A blog about living in Aberdeen, New Jersey.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Terror at the GSP Exit 117 Interchange

My candidate for Worst Traffic Interchange in Central Jersey has to be the place where traffic merges off and onto Route 35 at Exit 117 of the Garden State Parkway. Here's some hypothetical travel scenarios to give you a sense of the madness.
  • A Strathmore businesswoman is passing through in the left lane of Route 35 South heading to Barnes and Noble to read the latest Harvard Business Review off the rack.
  • An Aberdeen family is in the right lane of Route 35 South heading to Holmdel Park to see if the concession stand is open by the lake or if they still have only vending machines like last time they were there. They plan to turn right at Beers Street.
  • A Staten Island family unfamiliar with the GSP Exit 117 merge onto Route 35 South are looking for the Home Depot that is advertising playground equipment in today's paper. The driver fails to yield to oncoming traffic and ends up creeping along the side of Route 35 South. The whole family is looking over their shoulders in abject horror at the 50 MPH traffic swarming around them like angry bees.
  • Two Brooklyn 20-somethings familiar with the GSP Exit 117 merge onto Route 35 South to return those Yankees jackets they bought last week at Sports Authority because, like, the team didn't even qualify for the Series this year. They fail to yield to oncoming traffic and squeeze between cars at high speed with barely a coat of paint to spare.
  • That Aberdeen family trying to exit Route 35 South (right) onto Beers Street to go to Holmdel Park must contend with the Staten Island family creeping along the shoulder cowering in fear. It's difficult to exit because the Staten Island driver is obviously in distress and unpredictable. There's no room to exit and driving this slow is a bad idea as cars are starting to cluster up and switch lanes all around.
  • A Hazlet couple enter the right lane of Route 35 South at Beers Street to get a new toaster at K-Mart. A Ridgewood man shopping for a Buick pulls out of a car dealership for a test drive and the Hazlet couple nearly hit him.
  • The two Brooklyn dudes have returned their Yankees jackets and make their way down Clark Street and enter directly into the left lane of Route 35 South at Beers Street with the intention to make a U-turn and head northbound on Route 35. They'll save a toll charge and follow Route 35 North back towards home. They cut off the Strathmore businesswoman heading to Barnes and Noble, force her to brake suddenly causing her to get rear-ended, then they make their U-turn and head north on Route 35.
  • A Manhattanite who rented a car to visit her father at Bayshore Hospital's cardiac unit is on her way back to the city. She is heading north on Route 35 from Holmdel Road and knows the GSP Exit 117 is just ahead because a sign says so. But when she comes over a rise in the road, the exit suddenly appears on the left -- Who knew? and there is traffic in the left lane. There's a bit of a curve in Route 35 North at this point and the guard rail on the right seems menacing all of a sudden. The Manhattanite slams on her brakes and puts on her left turn sign. Who knows how she'll ever get back to the GSP if she doesn't do it now? Especially with those NJ jughandles everywhere. She commits and dives left into the entrance ramp, joining hundreds of other drivers from outside the area who've done the exact same thing.
  • A Keyport couple are heading to McDonald's in Cliffwood on Route 35 North when the two Brooklyn guys are finishing their U-turn. Again the Brooklyn driver fails to yield but this time the Keyport couple smashes into them at 40 MPH and they don't make it back to Brooklyn.
If you're itchy for a bit more background, including a list of other fun Garden State Parkway exits, check out Wikipedia.


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