Waze: You’re Driving Me Crazy

by John Delach

If you use the traffic / navigational app, Waze, and live anywhere in the New York Metropolitan area, you know that using this app. up or down the I-95 corridor or to travel between New Jersey and Long Island is the equivalent of taking a rubber mallet and striking the side of your head repeatedly.


This Twenty-First Century electronic wonder is without a doubt a superb tool in other parts of the land of US, but in an area as congested as the place I call home, “It’s like the little girl with the strawberry curl; when it’s good it’s good but when it’s bad it’s awful.”


I find Waze guilty, but with an explanation. Simply put, Waze works when confronted with real choices. It’s just not designed to cope with the insane volume of traffic matriculating its way over the bridges, through the tunnels and attempting to transit these obsolete and inadequate highways we confront. Waze can’t deal with our chaos, but it must. So when traffic is FUBAU (F***ed Up Beyond All Understanding) it makes bad choices. Waze doesn’t understand urban areas.


On a recent trip from New Jersey to Long Island, Waze realized the Cross Bronx Expressway (I-95) was at a complete stop…Mayday, mayday, mayday: It has us bail at University Avenue in the eastern Bronx; fight grid-lock to go north to East Tremont Avenue where we entered an urban slog westward bound to Arthur Avenue fighting crossing traffic along the way. At Arthur Avenue, it directed us back to the Cross Bronx.


Admittedly, the road was clear at this point. It is interesting to note though, as we crossed the Throgs Neck Bridge, my cousin, Bob, passed us. Later, I asked Bob, “How did you get to the bridge?”


He said, “Stayed on the Cross-Bronx!”


Case closed.


Like Sergeant Joe Friday said: “The facts and only the facts.”


The last new tunnel to cross the Hudson River to Manhattan was the third tube of the Lincoln Tunnel that opened in 1957. The last bridge between NJ and NYC was the lower deck of the George Washington Bridge that opened in 1962. The Throgs Neck Bridge (1961) from the Bronx to Queens and the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge (1965) from Staten Island to Brooklyn were the last two bridges built to connect Long Island to the mainland.


These last two bridges were Robert Moses’ triumphs, the Verrazano his last hurrah. The master builder grew old, politics, environmental concerns and popular attitudes passed him by. His last stand, a cross-Long Island Sound bridge from Bayville, Long Island to Rye in Westchester County died on the drawing board.


And so it goes. We live on an island with a 1960s infrastructure. We modernize highways, add HOV lanes, better traffic patterns, introduced EZpass and other computerized improvements, but the fact remains; today’s bridge and tunnel traffic must use the exact number of lanes used in 1965.


So how is that working out? In 1965, 880,575 vehicles crossed all of our toll bridges on a daily basis. In 2015, the figure was 1,453,585.


I admit, Waze, recently did well by my family to avoid congestion allowing us to reach a funeral in Ramsey NJ in time. We left Port Washington at 8 AM for a 10 AM service only to discover all regular crossings through the Bronx or Manhattan were overwhelmed. Waze bypassed congestion by weaving us through the Bronx, Westchester County and over the Tappan Zee, (Malcolm Wilson,) Bridge, onto the NY Throughway to Suffern and back south on Route 17 to Ramsey where we arrived at 9:41.


However, two days later, it took me through every part of Fort Lee I never wanted to see on a slow, painful ride home from an awful loss by my beloved Giants to the hated Redskins at Met Life Stadium. I quit: I do no Waze no more:


Stupid Waze / Stupid Giants!