What's My Lane?

Parking Madness

Personality: Oh, what people put on, do to or do in their cars!



Give me a Sign!

(Never Mind. Just make the ones I have better)


Updated 2005-04-09 (At long last!)

The images shown here are original, unaltered photographs taken in generally public places. All comments are strictly the personal opinion of the photographer. No photographs or comments are misleading, or known to be false.

Southbound on Boston's Route 128 - 2005-04-07

A few exits before the commuter rail station is this sign, telling drivers that the "T" station is at exit 14. It is actually at exit 13; one exit farther in this direction.

You'd think someone would notice this one?

Center Street at Commonwealth Ave., Newton, MA - 2004-08-23

No... not yet!

This first of two signs tells drivers they must turn right... onto this side street, evidently.

St. James St., Newton Corner (Newton), MA - 2004-09-19

Which to believe?

The double yellow lane markings or the "one-way" sign?

Warren Street at Cambridge St., Brighton MA - circa, 1988

Which to believe?

The double yellow lane markings or the "Do Not Enter" sign?

I called the DPW on this one... and fast!

Totten Pond Road, Waltham, MA -2004-08-26

I've never before, and never have since seen a sign like this.

I didn't know what it meant or how to tell if I was doing it.

Brighton Ave., Allston (Boston), MA -2004-11-05

Is there a reason why this sign is still here... after FIVE YEARS?

Center Street at Commonwealth Ave., Newton, MA - 2004-09-23

Wouldn't that be "Entering" right?

Near Whidden Memorial Hospital, Everettt, MA - 2004-11-10

If you try to follow the signs to this Hospital, you may DIE first!

Not only are there crucial signs missing along the way, but this one points in the wrong direction altogether. It has for a number of years, actually.

WHDH-TV Channel 7 (NBC) "Local" news - 2005-01-29

Nobody from Channel 7 responded to my inquiry, so I don't know where this huge, brilliant electrified spelling error was photographed by their Boston Area news team.

This is only my photograph of the TV screen.

Prudential Center Parking Garage, Boston, MA - 2001-12-09

Conflicting signals: The big arrow, above, tells you that parking is either straight ahead or to the right.

True, except the parking that's straight ahead is behind the elevator, which you would NOT want to drive through in the process.

- - -

Furthermore, I gave these folks a real piece of my mind when they tried to charge me more than I expected to pay for parking here. There are no parking rate signs at the entrance to the garage. I asked the security agent at the entrance what the rates were, and was given an entirely different amount than the higher rate they tried to charge me at the exit.



Vanderbilt Hospital, Nashville, TN - 2002-09-04

Due to construction, I nearly blew through this intersection (EVEN THOUGH this wasn't the first time I had driven on this road).

I was busy checking that there weren't any pedestrians at the crosswalk, when I spotted the stop sign (hiding behind the temporary structure on the sidewalk) just in time.

Parking Garage, Vanderbilt Hospital, Nashville, TN - 2002-09-02

Rule of thumb:

If your car looks and/or handles more like a boat, it isn't a compact.

(True, however, the 'compact only' parking spots in this garage seemed to be just as spacious as those that were not restricted.)

A Faux Gated Community of Nashville, TN - 2002-09-02

Color-coordinated stop signs. How nice!

How DANGEROUS! - They're the wrong color (GREEN means GO!), the wrong size (small), too low, and they aren't even reflective: They practically disappear at night.

Brighton/Brookline, MA - 2002-09-09

Massachusetts is full of such 'Roadway Free-for-Alls' as I call them. This occurs when two lanes (or more!) mysteriously merge into one without advance notice (i.e., without a 'Merge Left' or 'Merge Right' or 'Yield' sign of any kind). This frequent absence of not only forewarning but also instructions results in mayhem, as drivers in both lanes figure out what to do. Usually, both drivers act as if the other driver is supposed to yield.

Above, this less common sign instructs motorists to 'Form (a) Single Lane,' but leaves it up to the drivers to negotiate who yields and who doesn't -- EACH AND EVERY TIME!

Just to let the world know: In cases like this, I stay in the left lane and follow the yellow line. That way, I know it isn't MY lane that's disappearing, so it's up to the driver in the right lane to yield or SIGNAL that they wish to join my lane.

Chestnut Hill Ave., Brookline, MA - 2004-10-11

Yes... same intersection and "Form Single Lane" sign.

I don't know how long this intersection has looked like it does now, and if it has changed since the first photo in 2002.

What's particularly bizarre here is that at least the way it is now, there is no need for this sign, because there is no more merging of two lanes into one. The right lane is a "Right Turn Only" lane.

Residential Neighborhood, Watertown, MA - 2002-07-22

Sure, I understand what this sign is intended to mean, but it sure looks like you're supposed to watch out for POOLS crossing the street.

I wonder why the town figured it would be best to indicate on this sign WHY people are crossing the street, instead of just to be cautious for people crossing the street for any reason in general.

Tobin Bridge (outbound), Charlestown, MA - 2002-04-29

I don't know what took me so long to finally photograph this sign, which has been there since before 1987, when I moved to Boston.

It was explained to me back then that this sign was installed "because there used to be toll booths on the outbound lanes." When this was the case, I don't know. Today, the tolls remain only on the inbound lanes. I have no idea when this sign was put there, but do you think it can finally be removed, after more than a decade of providing irrelevant information? Duh!

There are no flying cows ahead, either. But do you see a sign that warns motorists to look out for these nonexistent bovine? No.

Matt, an internet visitor, wrote to add:

As you travel North across the Tobin Bridge, near the bottom (Chelsea side) on the right is a small white sign (or was last I looked for it) "Speed Limit 15" just before the exit.

White should designate the speed limit for the right-of-way. Normally speed limits for exits are yellow signs.

The next speed limit sign is several hundred yards beyond. When I was in college the next sign was all the way in Revere, about 2 miles away.

Some cop could have made commissioner on that speed trap! (2002-09-17)


I-90 Turnpike Entrance, Allston, MA - 2002-04-25

Damn it! If I'm not complaining about signs that should be there that aren't, I've got to complain about signs that shouldn't be there.

Why are our taxes and tolls going toward entirely uncalled-for signage like this?!?!

Again, file this under "Duh!"

Reedsdale St. at Brighton Ave., Allston, MA - 2002-03-06

Let's put these signs back at right angles, so we can tell which is which, okay?

Reedsdale St., Allston, MA - 2002-03-06

Conflicting indications: Yellow ("no parking") curb, but with a 2-hour parking permitted sign. Which to believe???

Concord Ave., Cambridge, MA - 2002-04-06

I was going to ask what doofus in the construction team put up this sign immediately behind the crosswalk sign. However, I would like to think that nobody could be that stupid. Therefore, I would like to know what doofus in the town signage department didn't have the construction sign relocated before putting up the newer (?) crosswalk sign. Either way, it's absurd!

(And why is this construction project taking so long!?)

Route 60 at Massachusetts Ave., Arlington, MA - 2002-04-06

Three lanes. Three traffic signals.

And I know I'm not the only one that's confused by the conflicting indications here. Many drivers continue straight in the right lane when the green straight arrow appears.

There should not be a straight arrow in the right lane if the signs are to be believed.

There's a similar situation at the opposite side of this intersection, only by the time drivers see the pavement markings that indicate right turn only in the right lane, it's too late. The pavement markings aren't easily visible as you crest the rise just before this intersection.

Washington St., Brighton Center, MA - 2001-11-04

Paul Evans, Commissioner, Boston Police Department
Thomas Menino, Mayor, City of Boston


I am writing with respect to the signage posted by the Boston Department of Transportation for the Allston-Brighton parade this past weekend, 2001-11-04.

These signs were posted at least a day before the parade, so as to allow time for parked vehicles to be cleared from the parade route. These signs not only do not specify a time range during which the restriction was in effect, but also were not removed within a reasonable time period following the end of the parade. Why? Because the DOT doesn't work on Sundays.

I spoke with Richard ("Dick") Loring in the Permits office of the Boston DOT earlier this week. He explained to me that the DOT ran out of signs normally used for parades. It was unclear to me if these "Parade" signs also lack a effective time range. Instead, the DOT used generic "No Stopping Any Time ______" signs with a sticker for the word "Sunday" affixed to them. Nonetheless, there was still ample space on the signs to have written in the effective time range of the restriction. It was not.

Why is this an issue at all to me? Because I felt like a real idiot trying to find a legal parking space on Sunday Evening with all those "No Stopping Any Time" signs all over Washington Street in Brighton Center; especially when there were plenty of other vehicles parked by these signs.

And rightly so, since these drivers (and I) expected that parking in normally legal spaces was allowed that evening, regardless of the contradictory signs. I just didn't feel it was worth the risk, as a normally law-abiding motorist, to blatantly disobey such a clear directive.

As Dick Loring confirmed to me, the Boston Police had every right to ticket or even tow vehicles parked near these signs after the parade crowd cleared away. That was my concern. Of course, the Boston Police in all likelihood were not enforcing this parking ban. But how was I to know for sure? Why is this still such an issue to me? Because although I know full well that you shouldn't believe everything you read, traffic signs shouldn't be open to such interpretation! This state is chock-full of missing, misleading and confusing traffic signs, indicators, and lane markings. This leads to an increasing distrust, nay, contempt for (at least sensible) traffic rules and regulations. That is, if a driver has the intention and intelligence to drive legally in the first place.

I've spent the first 30 years of my life trying to play the game according to the rules... if only "they" would tell me what the rules were. That's usually not the case. I am now more inclined to playing the game by whatever you can get away with, which appears to be the real rules.

This is not good for society in general. Though it may sound silly, I have arrived at the unfortunate and pessimistic philosophy that there is no hope for peace in the world if motorists can't even learn how to politely signal their request for a lane change.

I'm not really suggesting that cars should have been towed on Sunday, of course. But why this discrepancy between the posted signs ("the law") and enforcement thereof?

Sincerely, Erik S. Wegweiser


No reply was received from Police Commissioner Evans.

However, I did receive a reply on behalf of Mayor Menino. I may post that here eventually.

Downtown Crossing, Boston, MA - 2002-01-29

Once again, what is the reason for wasting space with the words "ANY TIME?" This sign is an oxymoron. Instead, make more room for the date and time during which you aren't allowed to park, so that this vital information is legible.

Boston University Parking Lot, 775 Commonwealth Ave., Boston, MA - 2001-11-04

YOU figure it out. I couldn't be certain if I could park here or not, even when someone else there said I could. There was no attendant there on the Sunday I tried.

Fenway area, Boston, MA - 2001-09-27

Another sign needlessly written in the wrong order. Kinda makes it sound like there are mad disabled people crossing the street here.

Winter St., Waltham, MA - 2001-10-01

It seems the town of Waltham and Lincoln can't agree on whether the road is one way or two way.

I got caught in this trap, but good. THERE'S NO WAY OUT ONCE YOU PASS THE DOUBLE YELLOW LINE!

Everett St., Boston, MA - 2001-09-26

One sign is at the North end of the street during construction, while the other sign is on the South end. Why two different signs? Do they, or do they not mean the same thing?

Near Fenway Park, Boston, MA - 2001-09-27

This one's useless unless you have a Red Sox schedule stuck to your dashboard.

Oh... Am I the only Bostonian that doesn't? Sorry.

Brighton Ave., Allston (Boston), MA -2004-10-07

Yes, of course I did know there were the World Series baseball games going on that week. How could one not know?

However, not only was this sign nowhere near the baseball field, Fenway Park, but the game was not even being played in Boston.

And at what time? The sign doesn't say that.

I'm told that these signs were placed here to prevent cars from being overturned by roudy fans, should the Red Sox win.


...and what would happen if they lost?

Waltham Plaza Strip Mall, Waltham St., MA - 2001-08-26

Quick... you're driving along Waltham St. and want to go shopping. Which of these driveways is the entrance, and which is the exit? Will you drive head-on into a car exiting the parking lot or not?

Ironically, this shopping plaza recently put in these new signs that face outward, instead of toward oncoming traffic. They replaced more appropriate and clearer signs, similar to the ones at a plaza across the street, pictured below:

Directional Sign, Belmont St., Belmont, MA - 2001-08-14

They may look cute and stylish, but these skinny little arrows with tiny arrow heads can't be read from across the intersection where a motorist is likely to need to see which way to go to follow the sign.


My original home town, Edinboro, PA - 2001-07-30

Why? Why are two stop signs necessary on one post like this?

Is one sign for drivers in cars and the other for drivers in SUVs?

Are you supposed to stop twice? Twice as long? What? Why!?!

My original home town, Edinboro, PA - 2001-07-30

Imagine my shock at seeing this sign, and then trying to figure out what it really meant.

Galen St., Watertown, MA - 2001-06-18

Aaaaaarrrrgh! -- What the hell is this supposed to mean? These are clearly parking spaces, so why is there a "No Parking" sign pointing toward them?!?

Arlington, MA - 2001-05-10

Where does it say parking is permitted at all between 7pm and 9am? I'm always afraid to assume I'm allowed to park during hours not indicated on signs like this.

I also hate parking meters that don't tell you the hours during which they are in effect (require coins).

Shaw's Supermarket (Formerly Star Market), Mt. Auburn St., Cambridge, MA - 2000-11-14

This parking lot is incredibly botched. For starters, there are contradictory traffic arrows that direct vehicles toward each other. This sign also directs traffic to the right of the island, while the arrows direct traffic to either side.

There are two exits next to each other with their own problems. Although clearly marked "do not enter" on the other side, motorists continue to enter through one of these two exits. The real entrance is around the corner. Furthermore, for some reason, motorists continue to make left turns onto the main street from the right side of this exit, and right turns from the left side of this exit.

Sure, more signs might not help, but still the traffic patterns and markings here could be improved. This would decrease confusion and reduce the 'anarchy' caused by motorists interpreting vague directions incorrectly or ignoring them altogether.


Route 16, Cambridge, MA - 2000-11-12

Perhaps yielding to traffic signs would also be advisable?

(Former) WordsWorth Abridged, Harvard Square, Cambridge, MA - 2000-19-19

For when you absolutely must mix drinking and driving?

Here's a dumb idea that should have died on the drawing table.


Northeast Atlanta, GA - 2000-11-21

Considering the posted directive here that pedestrians must push this button to obtain a safe "walk" signal, I found it absurd that the light post with the buttons is several feet off the path and behind the bushes.

And just why is it that pedestrians "must" press the button anyway?

McDonald's, The Fenway, Boston/Brookline, MA - 2000-11-15

McDonald's deceptively lures cars in exactly the opposite of the correct direction with this sign. When I wanted to make a drive-through ("thru") order, I found myself facing oncoming drive-through traffic, instead of getting in line at the speaker.

AAAAAAAAHHHHH! What Gives Here!?


Main St. at Linden, Waltham, MA - 2000-06-21

Leave it to Massachusetts to screw up traffic signals!

I hate it every time I get to this intersection with that big 'ol round red light staring at me. Of course, that red light only applies of you're turning. If you're going straight ahead, there's that little green arrow.

So why not a red left- and right-arrow, with a big round green light?

Incidentally, this is on one of those roads where if you're going straight, you have to constantly shift lanes because the lane keeps alternatively changing to left- and right-turn only. Geez!

Parking Garage, Massachusetts General Hospital, Charlestown, MA - 2000-06-27

Winding my way around this parking garage, I came face-to-face with this sign on a pillar. I had three choices: 1) drive to the left of the pillar; 2) drive to the right of the pillar; 3) give up and back out.

It is unclear which way (left or right) is the way cars are not supposed to enter!

Chicago, IL - 2000-06-12

Holy Cow! Do people actually rationalize proceeding through an intersection like this? "Gee, their light is green; why can't I go, too?" or "This left arrow must be broken or something."

It's alarming that this sign is even necessary, especially given the signs in cities that are generally not present, but would be infinitely more useful.

Washington, DC - 2000-05-15

First, I hate street signs that you need to think about. It's unsafe to think and drive at the same time.

Secondly, I'm very concerned about the possibility that Monday at 9:25 AM by my watch, I'm traveling down this street, while some jerk with a watch ten minutes fast is zooming toward me.

What were they thinking when they planned this?!?

Broadway (Rte. 99), Everett, MA - 2000-04-11

There are times when I marvel at the need to post signs for employees to remember important safety procedures. Then there are times when I marvel at their irrelevance. Notice that regardless of this sign, the operator of this high-lift van isn't using chock blocks.

Route 2, Near Alewife Circle, Cambridge - 1999-07-24
...and random acts of turn signaling?

Harvard & Commonwealth Ave., Allston - 1999-04-17

I count five cabs at this cab stand, plus three additional (and usually more) cabs parked illegally along the MBTA trolley stop "island." I was surprised to find out that this cab stand sign no longer indicates that there are only four cabs allowed to stop here. I do not know if this was changed, if whoever put up the sign forgot to add that information, or if someone removed it later. You can bet you'd get a nasty reaction from the cab drivers if you parked in their spot!

I can't say whether not being able to stop at the island is a good law or not, but if it is the law, it should be enforced. Otherwise, give the parking spots to the general public and let the taxis park along the island -- NOT both.

Boston - 1999-02-24

Boston - 1999-02-19

Manhattan, NYC - 1999-04-14
It figures that what should be an international standard isn't even agreed upon in one city. I'll add more example photos, but the point here is that those signs atop taxis from city to city or company to company aren't consistent, or even used. It's simple: If the light is on, the taxi should be for hire. If it's not on, the person on the street should be able to tell it's off duty. You can tell there's a taxi heading toward you long before you can tell if there's anyone in the back seat, and save yourself some goofy waving around for nothing. But usually these signs aren't even used. Other times, the signs are diametrically different. That is, sometimes the sign says "Off Duty" (I presume they are not for hire if the sign is on, which seems strange). Sometimes the sign says "Off Duty" on one side and "For Hire" on the other. Either way, why would anyone want to advertise that they are not available, as opposed to drawing attention to themselves if they're looking for a fare? No, it's not the law in Massachusetts, but it's a good idea...

I've been in contact with the Boston Hackney Bureau and with various Boston taxi company executives, and so far I haven't found anybody who says they are against my proposed system. So....?

Porter Square, Cambridge, MA - 2001-06-01

Now why would a white taxi bearing a Yellow Cab sign have a window sticker advertising drivers wanted for Green Cabs?

Brighton, MA - 1999-01-20
I figured it out! - That's why (Boston) drivers are so stupid sometimes... It's the driving schools. They can't even teach what a no stopping zone is!

Update 2000-12: The other day I'm driving in Porter Square, Cambridge and this crazy driver cuts me off without signaling (while I'm signaling in an attempt to change lanes)... all while chatting on a cell phone. Which of the two occupants was the teacher, I wondered.

A constant irritation! Pedestrian walk signals that are not synchronized with traffic signals.

Yawkey Way, Kenmore Square, Boston - 1998-10-24
I tried to rewrite this sign several times so it made sense, but I just couldn't. Does it mean you can't park here at all? Does it apply to everyone or just construction vehicles? When can someone (or just construction vehicles) park or stand here? It shouldn't be this difficult to figure out, for cyrin' out loud!

"Combat Zone," Boston, MA - August, 1990
Audi says that the "Radio will not work if removed from car" Obviously, this thief didn't see this sign before breaking the window... or they were after something else that would work if removed from the car... or maybe if only the radio did work if removed from the car, the car would still be there?

Four Seasons Hotel, Back Bay, Boston - 1999-03-13
Guests' cars parks (displayed?) on the sidewalk... but are they tempting fate?.... File this under "unclear on the concept."

What's My Lane?

Parking Madness

Personality: Oh, what people put on, do to or do in their cars!





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