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NJ Transit Strike Could Cause 'Significant Delays' in City, Officials Say

By Ben Fractenberg | March 11, 2016 6:13pm
 A NJ Transit strike could cause congestion at some west side stations in Manhattan, officials said.
A NJ Transit strike could cause congestion at some west side stations in Manhattan, officials said.
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DNAinfo/Trevor Kapp

MIDTOWN — New York City commuters can expect “significant delays and crowded conditions” on roads and terminals on the west side of Midtown and Lower Manhattan if there is a NJ Transit strike, the Port Authority said in a statement Friday.

The rail strike, which could begin early Sunday morning, would impact more than 160,000 weekday riders, clogging roads leading in and out of the city during Monday's commute.

The rail workers' union and NJ Transit continued negotiations Friday and there were some signs they may be close to an agreement, the Daily News reported. 

Still, officials were still bracing for a potential strike and finalizing alternate service.

The NJ Transit contingency plan would only accommodate about 40,000 riders through additional bus, PATH train and ferry service, according to the agency.

“I hope the agencies are having these conversations about where are we going to put these buses,” Tri-State Transportation Campaign Executive Director Veronica Vanterpool told DNAinfo. “When there is no plan that is when you have additional congestion and additional chaos.”

NJ Transit is enhancing peak service for 29 New York bus routes and the PATH will cross-honor transit rail passengers.

The additional buses could lead to clogged roads around Midtown and packed transit hubs like the Port Authority Bus Terminal and the World Trade Center PATH station.

► READ MORE: How the NJ Transit Strike Ripple-Effect Could Affect Your Commute 

Vanterpool said people should avoid driving in Lower Manhattan and Midtown during a strike and definitely not try to drive in from New Jersey.

“I don’t think driving is going to be any less of a headache,” the transit advocate said. “In fact I think it might be more of a headache.”

The city can lessen the congestion by having dedicated bus lanes on the George Washington Bridge and Lincoln and Holland tunnels, Vanterpool added.

She also urged officials to set up staging areas for buses at places like the Hudson Yards 7 station to keep some traffic out of Port Authority.

The MTA will have additional workers at subways near PATH stations to help with overcrowding.

Commuters are advised to purchase MetroCards in advance of the strike and allow for additional times at stations at and near Port Authority, Penn Station and the World Trade Center.

Metro-North’s Port Jervis and Pascack Valley lines would not run during a strike, according to the MTA.

There will be limited, peak-direction shuttle bus service provided to the Hudson Line from the Wallkill, Harriman and Palisades Center Metro-North stations.  

Some express bus routes that normally travel from Manhattan to Staten Island through New Jersey may also be rerouted through Brooklyn, including the X17J, X21, X22, X22A and X30.

Commuters can also take advantage of the recent warm weather to bike into work rather than take a subway or bus.

In addition, Citi Bike will provide additional bikes and valet service at Port Authority, Penn Station, Hudson Ferry Terminal, Christopher Street PATH, World Trade Center PATH, World Financial Center Ferry, Midtown and Jersey City.

NJ Transit riders can check their website for details on bus routes, ferry and PATH service.

Even with the contingency plans, it will still be hard to handle the usual volume of commuters into the city, Vanterpool said.

“There’s people in New Jersey who are going to be stranded.”