Interstate rest areas in New York, upgrades on the way

Carol Durant
Bathroom garbageCarol Durant

Anyone that has traveled on an interstate in a vehicle has visited a rest area. When nature calls or the gas tank has needs, a rest stop is a welcomed destination. Most of them are immediately located off of your interstate highway of choice. Depending on the time of day or night, the parking lot will be laden with a myriad of trucks and their sleeping drivers. They are resting before awakening to deliver the cargo that we need, want or desire. Recreation vehicles, cars and suvs with and without trailers are constantly entering and exiting the premises. Individuals are unloading pets, kids and refuse to use the facility. Depending on the state, some of the rest areas have welcome centers with personnel to provide travelers tourism information. Some of these states monitor the rest areas with law enforcement 24 hours a day, seven days a week. As a long standing traveler of the Interstate 95 corridor and various other interstate highways on the East Coast, I have visited plenty of rest areas/rest stops. I'm defining a rest area as a building with restrooms for all genders, a family room and vending machines. There might be an area or space designated as the welcome center. Rest areas in Maryland and New Jersey for example incorporate gas stations and chain restaurants as part of their rest areas.

Fortunately, the rest areas in New York are receiving an upgrade. Interstate 87 (north and south) and Interstate 90 (east and west), known as the New York State Thruway, are constructing brand new rest areas. The food choices, energy efficiency, charging stations and private funding is fantastic, but closing the rest areas with over 70 miles between open and demolished rest areas exhibits lack of thought for weary travelers who can't exit the highway to look for gas when most of the businesses along this corridor close at 10:00 or 11:00pm. I hope that these brand new travel plazas/rest stops in New York will be well maintained. The rest areas in the southern states (Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia) are well lit and clean right now. The current and open rest stops in New York do not properly represent the Empire State. We will be doing better soon.

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Writer, author, poet, playwright

Albany, NY

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