I’m a Turnpiker.
Every day, I hop in my car and drive out of town to my office on the Newton/Watertown edge. I’ve written about one phenom of PikeHenge before, one of my few annoyances on the reverse commute, but there is one another safety lesson for driving the Pike that I was reminded of last night that is even more important.
If you get on the turnpike westbound, no matter what time of the day, there is one significant danger point before you even get to the Allston tolls – the incoming traffic flow at the Mass Ave ramp at Newbury. Actually, I should put that the other way – the traffic danger is really about people (as I do every morning) getting onto the Pike at the entrance. A significant blind spot on an elevated ramp leads to fender benders far too often, and the danger for something more is worse.
In the short section of the Pike between its I-93 intersection and this blind on-ramp, there are three prior points of entry. In the morning, cars are flying against traffic, and while most know to get out of the way (even buses!), there can be a rogue every now and then. At night, cars spill over and can back up the lanes and on-ramp – that’s what more than likely led to the accident last night, when one vehicle couldn’t get on and, since it was blind to them coming down the ramp, another vehicle didn’t expect the car hit them from behind.
General courtesy keeps people out of the right lane most of the time, just not always, and it seems to skew a lot for out-of-towners passing through. This still seems like something easily fixed, though – it really could be as simple as the difference between a signed right lane merge and a clear, directive like a move left sign. There is more than a mile until the off ramp to the U-Turn and Allston/Brighton – there is plenty of space to get back over without causing traffic.
It’s not likely, so , drivers, give a hand to those on that ramp and make the courtesy move to get out of the right lane.