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STARTS & STOPS

A fare-free day of summer -- July 4th

Fourth things first.

Let freedom ring! Bus and subway fares will not be collected from 10:30 p.m. to the end of service on July 4. Regular fare collection will take place on all other modes.

Here's the schedule:

The Blue, Green, Orange, and Red lines will have extra service for customers heading to and from the Esplanade.

Commuter rail trains will operate on a Saturday schedule with the last trains departing at 11:45 p.m., which is about 45 minutes after the fireworks display ends. The exception is Train No. 1173 to Newburyport, which departs North Station at 11:15.

Buses will operate on a Sunday schedule with extra service on key routes serving the Esplanade, including:

Route 39 (Forest Hills Station -- Back Bay Station via Copley Square)

Route 57 (Watertown Square -- Kenmore Station via Brighton Center)

Remember that the Green Line's D branch will be up and running for the Fourth. Express bus service between Arlington and Riverside stations will be offered to help out the D branch at the end of the fireworks display.

Special RIDE shuttle vans will be available to carry riders with disabilities between the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, Lot 2 (accessed from Leverett Circle near the Charles Street ramp), and the Esplanade.

This service will start at 7 a.m. and run through 6 p.m. for transportation to the seating area reserved for people with disabilities. Return service will be available at the end of the event. There is no extra charge for this shuttle, nor will there be any fare charged to depart the Esplanade.

On the water, the Hingham and Hull commuter boats will not operate, and Quincy commuter boats to Long Wharf and Logan International Airport will operate on a Sunday schedule. The water shuttle from Charlestown Navy Yard to Long Wharf will operate on a weekend schedule.

Language barrier
Ilana of Watertown commutes by car to Boston Medical Center and has seen a few things that need addressing.

First, "at one intersection (and I've seen them elsewhere as well) there is a sign that says 'Bicycles stop on line for green.' I cannot for the life of me decipher the sign's meaning. Does it mean 'Cyclists, obey the rules of the road' or 'If you stop on the line the light will turn green?' "

We dealt with this question years ago, though with more of these signs popping up, we turned to David Watson of the Massachusetts Bicycle Coalition for an update. They've received several queries about the signs, too, with some wondering whether the signs mean they should stay on the line even after the light turns green.

"They're popping up more and more because loop detectors sensitive to bicycles are now part of the new road-design standards," said Watson, MassBike's executive director.

Before the detectors were put in place, bicyclists had no way to trip traffic lights at certain intersections, leaving them with no option but to cross against the light, which is not only illegal, but dangerous.

"The sign is intended to tell people that if they want the light to change, they need to place their bike on a bike icon painted on the road ," Watson said.

Some of the signs have already been removed because of the convoluted language. The new signs will make it clear that bicycles should stop on the bike icon to request a green light.

"I think that makes a lot more sense," Watson said. "It's just one of those things where the engineers were trying to do the right thing but didn't get the wording quite right."

One problem, however. Many (expensive) road bikes are now being made out of so much carbon fiber and aluminum that the magnetic triggers in the asphalt cannot detect the bikes, Watson said.

Back to Ilana, who had another question. "At the intersection of Massachusetts Avenue and Tremont Street, traveling on Mass. Ave., there is a dedicated left-turn lane in both directions," she said. Headed toward Back Bay, vehicles in the left-turn lane have a left-turn arrow, but in the opposite direction, the traffic signal has been wiped out by a past accident and replaced with an orange barrel.

"So people get stuck trying to turn left onto Tremont," she wrote. "Any chance the city plans on fixing this? It's been like this for months."

Jim Mansfield of the Boston Transportation Department said the intersection has been under repair for several weeks and a new turn signal was to be installed this weekend.

Can't get there . . .
Two to three lanes of Interstate 93 south from downtown to South Bay will be closed from 11:30 p.m. to 5 a.m. tomorrow, Thursday, and Friday.

The Haymarket onramp to I-93 south and the Callahan Tunnel will be closed from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. tomorrow, Thursday, and Friday.

Exit 23 (Purchase Street) off I-93 south will be closed from 11:30 p.m. Thursday to 5 a.m. Friday.

Exit 20B (Massachusetts Turnpike west) off I-93 south will be closed from 11 p.m. tomorrow to 5 a.m. Tuesday. Access to Albany Street will remain open.

The Essex Street onramp to I-93 south will be closed from 10 p.m. tomorrow to 5 a.m. Tuesday.

Two to three lanes of I-93 north through downtown and Charlestown will be closed from 11:30 p.m. to 5 a.m. tomorrow, Thursday, and Friday.

Exit 26 (Storrow Drive) off I-93 north will be closed from 11:30 p.m. to 5 a.m. tomorrow, Thursday, and Friday.

The Sumner Tunnel onramp to I-93 north will be closed from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. tomorrow, Thursday, and Friday.

The Haymarket onramp to I-93 north will be closed from 10 p.m. Thursday to 5 a.m. Friday.

The Essex Street onramp to I-93 north will be closed from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. tomorrow, Thursday, and Friday.

The ramp at Exit 20 (Pike west) off I-93 north will be closed from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. Thursday to Saturday morning.

The ramp at Exit 24 (I-93/South Station) will be closed from 11 p.m. tomorrow to 5 a.m. Tuesday.

The Frontage Road northbound ramp to the Pike west will be closed from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. Thursday to Saturday morning.

The Albany Street onramp to the Pike west will be closed from 11 p.m. tomorrow to 5 a.m. Tuesday.

The ramp from Harborside Drive to the Pike west and the Ted Williams Tunnel will be closed from 11:59 p.m. to 5 a.m. tomorrow, Thursday, and Friday.

The carpool lane from the Pike west to South Station will be closed from 11:30 p.m. tomorrow to 5 a.m. Tuesday.

The Sumner Tunnel onramp to Storrow Drive will be closed from 11:30 p.m. to 5 a.m. tomorrow, Thursday, and Friday.

Route 1A north near Logan International Airport will be closed from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. tomorrow.

The Arlington Street onramp to the Pike west will be closed from 11 p.m. tomorrow to 5 a.m. Tuesday.

Complain to us at starts@globe.com. Don't forget to send us your hometown. Outside the paper, the column can be found at boston.com/starts with daily updates on the Starts & Stops Blog at boston.com/starts/blog. Our mailing address is Starts & Stops, P.O. Box 55819, Boston, MA 02205-5819.

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