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5.18.2006

Disappointing? 

Apparently Boston is only the fifth-worst city in the United States when it comes to road rage, trailing Miami, New York, LA and Phoenix.

Phoenix?

For what it's worth, I always thought Boston drivers who drove badly usually did so with some purpose in mind, like the guy who drives 60 down on Commonwealth Avenue in the left lane so that he can make a left turn before the green arrow disappears. In comparison, bad LA drivers tend to be somewhat clueless.

The one thing about Boston driving I loathed the most was the 1-1/2 second lag between the light turning green and the car ahead of me going. I can understand why the first car would wait (so as to not get sideswiped by a car running a red or by an oncoming car immediately making a left), but I never understood why every subsequent car also had to wait 1-1/2 seconds, especially given how aggressive Boston drivers usually drive in all other circumstances (almost a necessity given the cramped, haphazard nature of Boston streets). This particular habit made driving down Fresh Pond Parkway in Cambridge an excruciating experience, particularly during rush hour or on Sunday afternoons (when part of Memorial Drive closes on summer days, causing a big backup as cars line up to turn onto North Harvard Street).

Courtesy of some guy on fark, here's a link to an intersection in the Greater Boston area. At one stop light, there are four lanes; let's number them 1, 2, 3, 4 left to right. Lanes 1, 3 and 4 turn left. Lane 2 turns right. The arrows point diagonally to the upper left and to the upper right respectively.

Comments:

Phoenix probably got some points for the relatively recent incident whereby the road rage ended in a shooting. That town has tons of freeways and is really spread out.

Overall, I don't rank driving in the desert SW as much rude as it is lawless. For example, last year the mayor of Albuquerque started a campaing with the slogan "Use your head; stop on red" to try to cut down on the number of people who run red lights. When they went to photo enforcement for one particuarly bad intersection, they ended up mailing out over ten tickets a day. The other issue with driving in New Mexico is the prevelance of drunk driving. New Mexico used to always be in first place for drunk driving stats, but recently we have managed to lower the rate.
 


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