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A Question Of Signage

A normal Storrow Drive entrance vs. the Soldiers Field Road entrance (Paul Levy)

A normal Storrow Drive entrance (left) vs. the Soldiers Field Road entrance (right). (Paul Levy)

We’ll begin today with some follow-up on a story we did yesterday about just one of the well known hazards of driving in Boston.

That’s right. We reported on a weekend bus crash on Soldiers Field Road that injured 35 passengers, one of whom is still in critical condition. It was just the latest in a long history of accidents in which drivers unfamiliar with the parkway, miss the warning signs and crash their trucks and buses into the low bridges.

That’s what happened Saturday, when a bus driver carrying students home to Pennsylvania hit the Western Avenue Bridge on Soldier’s Field Road. It took crews over an hour to free all of the passengers from the wreckage.

Yesterday we spoke with SJ Port, spokeswoman for the Department of Conservation and Recreation, the state agency that maintains the roadway, about some possible low-tech solutions to avoid crashes in the future. Among the ideas — beefing up the low-hanging warning signs to keep trucks and buses off the roadway.

“So in ’87 we put cowbells on all of those [signs] and unfortunately they weren’t very efficient. Whenever we had a windy day, they would just clang throughout the entire day which residents weren’t thrilled with. And we pulled those off in 1990. We are looking into what we can do to give further warning beyond the signs we already have.”

But what signs?

After he heard this story, Paul Levy did a little investigation of his own — and followed the course the bus took last Saturday. Levy is the former CEO of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and the author of “Goal Play: Leadership Lessons from the Soccer Field.”


Paul Levy, author of “Goal Play: Leadership Lessons from the Soccer Field”


Paul Levy’s blog: Not Running A Hospital

Radio Boston “Saturday night, a charter bus carrying a group of Pennsylvania students and their chaperons slammed into the Western Avenue Bridge as it was traveling on Soldiers Field Road. The crash injured 35 students, with four passengers in critical condition and one with life-threatening injuries.”

Other stories from this show:

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  • Livengoo

    I had to laugh at the root cause comment. In technical fields including medicine and computers, we have root cause analysis – looking for the underlying cause of a failure. But in this case, I wonder if he meant they need ROUTE cause analysis to see why the GPS didn’t warn the driver about a low overpass!

  • X-Ray

    There exist special truck versions of GPS routers which include warnings for road hazards associated with large vehicle, limited turning radius, weight limitations, etc. Unfortuantely, they cost more and this vehicle apparently was not equipped with such a version.

    • Jessica Alpert

      Hello X-Ray:
      Thanks for your comment.  We actually went on a drive with the creators of one of these GPS devices.  You can hear it in the second half of this segment: http://radioboston.wbur.org/2013/02/04/crash

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