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Author Topic: Road Trip  (Read 10720 times)

DesertDog

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Road Trip
« on: August 06, 2014, 08:33:13 PM »

Sorry guys I had to delete my section on this.
« Last Edit: August 17, 2014, 09:12:35 AM by DesertDog »
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1995hoo

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Re: Florida to New Jersey and back
« Reply #1 on: August 07, 2014, 11:20:54 AM »

It's funny, I've gone all three ways around Jacksonville (I-95 through the city, I-295 to either side) and I like I-295 to the east the best because of the interesting and scenic Dames Point Bridge.

BTW, if you see this today (Thursday), note that if you plan to head through the DC area, if you reach the DC area this evening you should consider going around the west side of the Beltway (I-495) unless you're looking for a clinch or some such. The Redskins play the Patriots at 7:30 tonight and the stadium is just off the east side of the Beltway (I-95/495) in Maryland near the Arena Drive exit. Even though it's preseason, Redskin games never help the traffic flow.
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"You know, you never have a guaranteed spot until you have a spot guaranteed."
—Olaf Kolzig, as quoted in the Washington Times on March 28, 2003,
commenting on the Capitals clinching a playoff spot.

"That sounded stupid, didn't it?"—Kolzig, to the same reporter a few seconds later.

Zeffy

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Re: Florida to New Jersey and back
« Reply #2 on: August 07, 2014, 11:46:01 AM »

If I may ask, where are you going to in New Jersey?
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Life's too short to play it safe.

Exploring roads in my 2018 Honda Civic Type R. Hopefully those roads are free of potholes :D

1995hoo

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Re: Florida to New Jersey and back
« Reply #3 on: August 08, 2014, 11:56:07 AM »

US-29 through southern Virginia is an excellent route. I've made that more or less our standard route when we head south to Florida just because it's so much more relaxing than the Interstate.

You picked a fantastic day to be here in the DC area....weather doesn't get this cool very often during the summertime!
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"You know, you never have a guaranteed spot until you have a spot guaranteed."
—Olaf Kolzig, as quoted in the Washington Times on March 28, 2003,
commenting on the Capitals clinching a playoff spot.

"That sounded stupid, didn't it?"—Kolzig, to the same reporter a few seconds later.

Zeffy

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Re: Florida to New Jersey and back
« Reply #4 on: August 08, 2014, 07:30:44 PM »

A couple miles down the road and I'm overlooking Atlantic City for the night.  I took a cruise of Atlantic Avenue while I was out for dinner, the city is even worse shape than I remember.  I guess the neighboring states opening up gambling isn't helping Atlantic City any, the place is a figurative ghost town.

Unfortunately, Atlantic City is going to probably get worse because the casino revenues are just not enough to keep them afloat. With several casinos closing their doors, what else does Atlantic City have? It has the shore, and the boardwalk, but unfortunately I've read that the city is pretty ghetto, like the fate of other NJ cities it seems.

Love these photos though, they make me want to take a roadtrip but right now that's just not possible.  :no:
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Life's too short to play it safe.

Exploring roads in my 2018 Honda Civic Type R. Hopefully those roads are free of potholes :D

1995hoo

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Re: Florida to New Jersey and back
« Reply #5 on: August 08, 2014, 10:16:10 PM »

Fort McHenry can be worth it if you watch the movie and you have the right group of people in the room. When they play the National Anthem and the shutters open up showing that big flag waving over the fort it's hard not to get goosebumps (and this coming from a cynical arsehole who grew up in the DC area commuting past all the national landmarks). Having the right group, i.e. people who stand as soon as the anthem starts, is important too.

What's your planned route for the return trip?
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"You know, you never have a guaranteed spot until you have a spot guaranteed."
—Olaf Kolzig, as quoted in the Washington Times on March 28, 2003,
commenting on the Capitals clinching a playoff spot.

"That sounded stupid, didn't it?"—Kolzig, to the same reporter a few seconds later.

froggie

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Re: Florida to New Jersey and back
« Reply #6 on: August 09, 2014, 09:57:09 AM »

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Once entering Maryland I hopped on M295....or better known as the Washington-Baltimore Parkway.

Minor nitpick:  Baltimore comes first in the parkway name.

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I don't mind paying for a major tunnel but the $8 dollar fee down the line at the Susquehanna River is complete BS.

FYI, that $8 toll helps pay for all of I-95 between Caton Ave (SW side of Baltimore) and the Delaware line.  Instead of having ramp and mainline tolls (as I believe they did originally north of Baltimore), the state opted in later years for a single mainline barrier north of the Susquehanna, and then later on after than changed it to a one-way toll (it had previously collected tolls in both directions).
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jeffandnicole

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Re: Florida to New Jersey and back
« Reply #7 on: August 09, 2014, 10:48:37 AM »

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After the first slow down I had to relieve some frustration and used one of the Service Plazas in the middle of I-95.  If this is where my toll dollars are going Maryland needs to do better because I don't appreciate having 25 people deep lines at all the places to eat....reminds me of Florida's Turnpike.

The nice thing about Delaware and Maryland is you can get off at any exit and get back on without paying a toll.  Since it's easy, more variety and the restaurants are cheaper too, I'd suggest doing that on your way south.

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Deciding it was better to eat elsewhere I continued on into Delaware where I hit more back up on I-95 but this time it seemed to be caused by the I-495 closure causing confusion.

Nope...that's just 95 in Delaware!  Since most thru traffic on summer weekends are heading north towards New York, everyone has to squeeze into the two right lanes at the 95/295 split.  The problem has gone on for literally decades.  DE would rather take care of their own first, so many of their improvements center around how Delawarean's drive within the state.   They've made no attempt to widen that 295 ramp to 3 lanes, which would reduce a lot of this congestion on weekends.

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I took a cruise of Atlantic Avenue while I was out for dinner, the city is even worse shape than I remember.  I guess the neighboring states opening up gambling isn't helping Atlantic City any, the place is a figurative ghost town.

It's a shame.  But it's a problem that, in my opinion, dates back to the 1980's.  Casinos opened up in NJ in the 70's, and by the 80's there were about a dozen.  But NJ always placed a LOT of restrictions on how the casinos could operate.  I don't think they could even be open 24 hours until the 90's.  While Vegas always required air travel to reach by almost everyone, Atlantic City was reachable by bus and car within 3 hours of millions of people from north of New York to south of Washington DC.  This alone should've made AC the more popular destination between the two.  Tolls never bothered anyone...it's just an accepted part of living in the Northeast.  AC catered to an older clientele.  But while doing that, they should've been more open and receptive to younger people as well.  AC's airport is 9 miles away from the city, and there should've been some high speed connection made to get to AC from the Airport.  Vegas permits drinking on the Strip; AC doesn't on the boardwalk.  Even Vegas's lights are an attraction - AC only permitted a certain amount of lighting and signage on their casino's buildings.

Two things started AC's downfall: The whole smoking indoors issue, and neighboring casinos.  Many people said they would never come to AC because smoking was permitted inside the casinos.  When it was banned, the smokers stopped coming...and the non-smokers never came (they probably just went on to complain about some other issue).  When other casinos started opening up in other states, they allowed smoking, and between that and the shorter drive, people just stayed closer to home.  I know from experience - I live an hour away from Atlantic City (and really enjoy seeing what pics "outsiders" take while in NJ!), but yet, I've spent more days in Vegas over the past 5 years than I have in AC!!!

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I'm planning on taking NJ 72, to NJ 70 to I-295 to get out of the state.  I'm to understand the ramp with I-76 is being redesigned, I'd rather stick to an Interstate Route though getting out of the state opposed to the New Jersey Turnpike. 

You'll have no problems with the construction - while there's a lot going on and great visual eye-candy to see construction-wise, the routing and lane configurations haven't changed for 295 South, other than a lane split below 76/42 which won't affect you.  As long as you leave today (Saturday), traffic shouldn't be an issue on 72 & 70...it's generally heavier on Sundays going west as people leave the shore.
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jeffandnicole

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Re: Florida to New Jersey and back
« Reply #8 on: August 11, 2014, 11:00:55 AM »

Enjoying the road trip description and the pics!

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After leaving Manahawkin I followed NJ 72 and NJ 70 through the Pine Barrens to NJ 73 and I-295 south.  The ramp over I-76 that is being reconstructed was well signed but I couldn't imagine how bad traffic can get in rush hour trying to navigate it.

The area has always been a traffic nightmare.  Actually, the construction doesn't add anything to the congestion because it's still basically the same traffic pattern as before.  The biggest problem though are accidents where no shoulder exists, although the Emergency Service Patrols are pretty good at pushing the cars off the roadway, keeping the travel lanes open.

295 South normally averages about a 10 - 14 mile backup during the rush hour...starting between Routes 38 & 73 and going all the way to NJ 42.  In other words, the entire length you drove from 70 to 42 would've been congested during the typical afternoon rush.  And sadly, I have to sit in that on a daily basis!

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I thought for sure that I was going to run into problems with people leaving the beach on NJ 72 and NJ 70 but wasn't as bad as a feared.

Yeah, you planned your route well.  While there's some people leaving their rental houses on Saturday, there's no real mad rush to leave at one time especially as Saturday was a beautiful shore day up here.  Sunday afternoon/evenings can be a bitch though. 

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Are they still restricting sports books down in AC?  That's a way to start being more competitive if the neighboring states won't do it.

The quick history: Only 4 states are permitted to have sports books per Federal Law: Nevada, Delaware, and 2 others.  When the feds decided on a national restriction back in the 70's or 80's except for the approved states, they highest suggested NJ apply to permit sports books.  At the time, they never did.  So now the Fed's are playing hardball: NJ wants to add sports gaming to the casinos, but the Feds (and the courts) have said No.  (For the majority of that time, only Nevada has sports books.  Delaware recently added theirs, and even then only Parleys are permitted on multiple football games.  Betting on individual football games, or any other sport besides horse racing, is prohibited)

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And I thought that expressway to the airport was going to be built?  Guess it got cancelled....location is everything these days.

Not cancelled, but not on the fast track either.

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And that ramp construction on I-295 is strange as all hell.  I don't know the history that well on I-295 and I-76 but it looks like the cross over was a major after thought.

I never really heard the true history, but based on the original design of the interchange it was believed that the majority of traffic would be coming up from the south, as traffic on 295 North would have the opportunity to take I-76 Express directly onto the Walt Whitman Bridge, or I-76 Local towards US 130, I-676 and the Ben Franklin Bridge.  Traffic on 295 South never had those options.  Additionally, there were numerous other planned highways in both NJ & PA and crossings over the Delaware that were never built, or were greatly downsized from their original plans.  I'm sure even the plans for I-95 thru North Jersey factored into the original design, as 295 was only supposed to be a bypass of 95 around Philly and Wilmington.  Suburban growth was probably never factored in to the extent that it occurred either.

While the design was probably never really optimal, it was probably based on how interstate highways were expected to perform back in the 50's.  By the 70's, the interchange was greatly outdated. 40 years later and they're finally getting around to reconstructing the interchange.
« Last Edit: August 11, 2014, 11:03:57 AM by jeffandnicole »
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Roadrunner75

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Re: Florida to New Jersey and back
« Reply #9 on: August 11, 2014, 07:57:51 PM »

Speaking of NJ 73....what happens if you try to get onto the Turnpike without an EZ Pass?  I saw the toll operators are missing but it looked like you could U-turn out before the booth.  And no thanks I don't want anything to do with that nightmare that must ensue on I-295. lol  Looks like they are finally getting it right than having that nasty weird curve in the roadway.  I'm still surprised that I-95 still isn't finished after all these years in New Jersey, who would have thought?  At the very least you'd figure it would be realigned along I-295 completely by now to sync up the gap around Trenton.

All of the NJ Turnpike interchanges are still manned for non-EZ pass use (ticket system), so for now not having EZ-Pass is not a problem (although a big inconvenience).  The Pennsylvania Turnpike has been opening up some EZ-Pass only interchanges, and I believe their policy is for all new interchanges to be EZ-Pass only.

Whenever I plan to head south out of NJ (typically via Route 70 west across the Pine Barrens first), I'm always tempted to hop on the Turnpike at Route 73.  It's a nice straight run all the way to the Delaware Memorial Bridge.  Then I think of myself sitting in bumper to bumper traffic miles before Exit 1, with nowhere to go.  No thanks.  I go for 295 every time, and its numerous interchanges allowing me to bail out and hit the back roads as needed.
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jeffandnicole

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Re: Florida to New Jersey and back
« Reply #10 on: August 12, 2014, 06:34:43 AM »

On the NJ Turnpike, they removed humans from the entry booths and replaced them with machines (maybe there's an actual person in some interchange somewhere).  So you can still use cash on the Turnpike.  The exit lanes do have humans in them to take your cash.  All exits on the NJ Turnpike take both cash and EZ Pass.

While you're not supposed to make u-turns before the booths on the Turnpike, as long as there's no cops around it's not like anyone's going to stop you.  (I've mentioned on here previously that I worked the Turnpike tolls from 2000 - 2004. In one instance a woman drove up to me to tell me that someone did make an illegal U-turn. I think she was a bit surprised at my lack of interest, but what was I supposed to do with no description, no direction of travel and no license plate number??)

The PA Turnpike is slightly different with their EZ Pass Only Interchanges.  If you don't have an EZ Pass, you can't use those exits.  Since the EZ Pass only exits were built more recently, one would simply go to the traditional exit in the same area to get where they were going if they had cash.

In Florida, the entire highway is SunPass or Photo - without a SunPass they will bill you for the toll, plus a $2.50 service fee for the month.   The Turnpikes in the Northeast are cash and EZ Pass, so if you find yourself in the wrong lane, the fines *start* at $25.  For the NJ & PA Turnpikes, I believe the find may be $50 now.  There are plenty of signs stating what is EZ Pass and what isn't, so it's not a secret that someone would come upon without any advanced warning.

As far as widening 72, NJ doesn't widen roads very often.  It's just something we live with up here.
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1995hoo

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Re: Florida to New Jersey and back
« Reply #11 on: August 12, 2014, 09:10:48 AM »

I kind of took it that having an EZ-Pass is basically a fact of life in the north east these days.  So what happened though say you are on the PA Turnpike and you need to get off the thing but you don't have an EZ-Pass for an EZ-Pass only exit because you are just passing through with cash only?  I've always wondered about the same thing with the Sun Pass only exits on the Turnpike here in Florida.  I saw it in Maryland it was a $25 dollar violation, so I'm just assuming that you are SOL when it comes to those EZ-Pass only booths?  :hmmm:

You might be surprised at how many people don't have E-ZPass. There are a variety of reasons they cite. I assume many of the large number of New York City residents who don't own cars don't have it for obvious reasons. Some people feel they don't use toll roads enough to justify E-ZPass. Some people don't have a credit card, don't want to use manual replenishment, or aren't willing to give their credit card number to a tolling authority. Some people view it as giving the toll authority (or whomever) an interest-free loan due to the need to put a certain amount of money on the account up front. Then you have some people who simply don't understand how it works and are reluctant to get it (my father, who is not a technical buffoon, didn't understand it at first).

Then you have the conspiracy theorists, people who are convinced E-ZPass and similar programs are Big Brother in action. They figure it'll be used to track your movements or to give you a speeding ticket (there are all sorts of false stories about the latter on the Internet). I know one guy who opposes the WMATA Silver Line project (Metrorail to Dulles Airport and beyond) who for some bizarre reason thinks getting an E-ZPass is supporting Dulles Rail (even if he never uses it on the Dulles Toll Road).

The argument about not using toll roads very often may have some validity depending on where in the E-ZPass region you live. I can understand it if you live in the DC area and seldom travel north, for example. If you don't use E-ZPass facilities very often, I guess the idea that it's not worth it to you to get one kind of ties in with the idea of giving them an interest-free loan because you're tying up $35 (or whatever the issuing agency requires as the minimum balance) on the device.

Regarding the E-ZPass Only interchanges in Pennsylvania, I haven't used any of them, but one thing to understand if you aren't a regular user of E-ZPass facilities is that some E-ZPass member agencies persist in using gate arms on E-ZPass Only lanes, usually because they converted the old "Toll Machine" lanes (also called "Exact Change" in many states, i.e., you pull up, there's an arm blocking the way, you throw coins in the basket, and the arm goes up) but didn't remove the arms due to concerns over toll cheats. The New York City area is notable in this respect. If you enter an E-ZPass Only lane that has an arm, you get stuck. If Pennsylvania has that setup on those special exits, that'd be a very good reason not to use them without E-ZPass.

Interesting thing is, "jeffandnicole" mentions (rightly) how there are plenty of signs saying what is or is not an E-ZPass lane, but some people still manage to get confused, perhaps because they're not local and they don't know what E-ZPass is. Seems simple enough to me—if you don't know what it means, don't go into that lane—but apparently some people don't think that way (maybe because they're focused on the shorter line there?). In fairness to those people, in some places the signs can be a bit overwhelming. Virginia, for example, puts an E-ZPass sign over every damn lane at the toll plaza because it can be used in any lane, and Virginia also doesn't use the flashing yellow light to denote the E-ZPass Only lane. It means there are a heck of a lot of E-ZPass signs in an area that already, by its nature, has a lot of signs. New Jersey, on the other hand, posts a green sign prior to the toll plaza saying "E-ZPass Accepted All Lanes" (it used to say "E-ZPass Signed Lanes Only" when you had to use specific ones) and another sign saying the flashing yellow light denotes an E-ZPass Only lane. True, some drivers may miss the green signs, but it reduces the visual clutter at the toll plaza.

Florida's "toll-by-plate" system of charging a single fee at the end of the month aggregated across all trips is a lot more forgiving to the motorist than the system here in Virginia on the high-occupancy/toll lanes or in Maryland on the all-electronic Intercounty Connector. On both of those facilities, there is a per-TRIP charge. In Virginia, it's in the nature of a penalty ($12.50 per trip if you wait to pay until they bill you instead of paying online!) for failing to comply with the requirement that you use E-ZPass; in Maryland, they state the charge is intended to help defray the cost of using your license plate number to track you down to send you a bill.
« Last Edit: August 12, 2014, 09:14:58 AM by 1995hoo »
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"You know, you never have a guaranteed spot until you have a spot guaranteed."
—Olaf Kolzig, as quoted in the Washington Times on March 28, 2003,
commenting on the Capitals clinching a playoff spot.

"That sounded stupid, didn't it?"—Kolzig, to the same reporter a few seconds later.

vdeane

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Re: Florida to New Jersey and back
« Reply #12 on: August 12, 2014, 06:36:48 PM »

Then I think of myself sitting in bumper to bumper traffic miles before Exit 1, with nowhere to go.
Looks like the Turnpike Authority striped the cash lanes as the "main" lanes.  Pretty stupid if you ask me.  They should have the cash traffic "exit" with both through lanes going through the E-ZPass gantries.  That would shift a lot of the cash line to the side.

I always found it odd that in such a heavily income taxed region in the northeast how the toll road programs really have kept going all these years.
You get used to it when you grow up with it.  I would probably be weirded out if I managed to drive for hundreds of miles and never encounter a toll.  I remember clinching the QEW and being SHOCKED that the bridge in Hamilton was free.  Plus states with lower income taxes make it up in other ways (higher property taxes, fewer services, more/higher fees, etc.).

Regarding the E-ZPass Only interchanges in Pennsylvania, I haven't used any of them, but one thing to understand if you aren't a regular user of E-ZPass facilities is that some E-ZPass member agencies persist in using gate arms on E-ZPass Only lanes, usually because they converted the old "Toll Machine" lanes (also called "Exact Change" in many states, i.e., you pull up, there's an arm blocking the way, you throw coins in the basket, and the arm goes up) but didn't remove the arms due to concerns over toll cheats. The New York City area is notable in this respect. If you enter an E-ZPass Only lane that has an arm, you get stuck. If Pennsylvania has that setup on those special exits, that'd be a very good reason not to use them without E-ZPass.

Interesting thing is, "jeffandnicole" mentions (rightly) how there are plenty of signs saying what is or is not an E-ZPass lane, but some people still manage to get confused, perhaps because they're not local and they don't know what E-ZPass is. Seems simple enough to me—if you don't know what it means, don't go into that lane—but apparently some people don't think that way (maybe because they're focused on the shorter line there?). In fairness to those people, in some places the signs can be a bit overwhelming. Virginia, for example, puts an E-ZPass sign over every damn lane at the toll plaza because it can be used in any lane, and Virginia also doesn't use the flashing yellow light to denote the E-ZPass Only lane. It means there are a heck of a lot of E-ZPass signs in an area that already, by its nature, has a lot of signs. New Jersey, on the other hand, posts a green sign prior to the toll plaza saying "E-ZPass Accepted All Lanes" (it used to say "E-ZPass Signed Lanes Only" when you had to use specific ones) and another sign saying the flashing yellow light denotes an E-ZPass Only lane. True, some drivers may miss the green signs, but it reduces the visual clutter at the toll plaza.

Florida's "toll-by-plate" system of charging a single fee at the end of the month aggregated across all trips is a lot more forgiving to the motorist than the system here in Virginia on the high-occupancy/toll lanes or in Maryland on the all-electronic Intercounty Connector. On both of those facilities, there is a per-TRIP charge. In Virginia, it's in the nature of a penalty ($12.50 per trip if you wait to pay until they bill you instead of paying online!) for failing to comply with the requirement that you use E-ZPass; in Maryland, they state the charge is intended to help defray the cost of using your license plate number to track you down to send you a bill.
Pennsylvania's new interchanges appear to be just gantries.  They probably charge violators the toll from the furthest point away on the Turnpike plus a fee on top.  Of course it's not just new interchanges that will be E-ZPass only... they plan for existing interchanges to be AET too eventually!

I don't understand how people get confused.  If you don't know what E-ZPass is, wouldn't you logically assume that you're not supposed to go in the E-ZPass ONLY lane?

I believe the difference is because in Maryland bill-by-mail is an official option, while in Virginia it's technically illegal to use the HOT lanes without E-ZPass, but they're being nice and allow people to pay online before you get the fine.
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jeffandnicole

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Re: Florida to New Jersey and back
« Reply #13 on: August 13, 2014, 09:01:13 AM »

Then I think of myself sitting in bumper to bumper traffic miles before Exit 1, with nowhere to go.
Looks like the Turnpike Authority striped the cash lanes as the "main" lanes.  Pretty stupid if you ask me.  They should have the cash traffic "exit" with both through lanes going through the E-ZPass gantries.  That would shift a lot of the cash line to the side.

Prior to the NJ Turnpike's Interchange 1 rebuild in 2003, they would be miles of backups approaching that interchange, especially on busy summer weekends and holidays. But since the rebuild, there's usually no traffic issues whatsoever.  If traffic is backed up, it's usually due to something south of the interchange (accident, Del Mem Bridge issues, etc).

When the striping was designed (right lane to cash, left lane splits to either Express EZ Pass/Cash), it was during an era where cash was still mostly used.  They can probably switch it now so the left lane is for Express EZ Pass Only; Right lane splits for either. 

Having said that, it won't eliminate congestion if it were to form - people paying cash would remain in the wrong lane until they are absolutely forced to get over.  It'll be no different than normal rush hour congestion on regular highways, where traffic congests in all lanes near an interchange, even though just the right lane is used for entering/exiting traffic

While it was a great design at the time (actually, the original design didn't have any express lanes whatsoever!!), it was massively overbuilt.  In most cases, the layout is 2 EZ Express Lanes, and then the next 8 of 15 traditional lanes are EZ Pass Only (rarely used, because most traffic uses the Express lanes).  Even out of the final 7 traditional lanes, only 3 or 4 of them will be open for cash the majority of the time...maybe 5, 6 or all 7 on the busier weekends.
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I don't understand how people get confused.  If you don't know what E-ZPass is, wouldn't you logically assume that you're not supposed to go in the E-ZPass ONLY lane?

You would think.  But no...they drive into the lane, look around, and ask what does "EZ Pass Only" mean.  And then get pissed that the car behind them, honking its horn, won't back up...as there's another 5 cars now behind that car as well.
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1995hoo

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Re: Florida to New Jersey and back
« Reply #14 on: August 13, 2014, 09:47:34 AM »

....

Having said that, it won't eliminate congestion if it were to form - people paying cash would remain in the wrong lane until they are absolutely forced to get over.  ....

This is precisely what always happens at a number of toll plazas I can think of when traffic is heavy; the two that most readily come to mind are the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and the Tydings Bridge, both in Maryland (the latter carries I-95 over the Susquehanna and there's a toll plaza north of it). Cash users who are fully aware of what E-ZPass is always use the E-ZPass lane as a shortcut to try to race down to the toll plaza itself and then shove over right before the barriers between the lanes. They don't care how many people they hold up. You can start the barrier further back (as I assume Delaware now does for the Turnpike toll plaza, though I haven't used that road in a few years), but ultimately if you get a long backup, the same thing will always happen.

In other words, on any road where you have a large number of cash users coupled with periods of heavy volume, you're going to have toll backups and E-ZPass users will get stuck with everyone else if the backup extends far enough.

One thought about the toll plaza signing, BTW....I think New Jersey does a better job than just about any other state in clarifying the highway-speed ORT E-ZPass lanes versus the cash lanes. Of course, the signs are still highly dependent on driver comprehension and on the ability to understand English. I'm still always afraid some dumbarse will stop in an ORT lane looking for where to pay. It definitely happens and I've seen it happen in 35-mph ORT lanes (though never in the full highway-speed ones). Heck, I've seen people go to the self-checkout at the grocery store and then ask where the cashier is to scan your groceries and take your money!

Watch this from San Francisco:



I once drove into an electronic toll lane by mistake in Florida. I was under the impression SunPass was accepted everywhere even if the sign listed a different system like EPass or LeeWay. Turned out at the time the Rickenbacker Causeway to Key Biscayne had a separate system that wasn't compatible....but the only sign advising it wasn't compatible was an 8.5-by-11 inch piece of paper you could only see after driving into the "C-Pass Only" lane. D'oh. After a minute or two the arm went up and I went on my way. Thing is, in Florida you get used to seeing all these different electronic toll collection logos that are all compatible with each other, so it was an easier mistake to make than it would be in E-ZPass Land. (No longer an issue, either; that facility takes SunPass now.)
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jeffandnicole

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Re: Florida to New Jersey and back
« Reply #15 on: August 13, 2014, 10:03:07 AM »


Watch this from San Francisco:



Oh yeah...happens all the time.  Did that one woman have a intercom shouting to the entire toll plaza?  Impressive!  The only thing I didn't see on that video was people that pull over to the shoulder after the toll plaza then walk back to the toll plaza to find someone...usually walking across the live lanes of traffic where people do not stop.

What I was amazed about on the NJ Turnpike was that, in almost all cases, these people have driven north thru Maryland and Delaware, or south from New York, so they have already gone thru at least one or two toll plazas with EZ Pass, but yet still get completely confused.

BTW...333-3333 is a phone number for a Taxi company in Philadelphia as well!
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« Last Edit: August 13, 2014, 11:52:19 AM by jeffandnicole »
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1995hoo

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Re: Florida to New Jersey and back
« Reply #16 on: August 13, 2014, 10:45:22 AM »

I've never been to San Francisco, but based on that video I assume they have some sort of PA system and someone who's assigned to watch the plaza at all times.

I think what scared me more than people stopping in the wrong place was back in the days before I got a Smart Tag (old Virginia predecessor to E-ZPass) I'd stop in the "Exact Change or E-ZPass" lane at a toll plaza that had no "E-ZPass Only" lanes and I'd look in the rearview and see someone barreling down on me at full speed with no plans to slow down. Really fucking scary when you're stopped to throw in 50˘ or whatever and you see a Ford Excursion approaching at 55 mph (speed limit through the plaza I'm thinking of was 15 mph). As a driver approaching a toll plaza, I'm prepared for someone ahead of me to come to a stop and I'm always ready to hit the brakes, especially if there are no "E-ZPass Only" lanes. Evidently not all people operate that way.

BTW, the issues we're discussing are not unique to electronic toll collection. Back in the late 1980s, Virginia and Maryland put up signs on the Beltway restricting "HAZMAT CARRIERS" (that's how it was worded) to the two right-hand lanes. I remember asking my dad what "HAZMAT" meant and after he explained it, I asked why they didn't just say what it meant. His reply was spot-on: "The people the sign is for know what it means." Evidently a lot of people were confused by it because a few months later they changed it to "HAZMAT TRUCKS."

In other words, never underestimate the propensity of drivers to be confused by road signs, right?! Heck, when they finished rebuilding the Springfield Interchange here, some people complained it was confusing that you had to keep to the left to take a ramp that led to the right (I-95 northbound flyover) and to keep to the right to take a ramp that led to the left (exit from I-95 to the I-495 Inner Loop). Just follow the damn signs, people!!!! That's why they post them!



I suppose we've threadjacked the original discussion. One of the things I find interesting in some of the OP's pictures is how some of the signs say "[route shield] SOUTH" and some say "SOUTH [route shield]." DC sometimes does that too. I've never seen much rhyme or reason to how anyone decides which order to use. Obviously most people say it with the direction second ("95 South"). Anyone know if there's any sort of principle applied to deciding which order to employ on a BGS?
« Last Edit: August 13, 2014, 10:47:54 AM by 1995hoo »
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"You know, you never have a guaranteed spot until you have a spot guaranteed."
—Olaf Kolzig, as quoted in the Washington Times on March 28, 2003,
commenting on the Capitals clinching a playoff spot.

"That sounded stupid, didn't it?"—Kolzig, to the same reporter a few seconds later.

vdeane

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Re: Florida to New Jersey and back
« Reply #17 on: August 13, 2014, 06:56:13 PM »

Yes but I lived in CT from 1990 to 1996 and had a bunch of family in NJ, MD and PA at the time.  Granted Connecticut was largely done with major tolls by that time but PA, NY, DE, MD and NJ certainly were not.  It's still strange to me considering the rest of the country (of course Illinois and Ohio come to mind with Turnpikes...) generally is toll free along Interstates unless there is some major crossing like a bridge, tunnel or....anything along that line.  Granted the infrastructure in the north east is generally WAY older than the rest of the country and I know a lot of the Interstate Routes were already prior existing toll roads like the PA Turnpike which were grand fathered in.

So in other words....I guess that even living out in that corner of the country for so long I could never get used to all the toll routes.  I generally try to avoid them in Florida if I can, but they seemed to be managed much more efficiently alongside free alternate routes.  But then again, it was difficult just getting used to so many people packed into tiny slivers of land again when everyone was so spread out back west.

To give you guys an example of how different it is on the other side of the country look at Philadelphia and Phoenix since they are by comparison cities of similar population.  Philadelphia had an estimated population of 1,553,165 residents in 2013 in an area of 141.6 miles for a population density of 11,379.6 people per square mile.  Phoenix had a 2013 estimate of 1,513,367 residents over 517.948 square miles for a population density of 2,797.8 per square mile.  The west is spread so much more vastly, the only city that really  compares to an East Coast City would be San Francisco at almost 18,000 people per square mile...which ironically has some of the oldest infrastructure and grouping of toll roads.
Yeah, I grew up in upstate NY (never lived anywhere else, though I have moved within NY) and almost all of my travels have been within the northeast turnpike bloc.

I find the low density of the west mindblowing.  I routinely drive between Rochester and Albany and pass a decent sized town every 10-15 miles and a mid-sized city every hour.  The same drive out west would pass only tourist resorts and no-name podunk hamlets.  Fun fact: it's also the same distance round trip as one way down the Dalton Highway.

I think what scared me more than people stopping in the wrong place was back in the days before I got a Smart Tag (old Virginia predecessor to E-ZPass) I'd stop in the "Exact Change or E-ZPass" lane at a toll plaza that had no "E-ZPass Only" lanes and I'd look in the rearview and see someone barreling down on me at full speed with no plans to slow down. Really fucking scary when you're stopped to throw in 50˘ or whatever and you see a Ford Excursion approaching at 55 mph (speed limit through the plaza I'm thinking of was 15 mph). As a driver approaching a toll plaza, I'm prepared for someone ahead of me to come to a stop and I'm always ready to hit the brakes, especially if there are no "E-ZPass Only" lanes. Evidently not all people operate that way.
Around here it's the opposite problem, with many people taking the typical 5 mph speed limit too seriously and practically make a complete stop in the E-ZPass lane, even in the 20 mph ones.
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1995hoo

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Re: Florida to New Jersey and back
« Reply #18 on: August 13, 2014, 08:58:44 PM »

Alaska is well worth the trip. Stunning place.
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"You know, you never have a guaranteed spot until you have a spot guaranteed."
—Olaf Kolzig, as quoted in the Washington Times on March 28, 2003,
commenting on the Capitals clinching a playoff spot.

"That sounded stupid, didn't it?"—Kolzig, to the same reporter a few seconds later.

Roadrunner75

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Re: Florida to New Jersey and back
« Reply #19 on: August 13, 2014, 10:02:06 PM »

At least those round abouts on 70 and 72 have gotten a little easier to navigate.  Looks like things were dumbed down to a single lane.  A buddy of mine was complaining recently of being stuck in the left lane on one Clark Griswold style.
The elimination of the Marlton "circle" on 70 at 73 was a huge improvement, with a new overpass for 73.  I use 70 occasionally to get to the "old neighborhood" and for points west and south, and I would dread getting into the jam entering the circle (73 used to bisect the circle, with signals on each end) with drivers from 73 NB forcing their way into the 70 WB lanes to make the left.

Regarding NJ Turnpike exit 1, I've still gotten into jams post-reconstruction, sometimes after the merge south of the toll.  They really need 3 lanes minimum each direction from exit 4 on down.  I assume this takes a backseat until well after the 6-9 widening is done.  Until then, 295 is the way to go.  Another terrible spot was around exit 6, when merging onto NB from the Pennsylvania Tpk. extension.  I'm assuming this will improve a lot post-widening.  Sometimes while coming back to NJ from PA via the PA turnpike I would just get off at 130 immediately after the bridge and take a back road out to 295.
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