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"In the city of my birth, I had a dream..."
Passenger Cars Only: Driving the Cross Island Expressway 
25th-Jul-2005 08:27 am
The traffic on the CIE is always heinous, and it's gotten to the point now where there is *never* a good time to go. As my mother likes to say, "Long Island is a nice place to live...as long as you never need to leave."

As such, I always have plenty of time to take in some of the sights on the way:

-Levittstown. The original suburban housing development. Wanna know where the idea for the cookie-cutter houses came from? Look no further. A blight on the eyes, perhaps, but a sign of unprecedented economic equality. Well, for some anyway. Now onto the dark side of it all...

-Lots and lots of low, arched bridges. The bridges are the reason why the CIE is passenger cars only. And why is it passenger cars only? Well, that's because "they" didn't want the "wrong" kinds of people, who'd come in on buses, visiting or even worse settling on Long Island. Racism at its very best. (This is not a well-known fact, but the relative who told me about this used to work for the Department of Transportation, and it definitely rings true to me.)

-The irony? Now, they're living with the consequences of that racism. The CIE needs to be widened in order to alleviate this heinous traffic, but it's too cost prohibitive because it would mean knocking down and replacing all the bridges. So, no ethnics in the neighborhood, but more than enough stop-and-go in one week to last you a lifetime. Tell me, Long Islanders, was it worth it?

-New developments. Like signs telling you whether or not the traffic is moving well ahead of you. "Traffic moving well to Exit 35," proclaims the sign proudly. Mutters my father, "It should say, 'And God help you after that.'"
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