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Hlitner

Driving to Red Hook

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This question is only for those that are very used to driving in NYC and Brooklyn (places where I am very comfortable driving).  I need to get to Red Hook on a weekday morning (ugh) coming from PA.  I have two choices, neither of which are good :(.  From the Holland Tunnel I can head south on West street to the Battery Tunnel and then get myself around to Hamilton Ave and to the port.  But the downside is having to deal with West Street when the financial markets are open.  My other alternative (only for masochists) is to cut across lower Manhattan to the Brooklyn Bridge (which saves me the Battery Tunnel toll) and then pick myself all the way through Brooklyn (am thinking Atlantic Ave to  Henry Street might be the best option).  Discuss!

 

Hank

P.S.  This post is for experts only!  Even many NYC taxi drivers do not like either of these options.

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Posted (edited)

Of the options you've offered I would go via the Holland Tunnel . You're only on West St. for a short distance. 

 

I'd consider another option altogether...PA Turnpike to NJ Turnpike to Goethals Bridge, Staten Island Expressway, Verrazzano Narrows Bridge, BQE. A bit longer in mileage but probably the same or less time, and roads that I consider a lot better to drive than I 78. Your opinions of which highways are easier to drive may very well differ.

 

I'd only take the I 78 route if traffic reports that morning indicate that my alternate route will take more time.

 

 

 

 

Edited by njhorseman

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Regardless of the route you choose listen to the morning traffic reports and adjust if possible. I favor the Staten Island route ..... if the BQE is backed up use local streets in Brooklyn.

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WAZE is the way to go. Put in your destination and follow it. The regulars know short cuts that you might not be aware. 

 

Also timing is everything, I’m sure you know this. Good Luck

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I appreciate the responses.  Not a big fan of the Turnpikes/Staten Island route because we hate to pay all those tolls :(.   And the PA Turnpike can have it's own problems around Philly.  But I will also admit that I78 is not my favorite road...but then again I am old enough to remember when we had to use Route 22 :).   DW is a decent "wazer" and we will certainly be monitoring.  I am still leaning towards I78 through the Holland Tunnel and we will use waze to make a last minute decision about using West Street or heading cross town to the Brooklyn Bridge.  I guess we are on firm ground saying it is always an adventure.

 

Hank

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On a weekday morning, coming across SIE into Brooklyn is good if you can do HOV-3 like a commuter, if not - can be agonizing slow until you make it across into Bay Ridge, where HOV continue on the left/movable barrier lane until 10 am to the Hugh Carey Tunnel into Lower Manhattan (once you get on, there is no exit for Hamilton Ave if I'm not mistaken).   If there is a major unplanned incident on the VZB somewhere on the HOV designated segment, you will not be happy. 

 

Just in case this Plan B become Plan A:  once in Brooklyn, you'll need to move & keep right, avoid the HOV continuation, and take the 3rd. Avenue exit at the Gowanus (I-278) to leave the elevated highway & stay downstairs at street level, with timed traffic lights to Red Hook for about 2 or 3 miles ... which is after the 6th Avenue & Ft. Hamilton Pkwy exits.  Otherwise, you will hit bumper-to-bumper gridlocked traffic "upstairs" with the Prospect Expy merge heading over the top of Red Hook Creek just before the Red Hook exit to the pier.  Waze is a must on this route, just not sure how good it is with the HOV stuff.

 

Being weekday mornings, unless you get out of the Holland Tunnel after 10 am, the Hugh Carey Tunnel will still be running its HOV mode for Manhattan inbound traffic, including commuter buses from SI (yike, I know) - with 1 lane out to Brooklyn.  If things are running fine, the tunnel is probably quicker - you aren't really going to run into local traffic for the financial districts.  **** On a sidenote, the conversion to cashless toll for all NYC bridge/tunnel crossings has NOT really improve the smooth flow of traffic at peak traffic time.  

 

Otherwise, you might actually want to steer for the Manhattan Bridge, via Worth Street or Baxter Street (Little Italty/Chinatown) instead of the Brooklyn Bridge - either route should work with your navigator/co-pilot & Waze guidance, and use city streets along the Waterfront, as the BQE can be a horror show for that short 2 to 3 exits for Red Hook.  

 

It sounded like you are somewhat familiar with getting around NYC on weekdays - Waze is very good in/around NYC and get real-time traffic feeds from NYC DOT, I score its guidance at 9.5 out of 10 in the area and continue to improve.  Now nicely integrated with Android Auto, it's been a "saver" - occassionally, I will pick the 2nd. route that I'm comfortable & familiar with instead, as long as the ETA are within 5 to 15 minutes apart on a typical long drive. 

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On 8/17/2019 at 7:15 AM, njhorseman said:

Of the options you've offered I would go via the Holland Tunnel . You're only on West St. for a short distance. 

 

I'd consider another option altogether...PA Turnpike to NJ Turnpike to Goethals Bridge, Staten Island Expressway, Verrazzano Narrows Bridge, BQE. A bit longer in mileage but probably the same or less time, and roads that I consider a lot better to drive than I 78. Your opinions of which highways are easier to drive may very well differ.

 

I'd only take the I 78 route if traffic reports that morning indicate that my alternate route will take more time.

 

 

 

 

How bad is this option?    

 

We usually take NJ transit into Manhattan as we live near a station and grab an uber to Port.  But we live 10 mins off of the NJ turnpike.   We have contemplated this drive since the switch to Brooklyn for our Carnival cruise.   Any thoughts?  Google maps put the route at 1 hr 10 mins. 

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19 minutes ago, BroadwayGirl said:

How bad is this option?    

 

We usually take NJ transit into Manhattan as we live near a station and grab an uber to Port.  But we live 10 mins off of the NJ turnpike.   We have contemplated this drive since the switch to Brooklyn for our Carnival cruise.   Any thoughts?  Google maps put the route at 1 hr 10 mins. 

Not sure exactly what you mean by "how bad"...driving in NY City is rarely fun. :classic_wink:

 

Without knowing where your starting point is it's hard to make a specific recommendation, but if you're getting on the Turnpike somewhere from  Elizabeth or south I'd use the route through Staten Island.

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Thank you for the positive reports about Waze.  We used Google maps the last time we were there (2017) and it was great until it told us to exit left but that lane was closed for construction - then it couldn't adjust for us in time.  We eventually got to the port but it was interesting 😉 

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1 hour ago, njhorseman said:

Not sure exactly what you mean by "how bad"...driving in NY City is rarely fun. :classic_wink:

 

Without knowing where your starting point is it's hard to make a specific recommendation, but if you're getting on the Turnpike somewhere from  Elizabeth or south I'd use the route through Staten Island.

 

Yeah..we'd be getting on the NJ TP at 7a. 

 

Haha trying to understand how bad is bad as I'm not sure any driving on the NJ TP or GSP, etc can be called fun  

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43 minutes ago, BroadwayGirl said:

 

Yeah..we'd be getting on the NJ TP at 7a. 

 

Haha trying to understand how bad is bad as I'm not sure any driving on the NJ TP or GSP, etc can be called fun  

With the cars-only lanes on the Turnpike and the new Goethals Bridge, which has wide lanes, the drive is easier than it used to be.

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2 hours ago, njhorseman said:

With the cars-only lanes on the Turnpike and the new Goethals Bridge, which has wide lanes, the drive is easier than it used to be.

 

I agree that the extension of the cars-only lanes has definitely made driving on the Turnpike easier than before, "easier" being a relative term of course when it comes to the NJ TP!  🤣

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The time of morning might make a difference - if you were shooting for 10:00 -11:00 at Red Hook or so, Holland Tunnel/Battery Tunnel would be my thought.  Much earlier, that route would be so slow that I’d spring for the tolls on the Staten Island route.

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Posted (edited)

Clarification - toll on the SI route is only applicable/charge when leaving Brooklyn to SI for NJ, not when coming in from NJ/PA via the Goethals Bridge (or, further using the Outerbridge Crossing).  Toll is charged for the NJ to NY crossing, whether it is the Holland/Lincoln Tunnel or Goethals/Outerbridge.  

(We're on the GB recently - traffic was light as it is summer & late morning, with 3 wide lanes each direction & a breakdown lane for emergencies) - and, being compliant with HOV-3 rules, move nicely along the entire way.  

 

Approaching the VZ Bridge, re-check Waze and plan ahead to keep right, either the upper or lower (we preferred) level of the bridge, and do NOT get back or stay on the HOV lane as until 10 a.m. - there is no exit all the way to the Hugh Carey Tunnel (checked with SI-commuters that do that daily) ... designed to speed the flow of commuters into Lower Manhattan.  

 

Take the 6th Avenue (if traffic is being backed up) or next exit at 3rd. Avenue, heading toward Manhattan (and Red Hook) to exit the elevated (Gowanus) highway for local street, follow 3rd Avenue - it runs parallel under the highway, toward the Gowanus Canal to Red Hook (Fourth Avenue is another alternative but has more traffic lights & heavy with commercial + local bus traffic.)  Waze is your friend here - and, "Red Lights Camera" alert for this area, there are several of them on 3rd. Avenue.  

 

Beware of unexpected road/lane closure on the highway upon the completion of the morning rush hour, especially in Brooklyn, known to begin closing the left or right lane as the morning begin to ease.  

 

IMG_20190725_113158859.jpg

IMG_20190725_113139325.jpg

Edited by mking8288

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On 8/17/2019 at 6:17 PM, Hlitner said:

I appreciate the responses.  Not a big fan of the Turnpikes/Staten Island route because we hate to pay all those tolls :(.   And the PA Turnpike can have it's own problems around Philly.  But I will also admit that I78 is not my favorite road...but then again I am old enough to remember when we had to use Route 22 :).   DW is a decent "wazer" and we will certainly be monitoring.  I am still leaning towards I78 through the Holland Tunnel and we will use waze to make a last minute decision about using West Street or heading cross town to the Brooklyn Bridge.  I guess we are on firm ground saying it is always an adventure.

 

Hank

If you want to take the Holland Tunnel you can avoid 78 by taking the NJ Tpke. north to exit 15W (I-280 West) then take exit 17A  (county route 508 E, Jersey City). this becomes jersey city tpke. then follow signs for route 139E Holland Tunnel. Sounds complicated but its not. I used to go that way a lot from 280 to the Holland tunnel when I had family in the oranges.

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