Road detours related to the construction of Governor Cuomo’s slick new multi-billion vision for LaGuardia Airport are snarling traffic so badly this week that some desperate travelers have chosen to abandon cars and taxis near the Grand Central Parkway off-ramp and roll their suitcases on down to Departures.
“This is what the airlines were worried about in the first place, and this is just the first phase,” an anonymous “transportation official” told the Wall Street Journal this week.
Yesterday’s security breach and lockdown at Terminal B—the first section of the airport to undergo renovations, as of this summer—didn’t do much to lubricate the flow of traffic, either.
LaGuardia Gateway Partners didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment, but project spokeswoman Rebecca Catley assured WSJ that, “The Port Authority regularly and proactively updates their website, provides alerts and updates social media with information about flight and traffic delays.”
Richard Smyth, Port Authority point person for the LGA renovations, also told the paper that Gateway Partners is planning to add temporary roads this fall to mitigate some of the congestion. The construction is likely to go on until 2024, but he is hopeful that new, permanent roads and a new parking garage will improve the flow significantly—by 2018.
Until then, the Port Authority has tweeted numerous reminders this week to use public transportation to and from LaGuardia—an option transportation advocates consider to be severely lacking. Starting this fall, the Q70 bus will become a select bus route, re-branded as the “LaGuardia Link.”
The Port Authority didn’t immediately comment on the traffic headaches this week, but told the Village Voice that taxi stands were recently moved away from the drop-off and pick-up areas, in an effort to improve traffic flow. Terminal B, which is used by Air Canada, American Airlines, Envoy Airlines, Frontier Airlines, JetBlue, and Southwest, also has a new alternative pick-up spot—travelers take a shuttle there, from arrivals.