central jersey to jfk airport?
December 25, 2005 2:53 PM   Subscribe

Does anyone have any polite advice on driving from central new jersey to jfk airport so to get there for a 7:00 am flight?

Here is a discreet portion of the mapquest directions:

Merge onto I-287 N toward BOONTON. (2.38 miles)
5. Merge onto I-80 E via EXIT 41A toward NEW YORK CITY. (18.97 miles)
6. Take I-80 EXPRESS LN E toward I-95/NEW JERSEY TURNPIKE/G. WASHINGTON BR. (5.43 miles)
7. Take the I-95 N exit- EXIT 68B- on the LEFT toward G WASHINGTON BR/NEW YORK. (0.62 miles)
8. Merge onto I-95 EXPRESS LN N/NEW JERSEY TURNPIKE N. (2.67 miles)
9. I-95 EXPRESS LN N/NEW JERSEY TURNPIKE N becomes I-95 N (Portions toll). (7.19 miles)
10. Merge onto I-678 S via EXIT 10 toward WHITESTONE BR (Portions toll). (14.64 miles)
11. Take the exit toward TERMINAL 1 2 3. (0.11 miles)
13. Turn SLIGHT LEFT to take the TERMINAL 1 DEPARTING FLIGHTS ramp. (0.18 miles)
14. End at John F Kennedy Intl Airport (JFK) Jamaica, NY US
Total Estimated Time: 1 hour, 6 minutes
Total Distance: 53.87 miles

Essentially, I can't afford to miss this flight, so I need some advice on any of the potential pitfalls that I may encounter while driving to JFK on this route. [i.e. Any exits that are difficult to see? Any of those annoying highways divided into express and local lanes that might prevent me from getting to an exit? Does anyone have a toll cost estimate? Should I give myself more than two hours?]
posted by ProfLinusPauling to Travel & Transportation (7 answers total)
While I can't offer any help on the specific route you're taking, as I can't for the life of me remember the route I took, the best advice I could offer would be to ensure you have a lot of time.

Getting into that airport, in my experience, was very confusing. That may have to do with the fact I was trying to locate the car rental return location (outside the actual airport), but as soon as I made my first mistake, I was lost.

So, yes, leave plenty of time in your plan.
posted by jcruden at 5:03 PM on December 25, 2005

I think 7am is the time most of the morning flights start, so JFK will be starting to get extremely busy at that time. If you're checking bags, I'd aim to be there around 4.30am. If you're not, then 5am should be okay.

If you're driving from Jersey, I'd give yourself at least an hour an a half of time on the road. If you're at the airport early, no big deal, just take a nap... especially if you can't afford to miss this flight.
posted by ruwan at 5:44 PM on December 25, 2005

The directions above might work for coming from northern NJ, but from central NJ I'd think you'd want to take the southern route: Staten Island, Verrazano Narrows bridge (278), Belt Parkway along southern edge of Brooklyn, etc. That's the way we always used to go from the Somerville/Bridgewater area. Tolls? If you get on the turnpike then that's a couple bucks, and the big VN bridge is $4.50 according to their website.
posted by intermod at 6:48 PM on December 25, 2005

The Verrazano is a $9 toll, but you only pay it going into Staten Island.

I do think the Staten Island route is going to be your best bet; depending on where you're coming from in NJ, you can take Route 440 and the Outerbridge Crossing (exit 10 on the Turnpike), or the Goethals Bridge (exit 13 on the Turnpike). It's worth noting that the Goethals is usually closed from 10pm until 5am, so depending on when you're travelling, you may have to avoid it. The toll for each bridge is $6, paid going into Staten Island.
Once you're over the Verrazano, you'll want to take the Belt Parkway east; there are plenty of signs for JFK, and you'll be able to see it from the road. I can't help with getting around the airport, since I've only ever been there once, as a passenger.

If you do end up following the directions you posted (which seem to take you very much out of the way), I would take the local lanes when you're going toward the George Washington Bridge. In my limited experience, the local lanes move faster, because all the trucks take the express lanes.
posted by Godbert at 7:27 PM on December 25, 2005

I'd suggest figuring out both routes, and listening to 1010 WINS to make sure the southern route really is best, at that exact moment in time.
posted by I Love Tacos at 9:46 PM on December 25, 2005

I also recommend the southern route. If traffic is moving smoothly on the NJ Turnpike, you might consider continuing north to the Goethals exit to avoid congestion going north on Staten Island.

At that hour, the eastbound expressway to the Verrazano Bridge probably won't be too crowded, but they also do perpetual construction, so add an extra half hour.

The same goes for the Belt. I've been stuck bumper-to-bumper there even in the middle of the night, particularly around the drawbridge. Doubling back and taking Linden Boulevard is possible, but it involves lots of local streets, so you're probably best off fighting the Belt.

The intersection at the end of the Belt is pure hell, with a**holes in SUVs madly cutting you off to get to the poorly marked ramps. Stay calm, get in the exit lane early and let it flow in this final section.
posted by KRS at 6:36 AM on December 26, 2005

Consider staying overnight at JFK
posted by madstop1 at 5:11 PM on December 27, 2005

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