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Author Topic: Albany area to Suffolk County to I-78 west?  (Read 2991 times)

hbelkins

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Albany area to Suffolk County to I-78 west?
« on: March 15, 2017, 12:44:59 PM »

I'm looking into attending the planned southern Adirondacks meet in July. This might be my best opportunity to visit the last two counties I need in New York to clinch the state, so I'm looking for the best and easiest routing suggestions to accomplish this.

I'll be traveling on a Sunday, when I hope traffic will be lighter. I intend to come south from the Albany area on the Taconic.

Once I get into the greater NYC area, my goal is to get to Suffolk County, and then back off Long Island as fast as possible. All I have to do is cross the Nassau/Suffolk line; my requirements for county collecting don't require me to visit the courthouse or anything like that. After doing so, I want to get to either I-80 or I-78 to head west and don't really care which route I end up on; I just want the one that's easiest to access.

Anyone familiar with the area have any suggestions? It's NYC so I expect heavy traffic; I just hope to avoid any Cross Bronx-type cluster foxtrots. I'm hoping that doing this on a Sunday will mean there's less traffic, as I expect to make it to the NYC area sometime around noon.
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02 Park Ave

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Re: Albany area to Suffolk County to I-78 west?
« Reply #1 on: March 15, 2017, 01:27:29 PM »

hbelkins, I hate to be the the bearer of bad news but traffic is anything but light on a summer Sunday in the NYC area.

Here are my recommended routes:

To Suffolk County, stay with the Taconic Pkwy onto the Sprain Brook Pkwy, Bronx River Pkwy, Cross Brons, Throggs Neck Bridge, Clearview Expressway, Grand Central Pkwy, Northern State Pkwy into Suffolk County.

To New Jersey, Northern State Pkwy, LIE, Midtown Tunnel, local streets, Lincoln Tunnel, NJ495, NJ Turnpike to either 95 or 78.

Most of the traffic on Long Island is beach traffic; midtown Manhattan is not that busy in the summer.

Hope this helps.  If you want a different routing, either direction, just ask.
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Rothman

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Re: Albany area to Suffolk County to I-78 west?
« Reply #2 on: March 15, 2017, 01:47:33 PM »

Why not Cross Island Parkway to Grand Central Parkway? 

I concur with the route to I-78 on the way back.
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02 Park Ave

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Re: Albany area to Suffolk County to I-78 west?
« Reply #3 on: March 15, 2017, 01:57:24 PM »

You could go that way also.  I just thought there would be less traffic on the Clearview and it only involves one exiting rather than two.
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NE2

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Re: Albany area to Suffolk County to I-78 west?
« Reply #4 on: March 15, 2017, 02:09:45 PM »

Take the train.
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empirestate

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Re: Albany area to Suffolk County to I-78 west?
« Reply #5 on: March 15, 2017, 02:19:33 PM »

Coming from the Bronx River Pkwy. south, the ramp to the Cross Bronx can often back up. It's an easy Plan B to stay on the parkway to the Bruckner Expwy./I-278, thence to the Throgs Neck.

Why not Cross Island Parkway to Grand Central Parkway?

I find the Clearview to be far less susceptible to traffic tie-ups; it's almost as if people have forgotten that it's an option. (That said, checking traffic reports at the time is always advisable.)

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I concur with the route to I-78 on the way back.

Just be aware that that involves local Manhattan streets, which, if memory serves, is not really the OP's cup of tea. Another option would be Cross Island/Belt Pkwy. to the Verrazano Bridge, then I-278->I-95->NJ 81->I-78. Much longer, but all-freeway.

(Better still would be backtracking to the Throgs Neck Bridge, then the Cross Bronx/I-95 straight over the GWB to I-80. You don't avoid the Cross Bronx, but you're likely to avoid its cluster-foxtrots, given the timing. Again, check local traffic conditions at the time; that may answer which route is better.)
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02 Park Ave

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Re: Albany area to Suffolk County to I-78 west?
« Reply #6 on: March 15, 2017, 02:49:43 PM »

Taking the train would work.  Amtrak goes along the Hudson into Penn Station New York, the Long Island Railroad is right there also.  You could then take a train on its Main Line, Port Jeff branch, or Babylon branch into Suffolk County.  Upon returning to the City, you'd have your choice of Amtrak or New Jersey Transit in the station.
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Re: Albany area to Suffolk County to I-78 west?
« Reply #7 on: March 15, 2017, 02:55:29 PM »

Another alternate route to New Jersey would be Nortern State Pkwy, Grand Central Pkwy, Tri-boro Bridge, Major Deagan, GWB, NJ Turnpike to 80 or 78.

Taking the Belt Pkwy gets you more involved with the beach traffic.
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hbelkins

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Re: Albany area to Suffolk County to I-78 west?
« Reply #8 on: March 15, 2017, 02:56:46 PM »

I was looking at Taconic to Sprain Brook to I-287, then the Hutchinson south to I-678 and the Whitestone Bridge, then the Cross River to the LIE or the Northern State out to Suffolk County. Once I get into Suffolk County, NY 110 south to the Southern State, then west to the Belt and then across the Verrazano (with two Z's LOL) and the Goethals, then either north on the NJTP to I-78, or south on the NJTP to I-287 around to I-78. Seems to be the simplest and easiest way. What am I missing?

Edit: Westbound, Grand Central to Deegan to the Cross Bronx to the GWB also looks like a very viable option; perhaps better than the Belt to Staten Island. That would put me on I-80 west, which I like better than I-78 anyway, as it's more scenic. I-80 to I-99/US 220 to I-68 is a more fun route than I-78 to I-81 to I-70 to US 68. Only advantage to the latter is that it gives an option to come back across Corridor H. I-81 from the I-78/Harrisburg area to the Potomac is boredom central.
« Last Edit: March 15, 2017, 03:17:37 PM by hbelkins »
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02 Park Ave

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Re: Albany area to Suffolk County to I-78 west?
« Reply #9 on: March 15, 2017, 03:13:28 PM »

You're not missing anything on your route out to Suffolk County.  I debated whether to suggest your route myself.  Either way would be OK.

Now regarding your route to New Jersey, if you are travelling in the afternoon, that summertime beach traffic on the Belt Pkwy can be murder.  I would avoid it.
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Re: Albany area to Suffolk County to I-78 west?
« Reply #10 on: March 15, 2017, 04:52:24 PM »

I'm not an expert with NYC area traffic, but I do have SOME experiences.

For one, avoid the LIE. That road is absolute murder in Queens. Try to also avoid the tunnels and GWB. I'd advise using the Outerbridge Crossing. The Outerbridge generally isn't congested, and the Verrazano sadly, is the contrast. However, the main issue is that you're at least 15 miles south of I-78. You have a choice of the NJ Turnpike, or the Garden State Parkway.

There is an alternative. There's a car ferry from the World Financial Center to Hoboken. You can get onto 14th St in Hoboken, which is I-78. Here's the route I fetched ya: Link
Issue with this though is that you're on surface streets for the final six miles of the trip, but it's mostly on parkways.
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empirestate

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Re: Albany area to Suffolk County to I-78 west?
« Reply #11 on: March 15, 2017, 04:59:53 PM »

I was looking at Taconic to Sprain Brook to I-287, then the Hutchinson south to I-678 and the Whitestone Bridge, then the Cross River to the LIE or the Northern State out to Suffolk County. Once I get into Suffolk County, NY 110 south to the Southern State, then west to the Belt and then across the Verrazano (with two Z's LOL) and the Goethals, then either north on the NJTP to I-78, or south on the NJTP to I-287 around to I-78. Seems to be the simplest and easiest way. What am I missing?

Well, it's longer than staying on the Sprain to the Bronx River, and the Hutch can jam up in that area. But then, so can the Bronx River near the Cross County, so… What's good is that you've got multiple route options, and you can choose one or the other based on conditions at the time. In general, the Sprain is the most modern, free-flowing of the N/S routes in lower Westchester; the Hutch is much more antiquated.

Quote
Edit: Westbound, Grand Central to Deegan to the Cross Bronx to the GWB also looks like a very viable option; perhaps better than the Belt to Staten Island. That would put me on I-80 west, which I like better than I-78 anyway, as it's more scenic.

Just be aware of long-term construction on I-87 through that area; I would choose the Cross Bronx over the Deegan for that reason, especially on a Sunday. (Harlem River Drive is also an option, although it can also get hairy sometimes.) I also agree that the GWB route is far preferable to the Belt/Verrazano route; the only reason for the latter is to avoid Midtown streets and the Cross Bronx Expressway, both of which would be more out of principle than necessity.

Also, keeping in mind your stated goal of leaving Long Island as quickly as possible, that'll be the Throgs Neck Bridge, which feeds you right into the Cross Bronx.
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Re: Albany area to Suffolk County to I-78 west?
« Reply #12 on: March 15, 2017, 05:28:01 PM »

I would argue that having a traffic app, paying attention to traffic conditions on key routes, and being flexible, would be the best path to take (pun intended).

I'd also dig out your EZPass and have a healthy balance on it before you begin.
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empirestate

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Re: Albany area to Suffolk County to I-78 west?
« Reply #13 on: March 15, 2017, 08:46:43 PM »

I would argue that having a traffic app, paying attention to traffic conditions on key routes, and being flexible, would be the best path to take (pun intended).

That would be my key takeaway also. Be familiar with all the various options that have been presented here, and choose the best one as conditions warrant.
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hbelkins

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Re: Albany area to Suffolk County to I-78 west?
« Reply #14 on: March 15, 2017, 09:04:59 PM »

I'd also dig out your EZPass and have a healthy balance on it before you begin.

I'll mostly be going west when I cross bridges, which won't be as big of an issue as it would be if I was accessing Long Island from the west.
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02 Park Ave

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Re: Albany area to Suffolk County to I-78 west?
« Reply #15 on: March 15, 2017, 10:04:16 PM »

The Verrazano Bridge is tolled in the westbound direction.  The toll is in the neighborhood of $15.

The bridges and tunnels connecting NJ and NY are tolled in the eastbound direction.
« Last Edit: March 15, 2017, 10:09:22 PM by 02 Park Ave »
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froggie

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Re: Albany area to Suffolk County to I-78 west?
« Reply #16 on: March 16, 2017, 02:08:41 PM »

Quote from: hbelkins
I'll mostly be going west when I cross bridges, which won't be as big of an issue as it would be if I was accessing Long Island from the west.

As Park Ave noted, this doesn't really matter.  The Verrazano toll is westbound.  All three crossings between Queens and the Bronx are tolled in both directions (Throgs Neck, Bronx-Whitestone, and the Triborough), as are the Queens-Midtown and Brooklyn Battery Tunnels.  The only way you'll avoid a toll leaving Long Island is to take one of the free bridges onto Manhattan and then make your way to the Holland Tunnel, Lincoln Tunnel, or GWB.  But as noted upthread, the connections across Manhattan are either busy, lengthy, or involve city streets which you are not a fan of.

So, in a nutshell, pick your poison.
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vdeane

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Re: Albany area to Suffolk County to I-78 west?
« Reply #17 on: March 16, 2017, 07:51:23 PM »

There's only one toll-free, all-freeway route off Long Island to NJ I can think of: Belt Parkway to I-278, I-278 to the Brooklyn Bridge, and FDR Drive/Harlem River Drive to the George Washington Bridge.  The other direction of I-278 doesn't have a direct connection to the bridge.
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Dougtone

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Re: Albany area to Suffolk County to I-78 west?
« Reply #18 on: March 16, 2017, 08:31:01 PM »

I should probably chime in since I drive from Upstate NY to Long Island a few times a year. This is roughly what I do when I go from Albany to Long Island. I find that these routes are easiest when it comes to traffic and making time.

From Albany to Long Island --- I-90 east, Taconic south, Sprain Brook south, Bronx River Pkwy. south, I-278 eastbound (there is a traffic light at the ramp from Bronx River Pkwy. SB to I-278 EB), I-295 SB, Grand Central/Northern State Pkwy. eastbound.

If you want to just spinback Suffolk County, you can do so at the Round Swamp Road exit, or NY 110 if you want to take a drink or comfort break at that point.

From Long Island to I-80 --- Grand Central/Northern State Pkwy. westbound, I-278 westbound, take exit for Manhattan/Harlem River Drive north, I-95 south. This way will place you on the Cross Bronx just before the George Washington Bridge, which alleviates plenty of headaches for me.

Also, as others have said, definitely the earlier you can do this on Sunday, the better. There is a Yankee game that Sunday afternoon, but the Mets are playing a series in St. Louis that weekend. Beach traffic back to the City gets heavier as the afternoon progresses.

empirestate

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Re: Albany area to Suffolk County to I-78 west?
« Reply #19 on: March 17, 2017, 12:05:58 AM »

From Albany to Long Island --- I-90 east, Taconic south, Sprain Brook south, Bronx River Pkwy. south, I-278 eastbound (there is a traffic light at the ramp from Bronx River Pkwy. SB to I-278 EB), I-295 SB, Grand Central/Northern State Pkwy. eastbound.

Quote
From Long Island to I-80 --- Grand Central/Northern State Pkwy. westbound, I-278 westbound, take exit for Manhattan/Harlem River Drive north, I-95 south. This way will place you on the Cross Bronx just before the George Washington Bridge, which alleviates plenty of headaches for me.

Also a very sound plan. I myself would opt for the Throgs Neck/Cross Bronx route, only because I've had better luck on the Cross Bronx than on the GCP passing Laguardia (there has been construction in that area recently; is there still?), as well as the HRD (though the problems there are typically southbound, not north).
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Re: Albany area to Suffolk County to I-78 west?
« Reply #20 on: March 17, 2017, 08:49:51 AM »

From Albany to Long Island --- I-90 east, Taconic south, Sprain Brook south, Bronx River Pkwy. south, I-278 eastbound (there is a traffic light at the ramp from Bronx River Pkwy. SB to I-278 EB), I-295 SB, Grand Central/Northern State Pkwy. eastbound.

Quote
From Long Island to I-80 --- Grand Central/Northern State Pkwy. westbound, I-278 westbound, take exit for Manhattan/Harlem River Drive north, I-95 south. This way will place you on the Cross Bronx just before the George Washington Bridge, which alleviates plenty of headaches for me.

Also a very sound plan. I myself would opt for the Throgs Neck/Cross Bronx route, only because I've had better luck on the Cross Bronx than on the GCP passing Laguardia (there has been construction in that area recently; is there still?), as well as the HRD (though the problems there are typically southbound, not north).

I'm on the GCP on a fairly regular basis.  While there is sometimes some traffic by the airport, it's generally nothing horrible.  I'm not on the Cross Bronx all that often, but when I have been it's almost always been backed up.
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empirestate

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Re: Albany area to Suffolk County to I-78 west?
« Reply #21 on: March 17, 2017, 10:01:15 AM »

I myself would opt for the Throgs Neck/Cross Bronx route, only because I've had better luck on the Cross Bronx than on the GCP passing Laguardia (there has been construction in that area recently; is there still?), as well as the HRD (though the problems there are typically southbound, not north).

I'm on the GCP on a fairly regular basis.  While there is sometimes some traffic by the airport, it's generally nothing horrible.  I'm not on the Cross Bronx all that often, but when I have been it's almost always been backed up.

That's also a good point, since by now I am famous (in my own mind, at least) for missing out on traffic problems that seem to befall everyone else. I have also never witnessed the crippling toll booth backups at Thruway exit 24, nor the traffic jams in Brighton that necessitated the construction of a DDI at Winton Road.

(To be fair, it's not that I never encounter traffic, just not some of the "traditional" trouble spots. And the reason I've had good luck on the Cross Bronx is probably because I'd only ever even attempt it on a Sunday, or late at night. In other words, I've missed that traffic because I've intentionally avoided it.)

Edited to add: Oh, and don't forget that the Cross Bronx is not on Long Island, whereas the GCP is. So even if you hit traffic on the Cross Bronx while the GCP is free and clear, you'd still have hit your main goal of leaving the island as soon as possible.
« Last Edit: March 17, 2017, 10:04:56 AM by empirestate »
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Re: Albany area to Suffolk County to I-78 west?
« Reply #22 on: March 17, 2017, 06:00:10 PM »

I do make regular trips from Central Queens to Maryland and often return home on Sundays. 

My usual way back involves minimizing tolls (at least within the city) so I take I-495 west to Hunterspoint Ave, meander my way to the Queensboro Bridge upper level.  A weave through some UES streets to get me to the FDR Dr south and then around the Battery and off to the Holland Tunnel and then towards the NJTP.  I don't avoid all the tolls once I'm in NJ, I take a cost-benefit analysis.  I can't ever fathom the justification for the Verrazano Toll.

But another possibility for you HB, particularly in light of your desire to avoid NYC surface streets would be to take the Grand Central  to the RFK Bridge (Triboro Bridge) to Manhattan and then following the signs to the Harlem River Drive, taking that to the GWB.  There is a small "breezewood" connection between the Triboro and the Harlem River Drive where you have to pass through two surface intersections with traffic signals.  But I generally find the HRD a lot better than the Deegan on most occasions, especially if there is a Yankee game.

I don't do the trip through Westchester as much, but the routing someone mentioned earlier of Taconic-Sprain Brook-278 East-Throgs Neck has my vote.
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hbelkins

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Re: Albany area to Suffolk County to I-78 west?
« Reply #23 on: March 17, 2017, 08:17:10 PM »

Edited to add: Oh, and don't forget that the Cross Bronx is not on Long Island, whereas the GCP is. So even if you hit traffic on the Cross Bronx while the GCP is free and clear, you'd still have hit your main goal of leaving the island as soon as possible.

I said leave the island, but I really meant out of New York, since my original thought was to take the Verrazano and Goethals to get to New Jersey.
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Re: Albany area to Suffolk County to I-78 west?
« Reply #24 on: March 19, 2017, 06:53:41 AM »

...which would be the most direct, but as noted above has a decent-sized toll.  As I mentioned above, pick your poison.
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