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Let's just renumber EVERYTHING(No one will notice anyway)!

I've lived in New York about 10 years now, and let me tell you, some of the Metro NYC interstate numbers really bug me. Actually that predates my living here, but now that I live here I have the cred to whine about it.

Take Interstate 278 for example. Now, if things had gone according to plan it would have made sense. It would have been sort of an alternate to the wackiness that would have been NY Interstate 78, which would have been twitchier than a gecko's freshly shed tail. Now, however, it's high and dry-literally-in no wise coming within 5 miles of it's alleged parent. What it does do is link into the existing IH 95 at both ends. Since there's rumours that the silly Sheridan Expressway is gonna be cashiered anyway, why not take the IH 895 number and put it on the current IH 278? Nobody will really care, since the freeways that comprise the IH 278 aren't associated with the number anyway: Ask any New Yorker what the number for the Staten Island, Gowanus, BQE(Brooklyn-Queens Expressway) and the Bruckner is-I'll bet most wouldn't be able to tell you.

Ditto the Van Wyck/Whitestone(IH 678)-again, another orphan of the proposed Interstate 78. Now it is cool that the route number resolves consecutively(6-7-8)-I believe that it's the only 3 digit Interstate highway that does that, but it really doesn't fit in. IH 795 or IH 995 would be more suitable; and it wouldn't matter, anyway-since the freeway is known by name, not number.

And what of Interstate 78? End that sucker at the Turnpike-where for all intents and purposes, it ends now. If the Holland Tunnel extension has to have a number, let it be an odd 95 like, say IH 595. Carrying an interstate designation over Jersey City city streets is rather absurd, and given that the route will never be built up to standard(it's not really posted all that well, now), anyway, why bother, really?

Now that that's taken care of, let's move on to another silly freeway number. Interstate 287. Particularly the NJ section. As originally planned(as far as I can determine), it would have run it's current route, joining the IH 87 at Thruway junction 8, running east with Interstate 87 on the Cross-Westchester Expressway to j9A(then an un-numbered junction), then eastward to Interstate 95, which was pretty silly. The way things worked out isn't much better; it's one of 2 Interstates concurrent with it's parent that split off to different destinations(the other being the IH 580 in California) without linking back into the original highway. Now the concurrency makes a bit of sense-it links two widely disjointed sections of the highway with the same number. Just the same, it could be better.

Interstate 287 in it's entirety would make a fine Interstate 95. It would put a major Interstate number on what constitutes a bypass of NYC, which would be rather sensible-directing the majority of through traffic away from the city. It links other major highways to the north and west. There are very few turns- two really major ones at Thruway j15 and again at Thruway j8-the latter favours the Cross Westchester, anyway: 'Exit 8' is really the through movement south to east at Elmsford.

Alternately, the section from Perth Amboy to Mahwah(that name 'gets' me) could be renumbered as Interstate 87-which again, would make sense-since The current NJ IH 287 is as important as any two-digit Interstate. That would make the IH 87 a true 'Interstate' Interstate. The remnant east from Thruway j15 could remain IH 287(solo), or you could carry the future Interstate 86 down from Harriman, and extend that along the Cross-Westchester to Interstate 95. That would assign proper importance to that route. The only thing would be what to do with the then-orphaned section of the Thruway and the Major Deegan Expressway. That could be an IH x-87 or IH x-86, depending. Odd or even, it wouldn't matter. It's not really a major route anyway. I like this idea, better.

Another road that bugs me is the Long Island Expressway, which is an even-numbered 3 digit Interstate(495) that is a spur. The Interstate designation actually starts at Interstate 278-The junction with the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, and runs eastward from there-linking into IH 678 and the IH 295-so it's sort of secondarily linked into it's parent. There are scattered IH 495 signs in NYC and NJ; but that's another link that won't be made. So what to do with it?

What I'd like to see is Interstate 80 carried across the George Washington Bridge, over the Cross Bronx Expressway, then over the Throg's Neck and the Clearview Expressway(which as of this writing has no Clearview Signs!) to the LIE(Clearview j4/LIE J 27), then out onto Long Island. The fly in the ointment is the transition from the Clearview to the LIE, which is currently accomplished via some nasty little bendy slips; any realignment to favour a thru IH 80 movement of any reasonable radius would likely would be both unpopular and hugely expensive. So it looks cool on paper, but is totally impractical in reality.

A wacky idea would be to carry the IH 78 south of NJTP j14 to j13(IH 278)-Over the Goethals Bridge via the Staten Island, Gowanus and Brooklyn-Queens Expressways to the current LIE junction(which might be easier to refit for a through main Interstate movement); and eastwards to Long Island. Hey, then, the remainder of the IH 278 and the IH 678 might make more sense!


James Mast said…
"The way things worked out isn't much better; it's one of 2 Interstates concurrent with it's parent that split off to different destinations(the other being the IH 580 in California) without linking back into the original highway"

There are three of those. You forgot about I-540 in Arkansas.
Steve said…
You know, I-78 does come about 3 miles away from I-278. It's called I-478 (which ends within 2 miles of the end of 78 in Manhattan).
Steve said…
And one more:

So there is another consecutive interstate out there. Just sayin.
Anonymous said…
"Interstate 287 in it's entirety would make a fine Interstate 95. It would put a major Interstate number on what constitutes a bypass of NYC, which would be rather sensible-directing the majority of through traffic away from the city."

Two-digit interstates are bravely supposed to go through cities, not sneak around them like their weasely three-digit counterparts.

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