Transit Sam, Thanksgiving weekend

Wednesday, November 27 – Tuesday, December 3


Happy Thanksgiving! Enjoy your day(s) off but here’s your blow-by-blow description of what to expect if you’re driving.

Wednesday afternoon will see traffic jams at approached to every river crossing.  First domino to topple will be the Holland Tunnel approaches from Varick, Canal and Hudson.  By 2 p.m. cars will be lined up.  Next to feel the brunt will be the three East River bridges, the Brooklyn, Manhattan and Williamsburg.  By 3 p.m. they will be jammed.  Your best outlet will be the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel especially if you’re heading to south Brooklyn, Staten Island and the south shore of Long Island. The trick to getting out is to leave by 2 p.m. or after 8 p.m.

Thursday morning traffic will be a dream but by 1 p.m. the Holland Tunnel will be jammed again with less turbulence at the bridges and not too bad at the Battery.  The trick is the return trip in the evening.  If you can convince your host to start dinner early so you hit the Holland by 7 p.m. you’ll be fine; that’s what Transit Sam does visiting his sister in New Jersey.

On Thanksgiving Day, most parking rules are suspended: alternate side parking, meters, and any sign without an “Anytime” designation. So, signs such as “No Parking Anytime” are still in effect while signs like “No Parking 9 am – 5 pm Monday – Friday” are suspended.

Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, which runs 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. (with closures lasting until 3 p.m.) will make for turkey torpor in Midtown. The parade ends at 34th St. and Seventh Ave., and the delays will ripple down to Varick.

Friday is a Summons Alert Day!  More summonses are issued on Black Friday than any other day of the year. While it seems like parking rules should be suspended, all rules are in effect. Feed the meter!

Sunday’s drivers are in for traffic jams and a surprise.  It’s one of the busiest airport, train and bus days of the year with back-ups on all roads leading back to Lower Manhattan by 5 p.m.  Those returning via the Holland will find their tolls jumped over the weekend.  E-ZPass rates increase $0.75, bringing peak tolls to $11 and off-peak to $9. The cash rate will stay at $13 even.

On the Brooklyn Bridge, all Manhattan-bound lanes will close 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. Wednesday and Thursday nights, midnight Friday to 7 a.m. Saturday, midnight Saturday to 9 a.m. Sunday, and 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. Monday and Tuesday nights. That means more inbound traffic on the Manhattan and Williamsburg bridges and in the Battery Tunnel, and on Canal, Delancey, and West Sts., respectively.

Chambers St. will fully close between West Broadway and Church St. 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. Monday and Tuesday nights.

Readers: Gridlock Sam’s 2014 Parking Calendar will be coming out soon! Check next week’s column or follow me on Twitter @gridlocksam for details.