Take the IRT to the LGA? No way.

Thursday, April 29, 2010 - 09:12 PM

(WNYC, New York, Matthew Schuerman, April 29)

The headlines today in New York were all about far-off plans to redo LaGuardia Airport.   The head of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which owns the airports, says LGA has a host of problems, among them too little space for security screening.

Many tourists know one other thing about LaGuardia: it’s the only major airport in the region *without* a rail link. And Port Authority Executive Director Chris Ward said today that’s not going to change, even with the billion-dollar plus renovation. He sees no reason for it.

“LaGuardia is well served by bus service from Manhattan,” Executive Director Chris Ward said today.

He’s right: there is bus service from Manhattan. It’s called the M60. If you are lucky enough to live on the Upper West Side or Harlem, it can take you less than an hour to get there. (Try to finding a place to put your luggage on the crowded bus, however.)

Former Mayor Giuliani toyed with the idea of extending rail service to LaGuardia, but the financially strapped Metropolitan Transportation Authority ended up using the planning funds for other purposes. (A local blog, Second Avenue Sagas, explores the complicated logistics that doomed the idea.

Just a few years ago, the much wealthier Port Authority (it gets a lot of its money from drivers via bridge and tunnel tolls) acted the magnanimous transit patron and built a monorail to connect the subway to Kennedy Airport. But Ward doesn’t think that’s necessary at LaGuardia.

“It obviously doesn’t face the traffic problems that Kennedy has,” he said.

If you check out the Port Authority’s website for directions to LaGuardia, it doesn’t even give you the option of choosing to take mass transit there. Instead, you can drive or walk. Walking from WNYC’s offices in lower Manhattan, by the way, would take 3 hours and 17 minutes.


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