In late August, LaGuardia, one of the country’s largest airports and most popular destinations, experienced a traffic catastrophe. The blockage prompted travelers to ditch their cars and taxis, walking with suitcases in hand along the highway to the terminal.
On that particular Monday, traffic was so bad that travelers had no other choice but to walk or miss their flights, largely due to a brief security breach and lockdown at Terminal B, which is also undergoing construction. But, traffic jams and poor direction at LaGuardia this summer weren’t contained to one particular Monday; they’ve been a problem for most of the summer season.
The detour, the main source of this traffic nightmare, was put into place this summer to accommodate construction crews working on a new parking garage for the airport, according the airport officials. Thanks to the detour and entrance ramp closures, inbound and outbound traffic are confined to a single intersection within the airport region.
The Port Authority suggested a few ways that drivers can help alleviate both the congestion and frustration at LGA until construction is complete. Terminal B’s parking lot, P10, remains open even though the terminal itself is under construction. Travelers can park in P10 and take the airport’s free shuttle bus to the terminal, helping to free up the roadway.
P10 also has a cell phone lot, where parking is free for up to two hours. The Port Authority encourages friends and family to wait for their traveler in the cell phone lot, instead of trying to circle the airport.
“Arriving passengers call their ride for pick up once they are curb side,” the Authority said.
The airport also opened a short-term parking lot, labeled P7, to serve as an alternative for Terminal B. Although cars cannot be left unattended in P7, travelers can take a free shuttle from the terminal to the lot, again alleviating congestion and allowing for a smoother exit from the airport grounds.
Taxi drivers have been notified to use the 82nd Street entrance to the airport in order to avoid the gridlock at the 94th Street entrance ramp. Additionally, the airport moved Terminal B’s taxi terminal from the west end of the terminal to the east end. While the relocation adds on about five additional minutes of walking time from the terminal, it is expected “to help reduce traffic in front of the terminal and move customers along faster to their destination.”
In the midst of gridlocks, unexpected pedestrians, and general confusion at LGA, the Port Authority has regularly reminded travelers to use public transportation to travel to and from the airport. Beginning this fall, the city’s Q7- bus line will exclusively serve the airport, re-branded the “LaGuardia Link.”
“LaGuardia’s congestion issues are not new, and they underscore why the airport needs to be fixed,” Gateway Partners said. “To help ensure travel plans are not interrupted, travelers should build in extra travel time as they head to LaGuardia Airport.”
While construction at LGA is not anticipated to be entirely complete until 2024, Gateway Partners’ plan for new permanent roads and parking garages, which should be finished by 2018, will improve the overall traffic flow at the airport exponentially. For more information regarding LaGuardia construction, [Click Here].
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