Local Or Express – What’s Your Parkway Preference?
Last week we talked about the stretches of the Garden State Parkway that I think are the worst to drive. Today, let’s stay on the Parkway but talk about your favored strategy for getting north.
If you’re heading north out of Ocean County, you’ll have to make a decision once you get to the Asbury Toll plaza. Do you stay to the right and take the Local lanes or do you head left and jump onto the Express side?
Of course, if you plan to only be on the Parkway for a short time and need to get off at exits like the Eatontown or Red Bank exits, you’re out of luck unless you’re on the Local side.
There is a crossover by the PNC Bank Arts Center, so if you accidentally got into the Express lane and need to bail over to the other side, that’s your chance. But if you miss that one you’re out of luck until the Driscoll Bridge.
One of the advantages to the Local side is the fact that it’s three lanes the whole way. The Express side opens up to three lanes at 117, but until then you’re committed to two.
Aptly named, once you get into the Express lanes, you’re locked in for most of the drive. On the positive side, you’re not dealing with other drivers getting on and off the roadway, but as I mentioned above, you’ve only got two lanes the whole way.
As we well know, not a whole lot of people pay mind to the state law of “keep right except to pass“, which can lead to not only frustrating but also dangerous situations on the Express side when a slowpoke decides to hang out in the left lane.
Personally, it depends on where I’m going. If I’m going to see my father, who lives near Woodbridge, I’ll stay in the Local lanes so I don’t have to cross a number of travel lanes once I get to the Driscoll Bridge in order to jump on Route 9.
If I’m going to visit my mother in Middlesex County, I’ll take the Express side and hop off the Parkway at the New Jersey Turnpike.
So what’s your preference? Are you an Express or Local person, and why? Comment below and let us know!