Traffic started backing up on Thursday afternoon along the blocks approaching the entrance to the Holland Tunnel in Manhattan. (Photo by Kate Hinds.)
The American Automobile Association projects 34.8 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more from home during the four-day Memorial Day holiday weekend, an increase of 1.2 percent - or 500,000 travelers - from the 34.3 million people who traveled one year ago. That's despite relatively high gas prices (though they're a bit lower than they were last year at this time.)
In the New York-NJ-PA region, some 3.7 million Americans are expected to drive to their Memorial Day weekend destinations, the AAA says.
NY-NJ Port Authority spokesman Steve Coleman says that bi-state authority is "expecting about 5 million people to travel either by air or car thru our facilities, either the crossings over the Hudson River, or through any of our major airports." He said that's about a three percent increase over 2011 numbers.
Travelers will no doubt be fleeing New York by every mechanized means possible. If you live in the New York region, below is a handy guide for planning your escape.
If you're driving, the NYC DOT will show you just how agonizing your trip will be via its live traffic cams.
(While we're at, California readers can check here. )
The NY MTA will be adding extra trains for the Memorial Day weekend. For details, go here. You can also subscribe to the authority's free email or text message alerts, or use Tripplanner+ (see top right hand column) to plan your ride ahead of time.
New York City Subway
Subway customers are reminded to use the A, C, D or Q instead of the B. They should also take the J instead of the Z. Passengers can bring bikes on the subway, 24-7.
Beginning at noon on Friday, Metro-North will offer extra early afternoon departures from Grand Central Terminal on all three lines – Hudson, Harlem and New Haven. No bikes on trains scheduled to depart Grand Central Terminal between 12 Noon and 8:30 PM on the Friday before Memorial Day weekend.
MTA Bridges and Tunnels
MTA Bridges and Tunnels will suspend all routine maintenance work beginning 1 p.m. on Friday through the end of the morning rush on Tuesday. Reminder: speed up your trip by using E-ZPass.
Long Island Rail Road
The LIRR will be adding extra trains on Friday. No bikes on many LIRR trains this weekend (regulations here.) Monday's train operate on a Sunday schedule.
Staten Island Railway
MTA Staten Island Railway will add extra trains on Friday beginning at 2:30 p.m. from the St. George Ferry Terminal. There will be one express train and one local train awaiting every boat until 7:50 p.m.
Port Authority of New York and New Jersey will be suspending all routine maintenance work on its bridges and tunnels, and all of its toll booths will be at "full staff." Go here to sign up for travel alerts about traffic conditions at Port Authority crossings.
The agency’s airports are expected to carry 1.53 million passengers. New customer service representatives will be deployed at airports to help passengers navigate terminals and find things like rest rooms, bus stops and taxi stands.
Sign up here for Airport Alerts that send info about weather delays, parking lot capacity, and AirTrain service delays.
The PATH train will run extra trains as necessary on Friday. On Monday, trains will run on a Sunday schedule. Travelers can also text their origin and destination on the PATH system to 266266, and receive up-to-date service information.
New Jersey Transit will suspend all construction on state highways from 6 a.m. Friday until noon Tuesday.