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Old 01-15-2015, 07:45 AM
 
Location: Smyrna, DE
66 posts, read 112,872 times
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I'm driving to Boston, more specifically Braintree, this Friday starting in Delaware around 3pm. What would the best route be to get there? I've used Google Maps but it keeps putting me across the GW Bridge and then along 95 on CT, both of which I've been told to avoid at the time of day that I'll be reaching them so I've been told to take the Tappan Zee instead. I'm most concerned with the interchange around NY. The route I've been told to take is:

Take the NJ Tnpk --> Garden State Parkway --> Tappan Zee bridge --> Saw Mill Highway --> 684 --> 84 --> Mass Tnpk --> 95 S

Any suggestions?
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Old 01-15-2015, 09:18 AM
 
Location: North of Boston
3,505 posts, read 6,695,497 times
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Your proposed route is a good one and generally the route I follow to and from visiting my Mom in PA. The exit for the Saw Mill comes up quick after you pay the toll on the Tappan Zee, so look for it.
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Old 01-15-2015, 09:23 AM
 
Location: New England
972 posts, read 1,193,510 times
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Well, "best" has different meanings according to what you want.

For the lowest-hassle route and no New Jersey Turnpike, you could drive north from Philadelphia on I-476 all the way to Scranton, then turn east on I-84, which crosses the Hudson at Newburgh and joins the Mass Pike at Sturbridge. That would keep you away from the major cities at rush hour, but it's longer.

It's feasible to avoid the NJ Turnpike and the Delaware Bridge by taking I-95 as far as Princeton and then Route 206 up to Somerville, where you get onto I-287, which takes you right to the Tappan Zee. The trouble there is, 206 in rush hour is exceedingly frustrating to drive, and that's exactly the time you'd be there.

If you drive through New Jersey, you can save some money (at the cost of a slightly longer route) by taking I-295 through the southern part of the state. And if you end up on the Garden State Parkway, you'll be happier if you have EZ-Pass because otherwise you'll have to stop for several cash tolls.

If you do use the Tappan Zee, you have a choice of the Saw Mill Parkway as you said, or the Merritt Parkway, or I-287 which would take you down to I-95. From there you could come up into the Boston area from the south and avoid the Mass Pike.
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Old 01-15-2015, 09:29 AM
 
Location: East Boston, MA
10,965 posts, read 19,440,367 times
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I may be in the minority here, but I'd still take the GW Bridge and jump off as soon as you cross it to the Henry Hudson Parkway (North)--> Saw Mill River PKWY--> Cross County PKWY --> Hutchinson River PKWY--> Merritt PKWY --> I-95 (Milford, CT). It's all pretty well marked and more straightforward than it looks. Most exits have signs that say, "To Merritt Parkway" as well. The Cross County Parkway is only about 4.5 miles and begins at the Saw Mill River Parkway and ends at the Hutchinson River Parkway so there's no real concern about missing exits. The Hutchinson River Parkway turns into the Merritt Parkway at the CT line anyway. The Henry Hudson Parkway is Route 9a and the Merritt is CT Route 15 just fyi.

I agree that 95 through New York City and Stamford/Bridgeport CT is not ideal at that time of day. The Tappan Zee is also a gamble and mileage wise, it's a bit out of the way so if you get stuck, you could be stuck for some time.

I should add that many of the suggested roads I mentioned are for cars only- so if you're in a commercial vehicle, it's a no go.

Quote:
If you do use the Tappan Zee, you have a choice of the Saw Mill Parkway as you said, or the Merritt Parkway, or I-287 which would take you down to I-95. From there you could come up into the Boston area from the south and avoid the Mass Pike.
If you do choose the Tappan Zee, I'd choose the Merritt afterward to avoid I-95 through Southern CT. I've taken all of these routes (sometimes not by choice, I have family in Stony Point, NY) and the Merritt is almost always the best.
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Old 01-15-2015, 09:34 AM
 
Location: Smyrna, DE
66 posts, read 112,872 times
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Thanks for the responses. I've read the Saw Mill comes up quick so if I go that way, I'll keep my eyes open.

You're right Amontillado, "best" wasn't the best word to describe what I'm looking for. I would prefer not to stop moving even if it adds miles and a few minutes to the overall time. I'm comfortable driving on both the NJ Tnpk and the MASS Tnpk so no worries there. I do have EZ-Pass (why anyone in the east coast wouldn't is beyond me) so the Garden State Pkwy tolls won't be an issue.

The plan is to take the Tappan Zee so after that I need to decide whether to go north or south. I've heard 95 in CT during that time can get rather congested.
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Old 01-15-2015, 09:37 AM
 
Location: Smyrna, DE
66 posts, read 112,872 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lrfox View Post
I agree that 95 through New York City and Stamford/Bridgeport CT is not ideal at that time of day. The Tappan Zee is also a gamble and mileage wise, it's a bit out of the way so if you get stuck, you could be stuck for some time.

If you do choose the Tappan Zee, I'd choose the Merritt afterward to avoid I-95 through Southern CT. I've taken all of these routes (sometimes not by choice, I have family in Stony Point, NY) and the Merritt is almost always the best.
I have a family member who lived in Boston for 30 years until last year and he echoed your sentiment on both accounts.
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Old 01-15-2015, 09:39 AM
 
Location: Manchester, MA
132 posts, read 163,978 times
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Here's the route I take when I come back from South Jersey:

NJ Turnpike> GS Pkwy> Tappan Zee Bridge> 287> RT 15 (Hutchinson Pkwy/Merrit Pkwy)> 91> 84> Mass Turnpike
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Old 01-15-2015, 10:09 AM
 
Location: New England
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The Merritt Parkway is nice in theory, but it's narrow and hilly, and it's way too easy to get stuck behind a slow vehicle that you can't pass. I take it occasionally, but I just don't find it a relaxing trip. The architecture of all the unique bridges is some payback, however.

We like to think we're frugal up here (except when it's the Big Dig, eh) so of course you should expect to hear complaints about the cruel price of toll roads.

George Washington Bridge: $9.75 or $11.75 depending on time of day
Tappan Zee: $4.75
I-84 at Newburgh: $1.50

(All the tolls are collected eastbound only.) Does any of that make a difference to you?

Actually I can't tell you which route is tolerably short and has the minimum tolls. I assume that coming north from Delaware, you're not enduring your own state's unbelievable extortion from travelers on I-95.
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Old 01-15-2015, 10:21 AM
 
Location: Smyrna, DE
66 posts, read 112,872 times
Reputation: 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by Amontillado View Post
We like to think we're frugal up here (except when it's the Big Dig, eh) so of course you should expect to hear complaints about the cruel price of toll roads.

George Washington Bridge: $9.75 or $11.75 depending on time of day
Tappan Zee: $4.75
I-84 at Newburgh: $1.50

(All the tolls are collected eastbound only.) Does any of that make a difference to you?

Actually I can't tell you which route is tolerably short and has the minimum tolls. I assume that coming north from Delaware, you're not enduring your own state's unbelievable extortion from travelers on I-95.
I don't really mind the tolls so much since I used to drive on the NYS Thruway on a daily basis so tolls have always been something to contend with. The tolls leaving Delaware aren't too bad at the time we are leaving. Having EZ-Pass is like using a credit card instead of cash, just swipe it baby!

Like I said before, I don't mind taking a little extra time or drive a few extra miles if it means I can possibly avoid major traffic back ups. That coupled with not knowing NYC roads makes me want to take the "out and around" approach to some extent.
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Old 01-15-2015, 11:08 AM
 
3,176 posts, read 3,300,636 times
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You'd be better off delaying your trip a few hours and taking the NJ turnpike over the GWB and taking 95 all the way through CT and MA. Yes you could take the Henry Hudson Parkway to the Cross County to the Hutch to the Merritt but if you're unfamiliar with those roads it can be very confusing even with a GPS. The Tappan Zee is a waste of time IMO. By leaving at 3 you'd be stuck in NYC rush hour traffic which is unpleasant.

In summary, leaving at 3 pm is going to be problematic unless you drive so far off course. By leaving later you'd probably have a shorter drive.
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