Player schedules play big role in parade timing, mayor says

Despite all the celebratory confetti and beer cans on display at the New England Patriots victory parade on Tuesday, an undercurrent of frustration ran among less-enthusiastic commuters who had their usual routines disrupted by record crowds.

Some, including former state transportation secretary Jim Aloisi, took to the public with a suggested change: require all such celebrations, whether for the Patriots or the Red Sox or any other team, to be held on weekends when roads and railways won't also need to accommodate weekday rush hours.

"The chaos, the intolerable inconvenience to everyday transit riders, the extraordinary and unfair burden placed on city and state resources, the unfair demands made of the MBTA and its commuter rail operator, and the (as yet) unknown costs of public safety and mobility measures all combine to make these events toxic, expensive, and borderline dangerous," Aloisi wrote in a CommonWealth Magazine op-ed Wednesday.

There was evidence that the region's transportation systems, particularly the commuter rail, were indeed stressed by the one-two punch of work-goers and parade-goers Tuesday. Most lines reported significant delays, despite running extra cars, and several commuters complained that their typical morning trains were too crowded to board.

Keolis, which operates the MBTA's commuter rail, has not provided exact numbers yet, but estimated that Tuesday saw the highest-ever ridership, about twice a typical weekday and tens of thousands of people above the Red Sox parade last fall.

Despite those arguments, though, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh indicated that moving the parade to a weekend might not be possible. Speaking on WBZ's Nightside with Dan Rea on Wednesday, Walsh said many Patriots players might not be around a week after the Super Bowl.

"I know some people talk about: why don't we move the parade to Saturday? You can't," Walsh said. "The players are under contract. They leave. You'd have a duck boat parade with maybe Bob Kraft or an owner and that's about it."

Rea questioned whether that is indeed a contract stipulation, and Walsh said he found out in 2014 — another year the Patriots won the Super Bowl — that players typically clear out lockers a few days after the final game and then leave to return to their homes or to spend time with family.

"I'm assuming a lot of these players probably have plans for the weekend," Walsh said. "They take off with their families like a job ... you have a job, and you're planning a vacation, and you have the vacation set and you go."

The Patriots media office did not respond Thursday morning to a request for a reaction to Walsh's comments.

City officials announced Sunday night, shortly after the Super Bowl ended with a Patriots victory, that the parade would take place Tuesday.

At least one recent parade has been scheduled on a weekend: as Walsh pointed out during the interview, the Bruins celebrated on a Saturday after clinching the Stanley Cup on a Wednesday.