A few hours before the first pitch of game six of the World Series, police in Massachusetts shut down the Massachusetts Turnpike headed toward Fenway Park so that President Obama could drive to his plane after an early evening fundraiser, local residents show in an amateur video.
Obama delivered a pitch for his troubled healthcare law at Faneuil Hall in downtown Boston just before 4PM, and by 5:30 he was due to speak in the Weston, a suburb west of the city, for a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) fundraiser. Then, just before 7PM, he was scheduled for wheels up in Air Force One out of Logan Airport.
USA Today reported that several streets in the city itself would be closed for the President’s commute, but a local blog says the motorcade also shut down the Turnpike in the hours preceding the game.
Red Mass Group, a site dedicated to Massachusetts news and commentary, posted a video of a motorist traveling westbound and pointing out the long backup caused by Obama’s shutdown of the heavily-traveled artery into the city.
Breitbart News called Massachusetts State Police, who confirmed that portions of the Turnpike were shut down Wednesday for Obama but could not give further details. A photo on the law enforcement agency’s social media accounts shows the presidential motorcade passing the Weston Tolls, though it does not say in which direction.
Game Six of the World Series was scheduled for first pitch at 8PM at Fenway Park, situated just off the Massachusetts Turnpike to the west of downtown Beantown. Had the President not traveled west of the city for the fundraiser, the Mass Turnpike would not have had to totally shut down going into the city after his Weston speech, around 6PM. This was right during the worst of Wednesday rush hour traffic–and just as hundreds of Bostonians were on their way to see the game.
The blog and video state traffic was at a dead stop from the Rte. 30 exit and for miles westward, with police blocking off the roadway at the Weston State Police barracks, preventing any traffic from heading toward the city.
Though it did not come to pass, Boston police were afraid the situation would be even worse, as some predicted the President would try to jump off the Turnpike and take a swing into Fenway Park to catch some of the game.
With security for the game already at its highest levels due to raised fears because of the terror attack during the Boston Marathon in April, one police official told the Boston Globe he hoped Obama would not stop there. “We hope he doesn’t. It makes [the game] more of a logistical nightmare,” he said.
Boston Police Commissioner Edward F. Davis was also a bit glum on the whole situation. “We’re hoping for the best. Our personnel are usually strapped on Halloween night. It’s a busy night for us. So to try to do both events is complicated,” he said.
The Boston Herald warned the city to “brace for possible gridlock” during the President’s visit. And in anticipation of a major lock down, some city agencies and other groups sent out warnings to workers and members that the city would be a mess during the President’s visit.
In one case, CEO Paul Guzzi of the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce wrote in a Tuesday memo, “We have been in touch with the mayor, who is concerned about the potential impact of these events on the evening commute and afternoon congestion.”
Guzzi urged members to seek alternate forms of transportation like public transit.
Massachusetts House minority leader Bradley Jones was less forgiving. “We’re undercutting the benefit of having the World Series because they’re closing down part of the city,” he said.