Months of dire warnings about nightmarish traffic and transit hassles during this week's Democratic National Convention (search) apparently led many commuters to stay home Monday morning, resulting in a smoother-than-expected ride on most roads and railways.
Some routes, including Interstate 93 southbound, saw the predicted traffic snarls. But commuters on other highways were surprised at a relatively stress-free ride.
"I thought it was going to be awful," said Lesley Peters, 42, an accountant from Danvers riding in a bus amid lighter than normal traffic on Route 1A. "It's brilliant, great. Everything's been really easy."
The gritty North Shore city of Lynn was the end of the commuter rail line Monday for commuters who live north of the city and couldn't, or wouldn't, take a vacation this week.
Dealing with the first national political convention since the Sept. 11 attacks, the Secret Service (search) ordered the North Station rail terminal closed all week because it lies directly beneath the FleetCenter, where the convention is being staged. Passengers from points north boarded shuttle buses for downtown Boston.
Those who chose to take Interstate 93 into the city encountered a tougher ride. The reduction of the busy southbound highway from four to three lanes made for slow going. Traffic backed up for five miles behind the bottleneck.
The real test will come with the evening commute, when officials plan to close I-93 altogether, along with several other major arteries, forcing most motorists onto secondary roads.