Two lanes or one?

One lane or two?


  • Total voters
    32

C-Town_Jeff

New member
Joined
Jul 10, 2018
Messages
37
Reaction score
69
I'm sure there are a million examples of this all over the city, but this one has started a pretty big fight between me and the misses and if nothing else hopefully a discussion on here from the great minds of archBoston will settle this once and for all.

The question: is it two lanes or one?

This is the portion of Berkeley Street just past Beacon on its way to Storrow:

1658864072838.png


In this picture you can see it is being treated as 2 lanes, but there is no marking on the road indicating it should be.

Now if you go to the other end and look back you will see that it is being treated as 1 lane:

1658864184894.png


Now I know what you are thinking right now. Just because people treat it as 2 lanes does not make it 2 lanes, so the answer is that it is just 1 lane, but here is the curveball back on the other side of Beacon there is this sign:

1658864342135.png


Which makes me think that the City is suggesting that between 4pm and 6pm it is 1 lane and otherwise it is anyone's guess.

Thoughts?
 

Stlin

Active Member
Joined
May 16, 2020
Messages
466
Reaction score
838
This question could be applied to many of the rotaries in this state as well. Rt-2/Concord prior to it's repaint, Morrissey/Columbia at JFK/UMass, the 1A rotary in Revere.
 

Brattle Loop

Active Member
Joined
Apr 28, 2020
Messages
896
Reaction score
1,477
Which makes me think that the City is suggesting that between 4pm and 6pm it is 1 lane and otherwise it is anyone's guess.

Thoughts?
I think that sign is referring to the fact that, between the hours posted, that's also a no parking/stopping zone (there's a hard-to-read sign to that effect on the pole near the alley between Marlborough and Beacon), and that that stretch is the left lane (which must turn left) between 4 and 6. I don't think it has anything to do with the stretch of Berkeley between Beacon and Storrow.

Now I know what you are thinking right now. Just because people treat it as 2 lanes does not make it 2 lanes, so the answer is that it is just 1 lane,
But that's actually the (philosophical?) question. When a road is two lanes, is it a two-lane road because it's marked for two lanes, or is it a two-lane road because it's used as a two-lane road? I'd argue that it's probably legally and officially a one-lane road, but that practically it's two lanes, because what Boston drivers decide the rules of the road are is usually of more pressing importance than what the rules actually are.
 

OldColony

New member
Joined
Jul 23, 2020
Messages
27
Reaction score
72
Good safety question. I'll add another one for this street, which might be even more interesting. Other than by tribal knowledge as a resident, friend, or somebody with GPS traveling on Back Street, how do you know Berkeley is one-way between Beacon and Storrow for travel toward Storrow? Looking east on Back Street:

backst1.png


And looking west:
backst2.png
 

reno

New member
Joined
Apr 1, 2021
Messages
61
Reaction score
83
Having traversed that bizarre intersection many times over my 48 year Boston driving history , I've always chalked it up to MDC/ DCR/ Boston don't give a crap attitude,

Edit--- also I believe the lack of VISIBLE over height vehicle warnings prior to this ramp leads to many trucks getting stuck on Storrow.
 
Last edited:

Arlington

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Dec 10, 2011
Messages
5,376
Reaction score
2,006
My experience of this is that cars kind of half zipper merge—down the middle left headlights point to right taillights and right headlights point to left taillights.
 

millerm277

Active Member
Joined
Jun 25, 2013
Messages
367
Reaction score
246
Having traversed that bizarre intersection many times over my 48 year Boston driving history , I've always chalked it up to MDC/ DCR/ Boston don't give a crap attitude,

Edit--- also I believe the lack of VISIBLE over height vehicle warnings prior to this ramp leads to many trucks getting stuck on Storrow.
There are multiple signs on Berkeley on the blocks leading up to it, though. I count 4 different ones on the Comm to Beacon block of Berkeley, including a 10'0" height warning.

Beacon has "NO TRUCKS" written repeatedly in the right turn lane, and 4 signs as well in the block before Berkeley.

You probably shouldn't put an actual overhead gantry with the hanging thing at the Berkeley/Beacon intersection because you do have garbage trucks and other trucks using Back St at times.

------

On a somewhat related note since I wound up down a rabbit hole:

- You can blame the original question and this one largely on DCR/MassDOT, apparently the Beacon-Back St block of Berkeley is actually under their control, not Boston. (same with that block of Clarendon).

- Back St is a private way, isn't directional and generally has little signage at any intersection. Not saying this is good, just looking at it. I'd actually argue the two ends have far more accident potential - make a left out of Back St onto Charlesgate E, or even worse, make a left into oncoming traffic on Storrow at Mugar/Arlington. Both are possible to do with no signage suggesting you can't.

- Interestingly, a bunch of the Beacon-Back St blocks appear to be private ways, and I'm not sure they're actually directional, in spite of seeming that way and having arrows on Google Maps. Fairfield and Hereford as the examples that you could go the "wrong way" on....but they do have a signal head in that direction, so perhaps you can?
 

HenryAlan

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 15, 2009
Messages
3,044
Reaction score
1,732
I figure it's two lanes -- left feeds in to Storrow Westbound, right feeds in to Storrow Eastbound. Also, 25 years of marriage suggests to me that whatever your wife says is probably the correct answer.
 

bakgwailo

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 15, 2016
Messages
1,409
Reaction score
724
Yeah, I'd generally say it's two lanes, although it's the kind of road that is whatever it needs to be at the time.
 

fatnoah

Active Member
Joined
Aug 28, 2012
Messages
152
Reaction score
154
These situations happen in quite a few places. My personal take is that they're not wide enough to "officially" be marked as two lanes, but operate more efficiently as two lane roads, so the powers that be just let it slide.
 

WestMedford

New member
Joined
Nov 9, 2021
Messages
49
Reaction score
132
The perfect example of one lane marked but treated as two lanes is this stretch of Rt. 3A in Burlington between Mall Road and Rt. 62 (Wilmington St.). At each signalized intersection along the stretch, marked with solid white line as two lanes. However, outside them no dashed white lines to be found. Makes for quite the surprise if you’re unfamiliar with the practice along this road!
384BCE70-3C75-4D3D-80DF-762053A07434.jpeg
5ECE0716-8A39-4AC6-A103-FD4482C260F5.jpeg
CD82037B-4886-40A9-B345-74FEB1CF2097.jpeg
 

ulrichomega

Active Member
Joined
Oct 9, 2017
Messages
156
Reaction score
120
This state's inability to just put paint down on the road to tell you these things never fails to boggle my mind. Even on major roads sometimes it's a crapshoot as to how many lanes there are, let alone where they are.
 

Charlie_mta

Senior Member
Joined
Jul 15, 2006
Messages
3,148
Reaction score
3,072
Aw, c'mon guys, it's a tried and true New England tradition to have missing pavement markings and signs. It's part of the charm. Back in the 1950s and 60s many major streets had almost no pavement markings. It's gotten better, though, in the last few decades.
 

bakgwailo

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 15, 2016
Messages
1,409
Reaction score
724
Aw, c'mon guys, it's a tried and true New England tradition to have missing pavement markings and signs. It's part of the charm. Back in the 1950s and 60s many major streets had almost no pavement markings. It's gotten better, though, in the last few decades.
Let's be honest, too - lane markers, stop signs, bus/bike lanes - they are just suggestions anyways, right?
 

DZH22

Superstar
Joined
Nov 13, 2006
Messages
10,552
Reaction score
23,796
The perfect example of one lane marked but treated as two lanes is this stretch of Rt. 3A in Burlington between Mall Road and Rt. 62 (Wilmington St.). At each signalized intersection along the stretch, marked with solid white line as two lanes. However, outside them no dashed white lines to be found. Makes for quite the surprise if you’re unfamiliar with the practice along this road!View attachment 26712
There are a few areas with dashes, such as by that Used Book Superstore and of course coming up on lights. Otherwise this area has been mayhem for as long as I can remember. It reminds me of when Kramer painted those extra wide lanes on his stretch of highway in Seinfeld.
 

reno

New member
Joined
Apr 1, 2021
Messages
61
Reaction score
83
There are multiple signs on Berkeley on the blocks leading up to it, though. I count 4 different ones on the Comm to Beacon block of Berkeley, including a 10'0" height warning.

Beacon has "NO TRUCKS" written repeatedly in the right turn lane, and 4 signs as well in the block before Berkeley.

You probably shouldn't put an actual overhead gantry with the hanging thing at the Berkeley/Beacon intersection because you do have garbage trucks and other trucks using Back St at times.
Here is an example of the problem that often appears near this intersection ------https://goo.gl/maps/BubT2T2oc9tZj4uN9 Construction vehicles, U-Haul vehicles, Amazon vehicles, UPS vehicles, Fed Ex vehicles, moving trucks, utility vehicles, and trees that obstruct these signs from the view of the people who need to see them.
 

real_EthanHunt

Active Member
Joined
Jul 18, 2019
Messages
138
Reaction score
200
this one is my 'favorite'
that must be during commuter times because most seem to get it, not the case in off hours. Ive seen it turn into 2 lanes down from 4.
the 'double' signals add a nice touch of incompetence.
 

erom

Active Member
Joined
Oct 25, 2019
Messages
138
Reaction score
280
Holy cow I actually just went and got a picture of that exact intersection to post and it turns out you already had. It's absolutely the worst. It's anywhere from 2 to 6 lanes depending on time of day (with the construction like in that image 4 seems to be the consensus, but back before the construction I saw 6 cars abreast at the light more than once.)

The worst part is, officially left is a left-only lane, but people go straight from it all the time. And right is NOT a right-only lane, but people very very rarely go straight from it. So the sort of defacto use of the intersection is for everyone to slide over one lane as they cross the intersection. Which causes an accident almost every time someone actually does go straight from the rightmost lane, despite that being legal.
 

real_EthanHunt

Active Member
Joined
Jul 18, 2019
Messages
138
Reaction score
200
not a pic, just street view. I always try to line myself up with the loop detectors (which are 4 lanes) but how many people even know that loop detectors exist, much less realize they are there. and yes, left 'lane' should definitely be left turn only because the curb on the other side of the intersection doesnt allow for a receiving lane.

as for the OP, the roadways on the river side are of Beacon St are DCR maintained (or private ways if they dont connect to Storrow). which is why the BTD signage/pavement markings leading up to Beacon St on Berkeley are not consistent on the river/Storrow side of Beacon St
 

Top