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Old 01-08-2014, 06:11 AM
 
Location: Tennessee
23,557 posts, read 17,535,380 times
Reputation: 27601

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I was on the way back to TN from NC Saturday and stopped at a public rest area around 7. When I pulled in, there was no one there, and the facility was obviously new and likely fairly expensive to maintain. There is a similar rest area on the NC side or the border that is also very new and well-kept but seldom used. When I thought about it, I've rarely seen rest areas populated by anyone except people walking animals.

Each of these facilities require cleaning staff, electricity, water, landscaping, maintenance, etc, and must be reasonably costly to maintain. Today we have fast food restaurants and gas stations on many exits open 24 hours for people to use the bathroom and stretch their legs at. Is the old rest stop system a holdover when the interstates were first opened and there were fewer places to stop and outlived its usefulness today?
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Old 01-08-2014, 07:45 AM
 
2,932 posts, read 4,011,881 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Emigrations View Post
I was on the way back to TN from NC Saturday and stopped at a public rest area around 7. When I pulled in, there was no one there, and the facility was obviously new and likely fairly expensive to maintain. There is a similar rest area on the NC side or the border that is also very new and well-kept but seldom used. When I thought about it, I've rarely seen rest areas populated by anyone except people walking animals.

Each of these facilities require cleaning staff, electricity, water, landscaping, maintenance, etc, and must be reasonably costly to maintain. Today we have fast food restaurants and gas stations on many exits open 24 hours for people to use the bathroom and stretch their legs at. Is the old rest stop system a holdover when the interstates were first opened and there were fewer places to stop and outlived its usefulness today?
It's winter, check back in June.
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Old 01-08-2014, 07:54 AM
 
Location: Silicon Valley, CA
9,876 posts, read 6,609,568 times
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Not at all. It is good to have a rest stop where you don't have to go into a retail establishment and feel obliged to buy something in order to use their rest rooms, if they have them at all. It's a public good.
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Old 01-08-2014, 07:54 AM
 
Location: Verde Valley AZ
8,611 posts, read 9,674,534 times
Reputation: 10950
Quote:
Originally Posted by Emigrations View Post
I was on the way back to TN from NC Saturday and stopped at a public rest area around 7. When I pulled in, there was no one there, and the facility was obviously new and likely fairly expensive to maintain. There is a similar rest area on the NC side or the border that is also very new and well-kept but seldom used. When I thought about it, I've rarely seen rest areas populated by anyone except people walking animals.

Each of these facilities require cleaning staff, electricity, water, landscaping, maintenance, etc, and must be reasonably costly to maintain. Today we have fast food restaurants and gas stations on many exits open 24 hours for people to use the bathroom and stretch their legs at. Is the old rest stop system a holdover when the interstates were first opened and there were fewer places to stop and outlived its usefulness today?
I do a lot of road trips and I am grateful for the rest stops. In AZ they are well used. There are only three between Flagstaff and Tucson and they are always busy. There are no restaurants or gas stations near any of them. Except for the one near Casa Grande but that rest stop is always busy too. Some of the nicest ones I've stopped at were in Oregon but the ones we have here are pretty nice too.
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Old 01-08-2014, 08:03 AM
 
Location: Way South of the Volvo Line
2,777 posts, read 7,125,291 times
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I would imagine that the volume of traffic on the interstates fluctuates with the price of gas and the general economy since financial comfort or necessity dictates long driving trips. I for one wish that more people would utilize existing rest stops instead of trying to carry on phone conversations and other activities while driving. They also help to keep our highways clean by offering clean and safe disposal of trash and sanitary relief zones.
Maintenance and upkeep are a problem, though, to strained state and federal highway funds. I have seen more eco-friendly and self-sustaining systems cropping up here in the East like composting toilets and solar powered facilities.
As long as Americans have their love affair with the auto and the road we will have to maintain clean, efficient rest areas. They act as a vital part of road safety.
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Old 01-08-2014, 02:18 PM
 
Location: St. Louis, Missouri
9,355 posts, read 16,827,643 times
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I think they serve a very useful purpose.... I am on the road A LOT on the weekends and over the past several years, have only stopped at one that didn't have a number of visitors.... and this was at night...

they provide a good place for people and dogs to walk and stretch their legs, for kids to blow off some steam after being cooped up in a car for who knows how long....

and as the poster above said, it is nice to not feel like you have to sneak in and out a side door of the fast food establishment because you are not buying anything, although ARE using their facilities......

Here in Missouri and, I believe, in some of the surrounding states, I have seen mentally challenged people hired to help with maintenance of the rest areas.... a win-win for everyone!!
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Old 01-08-2014, 02:22 PM
 
Location: Philaburbia
32,364 posts, read 59,796,813 times
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We must not travel the same highways; I've rarely seen a rest stop that was sparsely used.

They provide what fast food restaurants and truck stops do not: trees, shade, picnic benches, grass, a place to walk your dog that isn't concrete or asphalt.
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Old 01-08-2014, 02:27 PM
 
Location: New York City
4,036 posts, read 8,935,865 times
Reputation: 3703
Quote:
Originally Posted by Emigrations View Post
I was on the way back to TN from NC Saturday and stopped at a public rest area around 7. When I pulled in, there was no one there, and the facility was obviously new and likely fairly expensive to maintain. There is a similar rest area on the NC side or the border that is also very new and well-kept but seldom used. When I thought about it, I've rarely seen rest areas populated by anyone except people walking animals.

Each of these facilities require cleaning staff, electricity, water, landscaping, maintenance, etc, and must be reasonably costly to maintain. Today we have fast food restaurants and gas stations on many exits open 24 hours for people to use the bathroom and stretch their legs at. Is the old rest stop system a holdover when the interstates were first opened and there were fewer places to stop and outlived its usefulness today?
Rest areas with commercial establishments that offer food are more popular than one that only have restrooms and vending machines. They vary a lot from state to state and highway to highway. Some feel like a nature preserve whereas other feel like a strip mall.
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Old 01-08-2014, 02:34 PM
 
Location: Philaburbia
32,364 posts, read 59,796,813 times
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^A few rest stops along I-75 in Ohio have walking trails along the back edges of the property; not long, but a welcome feature when you've been on the road awhile.
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Old 01-08-2014, 02:34 PM
 
Location: Atlanta
1,034 posts, read 1,037,303 times
Reputation: 1632
I traveled over the holidays from Georgia to West Virginia and I had to stop in every state in between at the public rest stops. I found they differ from state to state. The ones in Georgia and North Carolina were not as well maintained and clean as the ones in Virginia and West Virginia. But that is neither here nor there. I would much rather stop in a clean rest area, stretch my legs, walk my dog and get some crackers from the vending machine than go into a busy gas station that has a lousy restroom and wait in line while someone in front of me if playing the lottery!
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