Boston: Least Navigable?

So, I’m cruising the front page of the Boston Herald this morning and was reminded again of why Boston recently won the “Least Navigable Major City” award. The article entitled “News Flash: Hub a tough ride” stated:

A new study has established what Bostonians have known since the first colonial stage coach driver got lost looking for the Union Oyster House: The Hub is America’s least navigable major city.

Having enjoyed the metropolitan areas of Chicago, Providence, Columbia/Charleston [SC], Hartford, Los Angeles and Dallas/Ft. Worth, I heartily agree with the sentiment presented. God bless ’em, but the designers of Boston’s roads and thruways really created a headache. This is not to say that it’s entire unnavigable. My father-in-law, one of the great Irish-Catholic McGuirks of Worcester, recently drove into the city with us. Our target: Boylston Street and P.F. Changs (a vice of mine inherited from CA). Without knowing where exactly to go, we sludged around downtown and finally, made our target. Once you figured out that there were no lanes, jaywalking is a fact of life, and that taxi drivers are the bane of everyone’s existence, it was easy to get from point A to B. Even driving through the North End on another trip was a delightful (if not the tiniest bit harrowing) experience. In any case, yes, Boston gets the dubious award. Yes, Boston, as opposed to grid cities (a la Los Angeles) is more difficult to drive around. Yes, I will continue to drive into Boston because driving, is part and parcel of the total experience of Boston.

3 Comments so far

  1. Em (unregistered) on August 4th, 2004 @ 2:31 am

    Don’t we The People Who Live in Boston kind of know this already? I mean, we’ve been experiencing it for years! I always call Boston “the city in flux” – never to be finished. Going to the airport was a true adventure for awhile there, every time you went, the roads were different. Wheee!

  2. smeg (unregistered) on August 4th, 2004 @ 3:35 am

    I loved trying to get from Logan to Storrow, for a while, it was interesting and different everytime :)
    While Boston is a pretty maze like city, I don’t see what the big deal is, it’s no different to any city anywhere else in the world or Europe, and we’ve managed just fine :)

  3. Cassford (unregistered) on August 5th, 2004 @ 7:16 am

    Maybe Menino is onto something when he chalks it up to Boston being a pedestrian-focused city. It even affects the MBTA subway lines, which we know weren’t laid out by the colonist’s meandering cows (gophers or moles, maybe). It has improved over the past 10 years or so, but the experince of “rapid transit” still occasionally reminds me of the old joke: “Should we walk or do we have time to take the T?”

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