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July 1, 1955: The Opening of the Garden State Parkway in Ocean County

With planning beginning in the late 1940s, it was July 1, 1955 that the 165 miles of parkway opened to the public

Although technically a statewide event, the opening of forever changed the roles of Toms River and other shore towns. 

Prior to this time, it was fairly difficult for northern New Jerseyans and New Yorkers to get to the Shore and surrounding towns. 

The most direct route was , and we know even today that traveling long distances on Route 9 is a fate one does not wish on their worst enemy. There were few local roads, and the area was still rather rural. 

With the opening of the Parkway, however, Toms River soon boomed, and the fact that it already had a bridge to Seaside made it even more popular. 

and sprawl quickly engulfed the area as more businesses and tourists became shore bound.

The state built it, and then they came. The parkway brings seasonal tourists, and a daily commute, to and from Toms River and of course elsewhere in the state.

And it first opened today, July 1, in 1955 in Toms River's history.

A-Ball July 01, 2012 at 10:08 AM
Do they have ez pass back then ? Lol
dan garrity July 01, 2012 at 11:06 AM
parkway was great then but rt 37 1 lane each direction 1 hr from there to seaside parents had a house in seaside
dan garrity July 01, 2012 at 11:07 AM
nothing was easy e-z
Martin July 01, 2012 at 11:41 AM
Before the GSP, it used to take 3+ hours from Newark to AC. The NJ State Hwy. Dept. built a few miles near Toms River between 1946 and 1953, according to an online GSP history. (I assume that's the toll-free section that takes Rt. 9 around the downtown area.) The NJ Hwy. Authrty. was created in 1952 and a bond referendum was approved by voters later that year. Then construction sped up.
1stcav July 01, 2012 at 12:55 PM
You could travel this road back then as few cars were using it. Sometimes late at night it would be 10 mins untill you saw another car , either way,.As used more then there was the weekend traffic, but through the week was still good to go.Then AC opened and you then had traffic 24/7-365...."The Good Old days " when tolls were mere pennies , extra change....Now you have to have a lot bills to go across the tunnels or bridges , no more chump change !
patricia small July 01, 2012 at 02:17 PM
Hey, that was a nice pleasant ride down the shore on 1 and 9, especially through Lakewood, nice country scenery and no road rage. That old rickety wooden bridge to Seaside Hts that was so close to the water terrified me. But it was better on the fast moving parkway in a convertible.
Greg July 01, 2012 at 02:40 PM
Biggest rip off ever. Tolls keep rising and they keep putting up huge electronic signs wasting our money
Ken July 01, 2012 at 05:19 PM
1955 and we are still paying for it. The prices just keep going up more and more, plus who needs all these visitors to Ocean County. Just make more traffic and disruption.
Chief Wahoo July 01, 2012 at 05:48 PM
just think of all the public takers since 1955, who were able to make a living off the hard earned money of the taxpayers......what a scam
Barry Fleckmann July 02, 2012 at 02:37 PM
The Garden State Parkway opened on July 1, 1955? That means, the VERY next day (July 2nd), the first 'Bennies Go Home" sign was spotted on a bridge crossing the parkway.

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