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Why do I get lost in Birmingham every time

little rock arkansas
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Why do I get lost in Birmingham every time

Just drove from New York to Boston without a hitch but going through Birmingham for some reason gets us lost every time, or at least on slow roads with lots of lights etc. Mapquest/GPS doesnt seem to help. I asked this a while back but still got lost! Maybe it is just us? Can someone kindly list the following steps for the best ways for:

going:

1. Getting through BHam coming from Tupelo direction on 78 and going to Atlanta.

returning:

2. Getting into 5 points area hotel (20th street) from Jacksonville FL. I believe I understand we will come up 231.

3. Leaving 5 points area hotel (20th street) and going to the Tupelo direction on 78.

Gulf Shores, Alabama
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1. Re: Why do I get lost in Birmingham every time

#1. US 78 intersects with I-20 which goes to Atlanta.

#2. From Jacksonville, take Hwy 231 North, The Dothan exit, to Montgomery, Al. In Montgomery 231 will turn into South Blvd and follow until you reach I-65 North. Follow I-65 North to Birmingham. Get off I-65 and take a right(east) at the University Blvd exit. Follow to 20th Street and turn right again to get to 5 Points.

#3.Leaving 5 Points get back on 20th Street heading North(opposite the direction you came) and continue across University Blvd until you come to 1st Ave North( Route 11), take a left. Follow Route 11 and it will turn into 3rd Ave North. Follow until you come to Princeton Parkway and take a right. This is hwy 78.

In Birmingham note that the numbered roads such as 20th Street, 16th Street, 8th Street all run North/South and the numbered roads that run East/West are Avenues; 1st Avenue, 3rd Avenue, 20th Avenue. It can be really confusing. From Five Points it is only a few miles to 78. Another easier option is to go back to I-65 North and follow to I-20 West and get off I-20 at the Hwy 78 exit which is Arkadelphia Rd/Princeton Parkway.

Millbrook, Alabama
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2. Re: Why do I get lost in Birmingham every time

Agree with #2, but here is a much better way to do 1 and 3:

#1 - Don't look at this as being Hwy 78, but look at it as I-22 even though it isn't officially named that yet. As you approach Birmingham on I-22, do not exit where you are forced down to one lane. Stay on I-22 until it ends at Coalburg Rd. Exit to the right and follow it to Daniel Payne Rd. Turn left to I-65. Take it south to the intersection with I-20/59 and exit left to take I-22 East to Atlanta.

#3 - Return to I-65 the opposite of how you came in - 20th St. to 8th Ave/University Blvd west to I-65 North. Go through the intersection with I-20/59 to exit 264 (Daniel Payne). At the end of the exit ramp turn left on Daniel Payne Rd. and go about a mile to Coalburg Rd. Turn right and then left on I-22 when it intersects with it.

These routes give you more highway travel and less with traffic lights.

Helena, Alabama
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3. Re: Why do I get lost in Birmingham every time

I concur with dbh2 above. Keep in mind that the end of Corridor X / (future) I-22 / Hwy 78 in Birmingham is under active construction with changing detours and will be for another year or two so mapping programs will be out-of-date day by day; the end result with a major interchange with I-65 will be MUCH better. Oh, and don't worry, I still get turned around in that area driving to/from my brother-in-law's home in Little Rock too!

Edited: 25 October 2013, 17:02
little rock arkansas
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4. Re: Why do I get lost in Birmingham every time

Thank you all very much.

Birmingham, Alabama
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5. Re: Why do I get lost in Birmingham every time

Keep in mind that there are 2 areas called "Five Points": "Five Points South" is what you are looking for - it is near UAB and is a nice touristy place. There is also a "Five Points West" which is in a much less desirable area. We once had guests from Germany who put "Five Points" in the GPS and wound up at Five Points West...

Also, Downtown is divided between North and South - the dividing line being the railroad tracks. UAB and Five Points South are on the South side. I-22 is on the North side. Just FYI.

Birmingham, AL
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6. Re: Why do I get lost in Birmingham every time

jimjade,

Have you made that trip yet? if not, i would suggest that going through Montgomery, AL you consider an alternative to suggestion #2 above.

Made this drive about 100 times...and this will save you time, mileage, and avoid going through "rough side of town".

Before you get into Montgomery, turn right onto 271 north (Taylor Road). There is a gas station on the right...Marathon, I think. Go about 4 or 5 miles until you come to Interstate 85. Take the ramp south (toward Montgomery) until you interchange with Interstate 65. Take exit 172 (I-65 North).

You can also choose to stay on 231 until you reach Eastern Blvd, take a right, and get to I-85 that way. It saves about a mile, but is heavier traffic. This would follow the above mentioned "stay on 231", but staying on 231 until you reach I-65 is MUCH longer, as well as through some undesireable area.

Dbh and civil engineer are spot on re: that US 78 thing. it confuses a lot of people! print that and take with you. Turn GPS volume off while you go through that stretch. :)

Gulf Shores, Alabama
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7. Re: Why do I get lost in Birmingham every time

In retrospect I would probably take the Taylor Rd exit too, but I'm from Montgomery and would have no chance of getting lost. It is about six to seven miles from where 231 intersects and becomes Southern Blvd. and a straight shot to I-65. Thought it would be easier.

little rock arkansas
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8. Re: Why do I get lost in Birmingham every time

Thanks again for the added info. Headed out this weekend. Looking forward to stopping in Bham on the return trip. Have reservations at my wife's fav restaurant called Ocean.

Gulf Shores, Alabama
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9. Re: Why do I get lost in Birmingham every time

If you can get into Highland's or Bottega, both are Frank Stitt restaurants and excellent.

little rock arkansas
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10. Re: Why do I get lost in Birmingham every time

You guys are good! Just took our trip through Birmingham both ways and our travel was smooth and easy thanks to your directions. The whole route was fine both ways except for Cottondale exit at I-10 to Montgomery which was slow and tedious. We stayed at Highland Hotel for the third time and except for its awkward parking situation , we like it. We ate at Ocean Restaurant which my wife and kids like but it is a little too pricey to suit me. Thanks again.

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