Monday, February 4 – Tuesday, February 5

A reintroduction to the joys of rush hour

It was off to two locations in Westchester County, Mamaroneck on Monday and New Rochelle on Tuesday.  I had been at these locations a week or two ago.  Given this familiarity with the locations, I was expecting – reasonably, right? – that it would take me about 1:30 to 1:40 to get home after work each day.  It’s not like traffic patterns would change in that short of a period or anything.

What I was not counting on is that my workday would turn out to be substantially longer than it had been in the last few weeks.  Instead of leaving around 3 pm, I left Mamaroneck at 4:30 on Monday and didn’t get out of New Rochelle until almost 5 on Tuesday.  You can figure out what that mean.  Instead of missing the worst of rush hour, I landed smack dab in the middle of it, and the results weren’t pleasant.

Monday started out okay, even the Cross Island Parkway wasn’t too bad, but once I got to the Long Island Expressway conditions deteriorated.  Getting from Mamaroneck to the Queens-Nassau line, around 20 miles, took me 35 minutes.  That wasn’t bad, as it took me almost ten minutes just to get onto I-95 south.  What was worse, much much worse, was the 40 or so miles from western Nassau to Exit 64 in Suffolk County.  That took me around 90 minutes, with major slowdowns near Exit 38, from exits 46 to 50, from exits 55 to 57, and finally from exits 59 to 61.  The last of these was particularly annoying, even though not all that long, because the overhead message signs made no mention of it.  All in all, the 65-mile trip home took around 2:15, 45 minutes longer than it would have taken with an earlier departure.

Tuesday’s trip home was a case of throwing in the towel.  I got on the Long Island Expressway from the Cross Island about a half-hour after leaving New Rochelle.  That wasn’t bad for a 5pm departure and had me thinking that the whole trip wouldn’t be too bad.  My hopes were quickly dashed, however, when the electric message sign gave an estimated travel time of 46 minutes to Route 110.  During non-rush-hour times the estimate is in the range of 18 to 20 minutes.  I just wasn’t in any frame of mind to deal with that comedy.  As I had to stop at the supermarket anyhow, I decided to get off at Exit 35, New Hyde Park Road, and stop at a supermarket I knew to be close to the exit.  It took me several minutes just to cover the two or three miles to Exit 35.

While I was in no hurry to rush through the shopping, as I was checking out I realized it was still before 6pm, too early to venture back onto the Expressway.  In a variant of the Panera Bread Strategy, I stopped at a nearby Starbucks and lingered there for a while over a frappucino and some madelines (no memories of the distant past came rushing back, however).  By the time I was done and got back on the Expressway it was about 6:40, traffic was much lighter, and I made it home in about 40 minutes.  It probably wouldn’t have taken much less time had I stayed on the Expressway, which would have been far more stressful.


Published in: on February 7, 2013 at 2:39 am  Leave a Comment  

Friday, February 1 – Sunday, February 3

It was a pretty quiet weekend, that term encompassing Friday because for the next few weeks I’ll be on a Monday-Thursday work schedule.  It looks as if the next couple of weeks are going to be very busy at work, meaning that I’ll be right in the middle of rush hour traffic on my return trips.  Oh joy.  Anyway, with my tooth abscess being less of an issue, if not completely gone, I was able to go to the gym on Friday and Saturday.  As the dentist had recommended I avoid heavy lifting for a while, apparently that can exacerbate an abscess, I stuck to ellipting, doing 30 minutes each day.

Published in: on February 6, 2013 at 2:53 am  Leave a Comment  

Wednesday, January 30 – Thursday, January 31

Back to the old grind

It was a relief to be able to return to work on Wednesday. Being stuck at home with my tooth abscess was no picnic, even leaving aside the pain factor.  Having had a few weeks off in late December and early January I’ve pretty much exhausted my list of Interesting Things to do When Not at Work.  Okay, there were some things that still need to be done, cleaning out my pigsty of a car for one thing, but I just wasn’t up to doing much.

Wednesday’s assignment was in Port Chester, the last town on I-95 in Westchester County before you get to the Connecticut line.  I’d spent a week there a few months ago.  Port Chester is the furthest of the work locations on my current cycle, about 70 miles each way, but I had no particular trouble getting there on Wednesday morning.  I took the Northern State Parkway rather than the Long Island Expressway because a radio traffic report was warning of heavy traffic on the Expressway in Nassau County, though the overhead message signs didn’t say anything.  Just to be on the safe side I figured that the Northern State would be the better option.  Except for a couple of sluggish spots it moved pretty well and I made the trip in a little under 90 minutes.

Getting home took closer to two hours because I left the worksite later than expected and encountered some early rush hour traffic.  It’s hard to explain just why, but as I was driving east on the Expressway I had the distinct impression that I was just ahead of the big wave of rush hour traffic, like the way a surfer rides a wave … if, you know, the wave were crawling along at a glacial rate of speed.

I was in Mount Vernon on Thursday, a shorter drive than Port Chester, and the morning’s drive took a surprisingly short amount of time, barely an hour.  There seemed to be no significant traffic delays anywhere, not even on the Expressway in Nassau.  Coming home was much more difficult, however, as I didn’t get out until after four and ran right into the heart of rush hour. Getting across the Throgs Neck Bridge wasn’t too bad.  As traffic on the Cross Island Parkway looked fairly heavy I decided to take the Clearview Expressway, which proved a mistake because it took almost ten minutes to negotiate the exit ramp to the eastbound Long Island Expressway.  It’s unlikely that the Cross Island would have been as bad.  Once on the Long Island Expressway I had a miserably slow ride to Exit 38, no surprise there, and another very slow stretch approaching Exit 60 caused by drivers rubbernecking a minor crash (schmucks).  The return trip took about 2:15, which is pretty bad for a trip of less than 55 miles.


Published in: on February 3, 2013 at 6:13 pm  Leave a Comment