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Old 04-25-2016, 11:23 AM   #1
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Question New York/Long Island Traffic Fears!

We are planning a trip from Florida North including Long Island. Long Island/NYC area may not be a reasonable goal due to anticipated traffic. Are there any suggestions to reach Suffolk County Long Island with minimal traffic stress? This will be our first major trip with new AS and we are somewhat apprehensive. Thanks in advance for any help/suggestions.
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Old 04-25-2016, 11:27 AM   #2
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There are restrictions on transporting propane through the tunnels and trucks on the highways in and around NYC and Long Island. Do some serious research by perhaps connecting the NY state police to get the official word.
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Old 04-25-2016, 12:03 PM   #3
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Early Sunday morning traffic is easiest for this big cities if it fits with your schedule.
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Old 04-25-2016, 12:16 PM   #4
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There are no good (traffic-free) ways to get on/off Long Island.

That said, come up the NJ Turnpike/I-95 to the George Washington Bridge (upper level only; you can't take propane on the lower level), continue on I-95 North (Cross Bronx Expressway) to the I-295 split (stay to your right). Take I-295 to the Throgs Neck Bridge. Crossing the bridge, stay in the center lane and continue on I-295, the Clearview Expressway. Go about 3 miles to the interchange with I-495, the Long Island Expressway Eastbound. The LIE will take you to Suffolk County.

The Cross Bronx is a traffic nightmare at just about any time of any day of the week. As mentioned Sunday morning is good, and after 9 PM isn't bad if you don't mind night driving. Avoid typical rush hour times, and even any weekday afternoon can be very congested. In any case, just take it slow (you won't have much choice there...NYC traffic doesn't move fast; you'll feel lucky you're moving at all), stay in the right lane, and drive carefully. Keep in mind that the speed limit in New York City is 50 mph. If the road is wide open other cars will go much faster, but you don't have to. Stay in the right lane and observe the speed limit. You'll be happier.

Some advice: Don't take the Whitestone Bridge; the "interchange" with the eastbound L.I.E. follows local streets and is more trouble than it's worth.

A couple of key things to remember: the route I just outlined is likely the only legal or sane route you can take. Do not go across the Goethals Bridge or Outerbridge Crossing into Staten Island; once you get off the Verrazano Bridge your only legal route is the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, and that's an absolute NIGHTMARE. STAY AWAY.

You can't bring propane into the Holland or Lincoln Tunnels, and even if you could, they deposit you into Manhattan local streets.

Remember, in NY State, a parkway is a road on which you cannot bring your trailer. Stay off the parkways. Not only might you get a ticket, but you might also find your A/C unit ripped off the roof.

Don't let your fears of NYC traffic keep you from doing what you want to do. You'll be fine, just drive carefully.

I'm a native, so this route is familiar, but I recently towed my Airstream home for the first time, and that's how I went. It was straightforward and actually, even with all the traffic, I didn't find it terribly stressful at all. The truth is, if there's that much traffic you're moving slowly, and you can't get in too much trouble at that speed as long as you're paying attention.

Good luck and enjoy!

Jim
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Old 04-25-2016, 12:24 PM   #5
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Jim has got it right on. Choose your travel lane ( right lane most likely), take your time and most importantly AVOID rush hours at all costs. We've done it as many have don't let it scare you but do be careful. Watch the signs and plan ahead your route. It does get confusing in congested areas and NYC & NJ put the "C" in congested.
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Old 04-25-2016, 12:53 PM   #6
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Are there ferries from Connecticut to Long Island that will take a travel trailer?

Kelvin
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Old 04-25-2016, 01:17 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by teamherrick View Post
We are planning a trip from Florida North including Long Island. Long Island/NYC area may not be a reasonable goal due to anticipated traffic. Are there any suggestions to reach Suffolk County Long Island with minimal traffic stress? This will be our first major trip with new AS and we are somewhat apprehensive. Thanks in advance for any help/suggestions.
Welcome to the forum teamherrick!

Also a native of LI here, and can say ditto to AirstreamJim -- a well done Post #4 -- as far as staying on just the roads.

And "yes" to Kelvin -- there are two ferries from CT to LI, with the Bridgeport CT to Port Jefferson NY Ferry being our preferred way to get to/from Long Island, even from/to The South. We have done it many times since the 90's and can recommend it for safety, peace of mind, and less white-knuckle syndrome.

For both ferries you will need to know the total length of your rig from bumper to bumper, also the overall height, and must make reservations well ahead, especially in summer. Both ferry terminals, however, are in downtown waterfront locations, so you will need a hand navigating the streets ahead of time, but it is do-able. Plenty of room for trailers, as large semi-trucks use these ferries all the time for cost-savings.

1. Bridgeport -- Port Jefferson Steamboat Company
http://www.88844ferry.com/

2. Cross Sound Ferry (Orient Point NY to New London CT)
https://www.longislandferry.com/

This second one is more useful as a bridge to New England, and would not be the first choice when coming from the south. There are good local tourist attractions, however, so routing this way could include the Mystic Seaport or Sturbridge Village in MA just a little north. Both locations offer fascinating glimpses into our history with real-life period ships, buildings, dress, tools, animals, crafts and so forth.

The differences between driving through the NYC area (per AirstreamJim) and taking the BP/PJ ferry are profound. You can come up the Shenandoah Valley (I-81?) and get over to the Tappen Zee Bridge in Poughkeepsie to pick up I-287 east through White Plains which connects with I-95 to Bridgeport CT. There are lots of other route options, so feel free to ask about this also.

Good luck,

Peter
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Old 04-25-2016, 01:36 PM   #8
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JimAirstream knows of what he speaks. My only other advise is the same I use and give to others, go at YOUR comfortable speed, not others. Stay in the drive lane - right and move along. I've taken boats several times Jims way and it's really not bad, especially at about six AM on Sunday morning - don't ask about 4:PM Sunday afternoon returning west.
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Old 04-26-2016, 05:53 AM   #9
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PS teamherrick, you will have to turn off your propane tanks on the ferries, so depending on the time of year, this may compromise your refrigeration and/or heat. This would only be for about two hours, but sometimes your vehicle might be parked in the sun, so the fridge could get quite warm.

And one more point about crossing Long Island Sound -- the views from the upper decks are stunning, and the experience is a true pleasure after the drive.

Stunning!
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Old 04-26-2016, 09:46 AM   #10
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Jim has it absolutely correct. We just returned from Smoky Mt Tennessee. We timed it bad and reached the George Washington bridge at 3 PM. It took us three hours in bumper to bumper traffic to clear the bridge but that wasn't the worst. We had a tracker trailer roll back on to us and smash into our front grill. He didn't even know he was rolling back! We had a bar on the front and that protected our car. TG and most importantly our air stream was safe and sound. But NY traffic is the worst! We vowed to leave by 4am and return home in the wee hours of the morning. We'll see how that works.
Good luck
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Old 04-26-2016, 10:44 AM   #11
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I drug a 16' trailer all over NYC, Long Island, and Upstate New York.
It's possible.
Traffic gets less the further out you go on Long Island.
Outside of the Five Burroughs New York state is just like anywhere else.
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Old 04-26-2016, 11:10 AM   #12
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Great advice ASJ. We lived 1 hr N of NYC and traveled extensively with/without trailer in/out of NYC. Now we live in N. Cal but travel to/thru LA. I actually breathe easier in heavy traffic for the very reasons you mention. I stay in truck lanes and go with the flow.
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Old 04-26-2016, 11:23 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Big Air View Post
We timed it bad and reached the George Washington bridge at 3 PM. It took us three hours in bumper to bumper traffic to clear the bridge.
Yikes!!! Despite my best intentions, I reached the bridge with my Airstream at 3 PM on a Friday afternoon - close to the worst time you could possibly pick. Yet I managed to get across the bridge, past the Cross Bronx Expressway and onto the Throgs Neck in about 45 minutes. And it was bumper to bumper all the way - as usual.

Tomorrow I'm bringing the Airstream down to Colonial for some work. I plan to hit the Cross Bronx by 6 AM. Unfortunately, I'll probably be coming back in the middle of the afternoon, with traffic plus road work lane closings. But don't have much choice. You get used to it if you live around here...or you move.

But again - bumper to bumper is good. The crazies are stuck in it, too. Much less stressful.

Jim
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Old 04-26-2016, 03:52 PM   #14
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Some RV GPS units have tried to route me onto a NY Parkway. Stay off ALL parkways in NY. Parkway overpasses can be LESS THAN 8'! I too take the NJTP to I-80 East> GW Bridge (Upper level only) and then Cross Island Expressway to the Throgsneck Bridge. Once over the TNB, keep LEFT (the right lanes goes to a parkway). When you get to the LIE, take that east to Suffolk county. If you have an EZ-Pass USE IT! There are several campgrounds in Suffolk County. Leaving, you can either reverse these instructions or, take one of two ferries to CT.

PS: The Vince Lombardi Rest Area near Exit 18 of the NJTP will be one of the cheapest places to fuel up before you enter NY. Savings are running about $0.30 / gallon. There are two truck lanes with dual diesel pumps. If you need gas, follow the signs for car traffic.
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