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Dead Bid Walking

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boston-streets

The ridiculous attempt to put the Olympics in Boston in 2024 is dying on the vine. Hosting the Olympics is a terrible idea for any city. For a old, cramped, expensive city like Boston with no room to grow and huge traffic problems, it’s pretty much the worst idea imaginable.

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  • deptfordx

    To be fair, a aerial view of London would be equally chaotic. I imagine our public transport system is better mind.

    • Hogan

      And your signage.

      • Warren Terra

        After I moved to Boston I used to joke about there being a bounty program on street signs, as this would explain the remarkable lack of signage. This was back before ubiquitous GPS, mind.

        • I think it’s all of New England. The year I worked in New Hampshire was the most frustrating driving of my life. It was 2006, just before everyone could get GPS on their phones, and figuring out where you were was a pain in the ass. At least it was beautiful when i was lost.

          • Driving around Rhode Island is extraordinarily unpleasant.

            • Lee Rudolph

              I presume you to mean “driving around with the intention of getting some place in particular, perhaps at some time in particular”. There are lots of nice drives in the state if you just enjoy wandering.

              • I find that most of those nice drives get me to Massachusetts or Connecticut in 10 minutes.

                • Halloween Jack

                  Well, that’s kind of unavoidable in a state that’s smaller than the county I was born in.

                • Ahuitzotl

                  thats what makes them nice?

              • efgoldman

                I presume you to mean “driving around with the intention of getting some place in particular, perhaps at some time in particular”.

                Fa’Reev is no prize, either.

            • rea

              Is it actually possible to get lost in something the size of Rhode Island?

              • Lee Rudolph

                Oh, my, yes.

              • joe from Lowell

                Yes, definitely. On the upside, you can always just jump back on 95 and try again.

              • rhino

                Yes, but you never actually lose sight of your destination or your origin. That’s what makes it especially irritating.

          • MAJeff

            Yeah. I think New Englanders have taken the position: If you don’t know where you’re going already, you don’t belong here, so we’ll make signage that reinforces that point.

            • Ahuitzotl

              The Puritan Sign Ethic in action

              • Lee Rudolph

                You can’t be too careful!

                For false Christs and false prophets shall rise, and shall shew signs and wonders, to seduce, if possible, even the elect. (Mark 13:22, KJV)

                The elect don’t need signs, anyway.

        • mch

          Ah, yes. New England where, as Burt and I observed, “I guess you can’t get there from here.” In 2004 I drove my ailing father from the (real) western part of MA (the Berkshires) to Mass General (you do not want to have to negotiate that hospital world, larger than most nations in the UN) for a sad confirmation of the (smart) boony doctors’ diagnosis (well, sad but expected, and my aged father missed my recently deceased mother too much to care a lot, though he did look forward to the spring, to the new birds he might observe, to some of the new friends he was making…. Life does go on; he must have felt so caught). So we left the Mass General mayhem for home (here in the Berkshires — for me for some 30 years, my father only a few months, previously having negotiated a life from Minnesota and Montana to NYC and NJ, only briefly dealing with MA, hence his curiosity about a new form of spring, of birds and flora and fauna), and I got hopelessly lost — the recent Boston Harbor changes throwing me for a total loop. But we had time: nothing BUT time. I mean, what were a few hours in a life of nearly 85 years that wouldn’t likely extend to 86? I have no idea how we found ourselves somewhere in a Concord milieu, but I began to recognize enough not to panic (I mean, really, we should have been in Springfield by now). Route 2 cannot be far away….

          And despite some moments of anxiety, I think my father really enjoyed this crazy ride. I am projecting, but the industrial sublime of the first part of our journey (my father loved it – hello, Verrazano Bridge, as he drove me from NJ to JFK!) and the overarching trees on the roads of our journey’s second part (hello, Montana — well, not the trees, maybe, but) were all so beautiful.

          You can’t get there from here.

          • Emma in Sydney

            What a wonderful comment, mch. You have me tearing up on a packed commuter train in old crowded Sydney. Where the map looks like Boston and the 2000 Olympics were a blast.

          • jim, some guy in iowa

            thanks for telling that story

    • To me the question is what would need to be built. In London they probably had most of the facilities already built and in use, like in LA in 1984. Boston would probably not have the same kind of athletic infrastructure.

      • wjts

        They built a fair few structures for the 2012 London Olympics.

        • Yeah, I figured some stuff would have to be built, but probably a lot more in Boston. I mean, other than BC, the closest they get to real college sports that would have large, modern facilities is…well…uh…

          • I’m pretty sure that one of the things that got Boston’s bid selected by the USOC was the number of venues they had that took advantage existing facilities. I mean, how many large stadia do you actually need? The main one is apparently going to be a temporary facility in South Bay, I think. BC and Harvard have football stadia. I think Foxboro was on the list for something. White Stadium (City of Boston owned) in Frankling Park apparently gets things like the pentathlon. I think Harvard and MIT have a number of other sporting facilities. BU and Northeastern each have an arena for their hockey teams.

            I mean, I think it would be horrible to have the Olympics here. But I don’t think it would be because there’s any paucity of pre-existing facilities.

            • There’s a lot of specialized stuff, such as an Olympic-caliber pool, the various indoor cycle venues, etc. And the main stadium has to be big. University of Michigan’s football stadium seats over 100,000 people, but it wouldn’t work for the Olympics, because it’s not big enough for a track. That was one of the advantages of the LA Olympics, that the LA Colosseum was massive and had the room for a track. [Plus, UCLA and USC had a lot of facilities that were division 1 caliber. Is there any school in the Boston area besides Boston College that’s a full Division 1 program in multiple sports?]

              • MAJeff

                Is there any school in the Boston area besides Boston College that’s a full Division 1 program in multiple sports?

                If you include hockey and basketball, you’ve got Northeastern, Harvard, and BU.

                • efgoldman

                  If you include hockey and basketball, you’ve got Northeastern, Harvard, and BU.

                  Hockey, sure. But hoops? In spite of the fact that Harvard and Northeastern went to the NCAAs, I’d hardly call them major programs. Both got bounced in the first round.

                • That’s why I said multiple sports. If a school is D-I in one sport, it’s almost always Basketball or Hockey (or sometimes baseball). They’re not usually also D I in wrestling, or gymnastics, or swimming, lacrosse, soccer, etc.

                • Manny Kant

                  The original question said, I believe “full Division 1 program in multiple sports,” which all those schools certainly qualify for. Harvard is also Division I in football, though not Division I FBS. BC and UConn are the only FBS schools in New England.

                • Hey now, let’s not forget UMass’ decision to go FBS and play their games in Foxboro….

              • Finally found the whole big PDF with all the venues. Yeah, they’d have to build an Olympic Stadium, but it’s supposed to be temporary (Suffolk Downs is the backup plan). The swimming would also be a temporary facility near Harvard Stadium. The BMX course and velodrome would be the only permanent facilities added. As I said, it’s my understanding that the availability of pre-existing venues is one of the Boston bids biggest selling points.

                • joe from Lowell

                  Right.

                  That was a very strange claim about Boston. Yes, most of the many, many college athletic facilities are smaller than those used for professional sports, but how big is the crowd at the squash tournament or judo, anyway?

                • It wouldn’t be about the size of the crowd in most of those sports, it would be the number of venues in use simultaneously, plus the need for the specialty venues.

                  Frankly, probably one of the best-suited locations in America in terms of venues is Bloomington Indiana. They’re all kinds of national championships held there in all kinds of different sports. But I’m confident the Olympics will never go to Bloomington Indiana.

                • joe from Lowell

                  It wouldn’t be about the size of the crowd in most of those sports, it would be the number of venues in use simultaneously, plus the need for the specialty venues.

                  And that’s exactly what makes a proliferation of many small-ish college facilities seem to make sense for the Olympics.

              • Warren Terra

                MIT is proud of its tennis bubble, for reasons I can’t recall, but I don’t think it really has the capacity for Olympics-level spectacles, by a wide margin.

              • Barry_D

                “University of Michigan’s football stadium seats over 100,000 people, but it wouldn’t work for the Olympics, because it’s not big enough for a track.”

                We’ll just put in a figure 8 :)

                • Bikecrasher

                  Olympic chain racing? Who wouldn’t want to see that?

                • joe from Lowell

                  We’ll just put in a figure 8 :)

                  We’ll make everyone run through a rotary.

    • UserGoogol

      I also think that crop of Boston is slightly unfair, since that’s a hilly mostly-residential part of Boston. The core urban area of Boston is somewhat more coherent: not actually a grid, but the streets are mostly straight and they mostly meet at approximately right angles.

      • efgoldman

        The core urban area of Boston is somewhat more coherent

        Where there are absolutely no places to put Olympic venues unless they built them on the Common, the Public Garden, and the Esplanade. A losing proposition all around.

        • UserGoogol

          …which has been proposed, and is a terrible idea. I do think some of the other proposed sites for athletic faculties are more plausible, but I mean yeah I don’t support the idea except in a narrow “if the Olympic proposal could somehow be tailored in a way so as to raise net money for infrastructure then I’m tentatively okay with it” sense.

          But I mean, that picture has been around for a while, and my main point is just that say what you will about Boston’s roads, Mission Hill isn’t really the problem.

          • Warren Terra

            Boston has one obvious thing going for it: they could house the visiting athletes in the dormitories of the many schools in the area. If they could lower themselves to using their playing fields, that would actually make the bid cheap. Never happen, though.

            • JL

              People keep saying this (that athletes could stay in the dorms), but at least at the one whose dorm system I’m most familiar with (having lived in it), lots of students live there in the summer, plus a bunch of high schoolers in summer study programs live there too. And I presume that Olympic athletes’ accommodations require a lot of security, and I can’t imagine students reacting well to having the buildings they live in turned into security states for a few weeks. And it’s when dorm maintenance tends to be done.

              I vaguely remember hearing that the proposal was to put archery in MIT’s Killian Court, which mystifies me a bit. Archery’s 90m and 120m distances, right? I’m not sure Killian’s big enough for the archery itself, let alone spectators and officials.

              Also the proposal is to build the velodrome in Assembly Square in Somerville. Somerville just got done completely renovating Assembly Square. Tearing down some of the shiny new renovations to build a velodrome seems, to put it mildly, strange.

              • I posted it above, but here’s the diagrams of all the proposed venues. The velodrome and BMX track are on the river side of the new Assembly Square T stop. At least whenever the most recent Google Maps was taken, there doesn’t seem to be anything new over there.

                • JL

                  Draw Seven Park, which you’ll see if you go to Google Street View, is what’s currently on the site where the velodrome would go and was created as part of the Assembly Square revamping.

              • Richard Hershberger

                I was a student at UC Santa Barbara in 1984. It caught some of the spill-over from the LA Olympics, mostly rowing events, and this included a mini-Olympic village on campus. I wasn’t living on campus, but I was in an apartment just off it, and taking classes. Some but not all of the dorms were cordoned off with security check points to get inside the cordon. It sucked if the security area was between where you were and where you were trying to get to, but otherwise it wasn’t all that big a deal. The athletes’ drunken debauchery seemed to be contained within those areas, and in any case if you live anywhere near campus you are used to being surrounded by drunken debauchery already.

                This was a relatively low-density operation, because essentially an annex to the LA Olympic village. There would have been a tipping point, where they would end up effectively taking over the campus, and that would have sucked. But the way it played out it was more in the “minor inconvenience” range, not all that different from a construction project.

            • Ahuitzotl

              The dormitories wouldn’t meet the spec required for athlete housing. Seriously.

              • rhino

                Too much natty lite vomit. Plus the sheer concentration of hormones from dropped adderal pills ground into the carpets would trigger false positives in drug testing…

        • Manny Kant

          Because there’s lots of places to put Olympic venues in Midtown Manhattan?

      • busker type

        I was actually thinking that image was pretty kind to Boston. Not sure how much Cambridge is considered part of Boston by the locals, but Harvard square is the worst place in
        America to drive a car.

        • mds

          Not sure how much Cambridge is considered part of Boston by the locals

          Hahahahahahahahaha *COUGH* *WHEEZE*

          but Harvard square is the worst place in
          America to drive a car.

          Thank you for not mentioning anything about finding the yard to park it in.

  • Scotius

    I am so posting that graphic on my Facebook!

  • wjts

    I’ll put Pittsburgh up against Boston for the title of “Least Comprehensible American Municipal Street ‘Grid'”.

    • MAJeff

      Amen!

    • Davis X. Machina

      And for the same reasons. The two cities are tucked between rivers, and their peninsulas come to a point right downtown. Pittsburgh points west, Boston northeast.

      San Francisco has a similar overall shape, but they just refused to recognise topography and overlaid a Hippodamian grid plan regardless.

      • Yankee

        Also, they were laid out before automobiles. Which city would you rather walk around in? Hopefully the streetcars know where they’re going already.

      • efgoldman

        Let’s see… Boston…
        Where the South End is due West of South Boston, which is due West of East Boston, and is also Southeast of the West End, which hasn’t existed for 60 years; the South End is North of Roxbury, which is more-or-less North of West Roxbury; East Boston (where the airport is) is due North from South Boston; the Back Bay isn’t the back of anything, but is the riverfront.
        And you want signs?

        • That’s a common problem. In NYC, West Street is on the North River, South Street is on the East River, and Southern Boulevard is north of Northern Boulevard.

        • Warren Terra

          What can be really fun is the reaction of a native Brit to the area. A vast proportion of the place names in Massachusetts are the names of places in Britain, and some Brits get really upset and confused that they’re all jumbled instead of maintaining their original relative positions.

          • I imagine some people get very upset if they make it two New Hampshire and find that Derry and Londonderry are two separate cities.

            • Thers

              In the Bogside they’d tell you they already are.

        • Manny Kant

          How can these both be true? “South Boston…is due West of East Boston…East Boston…is due North from South Boston.”

          • Lee Rudolph

            SPOILER: The bear is white!!!

            • Hogan

              And the surgeon is a woman.

              • joe from Lowell

                The bear is the surgeon’s uncle!

      • Warren Terra

        I think there are a lot of geographically constrained cities with grid patterns, even quite hilly ones. Heck, Seattle has two grid patterns (they meet at an angle).

        To be fair, I think most cities with logical street patterns were designed quite late (such as in the European colonization of the Western two-thirds of North America) or were built earlier but were given opportunities for extensive redevelopment and redesign, usually by WWII.

        • To be fair, I think most cities with logical street patterns were designed quite late (such as in the European colonization of the Western two-thirds of North America) or were built earlier but were given opportunities for extensive redevelopment and redesign, usually by WWII.

          Mostly but not entirely.

      • Richard Hershberger

        Pittsburgh has additional complicating factors. One is that it is a conglomeration of what were originally several independent municipalities, each with their own layout scheme. This makes for interesting neighborhood life, with the various neighborhoods retaining their individuality. It doesn’t make for easy driving. Then there are the steep hills immediately south of the river(s). Cross any of the various bridges going south and you either immediately turn off to a road going alongside the river or you immediately thereafter go into a tunnel. For God’s sake, make sure you are in the correct lane on the bridge, or you might end up ten miles out of your way. Then there is the issue of flooding. The main freeway through the city was built immediately adjacent to the river, because that was where there was room. Why was there room there? Because in the Spring the river can flood its banks, putting the freeway under water. Good times.

        That being said, Pittsburgh is a great city. I only spent a few years there, but it is on my short list of major cities (defined by the presence of an MLB team) where I would voluntarily live.

  • Malaclypse

    Let’s not forget that we have a public transit system that has not had the funds for basic maintenance since the Dukakis era.

    • efgoldman

      Let’s not forget that we have a public transit system that has not had the funds for basic maintenance since before the Dukakis era.

      FTFY

    • Weed Atman

      I’ve seen worse systems than the T. Not a ringing endorsement, especially since I had to use the green line, but I’m from Miami, so it was amazing to me.

      • MAJeff

        I’ve been gone for six years, and I still wear my “I hate the green line” t-shirt. Fuck the B-line.

        • When I rode the T I laughed. It’s so cute, like one of those little rides at an amusement park where you go around a corner and mannequin dressed like a pirate clumsily lunges at you brandishing a plastic sword and a bad recording plays “shiver me timbers.”

          I had a hard time imagining people using it as actual commuter transportation.

          • Warren Terra

            The Red Line works OK, until it bifurcates. Even the Green line isn’t terrible while it’s underground. It’s once the Green line surfaces that it becomes terrible.

          • joe from Lowell

            I felt like that riding the Pittsburgh Incline.

            People actually commute downtown in that.

            • Lee Rudolph

              Both Zürich and Lausanne have (steep) cablecars that people actually commute on (from the part of downtown near Lake Zürich up to the University/E.T.H., and from the part of downtown near Lake Geneva up to another part of downtown, respectively). Zürich’s is only one leg (almost all under a roof) but I think there are three or four intermediate stops on Lausanne’s (which runs through a roofless cutting, and is very nice indeed).

              • joe from Lowell

                So what you’re saying is that Pittsburgh has a great deal in common with Zurich.

                • Lee Rudolph

                  Well, by the Hershberger Criterion only one is a major city. But, yeah.

              • JL

                Steep is right. I lived in Lausanne for a summer as an undergrad, working at EPFL. That hill is quite obnoxious. I never took the cable cars though.

      • JL

        There are many good things about the T (accessibility for people with disabilities, decent coverage of Boston/Cambridge/Somerville, okay prices, the maps are easy to read), it just needs more damn funding (and/or less Big Dig debt) and maintenance. The newest Red Line cars (which are the minority) are more than 20 years old. Some of the downtown Green Line stations are among the oldest in the world. The signaling system was coded in the ’90s and, judging by the number of “signal problem” delays, constantly breaks. The other day when I was riding there were inexplicable snapping sounds coming from the tracks roughly every ten seconds.

        That said, I still like it better than DC’s system. More of the city is covered, it’s cheaper, oddly it’s more reliably on schedule IME, and unlike in DC the transit police won’t arrest you for eating a candy bar in the station.

        • Warren Terra

          Some of the downtown Green Line stations are among the oldest in the world.

          I’ve read the plaque many times, one is the oldest in the world.

        • efgoldman

          That said, I still like it better than DC’s system

          The DC system is 70 years newer than the oldest part of Boston’s but it’s crumbling because no-one has the power to fund the goddamned thing.
          I mean, you build a rail transit system in a warm zone in the mid-Atlantic region, and the rails break from the heat in the summer?
          Yes, Boston’s system failed, and badly, this winter… in the snowiest, and one of the coldest, winters on record.

          • JL

            However badly the T’s subways failed this winter, the commuter rail (which incidentally charges exorbitant prices and is operated by a private company) failed even worse. I get that it’s the snowiest winter on record but that was just absurd.

            • mds

              However badly the T’s subways failed this winter, the commuter rail (which incidentally charges exorbitant prices and is operated by a private company) failed even worse.

              Don’t worry, Governor Baker will fix that by pushing to privatize the T. He’ll have it failing worse than commuter rail in no time.

  • LeeEsq

    If people really want to have big, periodic international sporting events that the most sensible solution to the facility and venue problem is the one the ancient Greeks came up with. You have the event in the same damn place every time. Athens will get the Summer Olympics because of history. Switzerland will get the Winter Olympics because they have the snow and mountains necessary to make it so. Brazil will get the World Cup, etc.

    This means that you only need to build the necessary facilities once and periodically give them maintenance and update work. You don’t have to build infrastructure that will be useless after one once. The lucky host country will get a periodic revenue boast from tourism and catering. People get to have their big international sporting events.

    • The Temporary Name

      You’re completely missing the “rich do-nothings flying all over the world to receive bribes” angle.

      • Warren Terra

        Also, the “utterly venal bastards are eager to give bribes” angle.

        There’s a reason the IOC and FIFA have been competing for most disgusting host nation in recent years.

        • wengler

          I’m pretty sure FIFA already won that competition with Qatar 2022.

          • ExpatJK

            But there are future events, so perhaps FIFA can be bested in this regard? It’s too early to declare victory.

            • Ken

              Qatar killing people, so it will be hard to top. Maybe if some country revives the worship of Huitzilpochtli and Xipe Totec?

          • Warren Terra

            Well, the recent score is:
            IOC
            China 2008 (corrupt, basically no political freedoms or due process)
            Russia 2014 (ditto)
            Brazil 2016 (better, but corrupt and abusive land clearances)

            FIFA
            Brazil 2014 (corrupt, abusive land clearances)
            Russia 2018 (corrupt, basically no political freedoms or due process)
            Qatar 2022 (even more so, openly using what’s essentially slave labor; also, entirely the wrong climate)

            So, they’re mostly keeping pace, with FIFA ahead on points – until you add in the other Olympics hosts, the ones that aren’t a cruel joke, because there are twice as many Olympics as World Cups (Vancouver 2010, London 2012, South Korea 2018, Japan 2020). So, yeah, FIFA is probably the more evil and definitely the more concentrated evil.

      • LeeEsq

        I’m not missing it. I’m deliberately ignoring it.

        • The Temporary Name

          But THEY want the games the most!

    • Weed Atman

      Or the places it’s already been where the structures haven’t already decayed. Might as well get another use out of it.

    • wjts

      The World Cup is a slightly different kettle of fish. Brazil ended up building 7 new stadiums for the 2014 World Cup in the name of distributing matches all over the country, which was probably not the best idea ever (the Arena da Amazônia in Manaus is pretty much guaranteed to end up as a white elephant). But any country that has 10 or 12 stadiums that can seat 40,000 people or more already has the athletic infrastructure in place to host the tournament. So there are several countries that could in principle host the tournament with a minimum of new building involved (Argentina, Brazil, France, Italy, Mexico, Spain, UK, USA). But rotating the cup between countries in Europe and the Americas that already have the facilities does seem like a better idea than things like the Russia and Qatar boondoggles.

      • Warren Terra

        Anything is better than Qatar. On top of the usual bribery to secure the hosting rights, presumably even more than usual because the prospect of a World Cup there is so unusually bizarre, on top of the lack of civil rights, the repression of women and of racial, religious, and sexual minorities, there’s the slave labor. The estimated death toll from building the facilities is iirc already in the thousands, and then there’s the question of how you play Soccer in 120F heat.

        • efgoldman

          then there’s the question of how you play Soccer in 120F heat.

          Badly!

          • allium

            We also would have accepted “briefly”.

        • wjts

          …and then there’s the question of how you play Soccer in 120F heat.

          Not to worry! FIFA has decreed that the 2022 Cup will be played in December instead.

          • LeeEsq

            So they will only have to play football in 100 degree heat?

            • Warren Terra

              Mid-70s apparently. And manageable winds. So the players should survive playing atop the crime scene where thousands of slave laborers died.

              The administrative problems of changing many decades of normal practice are significant, though.

              • Dropping a month-long tournament in the middle of the seasons of the clubs that actually pay the bills of world soccer may yet cause FIFA more grief than all the moral outrage combined.

                If the Premier League, the Bundesliga, Serie A, Primera División and Ligue 1 tell FIFA to get stuffed, they well and truly fucked.

                • sibusisodan

                  If the Premier League, the Bundesliga, Serie A, Primera División and Ligue 1 tell FIFA to get stuffed

                  They haven’t so far.

                  Which is depressing.

  • Davis X. Machina

    The scale of the Olympics is the problem.

    If Boston wanted to do an encore of the 1904 Olympics, or even the 1952 Helsinki games, it would be a snap.

    • wjts

      I hate the Olympics, but would absolutely watch an encore of the 1904 games (especially the marathon).

      • Woodrowfan

        Tug of War as an Olympic Event!!!!

        • wjts

          Don’t forget roque!

          • Breadbaker

            And a third of a mile track that I was shown at Washington U. when they were recruiting me over 40 years ago. I wonder if it’s still there.

  • tsam

    Worst idea imaginable? Sounds like a job for the IOC.

  • rwelty

    they can build underground venus. Boston has extensive recent experience with underground projects.

    • Hogan

      Which I’m sure they’re all eager to relive.

      • efgoldman

        Which I’m sure they’re all eager to relive.

        Well, since cost overruns are guaranteed….

    • BigHank53

      A capital plan! I’m sure we’ll all enjoy seeing the 2024 Olympics when they’re finally held in 2029.

    • Warren Terra

      Seattle can donate part of a tunnel.

      • busker type

        I bet they could at least give them a good deal on a tunnelling machine.

    • wjts

      they can build underground venus.

      Mole Men are from Underground Mars; Mole Women are from Underground Venus.

      • Warren Terra

        Also: the world tunes in to watch the Eloi recreate, not the Morlocks.

      • C.H.U.D. are people, too.

        Sort of.

        • Barry Freed

          “Humanoid” so sort of by the very definition.

    • Lee Rudolph

      they can build underground venus.

      A goddess in a Big Dig pit
      Was burning like Olympic flame,
      The nadir of beauty and love,
      And Venus was her name.

  • JL

    Also the bid’s PR/social media people are so incompetent that they recommended that people watch a Leni Riefenstahl film about the 1936 Berlin Olympics to get inspired, causing a minor Internet firestorm, especially after a USOC guy started defending their tweet.

    The list of movies also contained Munich, which is not exactly a movie that I’d want to use to get inspired about the Olympics either.

  • Woodrowfan

    and then there is DC with its NW, SW, NE, SE designations.

    “I’m looking for 9th Street.”
    “Which one?”

    • Warren Terra

      Boston has that, too, with identically named streets in what are technically separate cities but are part of the Boston conurbation (Cambridge, Arlington, Somerville, Brookline, Watertown, Quincy, etcetera, etcetera). Boston has also absorbed as neighborhoods some former towns, and I’d guess some street names are duplicated there as well.

      Seattle also shares with DC the idea of having sectors designated by compass points (or lack of same), with some otherwise identical addresses distinguished only by that detail (or by zip code).

      • efgoldman

        Boston has also absorbed as neighborhoods some former towns, and I’d guess some street names are duplicated there as well.

        Yup. There are at least three different Washington streets and three different Boylston streets within the city limits, and more streets with those names in the congruent suburbs. Have fun with that GPS!

        • wjts

          Should you ever have occasion to stroll down 6th Avenue in Pittsburgh, you’ll notice that not only does this fascinating street intersect with 5th Avenue (which itself continues for miles longer than any other numbered avenue in the city, a feature it shares with South 18th Street [which is in a completely different part of the city from 18th Street {not to be confused with the 18th Street in neighboring Sharpsburg (to get to Sharpsburg from Pittsburgh take the 62nd Bridge which runs immediately adjacent to 1st Street in Sharpsburg)}]), but after crossing Liberty Avenue and taking a slight dogleg, its name changes to 7th Street.

        • Lee Rudolph

          Medford has both a Harvard St. and a Harvard Ave. (which are nowhere near each other). And it doesn’t even have Harvard!

          Fall River has North, South, and East Main Streets, the latter bifurcating from South Main Street (it is, at least, the easterly of the two forks; but it also the more nearly north/south).

      • dr. fancypants

        Boston has that, too, with identically named streets in what are technically separate cities but are part of the Boston conurbation…

        Don’t forget the streets that cross city lines, which have a tendency to change names at the wholly unremarkable boundaries.

    • I’m from Queens. Stare in wonder.

      • wjts

        We had something like that in Chicago. If you pan east and west, you’ll see both 54th Place and 54th Street pop in and out of existence.

      • Warren Terra

        I don’t see the problem. 62nd, 63rd, 63rd, 63rd, 64th. It’s all in order.

        • There are also places where numbers are skipped. In one spot, near LaGuardia, I think about 12 or 14 numbers are missing.

          It’s what happens when you try to put a numbered grid on a collection of two dozen towns and villages and the country roads connecting them.

          • My home town has a “Second” street, but no first, third, or any other number.

            • SV

              I’ve heard it said that “Second Street” is the most common road name in the US, because First Street was often renamed Main Street eventually, and some places never get around to naming a Third Street.

              • Lee Rudolph

                Fall River has Last Street, just on the MA side of the border with RI.

                • SV

                  Did they stick to their word?

                • Lee Rudolph

                  Spatially, for sure; temporally, almost surely not. I’ll take what I can get.

              • The Dark Avenger

                We have not only Fourth St, on the south side of the north/south boundary the become A, B, C streets, the streets D-H on both sides as you go a couple of blocks west of Main Street………

      • Ken

        That’s a favorite in the Kansas City area too. You get 113th Street, Avenue, Road, Terrace in one block, then the next has 114th Avenue, Way, Terrace, Street. I assume it’s to confuse the Germans when they invade.

      • busker type

        I once visited three identical addresses on three very different 3rd avenues in brooklyn while trying to find a gig. Third times the charm.

    • Atlanta. Peachtree.

      Wikipedia relates that “there are 71 streets in Atlanta with a variant of ‘Peachtree’ in their name.” A blog posting on the subject is titled “Where the Streets Have One Name.”

    • Karate Bearfighter

      Minneapolis has a great, orderly grid, where all of the numbered streets run perpendicular to the numbered avenues they intersect. Unfortunately for visitors, the grid keeps turning.

      On the south side, all the avenues run N-S and all the streets run E-W. Then you get Downtown, and everything shifts 45 degrees: now the avenues run NW-SE and the streets run SW-NE. You go to the north side, and everything turns 45 degrees again, so now the avenues run E-W and the streets run N-S. The city planners tried to deal with this by adopting a quadrant system, where a directional suffix after the street name (N, S, NE, or SE,) tells you what part of the city you’re in instead of telling you what direction the street runs. Of course, they also sometimes use directional prefixes to tell you what direction the streets are running. They also use directional prefixes, (at times,) to designate two separate parts of a road that is divided by an obstacle.

      So for example, Lyndale Ave is a perfectly straight, major thoroughfare that runs N-S across the whole city. Lyndale Ave S is parallel to 2nd Ave S. It then turns into Lyndale Ave N, which splits into East Lyndale Ave N and West Lyndale Ave N before intersecting 2nd Ave N. Go on a little further north and it intersects Plymouth Ave, (which is named “Plymouth” because it would be too confusing to have 15th Ave N become 8th Ave NE on the other side of the river.)

  • I really was happy when the Bay Area (or “San Francisco” as it was misleadingly named) bid was rejected.

    • allium

      We’re way below par on the confusing street front – all I can think of off the top of my head is the part of San Jose where 280 North goes west and 680 North goes east.

      • Well, there’s also the part of the Eastshore freeway in Oakland and Berkeley which is, at the same time, East 80 and West 580. Of course, that portion of the freeway is North-South.

        • allium

          Ah yes, the road to Ikeaville.

    • peggy_boston

      As a Boston resident, I wish San Francisco had gotten the bid instead.

  • JMG

    Boston COULD host an Olympics if the citizenry pulled together in a spirit of cooperation, which is about the most contradictory clause ever written. Local support for the Games collapsed because the slow motion natural disaster of this winter caused public transit to collapse. The possibility we could or even ought to fix the system, Olympics or no, never occurred to anyone. We’d rather just bitch, in which we win a perpetual gold medal.

    • mds

      The possibility we could or even ought to fix the system, Olympics or no, never occurred to anyone.

      Eh, I observed a few local commenters note that there’s no money to fix the trains, but a bajillion dollars for an Olympic bid would be available with no questions asked. I mean, the possibility obviously didn’t occur to the legislators who steamrolled Baker’s “gut MBTA’s budget even more” bill through without amendment, but a few people with no influence or public platform definitely connected the dots.

    • JL

      Um, pretty much everyone I follow online who is part of No Boston 2024 has also been saying that we should fix the transit system, and some of them have been participating in activism around this for years.

    • Ahuitzotl

      I’m sorry, but you can’t hold a candle to London for bitching, whining and complaining – I’m surprised they didnt introduce it as an event in 2012 (along with Forming An Orderly Queue And Griping About The Germans – I have literally had the experience of having a queue form behind me, when I was just pausing to cross the street, in London).

      • deptfordx

        Speaking as a Londoner, I thought the London Olympics were a brilliant two week event. I also still think they were a colossal waste of money.

  • Shakezula

    Is there ever any coherent planning around what to do with all of the new buildings after the Olympics? It seems the places are left to rot. (As are the people who are forced out of their homes to make way for the temporary city.)

  • Rob in CT

    I’m a New Englander and I’ve had trouble driving in the Boston area. I distinctly recall driving in one direction (we’ll say east) on such and such street, doing absolutely nothing, and ending up driving the opposite direction (so west, then) on an entirely different street. I’ve no idea how that happened.

    But I think my one foray into Brooklyn was worse. Within a very small area, there was a such-and-such street, avenue and something else (place? drive? whatever), and all of them intersected at some point, at strange angles. It was fucking bewildering.

    So, funny as the picture is, it’s not remotely fair.

    • Lee Rudolph

      I’ve no idea how that happened.

      Did it by any chance involve the one-way cul-de-sac near Kirkland St. in Cambridge? (Which may no longer exist.) The “one way” was inwards.

      • Rob in CT

        No idea, really… well, wait, no I can say we were not in Cambridge. It was a long time ago. I just remember protesting, indignant, as I was driving and asking passengers to help me figure out how to fix it. We figured it out. But how it happened will remain one of life’s mysteries.

  • rhino

    I sometimes wonder what percentage of the current troubles in Greece can be traced to the Athens olympics.

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