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drivers, pedestrians, cyclists in Boston(7 posts)

drivers, pedestrians, cyclists in Bostonkenyee
Jan 13, 2002 11:23 AM
a.k.a., the city of the rude? (and I've lived here for 35yrs, so I can say that :-P

No surprise since the only "enforcement" I've see is a campaign to line the city coffers by ticketing drivers for not giving pedestrians in crosswalks the right of way. Never ticketing of pedestrians or cyclists to even make everyone behave evenly...
As a cockroach myself...TJeanloz
Jan 13, 2002 11:33 AM
I live within a stone's throw of the city and frequently find myself walking (though almost NEVER riding my bike) downtown. I'll admit to being the cockroach type. This is a game that's been played in Boston as long as I have been around (admittedly only 23 years- but I learned it from my parents, lifelong Bostonians both). It's a game of chicken; everybody knows the rules. You know it says don't walk, and you know there are cars barrelling at you, and most important of all, you know that if a car hits you it's YOUR fault. I'm also the guy who floors it to scatter the 'cockroaches' when I'm driving. It doesn't bother me; it's a game that the pedestrian and driver alike can chose to play or not.
I've noticed a big change over the past 10-15 yearskenyee
Jan 13, 2002 12:10 PM
The pedestrians who totally ignore traffic and cross at will used to only be in Harvard Square (oddly enough, not at the other 3 colleges in the area by a magnitude or more less). Apparently, these Harvard students have graduated and are all over the city now.

I don't think playing chicken is the attitude of a lot of pedestrians. It feels more like "go ahead and hit me...I'll sue your butt!" with the glares I've seen.

I'm not impressed w/ a lot of pedestrians and drivers I've walked or driven with. Total nuts. Then there are the occasional times when I'm a pedestrian and I motion a driver to go ahead and cross so he won't tie up traffic and the driver motions me across. Or when I'm a driver motioning a pedestrian to cross and the pedestrian tells me to go. These scenes are a rarity, but at least it means there is hope.

Most cyclists are also bad. They'll go the wrong way on a street in the middle of the night w/o any lights. These aren't the hard-code ones w/ colorful bike shirts, etc. The ones w/ the colorful bike outfits seem to run red lights consistently though.

Seems like it's getting more and more like NYC :-(
It's the Ivy League influence...Leisure
Jan 13, 2002 7:10 PM
When I was at Cornell the students were the same way. It was dissappointing to see these "educated people" turn out to be worse than inconsiderate. Spoiled kids grow up to be spoiled adults.
Nice theory,TJeanloz
Jan 14, 2002 9:14 AM
But even if every Harvard alum stuck around Boston, they still wouldn't account for much of the population.

I don't think it's inconsiderate; it's just the pace of the city. On 128 you're expected to go 80 and draft the car in front of you- but when I was in Denver, people expected a lot more open space on the highway.
re: drivers, pedestrians, cyclists in BostonTig
Jan 14, 2002 10:35 AM
Having spent only 3 weeks in MA about 10 years ago, my observations are limited. I was at a 3 week tech school in Medford and brought along my road bike. I rode all over New Hampshire and the MA area around Lowell, Lexington, and Concord. Even though some of the country roads were narrow, I was surprised how nice I was treated by the drivers. Riding into Boston was a mistake, but it was survivable!

However, when in the rental car it was a different story! I've driven in Rome and Mexico City, which were the worst by far. Coming in 3rd was Massachusetts. It was actually funny once you picked up the pattern. My favorite were the 4-way stops. You pull up in line at a stop sign and stop. Other drivers who were approaching their stop sign would see this take as a weakness and floor it through the intersection! The sad thing is that recently I'm seeing it here as well.
Boston - where driving is sport.grzy
Jan 14, 2002 11:14 AM
Grew up there and continue to hate the whole driving/riding/pedestrian situation whenever I go back to visit family. I have to gently remind visitors that they'll actually get a ticket for driving that way out here in California. I had to break myself of my jaywalking habit (didn't realize that I did it) and recognize that a cross walk actually has some meaning (from both a driving and pedistrian's view point). I was surprised to learn that a red light meant stop, not that only four more cars can go.

I have yet to see a place where things are more f'd up or the people are as rude. NYC would be close, but their traffic doesn't move. I've been all over the country, and to many other countries (Canada, Mexico, Europe, Asia, the Middle East, Africa, Australia) and nothing comes close. You're right - at the heart of the matter is that there is zero enforcement of anything and everyone has a crappy "me first" attitude. For Boston and MDC cops wearing the uniform is a way to make a living without doing very much except collect overtime watching the Dept. of Public Works guys take breaks. I REALLY enjoy things now that the whole city is torn up with the Big Dig. The whole driving experience is one of the reasons why I don't live there anymore. Ultimately the whole system has been corrupted and if you don't drive/ride/walk like an a-hole then you get abused.