Tuesday, May 29 – Wednesday, May 30

At least I know what route to avoid

Up bright and early – more like obscenely early – for my long haul up to the customer’s place of business in Stamford.  This particular customer wants me there very early, so for the next couple of weeks, possibly longer, I’ll be leaving the house at an hour when no sane people are up.  Except me, and … oh wait, I said sane people, so count me out.

One advantage of getting such an early start is that I missed the bulk of the morning rush on the Expressway.  Not all of it, but things were much better than I would have encountered had I left home at, say, 8:30.  There were a couple of minor slowdowns near the Nassau-Queens line, and then a somewhat longer delay on the exit ramp to the Cross-Island Parkway.  Even so, I was crossing the Throgs Neck Bridge just about an hour after leaving home. It was then about an additional 30 minutes up I-95 to Stamford. One thing I don’t like about driving in Stamford is the fact that there are traffic lights everywhere, and they tend to have very long red phases.  Still, I made it door-to-door, a distance of about 75 miles, in a little under 90 minutes.

I left the customer’s business in the mid-afternoon and headed back down I-95 to the Throgs Neck Bridge.  All went well until just about the Westchester-Bronx line, at which point traffic came to a dead stop.  It took well over an hour for me to cover the five miles or so until the bridge exit.  Given that I encountered the traffic jam around 3:20, well before rush hour, there surely must have been some terrible crash that snarled traffic so thoroughly, right?  At least according to the radio traffic report, it was all volume delays at the outbound George Washington Bridge.  The thing is, the delays on I-95 started over 15 miles before the bridge!  I never got any closer than ten miles to the bridge and still encountered these nightmare delays.  It’s obvious that for the remainder of my assignment in Stamford I will not be taking I-95 through the Bronx on my return journey.  What I’ll do instead is get off I-95 just after crossing from Connecticut into New York, taking I-287 for a couple of miles until the Hutchinson River Parkway.

In my experience the “Hutch” is usually okay in the non-peak direction, which is the way I’ll be going.  Its major drawback is that I’ll have no choice but to take the Whitestone Bridge into Queens, which in turn means that I’ll have to take the Cross-Island Parkway to the Long Island Expressway.  While the Whitestone Bridge isn’t any worse than the Throgs Neck Bridge, which isn’t far away, the Cross-Island can be sluggish in the afternoon.  If I were using the Throgs Neck Bridge I’d take the generally uncrowded Clearview Expressway to the Long Island Expressway, but that’s not an option with the other bridge as there is no direct access from the Cross-Island to the Clearview.  Getting from one to the other requires dealing with a brutal traffic light at Bell Boulevard.

In any event, the sole consolation in Tuesday’s return journey is that once I finally got to the Throgs Neck the rest of the trip was uneventful.  The Cross-Island was its usual sluggish self but never got too bad, and the same theme carried over to the Long Island Expressway.  There were slowdowns at the usual spots – around Exit 38 and the Meadowbrook Parkway, between exits 40 and 41, from Exit 49 to a bit past Exit 50, and approaching Exit 56.  My trip home took over three hours, but had it not been for the I-95 nonsense in the Bronx it would have been just under two hours.

Wednesday morning was pretty much a repeat of the prior day.  Actually a shade better, as I encountered no delays on the entrance ramp to the Cross-Island, and made the trip in about 1:20.  On the way home, my plan to use the Hutch worked just fine.  While northbound traffic was sluggish, it was fine in my direction, and even though the Cross-Island was worse than Tuesday I still made it home in just under two hours.  To my pleasant surprise the Expressway had fewer delays than it had the prior day.  Same spots, just not as bad.

Published in: on June 1, 2012 at 1:58 am  Leave a Comment  

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