It's a ride tipster Bob Mathews of Jamaica Plain would love to avoid if he could. But his daily commute takes him right through maddening traffic snarls that regularly clog streets in the Longwood Medical Area.
"Every weekday morning I drive north on the Riverway through the intersection with Brookline Avenue," Mathews writes in an e-mail. "It always requires several light changes to make it through that intersection, and northbound traffic is often backed up on the Riverway to the Route 9 overpass or well beyond. This situation persists from morning rush hour to noon.
"The reason is that the intersection is almost always gridlocked by traffic going inbound on Brookline Ave. . . . Drivers going inbound on Brookline Ave. routinely block the entire Riverway intersection. The result is that drivers going north on the Riverway (and often those going south) cannot move through the intersection. The consequence is a mammoth and morning-long traffic jam. There is simply too much traffic on Brookline Ave. inbound - including the substantial northbound traffic turning onto Brookline Ave. from the Riverway," he writes.
On a recent late-morning drive by a Globe reporter along Brookline Avenue, traffic in both directions crawled at a glacially slow pace; a four-block trip clocked in at 15 minutes. Drivers frequently drove through red lights or idled in the middle of intersections waiting to proceed but blocking oncoming traffic. A police officer on detail directing traffic appeared to be focused primarily on waving vehicles past an active construction site.
Mathews suggests some possible solutions for clearing the congestion. "Change the timing of traffic lights on Brookline Ave. between Longwood Ave. and the Riverway to get more traffic flowing; erect signs on Brookline Ave. inbound at the Riverway intersection warning drivers not to block the intersection; consider stationing a police officer at the intersection during the busiest times to prevent gridlock. Unfortunately, I'm sure this area has multiple jurisdictions, and getting anything done about this problem is likely to be a nightmare. Can you help?"
The city responds
"As a result of ongoing development in the area, the Boston Transportation Department works closely with
WHO'S IN CHARGE
Thomas J. Tinlin, commissioner
Boston Transportation Department
1 City Hall Plaza
Boston, MA 02201
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