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Old 1st November 2017, 00:00   #16
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Default Re: USA - Roads, traffic & street experiences

Let me share my experience from Aug 2016 - Till Date.
I stay in Jersey City, NJ and work in NY City, NY as most of the desis and working class immigrants do here in the East Coast .
I recently bought a BMW X1 Xdrive 28i, that has 18" 'Low profile Run Flats'. Yes, you read it right, Run Flat Tyres.

Let me come to my recent drives and experiences in the USofA.

- Driving within Jersey City - Welcome to Bangalore. Tar gone at many places. Potholes in middle of road. Surprise concrete patching. Un-levelled Manholes on the right lane (slow lane). Roads closed here and there. Crazy parking here and there. But then, it feels homely because you see lot of desis and feel comfortable driving around .

- Drive to Paramus, Elizabeth, Somerset, Springfield and nearby small towns - Outstanding highways. All of them are Tolled at some point or the other. Roads are tarred 80%, concrete 20%. The tarred sections are butter smooth, noiseless. The concrete portions are smooth (no bumpy boat rides), yet noisy for obvious reasons.

- Drive to Atlantic City - Amazing roads. Butter-smooth tarred roads. Scenic drive through fall colors. Tolled as usual.

- Drive to Washington DC - Amazing roads. Mix of tar and concrete roads. Tolled as usual.

- Drive to Albany, NY - Till we were in NJ state, roads were tarred mostly. Smooth sailing with minor potholes while crossing small towns. When we crossed over to NY state, we were thrown a mix of tarred and concrete roads. We forgot the RFT tyre noise while viewing through the scenic fall colors drive.

- Driving around NY City and its outskirts - NY City roads feel like Bangalore. Poorly designed potholes lining up the slow lane, out of 2 lanes. So if you are driving on the extreme right lane, your right side front and rear suspension and wheels are at more risk of getting damaged earlier.

I have not driven to the other states or cities, but what I can infer in general is:
- City roads are messed up in general. Jersey City or NY City roads are just like another Indian city roads. I am not sure of roads in big cities on the West Coast though.
- County and small towns have beautiful roads. Probably due to less number of road users, lesser population and lesser damage to environment.
- Interstates and highways are amazing to drive. Most of them in NJ and NY state show up as 65 mph limit, but vehicles easily do 80-85. Huge trucks and trailer definitely do 85+. They look scary when overtaking me (doing 65-70).
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Old 1st November 2017, 13:12   #17
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Default Re: USA - Roads, traffic & street experiences

Quote:
Originally Posted by Soumyajit9 View Post
I stay in Jersey City, NJ and work in NY City, NY as most of the desis and working class immigrants do here in the East Coast .
..
- Driving within Jersey City - Welcome to Bangalore... Roads closed here and there. Crazy parking here and there. But then, it feels homely because you see lot of desis and feel comfortable driving around .
You forget to mention the desi-style garbage all over Newark Avenue!

I lived in the US for over 10 years (mostly East coast), and very recently I lived in Bhopal, MP for 10 months.
There are bad roads in the US, there is no denying that. But its limited to cash-strapped inner-city/minority-dominant areas. People do honk, in the big cities (New York Minute).

<StartRant> Mr.Chouhan's statement is ill-conceived to say the least. Indian politicians get away with stating arbitrary facts because our Press doesn't have the spine to question most of the statements blurted out the politicians.
Our media is happy to form a panel and discuss about it for a day!
</EndRant>
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Old 1st November 2017, 16:46   #18
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Default Re: USA - Roads, traffic & street experiences

Quote:
Originally Posted by Soumyajit9 View Post
- Driving within Jersey City - Welcome to Bangalore. Tar gone at many places. Potholes

- Driving around NY City and its outskirts - NY City roads feel like Bangalore.
Roads in Jersey and NY is as good as Bangalore roads ! I think you have not experienced bangalore Roads in these days. I live in bangalore, Visited both the cities cited above many times and recently...Bangalore city is not worth living now..there are no Roads !

Last edited by navin : 1st November 2017 at 17:00. Reason: Forgot to quote the OP.
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Old 2nd November 2017, 12:03   #19
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Default Re: USA - Roads, traffic & street experiences

These are my experiences so far in the US - I've lived there for two years in the Mid-West and East Coast primarily. [Car Owned - Mini Cooper S ; Tyres - 17 inch Low Profile ; Miles munched - 50K+]

East coast roads in NY state, Washington, Virginia, Georgia are very good in terms of driveability and comfort. At least, the major roads I've traveled in.

Mid west roads are a different category. Other than the city routes and major highways - most of the rural roads in states like IN, MN, NC, ND are all dirt roads that lead to trails, tourist spots, ski routes. So yes, these are technically not thar / cement roads but these are well paved dirt roads which did not make me feel undulated even in my mini which is known for low GC and short suspension.

I cannot comment about West coast roads as I've not driven there.

All in - There are few pot holes here and there in all US roadways and we cannot avoid them, as the average speed is high and we have to stick to the lanes []. This may result in a few burst tyres / damaged rims that we see once a while when we travel cross country. In my own exp - I've cracked one of my 17inch rims once in I-94 but was covered by the warranty.

BUT [in large caps, big bold letters] none of these even warrant a comparison of US roadways against roads in India. I'm not complaining that India has the worst roads in the world - but we are no where in comparison to US roadways. We are still a long way from what US roads are today.

The planning, meticulous design, constant maintenance and the road manners that has made US freeways the way they are today is simple worth admiring and appreciating.

Just my 2 cents
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Old 3rd November 2017, 00:02   #20
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Default Re: USA - Roads, traffic & street experiences

Having lived and driven in the US (particularly the midwest) it is safe for me to say that the average condition of US roads is markedly superior to that of Indian roads. Even when roads started wearing out they don't disintegrate like some Indian roads. Generally those areas of the US which witness more cold and thereby variation in temperature as well as snow/ice/sleet/rain experience higher road damage particularly in the months of Jan/Feb which are peak pothole months. But still the roads have higher longevity compared to Indian roads. The kind of water filled puddles/potholes morphology seen in India and particularly in parts of Mumbai during the monsoon are very very rare. Some roads in rural areas and in some dysfunctional parts of the big cities such as NYC have their share of bad roads.
The highways and a lot of the city roads have a concrete pavement with a carpeting of 2-4 inches of asphalt over the concrete pavement. This asphalt top layer often lasts 8-10 years and when its starts wearing out it does so in geometrical fashion along the expansion gaps of the concrete pavement below. A wearing road can be repaired along these wearing rectangular lines to give it a few more years. Generally, the municipal and state authorities often attend to cracks and potholes within days. A comprehensive resurfacing involves scrapping off the top asphalt layer and relaying it with a fresh recycled asphalt layer.
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Old 3rd November 2017, 13:42   #21
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We lived in NJ for 15 years and have driven all over US. I feel, in India, 80% roads are sub-par and in US 20% roads are sub-par. The quality of roads in general has no comparison - US roads are built better and maintained better.

My experience in US was that my tires used to last about 60,000 miles without any punctures. In India, I feel, I get flat tires almost every week! Almost all rims are bent and have to spend money on "rim through service".
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Old 3rd November 2017, 14:04   #22
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Default Re: USA - Roads, traffic & street experiences

Quote:
Originally Posted by Soumyajit9 View Post

- Driving within Jersey City - Welcome to Bangalore.
So, they have autorickshaws and million make 100 cc motorcycles and gearless scooters all over the Jersey City roads, darting through the gaps and weaving around potholes without bothering to check rear-view mirrors? And, do they also have pedestrians darting across at will? And those humungous speedbreakers? And overloaded Tata Aces crawling in the middle of the road? Let's not exaggerate. I wonder if there is any city in the world that can beat Bangalore in traffic-chaos. It's not just the width of the road and surface that matters. The traffic volume, the assorted mix of vehicles ( a supercar crawling behind an overloaded Tata Ace), complete lack of manners and commonsense etc. etc. I don't think Jersey City can hold a candle to Bangalore.
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Old 3rd November 2017, 15:41   #23
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Default Re: USA - Roads, traffic & street experiences

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I wonder if there is any city in the world that can beat Bangalore in traffic-chaos. It's not just the width of the road and surface that matters. The traffic volume, the assorted mix of vehicles ( a supercar crawling behind an overloaded Tata Ace), complete lack of manners and commonsense etc. etc. I don't think Jersey City can hold a candle to Bangalore.
OT: There are many cities all over the world with similar or worse conditions! Say in Bangkok during the rush hour, you can easily spend an hour just crossing one signal or a couple of hours on traffic deadlock on elevated expressways. And sample Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam for the humongous number of scooters and motorbikes
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Old 3rd November 2017, 16:45   #24
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Default Re: USA - Roads, traffic & street experiences

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Originally Posted by vb-san View Post
OT: There are many cities all over the world with similar or worse conditions! Say in Bangkok during the rush hour, you can easily spend an hour just crossing one signal or a couple of hours on traffic deadlock on elevated expressways. And sample Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam for the humongous number of scooters and motorbikes
I know there are many cities which are more crowded. My point was about utter chaos. Swearing, gesticulating, dirty stares, cutting across, looking to pick a fight etc. I saw more road-rage on Bangalore roads than on Delhi roads. I spent almost 90 minutes in a traffic jam on Queen Elizabeth Expressway between Milton and Mississauga owing to two crashed semis blocking city-bound lanes. It was a bumper to bumper crawl but not a single honk or weaving. I feel more irritated in a 9-minute jam in my town than 90 minute jam there because of the cacophony, fights, swearing, cursing, arguments and honking. You have to be a monk not to lose your temper driving here.
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Old 4th November 2017, 01:41   #25
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Default Re: USA - Roads, traffic & street experiences

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So, they have ...snip... to Bangalore.
Apologies ! I guess my daily experience and comparison with Bangalore didn't go down well with you !
Obviously Bangalore traffic can't be 'statistically' compared to Jersey City. But I have some answers to your questions.
I am solely speaking from a perspective of living in a developed nation where the expectations are high.
We generally have a different view of the western world, which was shattered to some extent when I came here.
Here are some one-liner answeres to your questions. Debates can be on-going, but just giving you a first-hand experience.

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So, they have autorickshaws and million make 100 cc motorcycles and gearless scooters all over the Jersey City roads, darting through the gaps and weaving around potholes without bothering to check rear-view mirrors?
Jersey City has scooters and bicycles which do almost similar stunts. So you need to have 10 eyes to keep an eye on each corner of the road.

Quote:
And, do they also have pedestrians darting across at will?
Pedestrians first rule. A pedestrian can walk wherever he wants, they get priority, on red signal also. Yes, you can debate how many do so. Well, 4-6 out of 10 jaywalk here.

Quote:
And those humungous speedbreakers?
Yes, there are humongous ones, 3 near my apartment. Scientifically developed and not a spine-breaker though.

Quote:
And overloaded Tata Aces crawling in the middle of the road?
No, but have lot of those U-Haul rental vans moving around. And big trailer trucks doing supplies delivery to shops and restaurants, etc.
Remember, Trucking is a big business here, although they have quite stringent rules.

Quote:
Let's not exaggerate. I wonder if there is any city in the world that can beat Bangalore in traffic-chaos.
Not exaggerating, but you should go and see Mumbai, or Delhi for that matter.

Quote:
It's not just the width of the road and surface that matters. The traffic volume, the assorted mix of vehicles ( a supercar crawling behind an overloaded Tata Ace), complete lack of manners and commonsense etc. etc.
Agreed. Absolutely agreed. Our India has such a vibrant social and economic lifestyle. Jams and chaos are part and parcel of our daily lives. I lived in and loved and felt pained in Bangalore. When I moved to US, the quality of life improved, but jams, chaos are there everywhere.

Quote:
I don't think Jersey City can hold a candle to Bangalore.
What if I say it is the Bangalore of USA ? Is that acceptable ?

Oh and by the way, I didn't tell you one very important info about USA streets. There are legal street parking. So a 2 lane (each way) road is effectively 1 lane (each way) because the edge lane is always full with parked cars.
Wherever you go, atleast places I have been, parking is organized, but eats up lot of road space (just like in Bangalore )
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Old 4th November 2017, 08:19   #26
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Default Re: USA - Roads, traffic & street experiences

To continue on US street experiences, The finishing of the American streets is much superior. The paving is well done from curb-to curb and the curb lane is often in good shape to drive on. The sidewalks are built to standards usually of concrete with drive ways and wheel chair ramps contoured on them with precision. Most multi-lane city roads have no dividers unlike Indian city roads where every road worth its salt is given dividers. Turning lanes are widespread and many wide city roads have a vehicle wide center lane marked out with yellow lines on both sides. This space serves as left turning lane at junctions so that the vehicle taking the left turns (similar to right turns in India) doesn't stand in the way of vehicles continuing straight. In city jurisdictions all junctions without traffic lights are given stop signs on all or some directions. This system of stopping and proceeding when traffic is clear or in case of 4 way stop junctions stopping and proceeding one vehicle from one direction at a time works smoothly. Traffic lights are obeyed even at unearthly hours such as 3 am. Even in traffic jams motorists don't give up their discipline and usually proceed without fuss.
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Old 4th November 2017, 09:35   #27
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The only problem I see is the drainage system. I know of roads that have been good for years without requiring resurfacing. There are new drains built on either side of the road and water from the road has to climb up to get into the drain. If only water could understand that !

This is just because of the system we have in place where once the road is done, maintenance and upkeep of the road is not the responsibility of the concerned. Just put that in place including the supervisors, engineers and contractors as people responsible for that into the system and you will see better roads. Accountability in everything is what we lack and there are no penalties for that either.

Coming to the traffic, its not comparable. Even in US people scorn at bike riders who go between cars. Now multiply the numbers of two wheelers by 100 or 1000 and see what happens. You dont even need to add Autos, bullock carts etc.

Last edited by srishiva : 4th November 2017 at 09:38.
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Old 7th November 2017, 10:58   #28
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Default Re: USA - Roads, traffic & street experiences

Wrong gesture leads to woman losing her job in Viginia.

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Juli Briskman, 50, was riding her bicycle on Lowes Island Boulevard after 3 p.m. on Oct. 28 when she found herself sharing a lane with President Trumpís motorcade, which was leaving the Trump National Golf Course in Sterling, Va. As the fleet of about a half-dozen vehicles started to roll slowly past her, she thought briefly of cutting between the cars and riding away.

Instead, Ms. Briskman made the spontaneous gesture. It was captured by news cameras and soon became a moment shared across social media.
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