Can we talk about Belmont Street for a minute?

At approximately 5:20pm this evening, I will be driving home westbound on Belmont Street between Plantation and Shrewsbury Streets.

This has never been my favorite part of my commute.

The street was previously a washerboard, and was then scarified with minimal (or nonexistent) lane markings.

But at least the need to to focus on which lane I was driving in distracted me from the “acorn lights.”

For the past week or so, this stretch of Belmont Street has been an absolute disaster.

Yes, they’ve paved the street quite decently.

Yes, they’ve painted lane markers.

The problem is that “they” have painted lane markers that create an extra middle lane right before Plantation Street (no complaints there!) and then make it mush back into the original middle lane rather abruptly somewhere between Plantation and Shrewsbury.

I would have taken a picture of this, but I’m desperately trying to avoid an accident whenever a good picture presents itself.

You see, there are always a few people who find the phantom lane and decide to drive in it.  Those people tend to be made up of two distinct categories: (1) people with out-of-state plates, and (2) Worcesterites who can’t believe their good luck that the city might finally resolve the “will the guy in front of me in the middle lane stop abruptly at the ‘no left turn’ signal when I want to go straight” conundrum.

Unfortunately, a short way up the road, right before everyone’s favorite bus stop, the phantom lane suddenly ends and gets merged back into the middle lane.

This means that a finger is invariably raised, an accident is deftly avoided, and/or an out-of-stater becomes mightily confused.

A fourth lane to relieve the “will he or won’t he make a left turn” middle lane tension would be welcome, but the disappearing lane is going to cause an accident very soon.

ETA, 8:30pm – I noticed that the phantom lane lines have been (mostly) painted over, but the sun was so bright that it shone on the painted-over areas and it still looked like a separate lane (and motorists were treating it as such).  So, the phantom lane lives on.

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7 thoughts on “Can we talk about Belmont Street for a minute?

  1. Brendan Melican says:

    Why does it seem like we give out extra lane to the outbound streets? Goldstar is wider than the Pike and I’ve never seen it close to capacity.

  2. Nicole says:

    In this case the extra lane is for inbound (so — if you’re coming up Belmont from Lake Avenue, eventually it becomes five lanes, with a turn-only lane for Plantation). I *think* that lane was intended to be another straight-only lane to go up Belmont, leaving two lanes to turn-only onto Shrewsbury. Sadly, it hasn’t been executed to perfection.

    • Joe says:

      I don’t think the turn from Belmont West to Plantation north is really wide enough for two lanes.
      It would really be nice if we had 4 lanes going straight there, which would feed int two left lanes that turn onto Shrewsbury St. and two lanes that kept going straight up Belmont.
      People always got confused in that middle lane between Plantation and Shrewsbury streets. Right now the left lane there is wide enough for two, it just needs to be painted that way.

  3. Joe says:

    This is actually inbound.
    I was watching this the other day, and have decided I’m going to avoid Belmont until they get the final coat down.

  4. elmparkblogger says:

    Bob Moylan has often said that one of the key lessons from the Blizzard of 78 was the vital necessity of Belmont St, and I often think about that as I travel up and down that hill –esp on snowy days.

  5. Angela says:

    I was choice #2 in the phantom lane this morning and will admit that as I was headed up the hill and I saw the ”extra” lane, my heart leaped for joy! But, alas, as I waited at the light and scanned the road ahead, I realized that this was going to be a short-lived joy. So, I plotted out my plan for the top of the hill, as the car in the ”real” lane to my right inched forward, slowly, slowly. That driver definitely wasn’t getting stuck in that no-man’s land middle lane. I made it to the left hand turn on Shrewsbury St. at the front of the pack and took my left turn. And vowed to avoid Belmont St. until the work is complete.

  6. Jenn Falcon says:

    All I know is half the time they work on the road, our water off Belmont Street turns brown.
    I like Worcester water. I’m very opposed to bottled water, and always trying to convince people tap water is safe. (Plus we need a deposit on bottled water.)
    So, it makes me wonder if the bottled water companies have control of the DPW when the lady on the phone there says: “well it’s not brown now….”.

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