Originally Posted by Americanrascal
Great inquiry that has bugged me for years. We've been wanting to get out to Long Island with our rig and find some decent campgrounds but I can't figure it out. Aren't some roads RV restricted (bridge height etc) leaving the city? I also had real problems trying to find an RV park that could take large rigs on the island.
Is the Orient Point Ferry the only viable option to get on to the island?
So, trying to make a very long story short.......
Back in the day, NY State had a so called "master planner" named Robert Moses. Back in the 1920's and 1930's, when Moses was doing his thing, Long Island was little more than potato and duck farms. He planned a series of "parkways" which today make up the major east/west and north/south roadways. He made the parkways intentionally narrow and winding, and with intentionally low bridges. The parkways were originally intended to be essentially parks that NYC folks were to drive through on a relaxing day with family on a drive "out to the country" on LI, with wide grass shoulders for people to pull over and picnic on for the day. The winding roads were intended to be more enjoyable to drive on, and the intentional low bridges and narrow roadways were put in to make it impossible for trucks to use the parkways, which would destroy the ambiance of the park like setting.
Today, Long Island has an incredibly dense population, and the traffic is unbearable. I lived on the south shore in western Suffolk County, in a little town named West Islip, and I worked at Newark Airport, which is about a 45 mile drive. If I left home for Newark Airport at 5:15 AM, it was a 1:15 drive. If I left at 5:45 AM, it was a 3:30 drive. No joke. The "parkway" system is largely to blame for that. Of course Long Island today is so incredibly densely built up now that there is no space whatsoever to rectify the situation with new roads. That would be impossible.
The Belt Parkway/Southern State Parkway runs east/west along the south shore. It's the same continuous road, it just changes name for whatever reason when it crosses the Queens (NYC)/ Nassau County border. The Northern State Parkway runs parallel to it along the north shore. Various other parkways run north/south, spaced out as you proceed eastbound along the Island.
The only major east west route on the island open to trucks, large RVs and commercial traffic that isn't traffic light controlled or a parkway is the infamous Long Island Expressway (LIE / 495). It's also known world-wide as "the worlds longest parking lot" for good reason. In addition to the mind numbing, often completely stopped traffic, the problem with the LIE is actually getting to it from off the island. The most common way is driving through Manhattan. Good luck with that! You can also get to it by driving over the Goethals Bridge, through Staten Island, over the Verrazano Bridge, then north up the Brooklyn/Queens Expressway (BQE), to the LIE. Again, good luck with that. Last time I drove the BQE, it made the surface of the moon look smooth, it too was a standstill with traffic, and it's super narrow. One of the reasons I wrote to ask was I'm wondering if any improvements have been made to this hideous road.
You can also go way up north to the George Washington Bridge, drive across the Bronx on another hideous road called the Cross Bronx Expressway, and curl back and drop down onto the island over either the Throggs Neck or Whitestone Bridges, with all the traffic associated with LaGuardia Airport waiting to greet you when you roll off the bridge and onto the Island. I can't even remember offhand how to get to the LIE from either of these two bridges (Throggs Neck or Whitestone) using a road that a large RV can use (non-parkway).
The tolls for the Goethals, Washington, Whitestone, Throggs Neck and Verrazano bridges have got to be eye watering for my tag axle 43'RV towing my Jeep Liberty. That's 5 axles. I can't even guess what the tolls for the them would be now, they have to be well over $100 using any combination of bridges or tunnels needed to get to the Island. There used to be ways to avoid this, as certain routes on and off LI only pay tolls in one direction. I'm not sure what this current east/west bound pay/no pay routine is. The tolls, however, are among the highest in the country.
The reasons for these outrageous tolls are simple. You can't get on or off Long Island by vehicle (other than the east end ferries) without driving through the 5 boroughs of NYC.
-Guess who sets the eye watering toll rates? The politicians of NYC.
-Guess who gets to spend the toll money any way they want? The politicians of NYC.
-Guess who pays those tolls? Largely the people of Long Island, and out of towners passing through. The poeple who live in NYC largely use mass transit.
-Guess who does NOT get to vote for or against those NYC career politicians who set those eye watering toll rates, holding them responsible for the outrageous toll rates? ? Yup, you guessed it. The poor saps who have no choice but to pay those tolls; the folks who live on LI and have no other choice but to pay them.
-Guess who never gets to see one cent of that money spent in THIER communities? Yup, it's them again, the folks who pay the tolls because they have no other choice; the folks who live on LI and have no other choice but to pay the tolls.
I assume get the picture now. This is one of many reasons I now live in Houston. I love Long Island, I truly do, and I miss it terribly. I just won't pay the price and deal with the hassle anymore.
Sorry for the long rambling answer. I hope it helps you understand the deal up there. It's an absolutely beautiful place. I wouldn't trade the wonderful experience of growing up there in the 60's and 70's as I did, nor living my life there all those 50 years. It's just a nightmare to get to in a large vehicle.
Good luck, I hope you get there and enjoy your time there.