I’ve been driving in Southie since I was 16 and I’ve tackled everything from double parking to banging a U-y on East Broadway on a busy Saturday. I can parallel park with the best of them and move my car in the nick of time to avoid it being towed on street cleaning. You might say I am a Southie driving expert. So with that in mind, here are my picks for the worst intersection in South Boston:
Perkins Square*. This intersection is bad for numerous reasons. First, the people who park in front of PS Gourmet. Whether cars are double-parked or parked too close to the cross walk, it makes that right from Dorchester Street to East Broadway a hair-raising task. Not to mention the maniacs in the left lane coming from East Broadway to West Broadway that either decide that they didn’t really want to take the left onto Dorchester Street or knew all along they were gonna take the right. Reason number two? Now that the city has taken away the green arrow on Dorchester Street to make the right up the hill on East Broadway, this intersection has become even more tricky. Because of the removal of the green arrow, if you are coming from Dorchester Street from Stats and trying to take a left up the hill on East Broadway, you face death. You have cars coming at you every which way and you just hope that people don’t smash into you because they’ve decided to ignore your blinker and drive around you instead of waiting ten seconds to let you go. Reason number three? The lunatics that live by the code that no rules apply and blow right through red lights in every direction.
Any intersection along L Street during rush hour. We all know that L Street is the cut through for everyone from the South Shore avoiding the nightmare that is 93 North in the morning, but honestly, would it kill people to let you cross over L Street? On any given morning, you may notice gridlock along L Street caused by the people who are afraid that they won’t make the light. They pull right up behind the car in front of them blocking the intersection when they can clearly see that someone is waiting to drive from a cross street like East Sixth across L. It’s the equivalent of giving you the middle finger. They may try to avoid eye contact by staring straight ahead and pretending like they don’t see us, but we know they do. We hope they feel shame and guilt because these causers of gridlock are complete jerks. Another jerk we encounter on L Street? People who drive around the cars that are nice enough to stop to let you make the left on East Broadway. Complete jerks.
Dorchester Street and Old Colony Avenue. There is usually a steady flow of traffic during the rush hour commute – again, often people cutting through Southie – but if you have to make a right or a left from Old Colony onto Dorchester Street, good luck! 9 out of 10 cars will not let you go. They are in too much of a big hurry to let you go. So you wait, pissing off the people who are stuck behind you forcing them to wait too. Sometimes they’ll make an abrupt exit to the other lane shaking their heads at the nerve of us having to make a turn. The same thing applies at this intersection as L Street- if someone is nice enough to stop and left you go – usually because you’ve edged your way out into the middle of the flow of traffic and really they have no other choice but to stop – you might encounter that one jerk that tries to go around the stopped car and all but runs into you.
Andrew Square. Hold onto your hats – this mother of all intersections is a beast. No matter which way your are going, in a blink of an eye you could be in an accident. We’re not sure what it is about this intersection, but people drive as if there are no traffic lights at all. If you are coming from Prebble Street and trying to cross over to go to Target, you might get hit from people trying to make the left. Or you might get a late blinker in front of you in the left lane and then your are stuck and forced to wait a another light sequence to get a chance to try again. And then there are the pedestrians in this area – the pedestrians that apparently have nine lives and will happily walk out into oncoming traffic – cross walks be damned. Green light? They are walking across anyway. So not only do you have to worry about getting hit by oncoming traffic, you have to worry about oncoming jay walkers.
West Third and Dorchester Street (trying to head over to Emerson). There are two possible scenarios at this intersection. Either people block the box and cause gridlock and you can’t cross over or you inch your way out slowly hoping that people aren’t flying up Dorchester to make the light – which they always are. You take your life into your own hands trying to edge your way thru this little gem of an intersection. This white knuckled, heart racing feat, can make even the experienced driver sweat a little. Not to be outdone, East Fourth/West Fourth and Dorchester Street. That’s a doozy to cross as well.
The corner of N and East Broadway. Trying to make a left onto East Broadway (heading towards M) from N Street? Good luck. There are lots of factors to take into account when tackling this maneuver. One – often there cars parked right on the corner causing a blind spot. Two – you are on an incline which means you really can’t roll slowly out into the intersection. It’s either gas or brake. Three – time of day. Early in the morning? You’ve have buses, kids, parents, dogs all crossing in that area. Evening or weekends? Just as bad. There is often a steady flow of traffic going up and down East Broadway so you take your chances. You begin the process of edging you way out into the intersection in the hopes that people will see the nose of your car and either a.) let you turn or b.) drive around you and avoid hitting you. After you let your presence known, quickly look to the left and look to the right, if the coast is clear, floor it and make your turn.
Farragut Road and East Broadway. People love to blow through this intersection without ever stopping at the stop sign. You need to look, look again, and then look again. You never know when some commuter from out of town is in a big hurry cutting through Southie to make his 9am meeting downtown.
Winner of “Bermuda Triangle of Traffic?” “Broadway Village.” The area of A Street, West Broadway and Dot. Ave near Broadway Station is just a nightmare of traffic during rush hour – especially in the morning. Between buses, pedestrians, delivery trucks and commuters, it’s a painful gridlock. Avoid it at costs. And another thing, why do they allow delivery trucks to unload during rush hour? Have you seen the operation that the Dollar Store on West Broadway orchestrates during rush hour? There are make-shift conveyor belts, hundreds of boxes on the street and sidewalk, safety cones, a giant truck double parked, and one poor bastard trying to unload. This is all taking place on a weekday at 8am.
We are sure that there are other intersections that are terrible too. But these are my picks for the 5 worst ones in my book. Happy driving!
*Perkins Square is the area where East Broadway turns into West Broadway at the intersection of Dorchester Street.