Old-Fashioned Rest Stops Disappearing in Florida and other states

Discussion in 'Travel Destinations and Experiences' started by ALS, Apr 7, 2017.

  1. ALS

    ALS Super Moderator Staff Member

    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."

    Some of the old rest areas are rustic and offer just the basics — two toilets, water fountains, a parking area and picnic tables. Others are spiffier and more modern, with larger bathrooms, vending machines, dog walk areas and a desk staffed by state workers who hand out maps and other tourist information.

    But unlike service plazas, rest areas on federal interstate highways are prohibited from selling gasoline or food other than from vending machines, the proceeds of which traditionally go to people who are visually impaired. State transportation departments run the rest areas and are responsible for cleaning and maintaining them. That can take a chunk of their budget, depending on staffing and amenities, officials say.

    Full Story- http://www.tbo.com/news/old-fashioned-rest-stops-disappearing-in-florida-and-other-states-20170406/
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  2. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi Al:

    I am sad to see this. I cannot tell you the number of times I pulled off for a short hour nap at an Interstate Rest Area to refresh before the next push. Along with the break, they usually provide some interesting information via infographics about the area which you have probably seen me post from time to time.

    Regarding Florida, they are building some new Rest Stops along I-10. I visited one of the best new ones as we crossed the AL/FL border in the Niro this past December.

    2017 Kia Niro reaches Florida!


    My hope is that they do not go away.

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  3. Jay

    Jay Well-Known Member

    On I-15, south of Idaho Falls, the transportation department spent millions putting in a first-class reststop. It was particularly expensive because they had to build it on lava rock. Then they spent even more money dismantling it. Local businesses in Idaho Falls blamed the rest stop for lost business and pressured the govt to remove it. The rest stop is back now. Apparently outcry from road-weary citizens had the final word.
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  4. thunderstruck

    thunderstruck Super Moderator

    I like the ones that are just an off road from the highway. Quick chance to stop, stretch, use rest room, and maybe see a few dogs being walked. I don't want to stop for a double tall mocha vanilla frappucino cinnamon skim latte, if I do I can find a Starbucks. I just want to stretch my legs out a bit and shake off the boredom.
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  5. RedylC94

    RedylC94 Well-Known Member

    Exactly! Some Interstate rest areas are still heavily used. If all those travelers are forced to take unfamiliar exits to search for private businesses on which to impose to use restrooms, when they don't want to buy anything, the businesses will be unhappy, the travelers will be unhappy, congestion near the exits will increase, and accidents will increase.

    The above refers to what I'd call modern rest areas. "Old-fashioned" ones were the kind formerly seen along two-lane highways in some states. They typically had space for only two or three cars, a picnic table (complete with innumerable flies), and maybe a place to hitch your horse.

    Several rest areas along busy I-85 have closed in the past few years in Georgia and South Carolina.
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  6. jcp123

    jcp123 Caliente!

    I've noticed this a lot - they say closed for construction and never seem to re-open...
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  7. alster

    alster Well-Known Member

    I remember when I was a kid back in the 50's & 60's, my mom and dad, my 2 sisters and brother, all younger than me, would take a long vacations with the family car, in this case a Rambler station wagon. I can remember we would stop at some of those rest areas and us kids would get out and run around with all that stored up energy and my mom and dad, would make us some sandwiches, snacks, and drinks. It was a nice break from the hours of being stuck in the back seat of a car when your a kid.
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  8. jcp123

    jcp123 Caliente!

    Ha! I actually have a story related to that very rest stop. Let's just say the staff there wasn't top notch.
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