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Massive closing of roads set for convention week

City encourages firms to give vacation time

By Anthony Flint, Globe Staff | May 21, 2004

The staggering scope of the security measures for the Democratic National Convention became clear yesterday, as state and federal authorities detailed changes that surpassed the worst fears of many residents and businesses: nearly 40 miles of major roadway closures, a vehicle-free zone around the FleetCenter, and parking bans that will extend through the Back Bay.

Mayor Thomas M. Menino formally asked employers to allow workers to take vacations during the convention, from July 26 to 29, or let them telecommute or work earlier in the morning so they can leave before the road closures start at 4 p.m. State Police said they need lighter-than-usual traffic for vehicles to flow smoothly through the detours and warned that they could expand the closures even farther outside the city.

Although authorities announced in March that Interstate 93, which runs directly by the FleetCenter, would be closed during the convention for security reasons, details of the transportation plan -- and the extent of the roadway closures in particular -- drew gasps, grimaces, and gallows-humor laughs as state, city, and public safety officials spoke at a packed briefing for businesses and media at the Federal Reserve bank auditorium yesterday morning.

"It's a harsh reality," said Joseph Curtatone, the mayor of Somerville, where drivers seeking alternative routes home are expected to flood streets. "We understand the security concerns, but the traffic, the congestion -- it's going to be a nightmare."

Nearly every corner of the transportation system in the city will be affected and several business executives said yesterday that they are exploring options such as flex time for employees or setting up remote work sites. Commuters, meanwhile, were left contemplating drive times that could triple or staying home. And with so many workers likely to avoid the city, the economic impact will have a ripple effect throughout the retail and service industries, from large stores to small restaurants that cater to the lunch crowd.

City officials advised restaurants to stock up on supplies to reduce the number of deliveries that need to be made. Police will be randomly stopping trucks and sport utility vehicles to inspect them for explosives. Many commuter trains will stop well outside the city, because North Station will be closed, forcing riders to transfer to buses and the subway. All high-occupancy vehicle lanes will be restricted to use by emergency and authorized vehicles only starting Friday July 23.

The easternmost end of the Charles River will be closed to all boat traffic, as well as 50 feet of Boston Harbor near the Charlestown Bridge. Also closing during the convention are the North Station commuter rail service, the North Station stop for the Orange and Green lines, and the Lovejoy Wharf water transit service. Some 200,000 vehicles travel on I-93 every weekday, 24,000 people use the commuter rail from the north, and 200 people use the water transit.

The effect of the road closures will be particularly dramatic close to the city. Route 1 southbound near Chelsea will be closed, as will the Tobin Bridge southbound, the Sumner Tunnel, Storrow Drive eastbound from Western Avenue to Leverett Circle, and Memorial Drive from the BU Bridge to the Longfellow Bridge. The McGrath-O'Brien Highway will terminate at Land Boulevard and drivers will have to turn right to go into Cambridge or left over the Gilmore Bridge into Charlestown. There will also be lane restrictions on the Massachusetts Turnpike from the Allston-Brighton tolls into Boston.

The shutdown of I-93 will extend from Route 128 in Woburn to Route 128 in Braintree. Drivers will be encouraged to use alternate routes inbound to Boston at those intersections. All local entrance ramps to I-93 north from Braintree to Boston will be closed, and all local entrance ramps to I-93 south from Woburn to Boston will be closed.

Any northbound drivers on the interstate who ignore signs to seek alternate routes between approximately 4 p.m. and midnight on the four nights of the convention will be diverted at Exit 20 for Frontage Road, where they can head west on the Massachusetts Turnpike, take the Ted Williams Tunnel, or continue into Boston at the South Station area via Atlantic Avenue. Southbound drivers on I-93 will be diverted at Exit 32 for Route 60 in Medford, where they can travel east to Route 1-A and the Ted Williams Tunnel, or pick up Route 28 and Route 16 and use local routes to get to Boston.

At the briefing, State Police Major Michael Mucci strongly advised drivers to use Route 128 and avoid central Boston altogether. "If you're going from Reading to Marshfield, use Route 128," he said "Circumvent the city if at all possible."

In Boston proper, Boston Police Superintendent Robert Dunford said at the briefing, nonemergency vehicles would be banned from the Bulfinch Triangle district, the city blocks bounded by Merrimac, Causeway, and North Washington streets. Causeway Street will be closed to all vehicles. Delivery trucks will have to park outside that triangle and drivers will have to walk or wheel goods and packages into businesses before noon. They will not be permitted in after noon during convention week.

No parking or stopping will be allowed on a stretch of Beacon Street between Charles and Arlington streets, on Boylston Street from Massachusetts Avenue to Arlington Street, on Massachusetts Avenue in the area of Boylston Street. That is to keep traffic flowing on those thoroughfares, especially shuttle buses taking delegates from the Back Bay hotels to the FleetCenter, Dunford said.

Convention organizer Julie Burns said an intensive public awareness campaign would continue through the 67 days remaining until the start of the event, labeled "Let's Work Around It," encouraging people and businesses to adjust their travel plans. She said updated information on roads and transit would be available at the website www.boston04.com and by calling the SmarTraveler traffic monitoring company at 617-374-1234.

"What is about to happen in Boston is the continuation of the democratic process and the American way, at a time when the country is at war," said Scott Sheafe, special agent for the United States Secret Service, which led the planning in coordination with the city of Boston, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority police, the Boston Police Department, the Massachusetts State Police, the Executive Office of Transportation and Construction, and the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority.

Anthony Flint can be reached at [email protected]. [IMAGE]

[IMAGE]
© Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company
 

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Mumbles...

Ok folks we are having a little get together so we would appreciate it if you shut things down so we can have our little party. :evil:
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I wish all the LE working that cluster the best of luck!
 

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I think it's pretty simple. The city of Boston CANNOT handle such an event. They should've had it in Springfield. :shock:
 

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Yeah, Springfield, MO!

FLAME ON: It is apparent that Boston (read "back-east") has bitten off more than it can chew. I don't believe that Troops B and C should have to ride to the rescue back east. We have chosen to live and work out here in the Valley and the Berkshires because back east stinks: too much traffic, people, etc. For those of you who like living back east, or just don't know any better, more power to you! All we ask is that you SECURE YOUR OWN BACK YARD and leave us out of it! FLAME OFF!

sorry...was that out loud? :oops:

Hey, BPD Union: those slots being filled by troopers are unfilled BPD patrol positions...those are union jobs. I hope you will be addressing that at the picket line and in contract negotiations!
 

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I can assure you that road rage incidents are going to be in an increase that week. And of course who is going to be on the front lines to take all that abuse and much more?


THE UNIFORM COPS
 

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dcs2244 said:
Yeah, Springfield, MO!

FLAME ON: It is apparent that Boston (read "back-east") has bitten off more than it can chew. I don't believe that Troops B and C should have to ride to the rescue back east. We have chosen to live and work out here in the Valley and the Berkshires because back east stinks: too much traffic, people, etc. For those of you who like living back east, or just don't know any better, more power to you! All we ask is that you SECURE YOUR OWN BACK YARD and leave us out of it! FLAME OFF!
This is your back yard too. What does it say on your patch? MASSACHUSETTS STATE POLICE. It doesn't say...Troop B Police. You would probably complain if the NEMLEC's/METROLECS (Etc. (which I don't agree with BTW) were there too. :G:
 
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Dr.Magoo said:
dcs2244 said:
Yeah, Springfield, MO!

FLAME ON: It is apparent that Boston (read "back-east") has bitten off more than it can chew. I don't believe that Troops B and C should have to ride to the rescue back east. We have chosen to live and work out here in the Valley and the Berkshires because back east stinks: too much traffic, people, etc. For those of you who like living back east, or just don't know any better, more power to you! All we ask is that you SECURE YOUR OWN BACK YARD and leave us out of it! FLAME OFF!
This is your back yard too. What does it say on your patch? MASSACHUSETTS STATE POLICE. It doesn't say...Troop B Police. You would probably complain if the NEMLEC's/METROLECS (Etc. (which I don't agree with BTW) were there too. :G:
good point.
 

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HomicideGuy said:
And fellows, you can count on the MetroStars / MetroLecs being there. Already a done deal.
Time to throw on the pajama pants and baclava, and go tooting around the closed interestate 93 in that sweeeeeeeeeeet RV! Everyone loves a good pajama party. :twisted:
 

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dcs2244 said:
It is apparent that Boston (read "back-east") has bitten off more than it can chew. I don't believe that Troops B and C should have to ride to the rescue back east.
Then why bother being a State Trooper?!?! Should've been a local cop if you don't wanna help the STATE.
 

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Since the state police are "the police" for large areas of Troops B and C (and perhaps areas of Troop D as well), I think that is where we need to be. Stripping the police from the west to police the east makes no sense: there are far more police back east than in the west.

This event requires the participation of all law enforcement, not just Boston and the state. This is the type of occurrence that local police mutual aid pacts were designed for. Local cops can direct traffic as well as, and maybe better than, state cops. Even the dreaded 'LECS have a role to play :shock: !

The state police do have a role to play, albeit perhaps a more modest one than currently envisioned. Crowd control is their speciality. Local cops can handle the other duties (this is not to say that locals aren't capable of "crowd control": it is the number of similarly trained people that the state can deploy that makes them the obvious choice for that job).

As far as "dereliction of duty and failure to obey a lawful order" go, I already have my orders, will obey them, and will be providing numerous other services in addition to my usual responsibilities.

As I stated above, the problem is logistical in nature (my jaundiced view of "back east" not withstanding :D ): stripping the police from an area where they are already spread thin in favor of a "cop-heavy" (by comparison) area does not make sense.
 

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I'll be there too, standing tall on the skirmish line, but it doesn't mean I have to like it...haven't you ever heard its a soldiers right to complain! It just seems to me that mumbles is betting his whole political career on this disaster, a disaster that may not even have the democratic nomination of their candidate....didn't think of that, did you mumbles?
 

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democ rats are anti police - please think, then vote Republican -- as we all know, the unions do what is expedient - but real men, people who think and real police - vote Republican ! look at the big picture..
 
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