GPS and city travel concerns

Old Jul 26th, 2009, 04:02 AM
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GPS and city travel concerns

Yesterday afternoon I was passing through a somewhat sketchy area of Boston on my way south of the city. On the northbound side of the street, I saw a couple in a motorhome, obviously tourists, obviously distressed, obviously searching frantically for another way to their destination, presumably somewhere near the center of the city. Driving into Boston in a motor home is not a great idea, to put it mildly, but it was clearly the neighborhood that worried them. They were, by the way, in a mostly safe area, just highly diverse with a large low income population, and they were going to have a heck of a time doing a U-turn.

In my own southbound lanes, I came up behind a car full of people from Connecticut, pretty suburban lookng (yes, I'm profiling), all sort of ducking down at traffic lights to be invisible.

Since this street is not marked on highways as a route to downtown Boston, I am betting that both these cars were using "shortest routes" functions on their GPS and found themselves in an area that was scary to them. I have done it myself (Anacostia in Washington, for example).

Has anyone got a good method of using their GPS in an urban area without finding themselves in a place that makes them uncomfortable if not really unsafe?

I have posted about this from time to time in other threads but have never made it a thread/question of its own. It is not a racist issue; a person responding to this might as well be someone concerned about being arrested for "Driving while Black" in a suburb as a person who hasn't had the opportunity for a lot of contact with people of different races, cultures and economic situations.
Ackislander is offline  
Old Jul 26th, 2009, 04:20 AM
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I have lived in several sketchy areas around Boston. I truly believe that there are few places in the US where a person going about their normal routine or business is unsafe in DAYLIGHT hours to any great degree while taking normal precautions. In a vehicle, that increases ones safety. Sure bad stuff happens - but refer to my thread about the nice (or as you would describe, White) suburban community I live in with a recent rash of break-ins.

How in the world would you presume to know WHAT about the above situation made the couple uncomfortable - or even that they were any more than LOST. How could you possibly know that it was "clearly the area" that bothered them rather than that someone needed a bathroom, a cup of coffee, was lost, worried about making that U-turn, late for their cousins wedding? How in the world does one "frantically" search for another route while driving a motor home? Perhaps you could have offered them directions at a traffic light?

What nonsense are you talking about people "ducking down at traffic lights" and being from CT? That is just a bizarre statement to me.

And if by some chance you really want an answer to your question - the method I use for my GPS is to set the destination and press OK. The end.

(And, since you are familiar with Boston - I do home visit nursing or have in Dorchester, Roxbury, Lawrence, Lowell, Worcester. I see only people on Medicaid (that is, poor) and think your presumptions are at the very least strange, and possibly worse).

I am not usually this hostile in response to a post, but something about your assumptions and conclusions really bothers me. I hope, since I know you are a frequent and knowledgeable poster here, that I misread or you mistyped some part of this.
gail is offline  
Old Jul 26th, 2009, 04:49 AM
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Set your GPS routing options to major highways and toll roads.
gb944 is offline  
Old Jul 26th, 2009, 05:26 AM
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Motorhomes should be using the "bus" or "truck" option on their GPS for protection not from humans but from low bridges and tight turns, which abound in Boston.

"How could you possibly know that it was "clearly the area" that bothered them rather than that someone needed a bathroom, a cup of coffee,..."

One of the best things about traveling in a motorhome is that one is never more than 20 feet from the nearest bathroom or cup of coffee.
Anonymous is offline  
Old Jul 26th, 2009, 01:41 PM
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Whoa! I could respond to this is detail but have no desire to start a flame war. It is not a troll. I distrust GPS technology, and wonder how others handle it to avoid being where they don't want to be. My GPS does not have those advanced route options, so it never occured to me that someone could avoid being led through difficult driving by changing them. I have learned.

I will not respond to the suggestions that I am a racist. If you had any idea of my background, professional, political, and personal, you would find that idea ridiculous. Gail, I think we agreed recently on another thread that one of the best things about Milton, where I raised my family, was its acceptance of diversity. My ideas haven't changed in the last two weeks.
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Old Jul 26th, 2009, 02:07 PM
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To respond to your initial question, at least for my GPS, there isn't a way to get around it.

Recently while driving home from Hingham on I-93N, my GPS tells me to exit somewhere right into Dorchester to get on Mass Ave, drive along the entire Mass Ave length to get to Storrow Drive. Since Mass Ave is technically Route 2A, I don't think selecting "Major highways" would have avoided it.

Needless to say, I chose to ignore its suggestion and took Mass Pike instead. It wasn't so much that I don't feel safe driving through Dorchester on Mass Ave, but rather to avoid the traffic jams!

Of course, if one were visiting, he/she would have no way to tell beforehand to avoid such route.

When I was in San Francisco a few months ago, I brought my GPS with me. It tells me to drive on Geary and O'Farrell through the Tenderloin District every time. We were actually driving back to our hotel in Union Sq from the West side of the city late at night. Though I didn't feel unsafe, I certainly didn't want to linger in that area for longer than needed.
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