Transit Sam: Week of Nov. 30, 2017

Dates: Thurs., Nov. 30–Wed., Dec. 6


Trumplock hits Saturday. POTUS will be arriving in the morning and leaving sometime in the afternoon. While his stops are all in Midtown or the Upper East Side, Downtown gets impacted as he arrives and leaves via the Wall Street Heliport. So, expect early morning (say between 8:30 am and 10 am), and mid-afternoon closures of the FDR and South Street.

If you’re planning to cab or drive on Saturday here are a few tips:

Stick with the West Side Highway but if you’re heading to Brooklyn be aware the Battery Tunnel will have one tube closed from 9:30 pm Friday to 5:30 am Monday. Avoid East Midtown all morning and then the Upper East Side until mid-afternoon.

Also, expect a welcoming contingent (aka demonstrators) in the vicinity of Trump Tower at Fifth Avenue and 56th Street. For up-to-date traffic forecasts follow me on Twitter @GridlockSam.

Also, this weekend, the Jets play the Chiefs Sunday at MetLife at 1 p.m. so the Holland Tunnel area will be busier before and after the game.

From the mailbag:

Dear Transit Sam,

There used to be money to fix the Belt to help take trucks away from the BQE. Now Gov. Cuomo has withdrawn funding on the BQE from Sands St to Atlantic Ave. The state won’t even finish the Gowanus upgrade. Why do you want to direct more funds away from roads? There are plenty of poor drivers, and you can only pick their pockets so much. Subway ridership is dropping.


Dear Tom,

Who said I want to direct funds away from roads and bridges? Just the opposite. Under the MOVE NY plan I helped develop, we provide $375 million a year for roads and bridges and $1.125B for transit. With the extra dough, maybe the state could finally complete repairs on the Gowanus. By the way, retrofitting the Belt for trucks is one of the best plans for reducing congestion in Brooklyn. I’m all for it.

Another feature of the plan is that every currently tolled bridge wholly within the 5 boroughs would have tolls slashed by 38-46%. Only people driving to Manhattan south of 60th St. would be charged. Regarding the working poor, the Community Services Society, a longtime advocate for low income people, analyzed congestion pricing and found that for every working poor driver who might pay higher tolls, 38 low income commuters would benefit with better subway service.

Tom, there is no plan to improve transportation significantly in which someone doesn’t get impacted. This plan, in my estimation, achieves the greatest good for the greatest number.

Transit Sam

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