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Hitting The Beach This Memorial Day, Gridlock Sam Offers Travel Tips

In this Friday, July 4, 2008 file photograph, lifeguards in Wildwood, N.J., watch people playing in the Atlantic Ocean. (credit: Mel Evans,file/AP)

In this Friday, July 4, 2008 file photograph, lifeguards in Wildwood, N.J., watch people playing in the Atlantic Ocean. (credit: Mel Evans,file/AP)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) - Memorial Day weekend starts Friday and that means hundreds of people will be heading to the beach for some fun in the sun.

Beachgoers have already begun hitting the sand at Jones Beach on Long Island.

1010 WINS’ Mona Rivera reports: Nice Weather Brings Out Beachgoers 

The holiday weekend can’t come soon enough for Holly Tedaldi from East Meadow. She spent Thursday soaking up the sun at Jones Beach.

“Some sun, some color, just getting the fresh air, the ocean,” she said.

jones beach 002 Hitting The Beach This Memorial Day, Gridlock Sam Offers Travel Tips

Sean and Dan Magennis from Franklin Square, Long Island at Jones Beach (credit: Mona Rivera/1010 WINS)

Dan Magennis, from Franklin Square, is also enjoying the beach but says it’s not as cheap as it was.

“It’s like almost a $10 trip in gas alone,” he said, adding he still plans on packing up his cooler to spend all weekend at the beach. 

If you are heading out to the beach this holiday weekend, Sam Schwartz (a.k.a. Gridlock Sam) has some tips for drivers in the Tri-State area.

WCBS 880’s Deborah Rodriguez asked if the Memorial Day travel rush really begins Thursday night.

“Absolutely,” Schwartz said. “What we’ve noticed is that people are getting smarter and that means if they can get away on a Thursday for a long weekend, they’re doing it. So, you’re going to see a lot of traffic at the Holland Tunnel tonight, a lot of traffic on the LIE, at the George Washington Bridge, Lincoln Tunnel. All the major getaways will be jammed today and they’ll be jammed right after noon tomorrow [Friday]. People like to get that head start on the traffic and on the weekend.”

LISTEN: WCBS 880’s Deborah Rodriguez with Gridlock Sam


(Download the full interview HERE)

“I know gas prices have come down just a touch. Do you think that it will affect the number of people out there on the roads this year?” asked Rodriguez.

“It’s only having a 2 percent effect so far. So, 98 percent of the people are still driving as usual, but I assure you the Hamptons crowd isn’t feeling it yet. So, the roads out to the Hamptons – Route 27, the Long Island Expressway – they’re going to be as jammed as ever. Airports are reporting 12 percent more riders this year and that means that the Grand Central Parkway, the Van Wyck Expressway, the Belt Parkway, I-78, and the [New Jersey] Turnpike, right near the airports, more traffic than ever.”

“So, how can we avoid this traffic or do our best to anyway?” asked Rodriguez.

“Get in your car and get out of town or take transit,” said Schwartz.

“But really, if I have to leave tomorrow [Friday] night, there’s really nothing I can do about it, right?” replied Rodriguez.

“Well, if you have to leave tomorrow [Friday] night, it’s really kind of interesting because after 9 o’clock at night, the traffic really lets up. A lot of people don’t wait til the last minute to get away. That’s just a Gridlock Sam secret. So, please don’t share it with anyone else,” answered Shwartz.

“How about that mad rush home on Monday? Any tips for getting through that as best you can?” asked Rodriguez.

“Well, I would just watch your weather forecast and the Monday crunch has to do with the weather,” said Schwartz. “If, as it was just predicted, that the weather is going to be nice on Monday, then everybody tries to get that last ounce of sunshine and you will see a late evening rush coming back.

“We’ve got some construction that goes on even during Memorial Day weekend. So, if you’re coming back across the Whitestone Bridge and coming home to Queens or Long Island, you’ve got a problem. We’ve got a lane closed around the clock. If you’re heading from Long Island or Queens through Manhattan via the Triboro Bridge, we’ve got a lane closed around the clock and the same thing on the northbound Henry Hudson Bridge.

“So, it looks like the weather is going to be terrific and that means the traffic jams will be worse.”

What about upstate New York?

“Traffic to the Catskills will be down a little bit this year. That’s the one sector across the Tappan Zee that we’re predicting to be a little lighter than usual. But nonetheless, New Yorkers love to get out of the city Memorial Day and they’ll do so in droves”

If you are heading out of town this weekend, three southern New Jersey beaches just won top honors.

The Wildwood, North Wildwood and Wildwood Crest were winners in this year’s Best Beaches contest.

It’s the third time in four years that the family resort won the voter contest.

The six towns on Long Beach Island placed second, followed by Ocean City, Sea Isle City; Cape May; Asbury Park; Seaside Heights, Island Beach State Park; Cape May Point, and Sandy Hook.

Are you heading to the beach this weekend? Let us know in our comments section below.

(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)