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Old Jul 18, 11, 11:56 am   #1
 
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Which Road Crossing (Buffalo, NY to Toronto, ON)?

Which is the better boarder crossing when driving from BUF to YYZ?

Google Maps is telling us to take I-190 to Route 405.

What about I-190 to Peace Bridge to Queen Elizabeth Way?

Which crossing is better (ie less waiting, less traffic, etc)?

I've got a EZ-Pass (which should work at the Peace Bridge and on I-190.

We'll be crossing into Canada on a Friday around 10am.

We'll be crossing into the US on a Sunday during the afternoon. Our flight out of BUF is at approximately 1800.
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Old Jul 18, 11, 12:12 pm   #2
 
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It's completely a crap shoot. I went to College in Buffalo and there was no rhyme or reason to which bridge was best. Listen to the radio reports as to which bridge is doing best. I find crossing at Niagra Falls vs Buffalo works better for me but with summer traffic I'd avoid that route and just go from downtown Buffalo and across into Canada.
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Old Jul 18, 11, 2:23 pm   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by warreng24 View Post
Which is the better boarder crossing when driving from BUF to YYZ?

Google Maps is telling us to take I-190 to Route 405.

What about I-190 to Peace Bridge to Queen Elizabeth Way?

Which crossing is better (ie less waiting, less traffic, etc)?

I've got a EZ-Pass (which should work at the Peace Bridge and on I-190.

We'll be crossing into Canada on a Friday around 10am.

We'll be crossing into the US on a Sunday during the afternoon. Our flight out of BUF is at approximately 1800.
E-Z pass is for the tolls on the Peace Bridge and there is never a wait for paying the toll anyway. The other bridges have their own toll card from the NFBC (Express Pass) and it it also uses NEXUS cards for tolls. The L-Q is generally the slowest for customs inspection but Rainbow is busy on tourist days. The Niagara Falls Bridge Commission web site has the delays and also has up to date phone reports. http://www.niagarafallsbridges.com/t...s.php3#rainbow
1-800-715-6722. The easiest drive is via the Peace Bridge and QEW.
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Old Jul 19, 11, 4:22 pm   #4
 
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Just spent the last couple days in Niagara Falls, and the traffic reports on the radio were always 30-60 minute delays both ways on the Q-L and Rainbow Bridges, and no wait for cars at the Peace Bridge. I have http://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/general/times/menu-e.html bookmarked on my blackberry, although they apparently have a mobile site now as well.
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Old Jul 19, 11, 6:33 pm   #5
 
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Peace bridge is usually better due to all GPS and internet mapping program you to go I190/405 Queenston/Lewiston. But it is longer in distance to go through downtown Buffalo from BUF to Toronto.

During your expected crossing time I190/405 Queenston/Lewiston should be fine BUT that is dependent whether it is a Canadian or American long weekend.
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Old Jul 30, 11, 8:47 pm   #6
 
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Its best to listen to the radio or check out the border line up reports on both the CBP and CBSA websites.

I've personally had luck at Queenston/Lewiston most often.

I have not taken the Whirlpool Bridge ever (reserved for NEXUS), anybody care to share any positive experiences?
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Old Jul 30, 11, 9:32 pm   #7
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alexb133 View Post
I have not taken the Whirlpool Bridge ever (reserved for NEXUS), anybody care to share any positive experiences?
It only applicable if all passengers in the vehicle are NEXUS holders which rules it out when I am with the family.
You need to get through a seedier part of town of Niagara Falls NY; on the Canadian side you are deposited onto Niagara Parkway, the single lane tourist route which is quite a slow drive to 420 or 405.
If all the passengers are NEXUS card holders then Queenston/Lewiston is just as fast with the new plaza with access to NEXUS lane even with traffic backed up.

Last edited by tentseller; Jul 31, 11 at 2:09 am.
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Old Aug 1, 11, 11:57 am   #8
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L-Q Nexus and Whirlpool Bridge

Quote:
Originally Posted by tentseller View Post
It only applicable if all passengers in the vehicle are NEXUS holders which rules it out when I am with the family.
You need to get through a seedier part of town of Niagara Falls NY; on the Canadian side you are deposited onto Niagara Parkway, the single lane tourist route which is quite a slow drive to 420 or 405.
If all the passengers are NEXUS card holders then Queenston/Lewiston is just as fast with the new plaza with access to NEXUS lane even with traffic backed up.
I did the L-Q Nexus for the first time this week. It was quick as traffic was light. I deposited a declaration card. At the booth, the guy said "What do you have to declare?....Oops - you deposited a card - just go ahead". So if you don't deposit a declaration card you can obviously now make a verbal declaration.
Whirpool Bridge Route - Don't use the Niagara Parkway. From the QEW exit at Thorold Stone Road and stay on it as it curves and becomes Stanley Avenue. Turn left at next light (Bridge Street), which ends at the bridge by the VIA station (turn right and then go to the entrance. Reverse this to get to the QEW from the bridge - about 10 minutes.
Connection to I-190 in US. After crossing, turn right then left onto NY 182. Carefully follow the signs for NY 182, which meets I-190 at Porter Road. You can stay on 182 to Niagara Falls Boulevard and then follow that road (NY62) for an easy trip to the Buffalo suburbs. To the bridge simply get to NY 182 (exit I-190 Porter Road) and follow it to the bridge. The direct entrance via Ontario Street is currently closed so you wind up one block south. Traffic on I-190 to the LQ often backs up very far so you can't get to the Nexus booth. If there is any chance, exit at Porter Road and go for the Whirlpool. It is overall about 15 minutes longer if there is no traffic on the L-Q but there always seems to be traffic. No more Nexus booth at the Rainbow Bridge so don't bother.
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Old Aug 24, 11, 8:59 am   #9
 
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Quote:
Whirpool Bridge Route - Don't use the Niagara Parkway. From the QEW exit at Thorold Stone Road and stay on it as it curves and becomes Stanley Avenue. Turn left at next light (Bridge Street), which ends at the bridge by the VIA station (turn right and then go to the entrance. Reverse this to get to the QEW from the bridge - about 10 minutes.
Coming from QEW St. Catherines I find taking Hwy 405 then exiting at Stanley Ave (turn right) much faster. You would then go through one stop sign, one traffic light (which is almost always green ;-) until you get to a railway crossing. Turn left directly BEFORE the railway crossing onto Whirlpool Rd. which you follow to the end at River Rd. There, at the stop sign, you turn right and stay on River Rd past another traffic light until you get to the Whirlpool Bridge on your left.
Taking this route you have only two traffic lights which work very much in your favour and two stop lights, plus you don't run the risk of having to wait at the railway crossing.
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Old Aug 30, 11, 4:58 pm   #10
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 0815 View Post
...There, at the stop sign, you turn right and stay on River Rd past another traffic light until you get to the Whirlpool Bridge on your left.
http://niagarafallsbridges.com/which_bridge.php3

The Whirlpool Bridge is reserved for subscribers to NEXUS, a program for pre-approved clearance.
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Old Sep 8, 12, 4:07 am   #11
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alexb133 View Post
Its best to listen to the radio or check out the border line up reports on both the CBP and CBSA websites.

I've personally had luck at Queenston/Lewiston most often.

I have not taken the Whirlpool Bridge ever (reserved for NEXUS), anybody care to share any positive experiences?
Whirlpool is the most civilized crossing experience out there. Even the US are nicer.

For non-NEXUS, I almost think its worth going out of the way for Rainbow.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tentseller View Post
It only applicable if all passengers in the vehicle are NEXUS holders which rules it out when I am with the family.
You need to get through a seedier part of town of Niagara Falls NY; on the Canadian side you are deposited onto Niagara Parkway, the single lane tourist route which is quite a slow drive to 420 or 405.
If all the passengers are NEXUS card holders then Queenston/Lewiston is just as fast with the new plaza with access to NEXUS lane even with traffic backed up.
Remember that there is no NEXUS lane into the US on Q-L. I will say that it is actually faster going into Canada, and the toll costs the same with NEXUS, as you get to drive at full highway speeds all the way till the bridge, and its direct.

Quote:
Originally Posted by B1 View Post
I did the L-Q Nexus for the first time this week. It was quick as traffic was light. I deposited a declaration card. At the booth, the guy said "What do you have to declare?....Oops - you deposited a card - just go ahead". So if you don't deposit a declaration card you can obviously now make a verbal declaration.
Whirpool Bridge Route - Don't use the Niagara Parkway. From the QEW exit at Thorold Stone Road and stay on it as it curves and becomes Stanley Avenue. Turn left at next light (Bridge Street), which ends at the bridge by the VIA station (turn right and then go to the entrance. Reverse this to get to the QEW from the bridge - about 10 minutes.
Connection to I-190 in US. After crossing, turn right then left onto NY 182. Carefully follow the signs for NY 182, which meets I-190 at Porter Road. You can stay on 182 to Niagara Falls Boulevard and then follow that road (NY62) for an easy trip to the Buffalo suburbs. To the bridge simply get to NY 182 (exit I-190 Porter Road) and follow it to the bridge. The direct entrance via Ontario Street is currently closed so you wind up one block south. Traffic on I-190 to the LQ often backs up very far so you can't get to the Nexus booth. If there is any chance, exit at Porter Road and go for the Whirlpool. It is overall about 15 minutes longer if there is no traffic on the L-Q but there always seems to be traffic. No more Nexus booth at the Rainbow Bridge so don't bother.
Last part is only partially correct. The Canada-bound NEXUS lane closed, but the US-bound NEXUS lane is still open at Rainbow. The trade off is that Q-L has a Canada-bound NEXUS lane, while the US has not opened one. It makes sense, as the Rainbow and Whirlpool are so close to each other.

Now, your directions regarding the Whirlpool are spot on. As many times as I've crossed that bridge, I still find the following:

1) It seems much less complicated for me to find the 190 FROM the Whirlpool than it does finding the Whirlpool from the 190. I always either get lost or am confused by the not-so-great directions Google Maps gives me on my phone. OTOH, it is a breeze to get there doing the Ontario to Hyde Park to Porter route on the way to BUF.

2) If I know I will make it to Q-L by 7 pm, I take that now. Otherwise, I head over to Whirlpool in what seems like a different manner each time.

3) Its really easy on the Canadian side. I don't know why anyone would take the Niagara Parkway or any route other than Thorold Stone Road. As you said, it curves around, becomes Stanley and the name "Bridge Street" is a nice first clue that you are close. I think there is also a sign at the intersection. When you are entering Canada, you make a left turn across Niagara Parkway onto Bridge Street, then right on Stanley, which curves onto Thorold Stone. Pass the various car dealerships and the QEW is there very quickly. I think 10 minutes is a very long estimate for how long it takes. Its more like 5.

The other good thing about the Thorold Stone route is that it deposits you just on the Niagara Falls side of the QEW-405 split. That is way up the road from Rainbow and certainly from Ft. Erie and it seems a shorter haul than the 405 is to the QEW.

Note that the Canadians ask basically nothing besides "Anything to declare" at the Whirlpool. Over Q-L, I've had them quickly ask the regular immigration-type questions, which is annoying. The US isn't so nice. Despite my being a US citizen, I remember twice where I was waved through or asked for just a declaration. They basically always ask the same garbage they do at regular crossings.
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