WPCNR Boondoggles, Bungles, Believers and Delayers. News and Comment by John F. Bailey May 14, 2018:
You will not read this story anywhere else.
It’s news no one wants to print.
I have sadly announced to my family who all live on the New Jersey side of the Hudson River that I no longer will host holiday gatherings at my home in central Westchester in order to preserve family sanity.
The reason is that the traffic volume on holiday weekends cannot be handled by the New NY Bridge across the Tappan Zee Bridge. It does not work.
I had my inlaws and nieces and nephews, husbands, wives and boyfriends over for Mother’s Day Sunday. All but my daughter came from New Jersey. The daughter and friend arrived on the stroke of 3 and my brother-in-law and family arrived 45 minutes later. It took them 2-1/2 hours to traverse the too-small, too-narrow, no breakdown lane bridge.
It took my inlaws coming froon Boonton, and extra 45 minutes to make it over the “New but Same as the Old Tappan Zee Bridge” even though they have often arrived early. My brother-in-law said that a car was broken down on the bridge causing a merge left, backing up traffic phenomenally. There was no breakdown lane. Why weren’t there State Police or some law enforcement entity, any one with concern for the hundreds of cars backed up to points north, directing the merging of cars? And if you have children in the car—what a nightmare.
This is a pet peeve of mine. Nowhere in the New York metro area when I’ve encountered a breakdown lane blockage, do police take an active role supervising merging traffic . They shoul d do that or at least clear the accident off the byway as quickly as possible. They don’t do this very often (and that is giving them the benefit of the doubt).
It took my nephew coming from Floral Park,NJ 3-1/2 hours for essentially an hour and a half drive at most. But by that time the traffic had been building back pas the I-87-I287 merge. Forget about it he arrived at 5:45 PM! What nightmare!
What’s going on here?
What’s going on is—the engineers bungled.
The S-curve approaching the new NY Bridge from the West backs up the Eastbound Westchester traffic, coming from the North and west, first forcing the drivers already bumper to bumper to swing down and to the right in a lower “S”, then cruise up and to the left to ascend the sharply rising upper “S” curve to ascend the not-so-gradual upgrade up the new NY Bridge.
Defenders of the bridge say, well there was an accident. Well they have to be more professional managing the new bridge! You have to have a wrecker ready to move a stall/accident/etc. off that bridge.
When finally they have all of the two spans open, they are still only going to have 4 lanes of traffic in each direction east and westbound (one more lane only from the old bridge); supposedly an express bus lane, a bicycle lane a breakdown lane and observation deck. This is crazy. The bicycle lanes will last until a semi goes out of control and kills a series of bycyclists. Now. There were not many trucks on Saturday or Sunday, they slow the action even more.
. And please, the police have to direct traffic professionally around a lane blockage. (The only city I know that employees police in a professional manner to direct around a traffic blockage is White Plains, especially during work stoppages.)
Now I drove to New Jersey on Saturday for another reunion, traveling Westbound from Westchester we encountered pretty smooth going, but were stunned by the amount of back up eastbound into Westchester that backed up all the way to where I-87 merges with I-287. I couldn’t understand it.
On Sunday I understood it.
The new bridge at the official cost of $3.9 Billion is obsolete and it is only 7 months old. Though constructed on time, it has not improved traffic flow.
It backs up Eastbound in the mornings. I-287, Cross Westchester Express is a parking lot into White Plains because 4 lanes of traffic from the new Tappan Zee Bridge go into the same merge sequence it has for decades. The pipe dream of a Bus Rapid Transit system that will get drivers out of their cars is not in place. There are no bus only lanes.There is no sequenced entrances to the Cross Westchester which were supposed to “smooth traffic flow.” Delays westbound in evening rush, start at 3 PM, because of the entrance at Route 100, and the sun delay after White Plains, then you bog down before the westbound Tappan Zee side when 287 and I-87 merge lanes into 3—just a standstill. The engineers missed this?
Any one who drives into Westchester our Out of it Mornings and evenings knows it is not different—but worse.
You never hear detailed traffic reports on traffic on the Tappan Zee Bridge because it is an embarrassment. They say, unless there is a bad accident, traffic is normal on I 287—which means “all stacked up.”
The Memorial Day Week exodus will be the worst of all time and I predict it will back I-95 across Connecticut, maybe even to Maine.
Better leave Wednesday, March 23 to get out and there with your sanity intact.