- Department of Conservation & Recreation
Media Contact for DCR Pilots New ‘Cars Only’ Sign to Prevent “Storrowing” Ahead of Boston Area Move-In Day
Ilyse Wolberg, DCR Press Secretary
Boston — Ahead of Move-In Day in Greater Boston, the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) today announced the piloting of a new more visible and durable “Cars Only” sign on David G. Mugar Way as part of a ramped-up effort to alert drivers of the low bridge clearances on Storrow Drive, Soldiers Field Road, Memorial Drive.
DCR, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT), and Massachusetts State Police (MSP) are reminding college students, residents, and others that they cannot drive large trucks on these parkways, when they move-in to residence halls, apartments, and other living spaces this week. These roadways are restricted to “cars only” and have height restrictions as low as nine feet in some locations. Moving trucks, vans, and box trucks will exceed this height limit and will likely get “storrowed” or stuck under the overpasses. Drivers of these vehicles should seek alternate routes. DCR also launched a new social media campaign this week with humorous videos, gifs and memes to deter “storrowing.”
“This year DCR has expanded our efforts to ensure the public knows about low bridge clearances on our river roads to ensure that we can safely welcome students back to school and new residents to the area,” said DCR Commissioner Brian Arrigo. “We have implemented a pilot program to test out new, more visible and durable signage on Mugar Way and to warn people of the dangers of driving box trucks on low clearance roadways. We hope our creative social media campaign will save our bridges and moving trucks from damage and ensure new residents return their trucks, roofs and all.”
The new sign is made of a yellow aluminum high-visibility retroreflective sheet, which will make it more visible to drivers and reduce the likelihood of letters peeling off, especially during winter months. It also has an extra four inches of rubber hanging at the bottom, intended to provide a soft “first contact” for an over-height vehicle. Additionally, the sign has an improved hanging design utilizing diagonal connections to reduce swaying under high wind loads and high-visibility, highway-grade plastic tubes that stiffen the connection to the overhead structure. Overall, these changes are expected to allow for greater overall visibility of the sign, prevent tangling, and reduce the likelihood of wind damage. After an observation period to examine how effective and resilient this new sign is, DCR will determine whether to implement more of these signs or evaluate alternatives.
“We always appreciate partnerships with DCR, State Police, and other stakeholders that help us expand public education about low bridge clearances. We want everyone to safely reach their destinations and not run into trouble with their over-height vehicles,” said MassDOT Highway Administrator Jonathan Gulliver. “If we can prevent incidents of ‘storrowing’ we can prevent injuries, vehicle damage, and destruction to our roadway structures.”
Massachusetts State Police Troopers respond to multiple instances of trucks that either become stuck under bridges on the river roads and other state parkways, or whose drivers realize they will not fit and need to be slowly backed out of the overpass. State Police urge anyone renting a truck for their college move to check whether bridges on their route of travel can accommodate the height of their vehicle, to seek alternative routes if not, and to observe height information on posted signage and electronic message boards.
“We welcome students and their families to the Boston area and want you to know that the State Police and our partners at local and university police departments are here to help you arrive safely and efficiently,” said MSP Superintendent Colonel John Mawn. “That said, we’d rather not meet you because you ignored posted signs and got your rental truck stuck under a bridge. Start your higher education early — plot your route carefully and ahead of time, know the roadway restrictions, and read the signs on the way to college. We hope you have a wonderful college experience.”
Leading up to Move-In Day, which is Friday, September 1, 2023, state agencies will be positioning increased signage throughout the area, which include variable message boards at various entry points along the parkways warning of height restrictions, and no parking signs where appropriate.
DCR is also working with educational institutions, truck rental companies, and moving companies, and is sharing information to raise awareness on social media channels through September 3. You can follow DCR on Instagram, X (formerly Twitter), Threads, and YouTube all at @MassDCR.