Few pleasures of Boston driving are more joyous than trying to merge onto I-93 during rush hour. And while the experience is exhilarating at any juncture, several readers have e-mailed to point out an on-ramp that is particularly hairy: The intersection of Herald and Albany streets in the South End, where the far left of three lanes of traffic merges onto the southbound highway.
Doug of the Back Bay provided a wonderfully cogent description of the intersection, if you’re not familiar with the spot.
“It is clearly marked that you should be in the left lane (of three lanes) with all lanes forced to take a right turn at the end of the street. Being in the left lane allows you to safely take the left side on-ramp to 93 S. Meanwhile, drivers are always trying to merge in from the center lane to take the left side on-ramp. It is clearly marked that you can’t do this on Herald Street.”
Doug added, “I seem to have a near accident once a week because of drivers ignoring the signage.”
Another reader, Jerry, summed it up well.
“The net result of this mass merging is a funnel-shaped parking lot of cars blocking the on-ramp to I-93 along with the lanes of Albany St.,” he wrote.
By the way, he continued, the problem is exacerbated “by the fact that, at the top of the ramp, traffic on Southeast Expressway is super slow; hence, merging into the I-93 and onto the ramp is a slow process and cars do not readily exit the funnel.” And, he added, “there are interesting facial expressions and dynamics as drivers jockey to get onto the ramp.”
As these readers say, the signs on Herald Street are pretty unequivocal about the fact that only those in the left-hand lane are allowed onto the ramp.
Michael Verseckes, spokesman for the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, confirmed that pushy drivers trying to elbow their way in from the right and center lanes are in the wrong.
But, Verseckes said, some of the pavement markings that provide extra clarification for drivers have worn off in recent years. Motorists may well need additional reminders, he said.
“MassDOT will work with the city of Boston to examine installing additional signs and will be adding pavement markings to improve the clarity of the lane assignments at the intersection,” he added.