When moving to a new city there are always adjustments to be made, nuances to be learned, and local how-tos to figure out. City driving can be one of the more intimidating things to consider, and Boston certainly has its fair share of confusing driving conditions. But with a little bit of preparation- mental and technological- you can be prepared to navigate Boston’s streets like a native.
Boston’s Streets are Confusing
There’re no two ways around it: since Boston expanded from a colonial settlement into a bustling metropolis, city planning is pretty much nonexistent. One way streets, necessary U-turns, and strange forks in the road mean that a good GPS app like Waze or Google Maps will be your best ally. Download the map of Boston and save all of your regular destinations to your app, and don’t forget to keep a charger for your phone handy: GPS takes a lot of juice, and a dead phone is of no use to a lost driver!
Learn How to Navigate the Rotaries
Known in other countries and states as “roundabouts”, Boston’s rotaries are one of the popular ways that the flow of traffic is controlled. Keep in mind when getting around Boston that the person who is already in the rotary always has the right-of-way, be prepared to hit the gas when it’s your turn to enter, and you’ll master the art of rotary driving in no time.
Boston Drivers Are Serious About Getting Places
Though they have a reputation for being a bit reckless, really driving in Boston just requires you to be on top of your game and a little aggressive about your driving decisions. When taking off at a green light, be sure you accelerate quickly or you’ll suffer the wrath of the honking drivers behind you. Similarly, if you ever want to turn or merge, you need to be decisive. If you waver or pause, others will take advantage of the gap. There’s no room for leisurely Sunday drivers in this city.
Prepare for All Kinds of Weather
Being a port city in the northeast, Boston will show you all sides of the weather. Snow, sleet, rain, heat, and ice are all part of the driving experience, and you need to be prepared to drive in all of it. Last winter’s “Snowmageddon” shut down the city for a few days even, so in the winter, don’t assume that living in a city means clear streets at all times. If the weather is bad, consider taking public transit, or if you must drive, do so cautiously and defensively.
Look Out for Pedestrians and Bicyclists
Since Boston is an incredibly walkable city, many take full advantage and get out on foot. But jaywalking is a time-honored tradition in Bean Town so stay alert for pedestrians where they shouldn’t be. Bicyclists also tend to participate in the city’s wild “driving” culture, so be aware that they will merge with traffic just like a car. Since Boston is fairly flat, it’s a great option if you’re feeling adventurous.
A Note: Help Your Movers Get Around
Since Boston requires permits if you’re moving in Boston, and if you’re going to obstruct parking or traffic in any way, take care of it ahead of time. Luckily you can do so online, so long as you fit the regular requirements for “street occupancy”. When relocating to Boston, be sure to give your movers good directions to your new home if there are any strange one-way or other hazards, though good local moving companies will help you be sure you’ve taken care of all the details before your move.