Monday, March 31, 2008

A note to personal GPS manufacturers

Apologies for the quality of the pic. I shot it quickly with my cell phone. I'm trying to show you that it's bumper-to-bumper traffic on 34th St. in Manhattan, down which my GPS unit has stupidly decided to send me.

I still love my Magellan Roadmate - especially after upgrading it to the newest maps and the new interface that makes it look exactly like the new Maestro units. (Though it did lose the default sexy voice in the process... oh well, win some, lose some.)

But please. Every manufacturer out there needs to listen to me right now. There is no situation in which driving through Manhattan is the "fastest route", nor is it ever the "most use of freeways". I was coming from New Jersey - Basking Ridge, to be exact - and rather than put me on my normal 287-80-GW Bridge-Cross Bronx-Throgs Neck-Cross Island-Southern Parkway route, which takes 90 minutes on a good day and is all highway, it put me on 78-NJ Turnpike-495-Lincoln Tunnel-34th St-Queens Midtown Tunnel-LIE-Van Wyck Expressway-Belt Parkway. All because I went 2 miles out of the way at the very beginning of the trip to go to Starbucks. I ended up losing about 2 hours on the route it finally sent me on.

You would be right to ask why I was so dumb to follow such an obviously stupid route through the middle of Manhattan's city streets, and the truth is because half the time this thing does show me faster routes that I would never have thought of. So I thought I'd give it a shot - it was Sunday, after all, how bad could the traffic be? Well, I apparently forgot what day it really was - the last day of the New York International Auto Show. But it's true that even on a good day, 34th St. is just never, ever faster than I-95 to the Cross Bronx.

Anyway, just needed to vent. GPS makers, do us all a favor and when we say "fastest route", just put a big red "X" over Manhattan in your unit's internal calculations.

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About This Blog

This is increasingly not a blog about Alphabet City, New York. I used to live in the East Village and work on Avenue B, but I no longer do. Why don't I change the name if I'm writing about Japan and video games and guitars? Because New Yorkers are well-rounded people with varied interests, and mine have gone increasingly off the rails over the years. And I don't feel like changing the name. I do still write about New York City sometimes.


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