Transit Sam, Week of Dec. 18, 2013

Merry Christmas and happy holidays to all my readers! ‘Tis the season for major gridlock: The city has announced Gridlock Alert Days on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. Traffic volumes will be higher all over the city, especially at crossings in Lower Manhattan: the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges and the Battery and Holland tunnels.

Last-minute Christmas shoppers are going to be out in full force this weekend. Shopping areas throughout Lower Manhattan will be completely jammed from now through the New Year including the shopping rows along Broadway and West Broadway in Soho as well as Century 21 on Church St.  Why mention the 26th? Thursday the 26th is the biggest return and exchange day of the year.

The Jets take on the Browns 1 p.m. Sunday at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford. Fan traffic will make for slow going in the Lincoln Tunnel, sending drivers down to the Holland Tunnel. Expect inbound delays after the game.

Public schools kick off their winter recess Friday, and return to school Thurs., Jan. 2. The morning commute should lighten up a bit, but will be offset by extra holiday traffic.

All Manhattan-bound lanes of the Brooklyn Bridge will close 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. Wednesday, Thursday, and Monday nights, as well as midnight Friday to 7 a.m. Saturday and midnight Saturday to 9 a.m. Sunday. Additionally, one of three Brooklyn-bound lanes will close 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday through Friday. During the overnight closures, drivers out late or up early will instead use the Battery Tunnel, Manhattan Bridge, or Williamsburg Bridge, meaning more cars on West, Canal, and Delancey Sts., respectively.

In the Holland Tunnel, one of two inbound tunnel lane will close 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. Wednesday and Thursday nights. That means back-ups from the New Jersey side of the tunnel all the way through to Canal St.

Chambers St. will fully close between Broadway and Church St., and between West Broadway and Church St. 9 p.m. Wednesday to 5 a.m. Thursday. It will also fully close between Broadway and Church St. 7 p.m. Friday to 5 a.m. Saturday.

Varick St. will close between York St. and St. Johns Lane 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday.

Final words of advice:  Give yourself 90 minutes of extra time if you’re catching a flight — roads leading to our three airports are going to be completely snarled with traffic — and also consider transit. Safe travels everyone!

The New Year is just around the tcorner! Prepare yourself for traffic in 2014 with Gridlock Sam’s 2014 Parking Calendar. Twitter followers and e-Newsletter subscribers get access to a free download link. Follow me on Twitter @gridlocksam and visit to sign up for my e-Newsletter. You can also get a hard copy at by paying $3 shipping/handling.

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