WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. – In an effort to reduce congestion and increase the flow of traffic on I-95, Sen. George Latimer (D-37) is calling on the state Thruway Authority to install high-speed EZ Pass tolls at the New Rochelle Toll Plaza.
In a letter to Chairman Thomas Madison, Latimer noted that the high-speed tolls have been a vital tool across the state to improve commutes. By utilizing the technology, Latimer believes that the flow of traffic in the area will speed up, while air pollution will be decreased for residents living adjacent to the interstate.
Presently, there are four high-speed EZ Pass tolls on the northbound lanes of the interstate, which can be passed through at 25 miles per hour, as opposed to 5 miles per hour in the traditional EZ Pass lanes. Each toll costs $1.75 to proceed north.
According to Latimer, this slight improvement to the toll barrier can vastly improve commutes for the thousands that travel through each day.
“When the toll booths are filled with traffic, many cars seek to avoid the toll booth back-ups by using adjacent road,” he said. “This clogs the business districts in the east end of New Rochelle, as well as in Larchmont, by those seeking an alternate route.”
Will Maxon, a Port Chester resident who works out of the Bronx, goes through the toll several times each week on his commute home. He said that he always uses the quicker EZ Pass lanes, and believes that adding more would speed up travel times for those taking the Thruway each day.
“There’s definitely alternate routes that can be taken, but the interstate is the fastest. The fast lanes are all the way to the left, so cars that need to make an exit shortly after need to use the slower ones,” he said. “Anything that can speed up the trip is a good thing, especially with all the traffic you see on the parkways.”
Latimer’s letter requests that Madison and the Thruway Authority identify any plans for installing high-speed lanes, or to explain why the organization hasn’t considered that option yet.
“The residents of Westchester that live near the Thruway, and the residents that use it regularly, deserve some reduction in traffic congestion,” he said.
New Rochelle resident Max Bynum, who noted that she prefers the parkway to avoid “crazy truck drivers,” said she has seen the benefit to express EZ Pass lanes in her trips to visit family and friends in Buffalo.
“Regular EZ Pass lanes are still convenient, but there’s a whole different feeling when you can just breeze through and not really think about it,” she said. “If the technology is there, I don’t see any reason not to utilize it.”