Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

March 17, 2014

Boston Globe: checking in on Boston’s evacuation routes on “Evacuation Day”

Filed under: Catastrophes,General Homeland Security — by Arnold Bogis on March 17, 2014

Little known outside of the Boston-area, today is not only St. Patrick’s Day but “Evacuation Day,” marking the retreat of English forces out of Boston during the Revolutionary War:

So what is Evacuation Day? On March 17, 1776, George Washington had fortifications and cannons placed on Dorchester Heights. The British troops occupying Boston at the time realized they were outgunned.

History.com tells us what happened next:

Realizing their position was now indefensible, 11,000 British troops and some 1,000 Loyalists departed Boston by ship on March 17, sailing to the safety of Halifax, Nova Scotia. The bloodless liberation of Boston by the Patriots brought an end to a hated eight-year British occupation of the city.

It also serves as an extraordinarily convenient holiday for Boston city employees (about the only place in Massachusetts, or the country for that matter, that marks the holiday) and Irish bar owners and workers as it falls on St. Patrick’s Day.

However, this year the Boston Globe’s Steve Safran brings up the important issue of evacuation in present day Boston:

Have you ever noticed the “Evacuation Route” signs around Boston? Ever wonder where they lead?

It’s Evacuation Day in Boston, and it’s a good thing the Redcoats didn’t follow our “Evacuation Route” signs, or they might still be here.

In a short article he brings up several important points relevant to cities across the country:

It’s hard enough finding Fenway Park by following street signs. Evacuating the city during an emergency would make our already clogged routes out of town that much more chaotic. The first thing you notice on the city’s official map of evacuation routes is that they all pretty much point the way you’d normally go if you were hightailing it out of town.

And he’s understandably a little pessimistic:

Boston area residents have to be at little skeptical about the plan. We’ve seen snowstorms tie up all the routes out of town for hours. Even regular rush hour traffic comes to regular standstills. It may be that you’d be better off trying to leave not by land, but by sea.

If you can’t escape by sea, perhaps sheltering-in-place is the best option?

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3 Comments »

Comment by William R. Cumming

March 18, 2014 @ 7:28 am

Was there a formal evac study done underlying the plan? And did the $17B big Dig help?

Comment by Christopher Tingus

March 19, 2014 @ 8:46 am

As a life-long metro-Bostonian now here on the outer Cape, given the innovative American design and manufacture of http://www.seamaxamerica.com – and the versatile Seamax 22, promoting such configuration and innovativeness in promoting local floating air docks as another quick way to exit the city in a hurry….though for most of us, as we did with the British, prefer to stay and rid ourselves of those who seek our demise….

As far as the Big Dig and the exponential costs, well, as one of its biggest critics and standing strong against the local politicians who allowed a seven mile stretch of road reconfiguration to cost some $17 billion (kindly see: http://www.bigdiglifevest.com), while I have always questioned the construction quality like many and time will tell, the city is easier to get around in making Boston an attractive stop for visitors and even for commuters, a more efficient time travel!

We’ll see you at the Boston Marathon along with 60,000 runners!

SeaMax America, LLC
@SeaMaxAmerica
Light Sport Aircraft | Amphibian | Available now | Land | Snow | Water | Anywhere | 130 flying worldwide and counting
Great Neck, NY · seamaxamerica.com

Christopher Tingus
“Boston Strong”
@christoptingus

Comment by William R. Cumming

March 19, 2014 @ 8:43 pm

Chris! 500K evacuated on 9/11 from Manhattan by water.

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