Old-fashioned Rest Stops Disappearing In Florida And Other States

Topic 19072 | Page 1

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Bud A.'s Comment
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For more than half a century, old-fashioned, no-frills highway rest stops have welcomed motorists looking for a break from the road, a bathroom or a picnic table where they can eat lunch.

But in some states, these roadside areas are disappearing.

Cash-strapped transportation agencies are shuttering the old ones to save money, or because they don't attract enough traffic or are in such bad shape that renovating them is too costly. Or, the stops have been overtaken by tourist information centers, service plazas that take in revenue from gasoline and food sales, or commercial strips off interstate exits.

Florida, Michigan, Ohio and South Dakota are among the states that have closed traditional rest stops in the past two years. And a battle is brewing in Connecticut over a proposal to shut down all seven stops on its interstate highways to save money.

But advocates of maintaining traditional rest areas say even if motorists are offered flashier options for pit stops, the ones that sprung up as highways did are still needed for driver safety and convenience. Some view them as a tranquil, environmentally friendly alternative to crowded service plazas and commercial strips.

"Shutting them down would be the end of an era," said Joanna Dowling, a historian who researches rest areas and runs the website RestAreaHistory.org. "Rest areas take you away from the road and the hecticness of travel and immerse you in the natural landscape."

Old-fashioned rest stops disappearing in Florida and other states

SAP:

Substance Abuse Professional

The Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) is a person who evaluates employees who have violated a DOT drug and alcohol program regulation and makes recommendations concerning education, treatment, follow-up testing, and aftercare.

Interstate:

Commercial trade, business, movement of goods or money, or transportation from one state to another, regulated by the Federal Department Of Transportation (DOT).

Rick S.'s Comment
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Noticed a lot were shut down on I-75 in GA - especially between ATL & FL. I've caught naps in pretty much every one that was shut down in my journeys over the years.

One of the financial issues, may be providing night time security at these places. Most of them are in pretty spooky/middle-o-nowhere places.

Rick

Bill F.'s Comment
member avatar

I can't speak to the other state's issues, but Florida DOT , which is responsible for running the rest areas, is not strapped for cash. They are funded through a tax on fuel and have plenty of money.

FDOT is getting rid of many state employees (who used to perform many jobs like maintain the rest areas) and hiring contractors to provide the services previously provided by those aforementioned state employees. The contractors are usually large national or huge international corporations that want to limit their liabilities, and a small dark rest area is a lawsuit waiting to happen.

Everything from murder to tripping in a pothole can happen.

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Kevin H.'s Comment
member avatar

The connecticut ones already close the building at 3:30 during the winter. Anyway, it will suck if they close them, there already isn't a lot of places to stop. Hopefully they'll at least leave them as parking.

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