer Affairs has Massachusetts streets as some of the most difficult to travel in the nation.
Congestion and Weather
If you plan to visit on a holiday or weekend, you will contend with many other motorists. Rush hour often starts at 4:00 p.m. and can create congestion for two or three hours.
Friday evenings are particularly jammed up with folks heading out to weekend activities. You can expect summertime to be busy, and delays are sure to happen near sports stadiums and arenas during big games.
If you visit in winter, be careful in the snow. A street that seems fine one second could become treacherous the next. Even if you obey the posted speed limit, you could be at fault for an accident if you were driving too fast for the conditions.
As with most states in America, vehicle occupants must wear safety belts. Children under 8 and less than 57 inches (145 centimeters) must ride in a car seat.
You should always obey posted signs for driving and parking. High-occupancy vehicle lanes only permit automobiles with two or more occupants. Remember to bring change or have an E-ZPass for tolls. If you have neither, expect the Massachusetts Department of Transportation to send you a bill later.
Use your headlights in low-light conditions. Turning on lights is mandatory up until 30 minutes before sunrise and starting 30 minutes after sunset.
Drive carefully and do not consume alcohol before operating a vehicle. The legal limit for blood-alcohol content is .08.
Additionally, distracted driving brings a fine of $100 on the first offense, $250 for the second offense and $500 for subsequent violations. Only use devices on a hands-free setting when you’re driving.
Often the ideal option for visitors is to use public transportation. You can avoid the stress of navigating tight streets while locating the next attraction.
The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority offers convenient passage on the subway, which locals refer to as “the T.” Maps show the routes of different trains by color. Fortunately, many mobile map apps can direct you on which trains to take. A CharlieCard lets you load the necessary amount of funds for getting around.
You also have access to bus lines and water taxis. A Visitor’s Pass gives you unlimited rides to see the city on any mode of public transportation.
If you’re out past the time the T is running, you can call on the usual rideshare services. Always stay safe when using public transportation. Keep an eye on your personal belongings and little ones. If a rideshare driver seems suspicious, you have the right to deny service.
Tips for Going by Bike or on Foot
You can also take advantage of the city’s BLUEBike bike-share program. A $10 Adventure Pass gives visitors access to bikes all day long.
Boston also has many scenic parks and paths for walking. If you settle in one location in town, you can travel on foot easily to many spots.
Dangerous Intersections and Roads
Some locations have more accidents than others. You might want to steer clear of doing much travel in the following spots or, at a minimum, exercise extra care.
Statistics from the National Highway and Traffic and Safety Administration show that the most dangerous highway in America is I-95, which runs through Boston and many other major cities. This fact likely speaks more to the amount of traffic here than the quality drivers of Boston.
Recent statistics show that nearly 15 deaths happen every 100 miles on this road, which connects New York, Baltimore and Miami. If you travel I-95, use extra caution.
The Most Hazardous Intersections
The MassDOT maintains statistics of crash records, which show the locations of the highest incidences of crashes for drivers, cyclists and pedestrians.
For vehicles, the following junctions can be hazardous:
- Morton St and Harvard Street
- Ramp routes 90 to 93 for I-93 Northbound
- Massachusetts Avenue Connector and Massachusetts Avenue
- Soldiers Field Road and Cambridge Street
Cyclists should watch for the following locations while traveling:
- Storrow Drive near the Massachusetts Turnpike
- Memorial Drive near the Reid Rotary
- Leo M Birmingham Parkway and Soldiers Field Road
- Soldiers Field Road and North Harvard Street
- Brighton Avenue and Cambridge Street
Pay extra attention when passing through these areas on foot:
- Massachusetts Avenue Connector and Massachusetts Avenue
- Columbia Road at Kosciuszko Circle
- Massachusetts Turnpike and Boylston Street
- Washington Street and Warren Street
No one can eliminate the possibility of a crash. Still, with preparation, you may be able to avert a catastrophe.
Help if You Need Legal Assistance
The chance to tour the City of Boston is something Americans and international visitors need to experience. Still, accidents can happen. Whether you’re from nearby or overseas, top-notch help isn’t hard to reach after a collision or another personal injury.
Contact the team at Jason Stone Injury Lawyers and experience our Stone Cold Guarantee. We only get paid after you get paid, so don’t hesitate to call for a free consultation. There’s no obligation, just information. (R)