Transit Sam: Week of Dec. 7, 2017

Dates: Thursday, December 7 – Wednesday, December 13


Christmas is more than two weeks away, but holiday gridlock is now. Friday and Wednesday are Gridlock Alert Days.  It’ll be even more hairy Downtown Friday, when there are expected to be lane closures on the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges.  One lane at a time of the Manhattan will be closed in either direction from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.  One Brooklyn-bound lane of the Brooklyn Bridge will usually be closed for repairs from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays.  Even without lanes closures the approach to the Holland Tunnel, (Varick, Broome, Canal and Hudson Sts.) will be bad most afternoons and evenings from now until Christmas.

Traffic will move slower during waking hours on all days, but it’s worse when there is a Gridlock Alert.  If you’re headed up to Midtown to see holiday sights or for other reasons, be smart and take the subway. Taxis or vehicle app services will move slowly, if at all near the Rockefeller Center tree. Even with the train, be careful of Ped-lock as sidewalk congestion starts building around 8 a.m. and doesn’t let up ‘til late at night.

Tuesday is the first night of Hanukkah, which adds to traffic all over the city. Grand Army Plaza in Manhattan and Brooklyn have the biggest menorah lightings, but Lower Manhattan will also see some effects.  Careful going over the Williamsburg Bridge Tuesday night. Chabad of the Lower East Side has a “Grand Menorah Lighting” and fire juggling show at 6:30 p.m. at Delancey and Suffolk Sts. Tribeca’s Washington Market Park also has a lighting ceremony at 5:30 p.m., which could affect traffic along Greenwich and Chambers Sts. as well as on the West Side Highway.

SantaCon, where people dressed as Santa travel together and often drink, starts Saturday at 10 a.m. You may want to lock the kids and yourself up for this one. The route will not be released until Friday night, but as the event picks up more steam and liquid in the late afternoon and early evening, I’d be wary of going to the East Village, near Union Square, or possibly South Street Seaport and the Brooklyn Bridge,  which has on occasion seen SantaCon revelers. Follow me on Twitter @GridlockSam for more updates.

Usually, I like it when traffic is down, but this is one time when I have mixed feelings. The Giants’ woeful season may reduce traffic a bit Sunday for their game against the Cowboys at 1 p.m., but you can still expect the Holland Tunnel to be slower before and after the game, as it takes in drivers looking to avoid the Lincoln Tunnel.

One tube of the Brooklyn-Battery (Carey) Tunnel will be closed the entire weekend from 8 p.m. Friday at 8 to 5:30 a.m. Weeknights, the tube will be closed at the same times, but will reopen each morning at 5:30 a.m.

And in case you get to next week’s column late, watch out around Wall St. next Thursday, Dec. 14 around 5:30 p.m., as Gov. Andrew Cuomo will be honored at a 60th birthday fundraising bash at Cipriani Wall Street, with former President Bill Clinton and Jon Bon Jovi attending. Security vehicles, limos and protesters will be aplenty on Wall between William and Hanover Sts. It’s also a Gridlock Alert Day.


Dear Transit Sam,

New Yorkers are experiencing record levels of subway delays, dangerously overcrowded platforms and cars, and worst-ever traffic jams that are slowing our buses to a crawl, causing riders to flee by the thousands. We need State Senate Majority Leader Flanagan and Assembly Speaker Heastie to join with Gov. Cuomo in supporting a plan like our Move NY Fair Plan, which provides money for subways and roads, while reducing traffic and many tolls.  Would you please advise your readers to sign our petition?

Alex Matthiessen

Move NY

Dear Alex,

Done! Readers, MOVE NY would provide immense relief for lower Manhattan because it would reduce traffic on the three untolled lower Manhattan bridges (Brooklyn, Manhattan and Williamsburg) that bring in hundreds of thousands of cars daily onto our streets. Please sign the petition.

Transit Sam


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