Department of Conservation and Recreation Gets In the Holiday Spirit with Alerts

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photos by Crystal Valencia

It’s going to be a wet and stormy Christmas, one that’s likely void of any snow blanketing the ground. And for those driving through Dorchester, the rainy holiday weather could mean just one thing: flooding on Morrissey Boulevard.

To ease the woes of drivers and bring holiday cheer to travelers, workers from the Department of Conservation and Recreation have been posting humorous updates on their digital billboards that typically warn commuters about the all-too-familiar overflow of water that creeps up from the banks along Morrissey Boulevard and inevitably takes over the road.

One sign, seen heading northbound, includes an homage to the Christmas classic “Yes, Virginia, There Is a Santa Claus,” and reads, “Yes, Virginia, there is probable tidal flooding” from December 22 through 26. The sign warns drivers to expect detours and delays in the event of heavy rain. A second sign, which was seen on the southbound side this week, brings similar holiday cheer, and warns drivers to prepare for “Yule Tides.”

The signs aren’t the work of a random jokester, however. According to a spokesperson from the Department of Conservation and Recreation, the state-run agency that oversees that particular strip of roadway, all of the witty sayings are pre-approved, and are the handiwork of District Supervisor Chris Spillane.

“[He] has been the author of the clever witticisms,” said William Hickey, DCR’s acting press secretary. “He believes that humor resonates with the motorists and that the message is better conveyed with a smile or a laugh.”

According to DCR officials, Spillane, who wasn’t immediately available to talk about the sayings, does his best to avoid “going completely over the top” before plugging in a new message. “His messages have been well received,” Hickey said of the public feedback.

The first sign that DCR posted that had a dash of humor to it was in 2011. That sign, which is still used during the summer months when precipitation is persistent and there’s frequent flooding on Morrissey Boulevard, read, “Wicked High Tides.” Hickey said that sign could have been the muse for MassDOT officials, who earlier this year posted the “Use Yah Blinkah” message that later led to a statewide competition for more clever sayings.

Source URL: https://www.bostonmagazine.com/news/2014/12/23/department-of-conservation-and-recreation-morrissey-boulevard/