Transit Sam: Week of Dec.21, 2017

Dates: Thursday, December 21 – Wednesday, December 27


Oy vey!  We are already suffering from the worst traffic congestion in history and now along comes INRIX, the much-respected traffic data analysis firm, telling us in effect, “we ain’t seen nothin’ yet.” I quote, “This will be the highest year-end travel volume on record.”

INRIX predicts travel times could triple Thursday afternoon as holiday travelers mix with afternoon commuters driving home. Thursday and Friday are both Gridlock Alert Days, the last two of the year, but not at all the last travel-worry days of 2017. INRIX, which worked with AAA, is predicting that holiday travel will be up over 3 percent from last year, from Saturday to Jan. 1. Leave extra time if you are going to the airport, or are using the Holland Tunnel or the Downtown bridges.

As for the subways, the 2 and 3 will not run to Brooklyn (take the 4 or 5 instead) on weekends until the spring. The 2 is local on the 1 line between South Ferry and Penn Station (Wall St. and Park Pl. stations are closed), and the 3 does not go below 14th St. This weekend, the A, C, and E will skip Spring and 23rd Sts. in both directions.

The Jets play the Chargers Sunday at 1 p.m., so the Holland Tunnel will get some traffic overflow from the Lincoln Tunnel before and after the game.

Transit Sam will be on hiatus, returning Jan. 11 with a new column. Until then, there’s a chance of snow three days (Dec. 28, Jan. 1 and 3).  A few safe driving and parking tips to remember:

*Always give yourself at least three car lengths between yourself and the car in front of you so you have ample time to stop.

*If you hear a prediction of heavy snow, always park on the left side of a one-way street.  Snowplows push the snow to the right and bury the cars at the curb.

*Look for signs with snowflakes; these designate Snow Emergency Routes.  It is illegal to park on these routes during a Snow Emergency.  Not being able to move your car because it was buried under snow is not an acceptable excuse on emergency streets.

*Chains or snow tires are no longer needed to drive during an emergency; your radial tires should be adequate.

Get your free 2018 Gridlock Sam NYC Parking Calendar at to avoid tickets and traffic next year. Have a happy and safe Christmas and New Year!


Dear Transit Sam,

Could you please, if possible, give us beleaguered drivers a clue as to when these seemingly never-ending nighttime and weekend tube closures at the Battery Tunnel will end? This causes additional congestion on the inbound Gowanus, at the Lower Manhattan approaches, and by the Brooklyn Bridge.



Dear Richie,

There may be light at the end of 2018. The MTA tells me it hopes to end its restoration work there before the end of next year. Many Downtowners will remember the 2012 flood in the Hugh L. Carey (Battery) Tunnel after Hurricane Sandy. The “fast-track” work, which includes rebuilding the pumping system, replacing the wall tiles, and adding new exit lighting, includes closing one tube the entire weekend and weeknights. The repairs would take years longer if the tube closures were shorter periods of time. One tube closes Fridays at 8 p.m. until Monday at 5:30 a.m., and on weeknights, it closes and opens the same times.

Transit Sam

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