12 January 2018


I love Google Maps.  Maybe Waze too, if I take the trouble to use it.  The Google universe is just too hard to resist.  I often wonder how we got around in the past without these GPS-enabled digital assistants.  However, there are times when you don't necessarily need to listen to Google Maps and such.

I recently had to be somewhere near Prospect Park, where there's a station for the Q train.  I live near the D train and can switch to the Q at the Coney Island terminal.  Alternatively, I can also catch the Q if I go the other way, but I'll have to go further for the transfer.  Google told me to go to Coney Island but I knew better.  It was early morning, like 5:30 AM or so.  There was hardly anyone going toward Coney Island but there were many people going to work, or whatever, toward Manhattan.  So I took a Manhattan-bound train and felt safer with many more people on the train.  Sure, it took longer to get to the Q later on but safety first.

Occasionally, I have the need to go from the area of Bayshore, NY to Kings Plaza Mall in Brooklyn.  The straightforward route is to take the Southern State Parkway to the Belt Parkway.  And fight traffic near Wantagh and Meadowbrook Parkways.  Normally I opt to take the Robert Moses Causeway to Ocean Parkway (the one on Jones Beach Island that runs parallel to the Southern State, not the tree-lined boulevard in Brooklyn that is the route of the NYRR Brooklyn Half Marathon).  I still have to hit the Meadowbrook in the end but it is a lot more relaxing.  It adds some distance to the trip and may not save any time, even with the smooth ride, but for me it's worthwhile.

Similarly, I usually avoid the Belt Parkway section near the JFK Airport by taking 133rd Avenue.  Or use Avenue J to avoid a section of Flatlands Avenue.  Or a combination of northbound roads to avoid the Cross Island Parkway.

The town of Leonia, NJ recently appeared in the news for their attempt to control traffic that flood their neighborhood during rush hours because of people using Waze and such.  With the new local rule in effect, drivers can be fined $200 for using streets that are now available only to local residents.  Great solution for the town but it sucks to be those drivers going through.  In general, drivers and arseholes who don't yield to anyone, so there were reports of people not even able to get out of their driveway because of the constant flow of traffic.  In the ideal world, some combination of state and town traffic agents would help control traffic flow.  I am sure money is a problem, who will pay for what.  Whatever, now we have some local rules that effectively ban the alternative routes and drivers will just have to suffer on the highway.

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