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Author Topic: New York State Thruway  (Read 354709 times)

kalvado

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Re: New York State Thruway
« Reply #2175 on: January 15, 2021, 08:52:07 PM »


I could cite other examples as well where NYSDOT's engineers are very intractable, and act like they are always right even when presented with evidence to the contrary.

Engineers are very hesitant to do anything outside of guidelines. The instance I always fall back to was one here in Kentucky on the AA Highway. After a number of fatal wrecks at an intersection, local leaders and residents kept requesting a traffic light be installed. The intersection didn't meet warrants for a signal, so the request was always denied. But the Transportation Cabinet secretary at the time was not an engineer. After the locals approached him, he overrode the engineers and had the signal installed.

The best advice for the locals in this situation would be to take their case to the highest non-engineer who has jurisdiction over NYSDOT.
Engineers are legally responsible for their decisions.
You made my day. Was any DOT engineer legally prosecuted in recent history?
In particular, for the case @hbelkins mentioned - installing traffic light when it is not required (not on interstate or roundabout, I assume).
The problem I see is exactly the opposite - while such responsibility exists on the books, it is not applied - but management influence is very real. So, as
@SignBridge describes, engineers are doing things for the pleasure of management, population be damned. Flirting with forum limitations, I can add that this is not totally unlike issues with police.
No, they aren't prosecuted frequently since they are careful about when they use their PE stamps.

That said, NYSDOT is sued frequently enough, but I don't think the grounds are due to specific design issues that often.

Of course, whenever a crash occurs, NYSDOT may expect to get sued, part of a litigation culture. Especially if crash occurs after a reconstruction - and we may be dead sure that a crash will occur sooner or later.  Just thinking about that limo crash, where a pretty reasonable design at a challenging spot is
With that, I can easily point out several apparent design mistakes in the area, which go uncorrected for decades, actually cause problems, and some of them survived full road reconstruction. So I am not holding NYSDOT engineering talent at high regard. More like the opposite...
I'm sure NYSDOT values your opinion. :D

Makes me wonder how many you saw were designed by consultants. :D
You see, this is exactly what I am talking about:
engineers are doing things for the pleasure of management, population be damned. Flirting with forum limitations, I can add that this is not totally unlike issues with police.
As for consultants... Excuses I heard also include "this is the way it is described in a book", "management doesn't want to have things changed"... Makes me wonder if NYSDOT engineering positions can  be downgraded from PE to high school diploma or equivalent, minimum wage +$1/hour without any loss...
Nah.  With a statement like that, you're ignorant of what work they actually do.
I sure hope structural design folks are held to higher standards as their failures are harder to ignore. Minneapolis bridge will be remembered for decades...
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vdeane

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Re: New York State Thruway
« Reply #2176 on: January 15, 2021, 10:12:08 PM »

The toll billing saga continues.  I just got billed earlier this week by plate for a toll that had already posted to my E-ZPass account a month before (the toll was discovered in my E-ZPass transaction log, but has my plate number rather than the transponder number) via the transponder.  Ridiculous.  Now they're double billing people.  The billing system for the cashless tolling is a big fat failure.

I sent a demand to the E-ZPass service center that the duplicate charge be removed a few days ago, but have gotten no response.  And to think I thought having a transponder would save me from cashless tolling billing shenanigans.  This is exactly why I never do toll by plate - ever.  For any reason.  No matter what.  Maybe I need to apply that policy to all AET facilities period, regardless of whether they use E-ZPass or not.

I'm losing respect for the Thruway Authority very, very fast.  Two round trips since the cashless conversion, and both have taken a long time for all the charges to appear and have both been billed incorrectly.  And the Thruway has never answered an email that I've sent them.  Ever.  And their site is an insecure mess that will only use https if you manually type it in the URL (I checked with Google, lest it just be my old bookmark - anyone who visits that site by any normal means does indeed only get insecure http; and they expect people to type in account details on their contact forms?).  Setting it up to automatically use https is easy - I was able to do it in less than 5 minutes for my site, and I didn't know anything about how before that, only that it could be done.  The fact that NYSTA didn't do that tells us everything we need to know.
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Rothman

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Re: New York State Thruway
« Reply #2177 on: January 16, 2021, 12:39:06 AM »



The toll billing saga continues.  I just got billed earlier this week by plate for a toll that had already posted to my E-ZPass account a month before (the toll was discovered in my E-ZPass transaction log, but has my plate number rather than the transponder number) via the transponder.  Ridiculous.  Now they're double billing people.  The billing system for the cashless tolling is a big fat failure.

I sent a demand to the E-ZPass service center that the duplicate charge be removed a few days ago, but have gotten no response.  And to think I thought having a transponder would save me from cashless tolling billing shenanigans.  This is exactly why I never do toll by plate - ever.  For any reason.  No matter what.  Maybe I need to apply that policy to all AET facilities period, regardless of whether they use E-ZPass or not.

I'm losing respect for the Thruway Authority very, very fast.  Two round trips since the cashless conversion, and both have taken a long time for all the charges to appear and have both been billed incorrectly.  And the Thruway has never answered an email that I've sent them.  Ever.  And their site is an insecure mess that will only use https if you manually type it in the URL (I checked with Google, lest it just be my old bookmark - anyone who visits that site by any normal means does indeed only get insecure http; and they expect people to type in account details on their contact forms?).  Setting it up to automatically use https is easy - I was able to do it in less than 5 minutes for my site, and I didn't know anything about how before that, only that it could be done.  The fact that NYSTA didn't do that tells us everything we need to know.

Wow.  I haven't been double billed like that.  But, postings are taking up to ten days.  Half of a round trip to Rome I took on Thursday has shown up already...but not the other half.

When I go to E-ZPass NY, Google Chrome reports a secure connection without having to type in https.

Sorry it's such a mess.
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lstone19

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Re: New York State Thruway
« Reply #2178 on: January 16, 2021, 08:27:15 AM »

While the delays in posting tolls are indicative of a problem, one mistaken billing is anecdotal evidence, not a pattern. It shouldn't happen but it does.

In the 15 or so years I've had EZ-Pass, I am only aware of two mistaken billings:
1) Illinois (home system) showed a transponder read and then a second later, a video toll (posted from a license plate scan from the violation system)
2) Indiana charged me as a five-axle truck. There's a story in there. Indiana had (don't know if they still do - haven't been on the road in four or five years) gates on the EZ-Pass lanes. Better to delay dozens of motorists than let one vehicle through which didn't scan. So if one didn't, that lane came to a standstill until an employee came out to deal with it. At the mainline plazas, they also had EZ-Pass lanes on both sides of the cash lanes (which did not have EZ-Pass scanners) with the left being designated for cars and the right for trucks. I assumed they marked them like that to separate faster and slower vehicles but perhaps not. So one day, I was approaching the "pay" (as opposed to "get ticket") plaza and I saw a long line at the one car EZ-Pass lane on the left that was not moving so I went to the "truck" EZ-Pass lane on the right. And then about two hours later, got an unexpected alert that my EZ-Pass account had replenished. And checking my account, found I had been charged about $40 for a ~$5 toll. That took a month to straighten out. For all the teething pains NYSTA is having, it does not appear to be as bad as what Indiana did which was clearly for their benefit, not the motorists (such as apparently all cars with EZ-Pass must use only one plaza lane which could be shut down at any moment to deal with a problem and then you just have to wait - so much for EZ-Pass being faster than cash).
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Re: New York State Thruway
« Reply #2179 on: January 16, 2021, 08:29:25 AM »

Does anyone know if there have been any issues with Massachusetts's bill by mail? I haven't heard a single horror story there.

(If the answer is no, I want a definite answer, not just a lack of responses.)
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SignBridge

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Re: New York State Thruway
« Reply #2180 on: January 16, 2021, 08:32:54 PM »

The last trip I took on the Masspike was in the Fall of 2019 and I had no billing issues. Trips in both directions correctly billed on my E-Z Pass.
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vdeane

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Re: New York State Thruway
« Reply #2181 on: January 16, 2021, 10:03:05 PM »

When I go to E-ZPass NY, Google Chrome reports a secure connection without having to type in https.
The SSL issue is the Thruway's own site, not E-ZPass NY.

While the delays in posting tolls are indicative of a problem, one mistaken billing is anecdotal evidence, not a pattern. It shouldn't happen but it does.
Actually, it's not just one.  I believe I posted about the other before.  When I was driving home from Christmas, they processed the Capital District mainline gantries before the virtual ticket system to the west, giving me a free ride from 25A-24, even though I didn't use exit 25A.  And with this double billing happening on my way home from Thanksgiving, that means 100% of my round trips on the Thruway so far since the cashless conversion have had a billing issue.  Meanwhile, I never had an issue in the 11 prior years I've had my E-ZPass.  I don't think the timing is a coincidence, especially with the other issues.
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lstone19

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Re: New York State Thruway
« Reply #2182 on: January 16, 2021, 10:16:39 PM »

Actually, it's not just one.  I believe I posted about the other before.  When I was driving home from Christmas, they processed the Capital District mainline gantries before the virtual ticket system to the west, giving me a free ride from 25A-24, even though I didn't use exit 25A.  And with this double billing happening on my way home from Thanksgiving, that means 100% of my round trips on the Thruway so far since the cashless conversion have had a billing issue.  Meanwhile, I never had an issue in the 11 prior years I've had my E-ZPass.  I don't think the timing is a coincidence, especially with the other issues.

Point taken. With further thought on it, it did seem that the rollout happened very quickly. Probably too quickly, and probably, and not surprisingly, for political reasons. I suspect they were pushed to roll it out before they were ready and based on some of the comments further up in the topic, before they fully had the 25A issue worked out.
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deathtopumpkins

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Re: New York State Thruway
« Reply #2183 on: January 18, 2021, 09:04:33 AM »

Does anyone know if there have been any issues with Massachusetts's bill by mail? I haven't heard a single horror story there.

(If the answer is no, I want a definite answer, not just a lack of responses.)

Local news has run plenty of stories about supposed issues. Most have been no fault of MassDOT's (e.g. countless overdramatic articles about 'outrageous' late fees), but some are legitimate.

A quick Google search turns up:
https://www.boston25news.com/news/fox25-investigates-more-problems-for-drivers-with-states-new-electronic-tolling/500194149/
https://www.boston25news.com/news/25-investigates-drivers-call-new-tolling-fees-extortion/604801046/
https://whdh.com/news/hank-investigates-incorrect-ez-pass-charges/
https://boston.cbslocal.com/2018/02/12/massachusetts-license-plate-confusion-fines-wbz-tv-i-team-massdot/

The biggest issue has been trying to distinguish between all the different specialty license plates which leads to duplicate plate numbers, with most of those cases being out-of-state tolls, but some in-state. This is a big problem with any ALPR system, not just electronic tolling, and not just in Massachusetts.
I'm hoping this exact issue doesn't affect me too - I have a NH specialty plate, but FL SunPass doesn't have it as an option so I had to enter it as a standard passenger plate.

Having a transponder I've never used toll-by-plate, but the AETS conversion did lead to significantly longer E-ZPass processing times. Used to be near enough instantaneous, now it takes up to a week for transactions to show up.
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Re: New York State Thruway
« Reply #2184 on: January 18, 2021, 10:37:41 PM »

On my journey to Cornwall yesterday, it appeared that work had started yet on toll booth removal at neither the Harriman nor Woodbury plaza.
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Re: New York State Thruway
« Reply #2185 on: January 18, 2021, 11:25:47 PM »

On my journey to Cornwall yesterday, it appeared that work had started yet on toll booth removal at neither the Harriman nor Woodbury plaza.

Both of these are very low priority. Only traffic between the north and Exit 16 actually has to pass through booths, and that's not a particularly heavy pair of movements.
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Re: New York State Thruway
« Reply #2186 on: January 19, 2021, 10:45:01 AM »

Does anyone know if there have been any issues with Massachusetts's bill by mail? I haven't heard a single horror story there.

(If the answer is no, I want a definite answer, not just a lack of responses.)

I had an E-ZPass toll miscalculated the last time I was on the Mass Pike:

Entering at Sturbridge and continuing into Boston, I was expecting the Sturbridge-Weston portion to be tolled as follows for my out-of-state E-ZPass:
ENTRY: 83   EXIT: 120  AMOUNT: $2.00

Instead, it was split up into 2 overlapping charges:
ENTRY: 83   EXIT: 109  AMOUNT: $1.40
ENTRY: 104   EXIT: 120  AMOUNT: $1.40

Since this only amounted to an $0.80 overcharge it didn't seem worth the time & energy to fight, but it certainly struck me as an odd way for the system to mess up (taking the correct reads from each gantry but then combining them incorrectly).
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Rothman

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Re: New York State Thruway
« Reply #2187 on: January 19, 2021, 01:42:42 PM »

Does anyone know if there have been any issues with Massachusetts's bill by mail? I haven't heard a single horror story there.

(If the answer is no, I want a definite answer, not just a lack of responses.)

I had an E-ZPass toll miscalculated the last time I was on the Mass Pike:

Entering at Sturbridge and continuing into Boston, I was expecting the Sturbridge-Weston portion to be tolled as follows for my out-of-state E-ZPass:
ENTRY: 83   EXIT: 120  AMOUNT: $2.00

Instead, it was split up into 2 overlapping charges:
ENTRY: 83   EXIT: 109  AMOUNT: $1.40
ENTRY: 104   EXIT: 120  AMOUNT: $1.40

Since this only amounted to an $0.80 overcharge it didn't seem worth the time & energy to fight, but it certainly struck me as an odd way for the system to mess up (taking the correct reads from each gantry but then combining them incorrectly).
Great.  Another flub to look out for.
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Alps

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Re: New York State Thruway
« Reply #2188 on: January 19, 2021, 03:09:51 PM »

Does anyone know if there have been any issues with Massachusetts's bill by mail? I haven't heard a single horror story there.

(If the answer is no, I want a definite answer, not just a lack of responses.)

I had an E-ZPass toll miscalculated the last time I was on the Mass Pike:

Entering at Sturbridge and continuing into Boston, I was expecting the Sturbridge-Weston portion to be tolled as follows for my out-of-state E-ZPass:
ENTRY: 83   EXIT: 120  AMOUNT: $2.00

Instead, it was split up into 2 overlapping charges:
ENTRY: 83   EXIT: 109  AMOUNT: $1.40
ENTRY: 104   EXIT: 120  AMOUNT: $1.40

Since this only amounted to an $0.80 overcharge it didn't seem worth the time & energy to fight, but it certainly struck me as an odd way for the system to mess up (taking the correct reads from each gantry but then combining them incorrectly).
That's the sort of thing the agency really does need to know about. Their gantries should be synched in time so that even if one is delayed in reporting, the report gets inserted in the correct frame, so to speak.

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Re: New York State Thruway
« Reply #2189 on: January 21, 2021, 04:56:34 PM »

Drove the Thruway from Exit 8 up to Exit 17 today, my first trip since AET went live.  I will see how long it takes the transaction to be posted to my EZ-Pass account.

I did notice all the blue signs advertising the Thruway Advisory Radio were tarped over.  Is the HAR being phased out? 
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Re: New York State Thruway
« Reply #2190 on: January 21, 2021, 09:07:15 PM »

It took about four days for my virtual ticket system charges south of Albany to appear for a recent clinching trip, which is much more reasonable than intra-upstate trips are.  Figures that they favor downstate.

Regarding the HAR... I just noticed that the page on their site is gone.  And now that I think about it, I don't recall seeing the sign for it on the Northway as of late.  Uh oh.  How do they expect people to know about conditions?  Use their phone while driving?
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Re: New York State Thruway
« Reply #2191 on: January 22, 2021, 10:06:12 AM »

Were the transmitters located at the toll plaza admin buildings? (Wouldn't explain the Northway)... Just curious if they could have been a collateral loss...
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Re: New York State Thruway
« Reply #2192 on: January 22, 2021, 11:50:46 AM »

Northway probably only had Thruway HAR a few miles north of Int 24 so that motorists SB had access to what was happening on the Thruway. 

I find it odd that the signs are tarped and not removed. 

I did see the Thruway app they want you to download.  It supposebly "talks to you" but that's a lot of moves for someone just trying to find traffic info, and a lot of time with your eyes off the road.  I guess traffic info, amber alerts, etc could just be shown on the VMS signs. 
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Re: New York State Thruway
« Reply #2193 on: January 22, 2021, 12:46:40 PM »

Yeah, that sign on the Northway was SB about a mile north of exit 2 so travelers approaching the Thruway could get any alerts.
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Re: New York State Thruway
« Reply #2194 on: January 29, 2021, 06:33:05 PM »

My Thruway trip on 1/21 was posted to my account on 1/26, showing correctly as entry-Woodbury Toll (the mainline) and exit-Newburgh (I-84).  This was a few days after the Newburgh-Beacon Bridge toll was posted to my account.  I have EZ-PASS through Mass.  Prior to getting my EZ-PASS, I never had a problem with toll-by-mail on the Mass Pike... but the extra charges for tbm made me want to get the EZ-PASS.  It is so much easier now and more convenient. 

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Re: New York State Thruway
« Reply #2195 on: January 29, 2021, 09:01:00 PM »

Convenient was when we just used to pay cash back in the 1980's and didn't have any of this complicated b/s. But yeah, the toll-plaza traffic jams on holidays and weekends were a problem. I guess I didn't appreciate that 'cause I usually travelled mid-day/mid-week.
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Re: New York State Thruway
« Reply #2196 on: January 29, 2021, 09:20:14 PM »

The only complaints I've had about E-Z Pass anywhere is not being billed when I know I should've been. It seems these malfunctions occur whether you have a transponder or not.


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Re: New York State Thruway
« Reply #2197 on: February 05, 2021, 08:02:54 PM »

The only complaints I've had about E-Z Pass anywhere is not being billed when I know I should've been. It seems these malfunctions occur whether you have a transponder or not.


It's rare but it happens.  Only time I've experience it is when traveling on the I-95 Express Lanes in Maryland on a holiday evening after a thunderstorm (thought maybe the storm had knocked something out).  It was only 50 cents but I was never billed.
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Re: New York State Thruway
« Reply #2198 on: February 05, 2021, 08:52:07 PM »

The only complaints I've had about E-Z Pass anywhere is not being billed when I know I should've been. It seems these malfunctions occur whether you have a transponder or not.

It's rare but it happens.  Only time I've experience it is when traveling on the I-95 Express Lanes in Maryland on a holiday evening after a thunderstorm (thought maybe the storm had knocked something out).  It was only 50 cents but I was never billed.

Ironically, I just noticed this today for a trip I took over the Hatem Bridge (US 40) in Maryland back in December.  All of my other tolls (even my earlier Harbor Tunnel toll that day) came through just fine.
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Re: New York State Thruway
« Reply #2199 on: February 09, 2021, 07:56:17 AM »

I find it amusing that at least some traffic reports are still saying things like "no problems at the 24 tolls".

I've been through the area a few times in the last week.  There is definitely some confusion among those unfamiliar with the area on where to go due to the lack of advance signage.  I saw a pickup truck come to a complete stop in the left lane just up the onramp to 87 south after the split, apparently trying to figure out how to get back to take 90 west.  Fortunately traffic was light, the roads were dry, and I don't think it ended up causing an accident.
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