Getting Around Memorial Day

Lower Manhattan-ites join the rest of the tri-state area in heading out-of-town for the Memorial Day holiday. The hardest hit roads and crossings after 4 p.m. Thursday and 1 p.m. Friday include the West Side Highway, Canal St. and the Holland Tunnel. The good news for drivers is I’m predicting the Hudson St. entrance to the Holland Tunnel will be open along with the Manhattan-bound Brooklyn Bridge overnight.

Most construction will be suspended region wide from Friday morning to Tuesday morning. For those catching a flight, expect the roads near the area’s airports to be more packed than last year with AAA forecasting an 11.5 percent increase in air travelers nationwide this Memorial Day weekend compared to 2010. Safe travels!

From the mailbag:

Dear Transit Sam,
Every weekday morning, I walk my son to school from the south end of Battery Park City to P.S. 89 at 201 Warren St. To get there, we cross Murray at the West Side Highway. We always wait for the light to turn and the crosswalk to indicate it’s safe to cross.  Despite our best efforts at safety, our lives are threatened every morning when NYPD Traffic Enforcement Agents send cars through the West Side Highway and Murray St. intersection against the light and directly into our path as we cross. Agents do this every day with zero regard for pedestrians who have the right of way and are usually in the middle of Murray St. when they send traffic through.  Around 8:45 a.m. Monday, my son was almost hit by a stream of five cars sent through the intersection, against the light, at the agent’s command. The drivers made no attempt to stop despite the fact we were in the middle of crossing Murray St. Every time we bring this to the attention of the city, we sometimes see a positive change for a short time only to see that progress quickly unravel at the expense of our children. I personally witnessed two cyclists and one skater hit by cars at the very same intersection. If this situation is not immediately corrected, there will be a tragedy.
Karen, Battery Park City

Dear Karen,
When I was Traffic Commissioner, traffic agents were instructed not to “pull traffic through on red” unless directed by a supervisor. On occasion, due to some unusual occurrence, agents were allowed to pull the traffic but were instructed to pay extra attention to pedestrians. If there were a location where it appeared necessary to pull traffic with some frequency, we’d have traffic engineers change the signal timing (that was easy in those days because both reported to D.O.T.).

Traffic agents now report to the NYPD, and they’ve been very cooperative whenever a Transit Sam reader has had an issue. They informed me that traffic agents at the West-Murray St. location have been instructed not to pull traffic through the red light. If you see a reoccurrence on more than one occasion, write back.
Transit Sam

Have any questions about summer driving, a parking ticket, street cleaning rules or more? If so, send me an e-mail at TransitSam@downtownexpress.com or write to Transit Sam, 611 Broadway, Suite 415, New York, NY 10012.

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