News:

Thanks to everyone for the feedback on what errors you encountered from the forum database changes made in Fall 2023. Let us know if you discover anymore.

Main Menu

New York State Thruway

Started by Zeffy, September 22, 2014, 12:00:32 AM

Previous topic - Next topic

Jim

I stopped for the first time on Friday afternoon at the new Plattekill service area.  It's the largest of the new ones I've been to so far, but it was not even close to being sufficient to handle Friday afternoon of Memorial Day weekend crowds.  I'll admit it's not fair to judge it based on what's likely one of the top few busiest times of the year, on top of the fact that Modena is closed.  But... the design flaws were apparent.  Food lines spilling into walking and seating areas, nowhere near enough seating, the outdoor seating rendered useless by being in an 85-degree afternoon sun with no shade provided..  I'll give them one thing, though, that while the men's room was really busy, there weren't lines when I went in.  If there were lines for the ladies room, they at least weren't spilling out beyond the entrance.  There were also people in there actually keeping it clean.
Photos I post are my own unless otherwise noted.
Signs: https://www.teresco.org/pics/signs/
Travel Mapping: https://travelmapping.net/user/?u=terescoj
Counties: http://www.mob-rule.com/user/terescoj
Twitter @JimTeresco (roads, travel, skiing, weather, sports)


vdeane

Sloatsburg is also closed, so Plattekill is really feeling the crunch right now (as is the whole I-87 corridor; I-90 between Rochester and Albany is mostly open, but the rest of the system is still at least half closed).  But I still don't know what they were thinking with how small things are.  Did they not realize that Americans drive far enough that they will need to stop for lunch on the way?
Please note: All comments here represent my own personal opinion and do not reflect the official position of NYSDOT or its affiliates.

SignBridge

From everything I've read on this thread, it doesn't seem like the
Thruway Authority realizes very much of anything nowadays.

webny99

Another alternative or at least counterpart to having more restaurants, is having faster restaurants.  Most travelers stopping at a service area want a quick stop to begin with, so faster service would help improve the experience beyond just crowd control. Some restaurants are just notoriously slow and best avoided in service plazas, while others might be short-staffed initially and get better/faster/more experienced over time.

It also might surprise you just how many people stay on the highway until the next service area when one is closed. Many people are just very unadventurous or don't want the hassle of exiting and re-entering, especially on a toll road (though AET does help in that regard, it can still easily add 5+ minutes travel time, and more if your stops aren't well planned). I know from experience that finding a rest/bathroom stop right on the highway is nearly invaluable when traveling with a large group for reasons that go well beyond mere convenience. Once you exit the freeway, wayfinding and locating a facility with multiple clean bathrooms, and in some cases coordinating that with ordering a meal, can compound into a headache-inducing time sap in a hurry.

MASTERNC

Quote from: webny99 on May 29, 2024, 11:54:26 AMAnother alternative or at least counterpart to having more restaurants, is having faster restaurants.  Most travelers stopping at a service area want a quick stop to begin with, so faster service would help improve the experience beyond just crowd control. Some restaurants are just notoriously slow and best avoided in service plazas, while others might be short-staffed initially and get better/faster/more experienced over time.

It also might surprise you just how many people stay on the highway until the next service area when one is closed. Many people are just very unadventurous or don't want the hassle of exiting and re-entering, especially on a toll road (though AET does help in that regard, it can still easily add 5+ minutes travel time, and more if your stops aren't well planned). I know from experience that finding a rest/bathroom stop right on the highway is nearly invaluable when traveling with a large group for reasons that go well beyond mere convenience. Once you exit the freeway, wayfinding and locating a facility with multiple clean bathrooms, and in some cases coordinating that with ordering a meal, can compound into a headache-inducing time sap in a hurry.

At least in Pennsylvania, there's a financial penalty for exiting and re-entering the Turnpike (i.e. the toll of the two sections separately is higher than both sections in one single trip).  That will change with gantries between exits in a few years, but not sure if the Thruway has the same penalty for the sections with AET on ramps.

webny99

Quote from: MASTERNC on May 29, 2024, 01:20:58 PMAt least in Pennsylvania, there's a financial penalty for exiting and re-entering the Turnpike (i.e. the toll of the two sections separately is higher than both sections in one single trip).  That will change with gantries between exits in a few years, but not sure if the Thruway has the same penalty for the sections with AET on ramps.

This is fortunately not the case on the Thruway system.

Up in Canada, 407ETR is even worse; there's a $4.00 "camera charge" for each time you enter, which is a pretty strong deterrent from exiting and re-entering.

vdeane

Quote from: webny99 on May 29, 2024, 04:07:55 PMUp in Canada, 407ETR is even worse; there's a $4.00 "camera charge" for each time you enter, which is a pretty strong deterrent from exiting and re-entering.
That type of thing should be illegal under international law.
Please note: All comments here represent my own personal opinion and do not reflect the official position of NYSDOT or its affiliates.

webny99

Got to (finally!) check out the new Pembroke Service area this past weekend, the first of the new style I've been to. With the caveat that it is one of the largest of the new plazas (and rightly so), the feedback was mostly positive. The main area is quite open and spacious, and each of the main restaurant tenants had decent space cordoned off for lines to form, though none of them had long lines when I was there. The bathrooms seemed like a bit of a walk from the entrance, but acceptable considering most travelers are taking the opportunity to stretch their legs anyways. The entrance doors are also massive - so tall that they're noticeably heavier than a normal door and I could see a young kid or smaller adult struggling with them. (I don't remember noticing the doors before, but I suppose we're spoiled by automatic doors at grocery stores and such).

snowc

Quote from: vdeane on March 29, 2024, 08:48:11 PMThere was an issue sometime last year that was causing tolls to take a REALLY long time to post.  I think it might have been right around then.  IIRC during that time, they incorrectly gave me a free ride between 24-25A on a trip where I went further west, so something must have been up with their system.
And this occured with NC QuickPass as well. Took 45 days for NYSDOT to post toll to credit card. And they took my picture too.
southeastern road geek since 2001.
here's my clinched counties https://mob-rule.com/user/snowc
and my clinched roads https://travelmapping.net/user/?units=miles&u=snowc
i'm on kartaview as well https://kartaview.org/user/computer-geek
wikipedia too https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:BryceM2001

vdeane

Quote from: snowc on June 08, 2024, 09:31:00 AM
Quote from: vdeane on March 29, 2024, 08:48:11 PMThere was an issue sometime last year that was causing tolls to take a REALLY long time to post.  I think it might have been right around then.  IIRC during that time, they incorrectly gave me a free ride between 24-25A on a trip where I went further west, so something must have been up with their system.
And this occured with NC QuickPass as well. Took 45 days for NYSDOT to post toll to credit card. And they took my picture too.
Why would it have been any different with a QuickPass?  The issue is the Thruway Authority (completely separate from NYSDOT) taking forever to post tolls, not with the tag issuers.  Doesn't matter what transponder you have, the Thruway isn't going to post tolls any faster or slower.

And while the Thruway seems to have more issues than most, it's not unique to them.  Both Maryland and Florida have had times when posting of tolls took a really long time.  With the Thruway, it's made even worse by the need to guess whether people used exit 25A or not.  It would have been nice if they had done like MassDOT did and made the Syracuse and Albany/Schenectady local areas free, but they didn't.
Please note: All comments here represent my own personal opinion and do not reflect the official position of NYSDOT or its affiliates.

Jim

Demolition was well underway at the Mohawk Service Area when I drove by this morning.  I thought I heard that was one of the locations planned for a renovation rather than a replacement, but I was obviously wrong.  Being located just a few miles from Amsterdam where I've lived/visited regularly for most of my life, it's possible I was never in the now-demolished building.  I'm sure a comically tiny replacement is in the works.
Photos I post are my own unless otherwise noted.
Signs: https://www.teresco.org/pics/signs/
Travel Mapping: https://travelmapping.net/user/?u=terescoj
Counties: http://www.mob-rule.com/user/terescoj
Twitter @JimTeresco (roads, travel, skiing, weather, sports)

baugh17

Quote from: Jim on June 12, 2024, 03:16:29 PMDemolition was well underway at the Mohawk Service Area when I drove by this morning.  I thought I heard that was one of the locations planned for a renovation rather than a replacement, but I was obviously wrong.  Being located just a few miles from Amsterdam where I've lived/visited regularly for most of my life, it's possible I was never in the now-demolished building.  I'm sure a comically tiny replacement is in the works.

I actually had to stop at the Iroqois Service Area the other day to get myself a quick pick-me-up for the last ~15 miles of my drive back from Albany.  Only the second of the new buildings that I've been in (Junius Ponds being the other).

Jim

I noticed yesterday that the Sloatsburg parking garage was completely demolished, and that the new Ramapo building is looking close to completion.
Photos I post are my own unless otherwise noted.
Signs: https://www.teresco.org/pics/signs/
Travel Mapping: https://travelmapping.net/user/?u=terescoj
Counties: http://www.mob-rule.com/user/terescoj
Twitter @JimTeresco (roads, travel, skiing, weather, sports)

vdeane

Quote from: Jim on June 17, 2024, 10:21:54 PMI noticed yesterday that the Sloatsburg parking garage was completely demolished, and that the new Ramapo building is looking close to completion.
Ramapo and Scottsville are listed with projected completions of "Q2 2024" so they should be reopening soon.  That's unfortunate with Sloatsburg.  That service area is one of the busiest on the whole Thruway and the parking lot was already full, so why reduce the capacity in half?  I can only hope that they're just rebuilding it and that this isn't yet another example of cutting capacity at the new service areas.
Please note: All comments here represent my own personal opinion and do not reflect the official position of NYSDOT or its affiliates.

NoGoodNamesAvailable

Quote from: vdeane on June 18, 2024, 08:59:52 PM
Quote from: Jim on June 17, 2024, 10:21:54 PMI noticed yesterday that the Sloatsburg parking garage was completely demolished, and that the new Ramapo building is looking close to completion.
Ramapo and Scottsville are listed with projected completions of "Q2 2024" so they should be reopening soon.  That's unfortunate with Sloatsburg.  That service area is one of the busiest on the whole Thruway and the parking lot was already full, so why reduce the capacity in half?  I can only hope that they're just rebuilding it and that this isn't yet another example of cutting capacity at the new service areas.
The top level of the garage looked totally empty every time I went up there.

vdeane

#3090
Quote from: NoGoodNamesAvailable on June 22, 2024, 12:16:36 AM
Quote from: vdeane on June 18, 2024, 08:59:52 PM
Quote from: Jim on June 17, 2024, 10:21:54 PMI noticed yesterday that the Sloatsburg parking garage was completely demolished, and that the new Ramapo building is looking close to completion.
Ramapo and Scottsville are listed with projected completions of "Q2 2024" so they should be reopening soon.  That's unfortunate with Sloatsburg.  That service area is one of the busiest on the whole Thruway and the parking lot was already full, so why reduce the capacity in half?  I can only hope that they're just rebuilding it and that this isn't yet another example of cutting capacity at the new service areas.
The top level of the garage looked totally empty every time I went up there.
Meanwhile, the bottom level of the garage was practically full every time I've been there - only a couple spots available.  I can't imagine what it's actually like on peak travel days.  The top level is also useful if all you need to do is go to the bathroom.   Although it would help if the entrance to top level of the garage was easier to find.

It's definitely a busy service area.  In addition to serving both the I-87 and NY 17 corridors, it's perfectly located for a bathroom break when coming back to the Capital District from points south.  On my drives, I'm pretty much always either stopping there or not at all.
Please note: All comments here represent my own personal opinion and do not reflect the official position of NYSDOT or its affiliates.

vdeane

#3091
The Scottsville Service Area reopened yesterday, so now there are only two closed each direction (DeWitt and Mohawk EB, Pattersonville and Ontario WB) between Albany and Buffalo.

EDIT: And Ramapo reopened today!  Looks like the next ones to reopen will be Pattersonville and Sloatsburg.
Please note: All comments here represent my own personal opinion and do not reflect the official position of NYSDOT or its affiliates.

MASTERNC

Ramapo seems to have opened. It looked ready to go last Saturday but don't think it was open? The plaza before it has restrooms and a c-store only, so think that one may close soon.

Parking lot is a zoo but inside seems much less crazy.

Jim

Quote from: MASTERNC on July 06, 2024, 12:41:25 PMRamapo seems to have opened. It looked ready to go last Saturday but don't think it was open? The plaza before it has restrooms and a c-store only, so think that one may close soon.

Parking lot is a zoo but inside seems much less crazy.

There's one that was always too small, at least since the foot bridge across to Sloatsburg closed so many years ago.
Photos I post are my own unless otherwise noted.
Signs: https://www.teresco.org/pics/signs/
Travel Mapping: https://travelmapping.net/user/?u=terescoj
Counties: http://www.mob-rule.com/user/terescoj
Twitter @JimTeresco (roads, travel, skiing, weather, sports)

vdeane

Quote from: MASTERNC on July 06, 2024, 12:41:25 PMRamapo seems to have opened.
Is there an echo in here?

Quote from: vdeane on June 26, 2024, 01:00:14 PMEDIT: And Ramapo reopened today!  Looks like the next ones to reopen will be Pattersonville and Sloatsburg.

Quote from: MASTERNC on July 06, 2024, 12:41:25 PMIt looked ready to go last Saturday but don't think it was open?
It reopened on June 26, according to the Thruway.  My post was based on their Facebook announcements.

Quote from: MASTERNC on July 06, 2024, 12:41:25 PMThe plaza before it has restrooms and a c-store only, so think that one may close soon.
Define "soon".  It can't close until Ulster reopens, and that's projected for "Quarter 4 2024", so sometime towards the end of the year assuming no delays.

Current schedule:
-Q3: Sloatsburg, Pattersonville
-Q4: Ulster, Malden, DeWitt, Ontario
-2025 Q1: Mohawk, Angola
-2025 Q4: Modena
Please note: All comments here represent my own personal opinion and do not reflect the official position of NYSDOT or its affiliates.

MASTERNC

Quote from: vdeane on July 06, 2024, 03:59:59 PM
Quote from: MASTERNC on July 06, 2024, 12:41:25 PMRamapo seems to have opened.
Is there an echo in here?

Quote from: vdeane on June 26, 2024, 01:00:14 PMEDIT: And Ramapo reopened today!  Looks like the next ones to reopen will be Pattersonville and Sloatsburg.

Quote from: MASTERNC on July 06, 2024, 12:41:25 PMIt looked ready to go last Saturday but don't think it was open?
It reopened on June 26, according to the Thruway.  My post was based on their Facebook announcements.

Quote from: MASTERNC on July 06, 2024, 12:41:25 PMThe plaza before it has restrooms and a c-store only, so think that one may close soon.
Define "soon".  It can't close until Ulster reopens, and that's projected for "Quarter 4 2024", so sometime towards the end of the year assuming no delays.

Current schedule:
-Q3: Sloatsburg, Pattersonville
-Q4: Ulster, Malden, DeWitt, Ontario
-2025 Q1: Mohawk, Angola
-2025 Q4: Modena

Don't know how soon but the fact the restaurants are all closed tells me they're preparing. Wouldn't think they'd have two plazas in a row without food.

cu2010

Modena's had no restaurants for months.
This is cu2010, reminding you, help control the ugly sign population, don't have your shields spayed or neutered.

webny99

Too bad Angola won't be open until next year, since that's a highly anticipated one for me. It's the only location west of Buffalo, so it being closed is a significant inconvenience when traveling to/from the west, and it will be interesting to see how the median configuration and pedestrian bridges are handled with the rebuild.

I stopped at Warners the other day, which was the second of the new style I've been to (Pembroke being the other).  I found them very similar inside - that is to say decently spacious and modern-feeling with improved food choices and plenty of seating, but the restrooms IMO being a slight downgrade from the old plazas, mostly due to their location within the plaza and the narrowness of the entrances making it tight to enter at the same time someone is exiting and vice versa. I've yet to visit one of the really small plazas, though, so my opinion is still subject to change.

vdeane

Quote from: MASTERNC on July 06, 2024, 04:32:24 PMDon't know how soon but the fact the restaurants are all closed tells me they're preparing. Wouldn't think they'd have two plazas in a row without food.
Quote from: cu2010 on July 06, 2024, 06:23:27 PMModena's had no restaurants for months.
All the "phase 2" service areas (the only one of which hasn't yet closed for replacement is Modena) were the McDonald's locations.  For whatever reason, rather than get a temporary extender or something allowing McDonald's to continue operating until they were ready to be closed, they just closed all the restaurants at once on January 1, 2023 when the contract ended.  I'm assuming they figured they would be further along with the project by then, but I'm not sure by how much, given that it was always planned to finish in 2025.

Heck, until Ramapo reopened, there weren't any restaurants on I-87 heading south from New Baltimore at all.  It's fascinating how I-90 is close to normal (east of Buffalo, anyways) while I-87 is still very much not.
Please note: All comments here represent my own personal opinion and do not reflect the official position of NYSDOT or its affiliates.

webny99

A further argument for Thruway widening between Exit 21A and 23 became apparent this weekend... as reliable redundancy to free I-90. When the southbound lane drop at Exit 23 starts to back up as it does during busy travel periods, this causes through travelers on I-90 or I-87 SB headed for I-90 EB to opt for free I-90 instead of the Thruway to avoid the congestion. In turn, all that traffic is forced on to the single lane loop ramp from the end of free I-90 back onto to the Berkshire Spur, and that starts to back up because it was not built to handle all the through traffic. As it happened this past Sunday, the backup on free I-90 ended up being worse than the backup at Exit 23, despite being entirely caused by the latter backup. A Thruway widening down to the Berkshire Spur would eliminate both issues and encourage traffic to stay on the Thruway to prevent the loop on I-90 EB from ever becoming an issue (outside of a major incident on the Thruway).



Opinions expressed here on belong solely to the poster and do not represent or reflect the opinions or beliefs of AARoads, its creators and/or associates.