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Author Topic: Busiest / Least Busy Service Areas  (Read 13993 times)

jeffandnicole

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Re: Busiest / Least Busy Service Areas
« Reply #25 on: September 05, 2013, 02:36:12 PM »

Per this http://www.state.nj.us/turnpike/documents/RM_101687.pdf (Specifically, page 23), they are doing something about the Vince.  They are replacing the HVAC system.

Yeah...that's not going to do much about the lighting or the parking lot.  But it'll feel comfortable inside.
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Scott5114

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Re: Busiest / Least Busy Service Areas
« Reply #26 on: September 05, 2013, 03:56:56 PM »

On the Kansas Turnpike, my educated guess is that the Topeka Service Area is the busiest, and the Emporia Service Area is the least busy.  I'm inferring that from the fact that the Topeka Service Area is the largest and has the most businesses (while being the only service area on a six-lane portion of the Turnpike), while the Emporia Service Area is on the portion of the Turnpike with the least traffic (I-335).  I don't have any quantitative data, though.  Unfortunately, none of the Kansas Turnpike Service Areas ever seem to be as nearly half as busy as the ones on the mainline Pennsylvania Turnpike, from what I've observed.  (I say "unfortunately" for reasons of subjective psychological perception.  Others would consider this a plus.)

Towanda is the busiest, in my experience, probably due to it being in the middle of the three I-35 service plazas. I've only been past Topeka once, though, and never stopped, so I can't compare the two.

Emporia is a ghost town, though.
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Duke87

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Re: Busiest / Least Busy Service Areas
« Reply #27 on: September 05, 2013, 06:02:42 PM »

As for the least busy in NJ, there are a couple of scenic areas on I-80, but those are STILL probably better traveled than the picnic grove on the southern Parkway ("Shoemaker Holly", apparently?). Ocean View would win least-used service area with actual services.

I stopped at Ocean View once. I was the only car in the lot and the only person in the building.
I suspect the fact that it was December contributed heavily to this, and that during the summer it would see more traffic.

The rest area eastbound on NY 17 between Roscoe and Livingston Manor I found similarly dead at ~9 PM Saturday night in February.
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amroad17

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Re: Busiest / Least Busy Service Areas
« Reply #28 on: September 05, 2013, 09:43:58 PM »

I would nominate any of the Maine Turnpike service areas as least busy.  When a plane can land at one of them in the middle of the day and not worry about hitting a car...
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Beeper1

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Re: Busiest / Least Busy Service Areas
« Reply #29 on: September 05, 2013, 10:10:22 PM »

The Kennebunk areas on the Maine Turnpike are certainly the most busy up there.  On a holiday weekend they can be a zoo.   The Cumberland and Gray Plazas are probably the least used. Fairly small and not much traffic on that part of the turnpike.    I havn't seen the new Gardiner plaza that serves the turnpike and I-295, so I dont know how that one is.  Last time I was that far up on the turnpike the old Lewiston/Gardiner areas were still open.   
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amroad17

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Re: Busiest / Least Busy Service Areas
« Reply #30 on: September 05, 2013, 10:20:49 PM »

Yes, the Kennebunk service areas are busy, but the other ones are not.  In fact, when I was driving for an expedited trucking company out of Cincinnati, I spent the night at the Gray service plaza (before it was redone).  It was a surreal experience as I was the only truck there the whole evening and hardly any traffic on the Maine Turnpike.  Overly quiet.  I half expected to hear/see a 60 foot Wendigo coming out of the woods there!
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hbelkins

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Re: Busiest / Least Busy Service Areas
« Reply #31 on: September 06, 2013, 10:35:25 AM »

Now, back on topic, I have visited the Western Kentucky Parkway's lone service area a few times. It has an Arby's, gasoline station and a convenience store, but I've never encountered more than a handful of people inside.

I stop there just about every time I travel the WK, including twice back in July traveling to and from Kansas. Every time I've been there, it's been very busy. It's not quite at the halfway mark of the WK, and there is an exit nearby (US 231) that never had a toll booth and has plenty of services that are easily accessible, but for some reason it always seems to be busy when I've stopped there. In fact, both times on my most recent trip I wanted to get some food from the Arby's, but the line at the counter was longer than what I wanted to stand in, so I didn't get anything.

Gas prices there tend to run a bit higher than other places, so it's rare that I get gas there when I stop. I know I've filled up a couple of times there but I try not to make a habit of it.

I never really understood why there was a service area on an "open" system like Kentucky's toll roads. There were two service plazas on the old Kentucky Turnpike, which I really didn't understand because the road was so short. There was one just north of the Shepherdsville exit (about 15 miles south of Louisville) and one down closer to Lebanon Junction or Elizabethtown. I understand having them on a "closed" system like Pennsylvania or New York, but not on a system like Kentucky's where there were free exits.
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Mark68

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Re: Busiest / Least Busy Service Areas
« Reply #32 on: September 06, 2013, 04:14:08 PM »

I've been to the one on I-84 near the Utah/Idaho border. If not for the signs providing the history of prehistoric Lake Bonneville, that rest area would have nothing going for it.
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Alps

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Re: Busiest / Least Busy Service Areas
« Reply #33 on: September 06, 2013, 07:49:42 PM »

Split off Tamarack (WV) discussion. Enter at your peril.

MASTERNC

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Re: Busiest / Least Busy Service Areas
« Reply #34 on: September 06, 2013, 10:23:53 PM »

Cove Valley—dead as a doornail. I've never seen anyone in that one.

But seriously, on the mainline of the PA Turnpike, the old Plainfield Service Plaza always seemed particularly slow to me. Sometimes at night, I would be the only customer in there. The plaza was renamed Cumberland Valley after being reconstructed, and I haven't been there in several years, so I don't know if this is still the case. I would guess that the stretch of the turnpike between Carlisle and Breezewood has the lowest traffic volume (with I-70 siphoning off south-and-east traffic, I-81 taking away south-and-west traffic). That, plus the "we're almost to Carlisle/Harrisburg" effect, the lack of a Starbucks (until reconstruction) and the relative unpopularity of Roy Rogers probably all contributed to the lack of customers.

I was thinking Blue Mountain westbound would be the least popular.  The combination of the location (west of Harrisburg) and the close proximity to the mega-size Sideling Hill Plaza would make me think the reasons for stopping there are few.

As for busiest, I would probably say the Midway plazas because of the I-70 overlap.  There is also a historical aspect to these plazas (the newly renovated South Midway plaza supposedly has a lot of artifacts on display).
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Pete from Boston

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Re: Busiest / Least Busy Service Areas
« Reply #35 on: September 07, 2013, 12:09:37 AM »

Cove Valley—dead as a doornail. I've never seen anyone in that one.

But seriously, on the mainline of the PA Turnpike, the old Plainfield Service Plaza always seemed particularly slow to me. Sometimes at night, I would be the only customer in there. The plaza was renamed Cumberland Valley after being reconstructed, and I haven't been there in several years, so I don't know if this is still the case. I would guess that the stretch of the turnpike between Carlisle and Breezewood has the lowest traffic volume (with I-70 siphoning off south-and-east traffic, I-81 taking away south-and-west traffic). That, plus the "we're almost to Carlisle/Harrisburg" effect, the lack of a Starbucks (until reconstruction) and the relative unpopularity of Roy Rogers probably all contributed to the lack of customers.

I was thinking Blue Mountain westbound would be the least popular.  The combination of the location (west of Harrisburg) and the close proximity to the mega-size Sideling Hill Plaza would make me think the reasons for stopping there are few.

As for busiest, I would probably say the Midway plazas because of the I-70 overlap.  There is also a historical aspect to these plazas (the newly renovated South Midway plaza supposedly has a lot of artifacts on display).

I defer to the private Gateway travel plaza in that area.  They have an excellent historical collection on display, particularly as pertains to wartime traffic. 
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briantroutman

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Re: Busiest / Least Busy Service Areas
« Reply #36 on: September 07, 2013, 12:39:40 AM »

I was thinking Blue Mountain westbound would be the least popular....

As for busiest, I would probably say the Midway plazas because of the I-70 overlap.

I see why you might think that Midway would be among the busiest (with the 70/76 concurrency), but I doubt it's the highest volume in the PA Turnpike system. If we assume that service plaza volume is roughly proportional to traffic volume, the turnpike section at Midway stands at about 34,000 vehicles daily. And yes, the Blue Mountain and Cumberland Valley sections are well behind at about 21,000 daily. But all of these are still way behind the section around Peter J. Camiel at 45,000 and the Allentown section at 46,000.

In my experience, Allentown regularly seems to be the busiest plaza in the PA Turnpike system, and the numbers would seem to bear that out.
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jeffandnicole

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Re: Busiest / Least Busy Service Areas
« Reply #37 on: September 07, 2013, 09:31:28 AM »

I was thinking Blue Mountain westbound would be the least popular.  The combination of the location (west of Harrisburg) and the close proximity to the mega-size Sideling Hill Plaza would make me think the reasons for stopping there are few.

It has bathrooms, a gas station, and food.  For most people, that probably meets the requirements, unless they were looking for a specific type of food.  Unless the traveler is familiar with the turnpike, they're not going to know the size of the service plaza until they pass it.
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sbeaver44

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Re: Busiest / Least Busy Service Areas
« Reply #38 on: September 09, 2013, 09:36:54 PM »

I always liked Sideling Hill because, being double-sized for a mainline PA Turnpike plaza, there were a few more food options than the others, and options are good when people in the car are picky and will complain for ±1 hour of the stop if we have to stop somewhere non-preferable.

I recall reading somewhere that the service plazas at MP 49 along the Ohio Turnpike (just west of Toledo) were the least used in the system (with MP 20's right behind) and I think the ones at MP 135 were the most used.
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Interstatefan78

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Re: Busiest / Least Busy Service Areas
« Reply #39 on: September 20, 2013, 11:37:38 PM »

Looks like the Allentown Service Area on I-476 seems to be busy on the peak travel periods like from June to August, and I've seen most tractor trailers taking over most of the truck spots on the service plaza it self. Another thing about the Allentown SP was that it's the only E85 gas station on the NE Extension of PA turnpike
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roadman

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Re: Busiest / Least Busy Service Areas
« Reply #40 on: September 25, 2013, 03:04:16 PM »

The few times I've pulled into the Allentown service area (which were all on a Sunday morning), I found it so crowded I didn't bother to try to even use the vending machines.
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