Memorial Day weekend might technically fall in the spring, but it certainly marks the start of summer getaway season in New York. Residents are expected to rush out of the city in droves on Friday, gumming up pretty much every bridge, tunnel, train station and airport across the five boroughs in the process.
Analytics company Inrix is projecting that 41.5 Americans will travel by car this weekend, the most for the holiday in more than 12 years. But Gotham is expected to get hit with more congestion than anywhere else in the country. The company is predicting that travel in and out of the New York metropolitan area will take up to three times longer than average, with the biggest delays occurring between 3:30 and 6:30pm on Friday.
The MTA is preparing for the weekend in the same way that it typically handles these kinds of holiday sprints. The Long Island Rail Road will run an additional nine trains out of Penn Station on Friday afternoon, and Metro-North is adding an extra 17. The Staten Island Railway will have both an express train and a local train awaiting every ferry boat from St. George on Friday from 2:30 to 7:50pm. NJ Transit has also announced that it is running extra outbound trains from 1 to 4pm on Friday and extra buses beginning at noon.
If you happen to be driving out of the city, the MTA is suspending all bridge maintenance work beginning at 1pm on Friday, which should open up traffic some. It's also suspending tunnel work throughout the weekend, with the exception of overnight work on the Queens-Midtown and Hugh L. Carey Tunnels Friday night into Saturday.
So, in short, if you're planning on escaping New York on Friday, may the traffic gods have mercy on your soul.