A cool look at some convention-traffic hot spots
Page 2 of 4 -- A refresher on the big picture, you ask? Take a deep breath. At the request of the Secret Service, I-93 through Boston will be closed from about 4 p.m. to 1 a.m. the evenings of the convention, July 26 to 29. Southbound traffic north of the city will be restricted to two lanes starting at Route 128 and diverted at Medford. South of the city, northbound traffic will be diverted to I-90 at Exit 20, with the additional option of Frontage Road to downtown. At all times that week, one lane will be blocked off both north and south of the city on I-93 for bus and emergency vehicle access, from Route 128 inbound. During closure hours, the Sumner Tunnel and inbound Tobin Bridge will be shut; southbound traffic will be diverted off Route 1 in Revere. Inbound Memorial and Storrow drives will close beginning near Western Avenue; the same for the McGrath-O'Brien Highway at Land Boulevard.
The folks at the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority say the transit system is the clear alternative, but there are serious issues there. Again, at the request of the Secret Service, the North Station commuter rail and subway station, at the FleetCenter, will be closed. Fitchburg line riders must transfer for the Red Line at Porter Square; Lowell line riders must transfer to a shuttle bus at Anderson-Woburn; Haverhill line riders make the switch to the Orange Line at Oak Grove in Malden; and Newburyport/Rockport line riders must transfer to a bus at Lynn, though they can take the Blue Line to Wonderland and catch a shuttle bus to Lynn on the return trip. The T has arranged for extra parking spaces at spots like the Route 128 station and put on extra trains on both the north and south sides. Green Line passengers must exit at Government Center or Haymarket for a shuttle bus to Lechmere, and the Orange Line won't stop at North Station. But the subway will be operating with rush-hour-like frequency at all regular hours. Lovejoy Wharf will be closed, but other commuter boats are open. Finally, all bags are subject to search, particularly large bags. No large bags are permitted on the Orange Line or on T buses that use I-93. The policy applies to all modes -- bus, subway, commuter rail, or ferry.
Meanwhile, the MBTA's Harbor Express ferry has announced uninterrupted service between the South Shore and downtown Boston and Logan Airport during the convention. See www.harborexpress.com.
For more information, go www.mbta.com and check out the pamphlet, "Taking the T During the DNC." For all information on traffic and transit, there's also the convention website, www.boston04.com, the Globe's website at www.boston.com/traffic, and Smart Routes Systems at www.smartroutes.com or *1 on a cellphone. Also call MassRIDES at 1-888-4COMMUTE. Continued...