Monday, November 16, 2009
If you live in New York City, sooner or later, you are most likely going to end up enjoying a ride on the Long Island Expressway (aka the L.I.E.) and learning why this roadway has become known as the world's largest parking lot. Many also feel that the acronym LIE is appropriate for a thoroughfare that represents itself as an expressway.
The photo was taken during my recent journey to visit a friend in Roslyn, Long Island, a distance of under 20 miles from Manhattan. What could, under ideal conditions, have been a 30-minute ride, turned out to be a painful 90- minute crawl.
This highway is the major artery running east from Manhattan (via the Queens Midtown Tunnel) and servicing the Long Island suburbs of New York City. It extends 71 miles, going through Queens and nearly the entire length of Long Island.
We have the largest island in the contiguous United States and the largest city in the US, all serviced by essentially one major highway. And that means trouble. Compound this with the fact that we are talking about islands, and that means limited access. For the traveller who is experienced with all the alternate routes and is able to assess the situation based on conditions, time of day, weather, etc., the expressway can be avoided. There are various alternate routes that parallel the LIE for various distances - the Northern State Parkway, the Southern State Parkway, and Sunrise Highway. Others who are particularly averse to traffic can resort to local routes, such as Northern Boulevard.
But not everyone has the stomach for tactical maneuvering, and most will just take the simplest route and travel the clogged artery. For this one, we have no Lipitor...