Wednesday, May 23, 2012

About the Deegan, and why you need to re-evaluate your decision to drive anywhere tomorrow

What’s the worst road in all of Metro NY? There are a lot of opinions about this, but my second choice for the absolute worst road in the tri state area is the route to the northbound RFK / Triborough including the Major Deegan. (the first choice remains the belt). It’s in a constant state of disrepair, the lanes are way too tight, the volume is overwhelming, and there are just too many damn gypsy cabs and car service drivers who just don’t care about things like turn signals, doing 30 in the left lane or running you off the road as they answer their phone.

1010 AM told me this morning that the outbound GWB was clogged, and the resulting traffic in the CBX was going to be bad. In my personal experience, when the radio says the Cross Bronx is going to be bad it’s an understatement and it usually indicates about a 3 hour delay.  So after I narrowly escaped being sideswiped by the old lady in her Corolla who just had to curl her eyelashes on the Wantagh, I checked the traffic data on my GPS, and I decided that taking the Grand Central to the Deegan and over the RFK would be a better option. I don’t think I made the right call.

This morning I thought I was going to be smart and take the Deegan to get into the GWB, and now I know this was a mistake. I followed signs for RFK. I followed signs for the Triborough. I followed the signs that told me that the Triborough was now renamed the RFK. I had lots of time to sit there and ponder this as I sat in a dead standstill for hours.

There are two major bottlenecks in the Deegan approach. The first is actually in the Grand Central, and its right outside LaGuardia airport, but this is usually only active during rush hour. But the worst by far is around the never ending construction on the on-ramp to get onto the GWB three exiting lanes for two different exits (7N and 7S) are reduced to one lane. Plus, there is a heavy merge with a stop sign (really?!) coming from the left. This is further hindered by the merge onto the CBX which moves at a snails pace as tractor trailers have approximately 100 yards to move over three lanes of bumper to bumper traffic. This is a recipe for gridlock, and I don’t think ill be taking it again. I think next time it will be faster to take the Midtown tunnel and go through Manhattan. I do have a question though

Lets do the math -  the CBX backs up, but you know it cannot be more than 6 miles of traffic. The Deegan GCP combo on the other hand can be up to 20 miles of traffic, and you know the end is that massive bottleneck. This is compared to the CBX, which usually thins out by Third Ave. My advice is to stick with the CBX.

But let’s be clear, it’s the week before Memorial Day, and driving anywhere is a mistake as the roads are clogged with travelers going to their vacations. I made it a point to work from Manhattan tomorrow and take the LIRR in, as I know Thursday and Friday is going to be one of the worst traffic days of the year.


[caption id="attachment_559" align="aligncenter" width="300"] the bottlenecks on the Deegan are seen on the approach to the GWB ramp.[/caption]

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

New baby, new shoes, and some new help for commuters

Really? Over a month since my last post? But it isn't for lack of trying. The good news is that I took three weeks off to unplug and to welcome a baby daughter, so there was no commuting. There was also no sleeping or relaxing, but that's par for the course.

Yesterday I had to miss work also had to go get new tires put on and a rim straightened. why? Because on Friday i was cruising through Bethpage Park at about 50 mph when a lady blew a stop sign directly in front of me. She stopped in the middle, so i had to dive left to avoid hitting her and the car behind her. So I pull a full-on power slide, and nail a curb with my driver side and come to a stop. Luckily it wasn't a true curb, one of those gradual concrete risers. So now I have a puncture wound in my Potenza RE960 and a bent rim with some major rash. I spent the weekend trying to find a set of 245/45/18's that were under $300 bucks a piece. she drives fine now, but the wheel points true north at about 12:30, and the alignment is way off. so that's another thing i have to get fixed.

But a lot has been happening since i have been out, mostly thanks to U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) and U.S. Rep. Michael Grimm (R-13-NY) and their push of the commuter protection act. Not many people know that Port Authority is actually privately held and one of the aims of the bill is to put tolls back under government control. It also pushes for accountability and transparency. As you probably know, GWB and other PA crossing have had a major toll hike and will be even more in the next few years. These tolls are funding other PA projects that create income through rent yet don't go back into infrastructure or to commuters. Check out the Senator's bill here and give support.