Monday, April 21, 2014

Today I bypassed the Cross Bronx traffic with this one weird trick. You’ll never believe how….

Before reading any further, yes that headline is indeed a satirical play on the current crop of Buzzfeed headlines. But seriously, today I tried something new. On approach to the Throgs Neck, the Traffic Time sign told me the Cross Bronx / 95S (CBX) was going to be over an hour. The 278/87 route on the other hand was 20 minutes. I have never attempted this way before, because looking at my map it just did not make sense. It seemed to be miles out of the way, and dip into the Bronx. Figuring I had nothing to lose, I exited right before the wall of brake lights, and hoped for the best.

And wow, that was easy. The lesson learned today is that if the CBX sucks, hop on to the Bruckner/287 West, and take that a few miles to 87N/Major Deegan. The signs won’t say GWB at first, but just keep following them, and it will drop you off much faster than taking the Triborough bridge route. I have been driving the same route  for nearly 7 years, and was pleasantly surprised to finally find a viable CBX alternative.

Sure, its a couple miles out of the way, but taking the Bruckner/278W instead of the CBX can save you a lot of time

Monday, April 14, 2014

The Pulaski Skyway Closure and What That Means for Your Commute

The Pulaski Skyway is one of the main thoroughfares into Jersey City and Manhattan. It’s a bridge that carries traffic from Route 1 and 9, and also serves a large portion of traffic exiting 95 (NJ Turnpike) on their way to and from the city. Starting this week, it’s going to be closed for two years. Expect a lot of traffic on surface streets as well as alternate routes as commuters try and make their way into the Holland Tunnel.

The bridge opened in 1932, and is in the final phases on a one billion dollar restoration that has been going on since 2007, and is slated to be completed in 2016. On this first weekday of closure, traffic has been light. This is most likely due to the impending Jewish Holiday, as well as the majority of schools not in session for spring break.  Expect about 2-3 weeks to get into a groove if this is your route, as commuters will get used to the new route options and detours

The most impacted areas are going to be as follows:
  • i95 N around Newark airport
  •   i78 will likely serve as the main bypass for many travelers; its only a few miles out of the way, and is wide enough to handle a good amount of extra traffic.
  •  Another traffic choke point is going to the rt. 1/9 bypass, AKA, Lincoln Highway.
  •  Outbound from Manhattan, commuters can expect heavier loads leaving to and from the Lincoln Tunnel as it hooks up with 95.
  • Coming down from the north, Rt.3 and 495 will see a lot of extra volume as commuters use the Lincoln Tunnel and go downtown via Manhattan surface streets.
  •  This will also cause additional delays on the West Side highway between the 50’s and downtown. Buckle up, the west side is going to be a mess for a while.
  • On the bright side though, Holland Tunnel traffic inbound is likely going to be significantly lighter until the pattern works itself out.

My route picks:
·         As always, use your traffic apps and listen to AM 88/1010 Wins for the most updated traffic, as conditions change, accidents happen and traffic flow varies greatly with the times of day.
·         Don’t go near the Lincoln tunnel
·         If you are coming from the north, use the GWB, and shoot down the Westside highway for downtown Manhattan access. Expects a mess down by the 30’s. If you are really ambitious, go a little further, and hop down the FDR to head downtown.
·         You might be tempted to take the Verrazano/ Goethalls up the Gowanus (278) to make it into Manhattan. I wouldn't do that due to the Gowanus’ propensity to back up. The belt isn't much better. Use this route only for queens, SI, Brooklyn and LI travel
o   You can also take 95 to 278, and take rt. 440 N to hook back up to 78.
·         The best route for now is probably going to be i78 for most weekdays.

·         A lot of this also depends on the signage they have up and how it affects those who aren't familiar with the territory. For weekends and Fridays, the Rt.9 bypass is going to be a good alternative to the i78 traffic that most weekend travelers will likely be directed towards.