Transit Sam: Week of May 25, 2017

Dates: Thursday, May 25 – Wednesday, May 31


Gridlock alert! Memorial Day is Monday, and that makes this weekend one of the biggest for out-of-city getaway times. Every year, New York gets slammed with jams as people flock to the Hamptons, Jersey Shore, and the mountains upstate. Thursday afternoon through Friday afternoon is the busiest travel period, since most people skip town for the long weekend and return on Monday. This weekend is predicted to be the heaviest Memorial Day in about a decade. My advice to travelers is to leave either before 9 a.m. or after 9 p.m. to beat the rush.

The Holland Tunnel will be the hardest hit of the lower Manhattan crossings as people try to escape to NJ and beyond. Expect Thursday and Friday afternoon back-ups on Varick, Canal, Hudson, and Broome streets and the West Side Highway. The Williamsburg Bridge will be next as people head to the BQE to the LIE to the Hamptons. Delancey Street, Kenmare, Norfolk, Essex will all see traffic jams on both avenues.

On Monday, the same crossings will be affected except with traffic coming into Manhattan versus exiting. But, the impact on lower Manhattan is not that significant since traffic tends to be jammed in Brooklyn and NJ “metering” the inbound traffic. The West Side Highway will be most affected.

Downtowners escaping by air from JFK or Newark should leave home 45 minutes to one hour earlier than usual. Those heading to LGA, make that at least 90 minutes early. Of course, you’ll save yourself 30 minutes or more just getting out of the city if you opt for transit:

From Downtown Manhattan, take the E, F, M, R trains to 74th Street/Roosevelt Avenue, and catch the Q70 bus for LaGuardia; the A,E,J,Z for JFK AirTrain; NJ Transit from Penn Station to Newark AirTrain (directly from Lower Manhattan, PATH connects with NJ Transit at Newark, taking you to Newark Airport station, where you can catch AirTrain).

At the Brooklyn Bridge, one lane will close at 11 p.m., and two lanes will close at midnight, in each direction, reopening at 6 a.m. Monday to Friday.

The Little Italy Pedestrian Mall kicks off this weekend, causing 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. closures Friday through Sunday on Mulberry Street between Canal and Broome streets, and Hester Street between Mott and Baxter streets.

On Monday, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., the World Trade Center Community Fair will close Fulton Street between Broadway and Gold Street.

From the mailbag:

 Dear Transit Sam:

Are parking signs AND alternate side parking rules suspended on Memorial Day? What about “No Left Turn” signs that say Mon-Fri? Are those suspended too?


Dear Cecil,

Memorial Day is one of the six days of the year that Sunday rules are in effect, including suspension of ASP. That means if it’s “No Standing Mon-Fri” you can park there on Monday, Memorial Day. However, signs that read, “Anytime” will remain in effect. Rules governing the movement of traffic are never suspended, so that “No Left Turn Mon-Fri” would remain in effect on Memorial Day.

Transit Sam

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