Many will be headed to beaches on Long Island or New Jersey. Others will be headed to upstate New York or to the Poconos in Pennsylvania and a weekend in the mountains.
The thought of one more road trip before winter is inspiring more New England residents to travel during the holiday weekend. AAA says about 1.6 million New England residents, or about 11.3 percent of the population, will travel 50 miles or more from home during the weekend. That represents a three percent increase over last year, just slightly ahead of the national forecast of 2.9 percent.
AAA Southern New England says the increase appears to reflect the nation's continued slow and steady economic recovery.
Travelers began trekking out of their homes as early as Thursday in an effort to beat the holiday travel crowd.
Port Authority and MTA travel advisories
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is prepared to handle the more than 4 million travelers who will use one of its airports, bridges, tunnels and rail lines during the Labor Day weekend - the unofficial end of the summer season.
The agency is advising motorists to pay particularly close attention to the eastbound George Washington Bridge, which may see traffic delays during and after Labor Day due to the New York State Department of Transportation's Alexander Hamilton Bridge project, which began in July. A full complement of Port Authority toll collectors, police and operations staff will be on-duty at the George Washington Bridge to help traffic move smoothly.
From Friday, August 31, through Tuesday, September 4, the Port Authority estimates that 1.5 million travelers will pass through the agency's airports, a 2.8 percent increase from Labor Day 2011.
This year, approximately 727,000 passengers are expected at John F. Kennedy International Airport. Travelers are urged to take advantage of AirTrain JFK, which links to the New York City subway system and the Long Island Rail Road, to ensure they arrive at the airport on time and avoid congestion on the roadways leading to JFK. Motorists may call 718 244-4080 or listen to the airport's radio station at 1630 AM for parking information and updates.
Newark Liberty International Airport is expecting approximately 448,000 travelers. Using AirTrain Newark, which links the airport to NJ Transit and Amtrak rail service, is the best way to reach the airport this weekend. Drivers should tune to 530 AM or call 888 EWR-INFO and press 22 for parking information.
More than 300,000 travelers will fly to their holiday destinations through LaGuardia Airport. Those arriving by car should call 718 533-3850 for parking information.
More than 5,500 passengers will use Stewart International Airport . For parking information, travelers can call 845 567-0048.
Visit www.panynj.info for parking rates, ground transportation information, flight delays, terminal maps and answers to frequently asked questions about Port Authority airports.
For alerts on airport weather delays, parking lot capacity and AirTrain service advisories, passengers are invited to sign up for Airport Info-Alerts at www.panynj.info. The free subscription service sends notifications directly to users' PDAs, cell phones, pagers or PCs.
Passengers should also check the latest federal rules and regulations before arriving at the airports to familiarize themselves with the latest security procedures and avoid delays. Information may be found at www.tsa.gov and www.cbp.gov.
Tunnels, Bridges and Terminals
The Port Authority projects that approximately 2.6 million vehicles will cross its four interstate bridges and two tunnels from August 31 through September 3.
To ease the way for the high volume of travelers, the Port Authority will suspend all roadway construction projects for the holiday weekend. Travelers are encouraged to use mass transit whenever possible to relieve congestion and reduce carbon emissions. Passengers using the Port Authority Bus Terminal or the George Washington Bridge Bus Station should allow extra time and anticipate longer lines than usual. Call 800 221-9903 for more information.
To receive alerts on bridge and tunnel incidents and delays, passengers may sign up for Bridge and Tunnel Alerts at www.panynj.info. This free service delivers notifications to an individual's cell phone, PDA, pager or e-mail account and users are able to customize the information they receive.
Port Authority Trans-Hudson
PATH will provide additional service on the Newark-WTC line on Friday, August 31, beginning at 1:30 p.m. to accommodate passengers leaving work early for the holiday weekend.
On Monday, September 3, PATH will operate on a holiday schedule. For more information, call 800 234-PATH. To receive electronic notifications of train delays of 15 minutes or more and PATH-line service changes, visit www.panynj.info and sign up for PATH alerts.
All MTA services will operate on reduced schedules on Labor Day. Details are below.
Long Island Rail Road & Metro-North Railroad
The LIRR and Metro-North will provide additional early-afternoon service from Manhattan on Friday, August 31, for customers planning an early getaway for the Labor Day Weekend. For more information, please see the attached press releases from the LIRR and Metro-North. On Labor Day, Monday, Sept. 3, Metro-North will operate on a Sunday schedule, and the LIRR will operate on a Sunday/holiday schedule.
New York City Subways and Buses
MTA New York City Transit subways and buses and MTA Bus Company buses will operate on a Sunday schedule on Labor Day, Monday, September 3. Because of the J'Ouvert and West Indian-American Day Parades in Brooklyn on Labor Day, 4 trains will make local stops in Brooklyn, certain subway entrances in the parade area may be affected and buses in the area will be rerouted.
Staten Island Railway
Staten Island customers looking to get a head start on their three-day weekend will be able to catch earlier afternoon express train service on Friday, August 31 with Staten Island Railway's Early Departure Getaway schedule. This schedule means extra SIR trains will be added earlier in the afternoon beginning at 2:31 p.m. from the St. George Ferry Terminal. There will be one express train and one local train awaiting every boat until 7:50 p.m. SIR will operate on a Sunday Schedule on Labor Day, Monday Sept. 3.
The Early Departure Getaway service plan on SIR is also available on the Friday leading into the President's Day and Memorial Day weekends, the day before Independence Day, the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, and the day before the Christmas and New Year's.
MTA Bridges and Tunnels
MTA Bridges and Tunnels will suspend all routine maintenance work at its seven bridges and two tunnels beginning 1 p.m. Friday, August 31, through the end of the morning rush on Tuesday, Sept. 4, to help smooth travel for those hitting the road for the Labor Day weekend.
Some information from the Associated Press.
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