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What do experienced travelers think about alternatives to the GW bridge on Friday, July 6?

Discussion in 'New England' started by David29, Jul 5, 2018.

  1. David29

    David29 Supporting Member

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    We are driving from Dedham (MA) to Philadelphia tomorrow. The question is where to cross the Hudson. We have done the trip before and always seem to get miserably tangled up in the traffic across the Hudson. Our last crossing, a year ago, northbound on a Sunday night, took literally hours to get across the GW bridge, despite both the Tesla nav and Google maps telling us to go that way. I swore I would never take the GW again, and want to try the (new) TappenZee crossing. The drive down the NJ side seemed much less stressful than driving through the GW mess when we tried the (old) Tappan Zee one time last year.

    My limited experience (2 round trips in the past two years, 4 crossings) tells me that the Nav system predicts travel times through NYC that are much too low compared to reality.

    But looking at Google maps and at the Tesla route planner just now, both systems suggest the GW bridge and calculate much slower travel times via the Tappan Zee.

    Plus -- tomorrow promises to be raining, possibly quite heavily at times. Plus it is a Friday in a holiday week. Not sure if this week has less travel than usual in and out of Manhattan. I suspect the work traffic will be lighter, but not sure about total volumes.

    So -- what do experienced travelers think? should we accept the route suggested by the Nav system even if it is across the GW bridge (as it always has done, so far) or should I stick to the Tappan Zee route even if the predicted time is longer?

    Thanks for any advice.
     
  2. EdA

    EdA Model S P-2540

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    1.) Navigate with Waze (set it to re-route with 5 minutes versus the standard)
    2.) It will be a light commute day tomorrow
    3.) My feeling is that the rain will be your big issue (and any floods/accidents it brings)
    4.) What time do you expect to hit the GWB?

    It is a non-standard travel week, I commuted from Boston to MetroWest this morning and hit a
    horrendous accident on the Pike in Weston. "Out of towners" probably. Wasn't even sure if it
    was eastbound or westbound as I bailed at route 30. Map showed both directions red.

    Do you usually take the Cross Bronx Expwy? This was beaten to death in another thread recently.

    Also with the bad weather might be worth tuning into WINS 1010 AM but it can be like drinking
    from a firehose when they give the traffic report.
     
    • Informative x 1
  3. tga

    tga Supporting Member

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    I used to make periodic business trips from MA to NJ. I learned very quickly to make Pike->84->Tappan Zee the default route. Only a masochist would take the GWB as a through route (unless it's 3AM).
     
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  4. RedSoxFan18

    RedSoxFan18 Member

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    I have probably done this drive 50 times - I'm a new england guy married to a Jersey girl. If traffic is light the GW is quicker - during any normal time the Tappen Zee will add miles but save time. And if you are heading to Dedham I'd recommend hoping on the Saw Mill Parkway after the Tappen Zee, take it to I-684, to I-84 to the Mass Pike. I sometime take the Merit Parkway instead just to mix it up a bit.
     
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  5. HankLloydRight

    HankLloydRight No Roads

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    I guess I'm a masochist, because I take the GWB NB and SB 19 times out of 20 and rarely have a problem as long as it's not peak rush hour.

    Original post: Supercharger - Darien CT Rest Area

    Here's my tried and true route to go through NYC going from New England to New Jersey and south.

    Going south, the problem with the GWB is 95S and the Cross-Bronx Expressway leading up to the bridge.

    I've been driving between Boston<-->Phila and CT<-->Phila for the last 25 years (my parents live near Phila). Have driven this route hundreds of times, if not more. Except during rush hour, I most always take the GWB to the NJTP, but an alternate route that avoids 95 south of Connecticut and rarely has any traffic (see map below).

    From 95S in Connecticut, I take 287N (towards the TZB), to the Hutchinson Parkway south.. to the Cross County Parkway, to the Henry Hudson Parkway South (has a toll).. which drops you off right at the foot of the GWB, avoiding all the Cross Bronx Expressway. Going North (again, except during rush hour), I do the same route in reverse.

    Taking the TZB instead either way adds about 15 minutes/15 miles to this route, but does route you right past the new Tarrytown supercharger, which is a bonus taking this route.

    Another tip is that when going north over the GWB, always take the lower level. There are no trucks allowed and it's always a much fast trip through the tolls and the bridge.

    [​IMG]

    If you're coming from Boston, forget I-84 and I-684 west of Hartford. Take 84W to 91S at Hartford to the Wilbur Cross Parkway 15S -- turns into the Merritt Parkway (still 15S)... all the way to the end (where there's a Supercharger right before you hit NY state) then it turns into the Hutchinson Parkway. Then see the map above for the rest of the route.
     
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  6. NickFie

    NickFie Member

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    I agree. During summer, Rte 15 can be dicey after 8pm due to construction on weeknights.

    FWIW - years ago used recommended route to set a personal best of 4.5 hours from Mass Pike Back Bay entrance to downtown Philadelphia. Including a swing by Penn Station in Manhattan to drop off a niece.

    She had asked why I never got speeding tickets while her dad did. I demonstrated my guidelines - drive very safely, change lanes rarely but signal each time, keep right except when passing. I also think our SAAB 95 had very low radar profile.
     
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  7. EdA

    EdA Model S P-2540

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    One caveat on any route you take: if it is indeed a very heavy rain the Hutchinson River Pkwy and the Saw Mill River Pkwy can turn into the Hutchinson River and Saw Mill River...
     
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  8. HankLloydRight

    HankLloydRight No Roads

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    I use both a radar and laser detector/shifter, but the best tool for avoiding tickets is keen situational awareness. Know when you're vulnerable to being clocked and avoid those situations. Don't speed over the crest of any hill -- especially by yourself. Be aware of what other cars around you are doing -- especially 1/4 to 1/2 mile ahead of you. Get to know what unmarked police cars look like. They're not always grey custom cruisers with all black wheels and little antennas (although most of them are... ;) )

    Waze alerts help, but they're generally to temporal and for police don't really help that much.

    And for the love of god and everything holy, if you're on the highway and see an officer with his lights on and has someone pulled over -- DO NOT SLOW DOWN TO 45 MPH WHEN PASSING THE OFFICER. IT'S PERFECTLY LEGAL TO DO THE SPEED LIMIT when passing a cop.
     
  9. HeloCaptain

    HeloCaptain Member

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    Tappan Zee.
    Significantly reduced stress.
     
  10. suwaneedad

    suwaneedad Member

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    I'm an Atlantan who lived this very decision a week ago today heading north to BOS. I'm forever grateful for Waze, which advised at the last moment that we divert to the Tappan Zee route. It was a gorgeous drive, kept us moving, and consequently way less stress than the GW routing was going to put us through. I'd forever love to know why Google Maps and Waze don't offer the same advice given they have the same owner. And don't even get me started on how underwhelming Tesla's nav is...traffic is inexplicably perpetually out of date, and the routing advice only one notch better than a 1985 AAA Trip-Tik. Waze for the win.
     
  11. suwaneedad

    suwaneedad Member

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    I did not know this was a thing. Bless you.
     
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  12. North75

    North75 Member

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    I agree with the route shown here. I have driven between Philadelphia and New England 100's of times over the last 3 decades. Under 95% of conditions the above route will be the fastest. That's not to say it will be fast, you will still most likely hit some amount of traffic somewhere, it will just be less than other routes. This route can also be stressful. There are plenty of aggressive driving very faster than these roads were intended for. You also have to pay attention to the road markings so as to not get lost (don't accidentally head into the Bronx) The TZB is probably a better option if you don't want to deal with it.

    The most important thing is to be conscious of when you are driving. My major preference is to leave the Boston area after 6 PM. You might hit the tail end of Boston rush hour, but NYC traffic will be cleared out by the time you get down there. I recently drove from Lexington MA, to Fort Washington, PA in the Philly suburbs and made it in 4:45 leaving at 6:30. This was not in a Tesla, I had one fast food stop.

    On the way home I left on a Friday afternoon around 3, which is a bad idea for going back around NYC. I decided just to follow Waze to see how it would route me. It wound up routing me up the New York Thruway almost to Albany and then across the Mass pike.
    I thought this was crazy, but went with it anyway. I wound up making it in about 5:45 which I think was pretty good considering. I've definitely taken longer driving around NYC on a Friday night.
     
  13. North75

    North75 Member

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    The upper level is better on the rare occasion that traffic is light. The ramp from the upper deck to the Henry Hudson is direct vs. the ramp on the lower level where you have to turn on to city streets and then back on to the HH. I'm also a fan of using the lower approach but then taking the truck escape ramp on the left back to the upper deck tolls.

    Finally, I prefer taking route 46 on the New Jersey side to cut off the jug handle of the NJ Turnpike. I'm not sure if it really saves any time, but I've always gone that way.
     
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  14. HankLloydRight

    HankLloydRight No Roads

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    This is absolutely 100% accurate.
     
  15. tga

    tga Supporting Member

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    Good point, it's not the bridge itself that's the nightmare, but the approach on the CBE. I've never done your route.

    I wouldn't write off 84 completely, but look at traffic and make a decision coming through Hartford. 95, 91, and the Merrit/Wilbur Cross Parkways are often at capacity and it doesn't take much to completely mess things up. 84 is (or at least used to be) a lot less loaded, so you could maintain higher speeds. The Merritt/Wilbur Cross is a nicer drive.

    You can also take route 8 (limited access) between 84, 95, and the parkways if things change after going through Hartford.

    That drives me nuts. I used to call it "getting religion". Just move left and maintain speed, fer cryin' out loud!
     
  16. HankLloydRight

    HankLloydRight No Roads

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    It's true, the answer is always "it depends" (on traffic) ;) At rush hour, Hartford can be pretty bad through 91S to the WC/Merritt Parkways. But long before I found my "optimal" route, I'd always take 84->684->TZB to get to NJ. But I found that that leg of 84W from Hartford to 684S is a long, boring slog of a drive.

    If you're only going once and want minimal road changes, minimal traffic, and minimal sensory input, by all means, take the 84/684/TZB route -- safe and easy. But if you're a New England/New Jersey road warrior like me and few other folks, the 90/84/91/15/9A/GWB route keeps you on your toes and becomes second nature after a while.
     
  17. ModelNforNerd

    ModelNforNerd Active Member

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    I know I'm late to this one....

    We just did MA to WV and back for the 4th of July week.

    On July 1st (southbound) we made it from our house to Tarrytown, NY with ~15% to spare. After charging up to 80% (which took about 4 or 5 min longer than expected due to it being SOOO hot that week), we hopped over the Tappan Zee and 287 on our way to our Allentown, PA stop. It was around 10:30am on a Sunday, and we had no issues.

    On July 6th, we went Northbound. We charged enough at Allentown to make the hop to Danbury (via 287 and the TZB again), where we charged up enough to make it home with no other stops.

    Both trips were fairly smooth, and with the new Tappan Zee span up and running, it was a lot less congested than our Christmas trip, where one side was on the new bridge, while the other was still on the old span.

    my carsick-prone dogs appreciate having Danbury open, which opens up 84. Previously, our choices were to risk carsickness on CT-15, or the traffic nightmare of 95.
     
  18. David29

    David29 Supporting Member

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    #18 David29, Jul 10, 2018
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2018
    OK, we are back.
    First, thanks to everyone for the inputs. I was particularly intrigued by the detailed route suggested by HankLloydRight and tried to print out his post on Friday morning before we left. My printer decided to go on strike so I could not print that. (And the doggone thing remains in an error state as I type this, so I need to fix that soon!)

    First off, we lucked out on the rain, I think. I had been expecting to be driving in heavy rains for 3-4 hours, but we really only had heavy rain for maybe 45 minutes or so. And as an aside, the AP was great in the rain. It worked most of the time. My spouse, who is an AP skeptic and has never even used cruise control on her own cars, remarked at how the AP camera apparently could see the lane lines better than we could. Car felt secure, wipers were fine, and we got through it more easily than expected.

    When we charged at West Hartford while we ate lunch, we checked Google maps. It was still recommending the GWB, as was the car's navigation. (Did not check Waze.) We decided to press on for the Tappan Zee, though. Unfortunately, portions of I-84 were not a pleasant ride -- there were construction delays in a couple of places, especially around Waterbury. We stopped in Tarrytown for a pit stop. Even at that point, practically at the entrance to the bridge, both the car and the Google maps said to head south on the east side of the river and take the GWB or a tunnel!! We probably should have listened, but took the Tappan Zee bridge anyway. The car's nav routed us in some peculiar and unfamiliar way on the west side, probably due to the late Friday afternoon traffic. Eventually we made our way to the New Jersey Turnpike and made it to my son's home in Philadelphia about dinnertime.

    Of course, in my own defense, there is no way to know for sure how much time it would have taken to use the recommended GWB route -- maybe less, but how much less (or more ) is impossible to know.

    The trip back on Monday (yesterday) was much nicer. We got on the NJT south of Trenton (after charging at Burlington, NJ). After the less-than-satisfying experience with the TZB route on Friday, coupled with the more favorable travel time, I had decided that I would try the GWB on Monday for the return trip. But, both Google maps and the car's nav were recommending the Tappan Zee bridge! (Actually, Google maps started out recommending the GWB but after a few minutes,m updated to change to the TZB.) So we took the recommended route, and it was lovely. It went up the Garden State Parkway, which was such a smooth, pretty, easy ride -- few if any trucks, very nice route. traffic was light almost the entire route, with minimal congestion in the immediate vicinity of the bridge itself. On the east side, the nav routed us southeast on I-287 to the Merritt Parkway and a charging/lunch stop in Greenwich, CT. The Merritt Parkway is another really pretty, pleasant, easy drive -- pavement is super smooth, which really reduces my stress, I hate the bumps. Then up I-91 to the Hartford area and home via I-84 and I-90, with a third charging stop in Manchester.

    The return trip was so-o-o much nicer, with less traffic, no rain, and those nice parkways. Maybe not the most efficient for repeat trips, but very pleasant -- at least, until we hit Natick and I-90 bogged down in afternoon rush hour traffic.

    Thank again for the inputs. Not sure what we will do next time, but we sure did enjoy the parkways on our return trip. (And we love those autos-only express lanes on the NJT, too!)
     
  19. EdA

    EdA Model S P-2540

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    Curious on why you didn't use Waze?
     
  20. David29

    David29 Supporting Member

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    No good reason, really. I've looked at it briefly once or twice but not enough to know how to use it. I have no mount for a cellphone in my car and don't want to try to operate the phone by hand while driving. I suppose I could try it while my spouse drives, but I just never have.

    I've actually been quite content with the Tesla navigation system and am not inclined to try to monitor two different systems simultaneously.
     

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