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WCBS 880 Special Series: Your Future Commute – Thursday Is The New Friday For Traffic

Traffic heading into New York City (file / credit: Evan Bindelglass / CBSNewYork)

Traffic heading into New York City (file / credit: Evan Bindelglass / CBSNewYork)

WCBS 880’s Wayne Cabot is continuing his week-long look at Your Future Commute. Click here to see all of the segments thus far.

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) - What is the worst day of the week for traffic in the Tri-State area? The answer might surprise you.

WCBS 880’s Wayne Cabot On The Story

“Typically, a Thursday afternoon is the worst traffic day,” said Jim Bak of INRIX, the company that crunches the data you see in your GPS traffic map.

Tom Kaminski sees it with his own eyes from Chopper 880.

“We always used to joke around that Thursday is the new Friday,” he told WCBS 880’s Wayne Cabot.

INRIX says Thursday from 5 to 6 p.m. on the Long Island Expressway is the absolute worst. There are 16 miles of crawling from Maurice Avenue to Exit 37.

Kaminski says there is no alternate.

“The Grand Central’s not a whole lot better, unfortunately. The only difference is that there are no trucks allowed on the Grand Central,” he said.

The next worst hour for traffic delays in the metropolitan area is 8 a.m. Mondays on the Van Wyck Expressway from the Belt Parkway to Main Street going north.

“I don’t think there’s ever a time when that’s not true,” Kaminski said.

And it’s not just the city.

“Places like Bridgeport or some other cities that are kind of gateways to get to other places when you leave New York City, and that’s where you’ll start to see traffic,” Bak said.

“So, Bridgeport, the New Jersey Turnpike, New Brunswick…?” Cabot asked.

“That’s exactly it,” Bak said. “This will not be helpful to the folks who suffer through traffic every day. They’ll think I’m crazy. But, you know, the reality is that since the start of the recession, we’ve actually on a bit of a traffic holiday.”

Congestion around New York is down around 22 percent this year.

WCBS 880’s Wayne Cabot Talks Trends And Alternate Routes With Tom Kaminski

“If you were to get in the chopper and not have any idea what’s already been happening, where’s the first place you’d stop?” Cabot asked Kaminski.

“Staten Island Expressway,” he said. “Between the construction that we’ve had there and just the amount the amount of traffic going between Brooklyn and New Jersey, it’s rare that you come across a day where there’s not a delay there on the Staten Island Expressway.”

And there’s no real alternate route.

“Not for that one,” Kaminski said. “That’s one of the reasons it’s always backed is because there really is not any good direct way around that.”

“Which makes me think of Fairfield County – the Merritt / I-95 corridor there. There’s also no real good alternate,” Cabot said.

“I mean there’s the Post Road,” Kaminski countered. “We were getting unofficial word from some of the elected officials in Fairfield County asking us not to urge the Post Road as an alternate because of the amount of crowding that was happening through some of these towns in Fairfield County.”

Did he listen to them?

“Well, our response to that was that if you’re a resident of Fairfield County, you know about the Post Road and you’re going to take it anyway,” Kaminski said.

“Yeah, you don’t take your cue’s from elected officials for crying out loud. You’re the advocate for all of us behind the wheel,” replied Cabot.

“I’m flattered that they think I have that much influence,” said Kaminski.

“Are you seeing any trends in traffic, either congestion getting worse in certain spots, better in certain spots?” asked Cabot.

“I think anywhere you’re going to have a long-term construction, there is always the potential for something to happen,” Kaminski said. “You know, people in the New York / New Jersey / Connecticut area are very used to rolling with the punches when it comes to stuff like this. You know, you’ll have a couple of days where there may be some big delays. But then people sort of find there way around it and they change the hour that they’ll go to work. They find an alternate route. We’ve gotten really really good at rolling with the punches.”

Here’s an optimisitic note from the nerve center for all the traffic – Total Traffic Network’s David Fein.

“The Holland Tunnel could get better once the Route 7 project is done in the area of Tonnelle Avenue and once that is all hooked up, I would imagine that a flow that would take now 30 minutes might go down to 20 minutes,” he said.

10 minutes, 10 minutes there, and before long, your future commute might just be faster.

Check back tomorrow for the conclusion of this series.