Monday, July 9 – Tuesday, July 10

Why running low on gas is a bad idea even if you don’t actually run out of gas

It was back to West Haven on Monday, after my week-long excursion to Philadelphia.  It was good to get back into a more normal routine, and the fact that the driving wasn’t at all bad really helped.  In the morning I made the 110-mile trip in a little under two hours.  There were no traffic tie-ups and no delays at the Throgs Neck Bridge.  Now, afternoons are worse, but I lucked out today because I was able to leave around 1:30 and therefore missed most of the traffic.  It was about 2:10, in other words ten to fifteen minutes more than in the morning.

Tuesday … let’s just say that it was a day I’d like to expunge from my memory.  A line-painting project on the Expressway near Exit 52 delayed me about 15 minutes in the morning.  As I understand it, roadwork in the westbound direction is supposed to be finished by 5:00 am, but it was just being cleared as I came through almost  a half-hour after that time.  I’m hoping it was just a miscommunication.  Even so, I made it to the West Haven work location just a few minutes after my normal 7 am start time.  One thing I noticed is that drivers in Connecticut don’t seem to be much into rubbernecking.  As I passed through Bridgeport on I-95 there was an overturned truck in the westbound/southbound lanes that was causing quite a tie-up in that direction.  Yet to my surprise there was no rubbernecking delay on my side even though the mishap was clearly visible.  Amazing.

I wasn’t able to get out of West Haven until a few minutes after three in the afternoon.  As a result, I knew that I’d be facing rush hour traffic when I got onto the Long Island Expressway.  What I didn’t know was just how bad it would be.  At least the trip started out well, as I made it to and over the Throgs Neck Bridge in an hour.  That’s about how long it takes in the morning.  As I got onto the busy-but-moving Cross Island Parkway, however, I noticed that my car’s low-fuel warning light was on and the fuel gauge was almost at empty.  There was no way I’d be able to make it home without refueling, and I decided to get off the Cross Island at Northern Boulevard.  Traffic on that road was moving fine and I got gas at a BP station located right on the Queens-Nassau boundary.  Back onto Northern Boulevard for a short stretch, and then I turned right onto Lakeville Road to get back to the Expressway … a trip of maybe two miles that took over 15 minutes.  Traffic just crawled on Lakeville, thanks to three or four endlessly long red lights. Now, keep in mind that Lakeville Road is a very busy thoroughfare,  connecting downtown Great Neck to the Expressway, and the aforementioned red lights were at intersections with quiet residential streets.  You’d expect that traffic on Lakeville would have much longer green-light phases than traffic (which scarcely existed) on the residential streets, and you’d be wrong.  All three or four lights definitely favored these barely traveled side streets at the expense of the far greater volume of traffic on Lakeville.  I suspect the reasons are political and economic.  This stretch of Lakeville runs through a very rich area, and the bigshots living on these residential streets undoubtedly use their influence (and $$$) to get the Nassau County politicians to give them favorable treatment at the traffic lights.

By the time I finally got onto the Expressway, at Exit 33, it was after 4:30.  What that meant, of course, that Expressway traffic was shut down tighter than a drum.  It took 15 minutes to cover just the three or four miles to the junction with the Northern State Parkway at Exit 38.  I encountered long stop-and-go delays near exits 40 and 49, and worst of all between exits 53 and 61.  It was nearly 6 pm by the time I got home, making the total trip an agonizing three hours.  Had I not had to stop for gas, I probably would have shaved a half-hour off that time.  That’s a lesson learned the hard way.

By the way, even though on Monday I had ample time to go to the gym, I was lazy and decided to wait a day.  As you might imagine, after Tuesday’s hideous return trip I was in no shape for the gym physically or, especially, mentally.

Published in: on July 12, 2012 at 12:39 am  Leave a Comment  

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