Harvard Square - Moving Truck Permit on Sunday and Truck Routes?
September 13, 2013 5:15 PM   Subscribe

Hi all, I am moving from Cambridge to Providence on Sunday morning. I'll be picking up a 16 foot truck from Penske at 436 Riverside Ave in Medford at around 8:30am that morning, and driving it to Harvard Square, probably to Linden St between Mass Ave and Mt. Auburn. And once it's loaded, on to Providence. I need help knowing whether I need a permit, and about the best way to drive the truck through the streets of Medford, Somerville and Cambridge.

I had assumed I didn't need a permit for the truck, since it will be on a Sunday, but now I'm wondering if that's true. It's too late to get one, so I guess it's kind of a moot point -- but any ideas on how to prevent myself from getting a ticket? Or am I okay?

Secondly, I'm hoping Penske will be able to help me with this, but any tips on the easiest route for me driving the truck would be great. I really hate driving moving trucks in cities with small narrow turns... the last time I rented a truck I clipped someone's mirror in Brooklyn. So for those of you familiar with Boston/Cambridge... any tips for the easiest, safe for trucks route? I know I can't take Memorial or Storrow. But Google maps doesn't tell me where trucks are and aren't allowed, not to mention how wide or narrow different streets are.

Thank you!
posted by betsbillabong to Travel & Transportation around Cambridge, MA (13 answers total)
Best answer: The route Google maps suggests is legit. I used to live near Foss park in Somerville, and to get to where you are - that is probably the best way there since it avoids any underpasses. Take a streetmap view ride you'll see. It's mostly 28, a little spin down prospect street, it's all good... really.

Similarly, the route out of town to Providence is also pretty easy. I checked street-view to make sure you don't hit any underpasses (I rarely took the pike from where you are). All in all, you are in a pretty clinch in-and-out sort of location. That's pretty ideal.

I can't comment on permits, but I've never seen any ticket enforcement on Sunday unless it involved handicapped spots or bus zones. Of course, it's been a few years and a financial crisis since I've lived in the area - but hey - how much can code enforcement really change?
posted by Nanukthedog at 5:52 PM on September 13, 2013

That low overpass on Storrow? Avoid it.
posted by zippy at 5:54 PM on September 13, 2013 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: Sorry, don't want to threadsit, but thank you both.

This site suggests that Prospect Street is closed to trucks. And likewise Putnam Ave (to get to Western, to get to 90). But perhaps they mean, like, big long trucks, and not just a moving van? I dunno. Is 28 pretty wide? Thx for checking the street view, I hadn't thought of that.

And Zippy, that's exactly the kind of thing I'm trying to avoid! Is Soldier's Field Rd not the same as Storrow?
posted by betsbillabong at 6:00 PM on September 13, 2013

Best answer: If you street map prospect street, there's a UHAUL at Prospect and Broadway. I don't see why there would be a problem. Given that that was a major bike through-way for me, I can definitely say I've never noticed a ban on trucks on Prospect Street - at least not one that was adhered to. If you've got a problem, just say you're picking up or dropping of from your apartment on Prospect.

Also 28 is a 2-3 lane divided highway. It is great, unless you are on a bike and there are 3 snowplows scraping the pavement faster than you can bike to safety.

That specific part of SFR that you'll wind up being on is basically the Cambridge side ramp to the Alston Brighton Tolls. Unless you are forced and or make a wrong turn towards BU or Northeastern (and in that case - crap!) you won't hit any low overpass issues.
posted by Nanukthedog at 6:16 PM on September 13, 2013 [1 favorite]

One last note, Prospect is a major bike through-way. Watch for cyclists the entire length. They can and will overtake you on that road.
posted by Nanukthedog at 6:17 PM on September 13, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: It's been a few years so this may have changed, but last time I moved in Cambridge, the parking permits were useful because they blocked off the space in front of your house in advance. I don't think you'd get a ticket if you can find space to park, but you might for double-parking.
posted by songs about trains at 6:21 PM on September 13, 2013

songs about trains is right - you'll be hurting without that permit because it guarantees you a place to park (or to have people towed away if they're blocking your spot). The permit isn't about your truck itself.
posted by NotMyselfRightNow at 4:43 AM on September 14, 2013

Response by poster: Thanks everyone. This is all really helpful. Feeling better about the permit. Fingers crossed.

The streets outside my building in Harvard Square are oddly quiet and empty in the early morning. I guess because no one lives here but students, and no one with a car? For instance, I looked out my window just now (Saturday, 9am) and there is only one car on the block outside my window. So hopefully my luck will hold. I did realize yesterday that I have to park on Bow street, because I think that a moving truck will be too wide to park on a one way street and allow, say, a bus to come through.

A little scared about the cyclists on Prospect since I am a totally novice truck driver, but I will do my best. Good to know there is a UHaul there. My guess is that the ban on trucks is for 18 wheelers and such. I'm guessing Putnam will be the same.

I so wish someone else could drive this thing for me!
posted by betsbillabong at 5:56 AM on September 14, 2013

Response by poster: (By the way, if anyone has actually DONE this I would love to hear from you).
posted by betsbillabong at 8:13 AM on September 14, 2013

I live on Brattle. I've lived in four places in the Square in the last 10 years. It's never as bad as you think it's going to be, especially if you get out and working early. Good luck!
posted by NotMyselfRightNow at 1:28 PM on September 14, 2013 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks! I'm almost there. Just finishing up the kitchen. If someone sees this in time and knows the best truck route from Harvard Square to Providence, let me know. It was suggested today that I take Mass Ave to Garden to Mt. Auburn out to Route 2, and then onto 95. Would that be easier/better/more legal than taking Mt. Auburn east to Putnam, then crossing the river at Western, taking a left on Soldier Field Rd. and getting onto 90, then 93 and 95? (or 90 west to 95?)
posted by betsbillabong at 12:47 PM on September 15, 2013

Best answer: I'd do Mass to Western to Soldiers Field to 90. You avoid the overpasses that scalp so many innocent U-Haul trucks every September.
posted by NotMyselfRightNow at 3:07 PM on September 15, 2013

Response by poster: Sorry I never followed up! It went fine.

I think moving on a Sunday was key. I was at the Penske truck pickup place by 8:30, but wasn't out of there till 9 or so, maybe even a little later. And even on Sunday, parking in the exact spot I wanted was not as easy as I had hoped. But I ended up finding a pretty good space.

Directions-wise, I ended up taking Putnam to Western to Soldier's Field to 90. No problems.

I was nervous, but it all worked out. Thanks, MeFites!
posted by betsbillabong at 7:34 PM on October 16, 2013

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