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CBS New York’s Guide To Surviving The LIRR Strike

July 14, 2014 8:50 AM

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The Long Island Rail Road is considered one of the busiest railroads in the United States, providing roughly 300,000 daily rides. So it’s no surprise that hundreds of thousands of Long Islanders are sitting on the edge of their seats as the MTA and the LIRR union continue their stalemate over a new contract, and a threat of a strike looms in just a matter of days.

More: MTA On LIRR Strike Plans | What’s Your Backup Plan? | Join The #LIRRStrike Conversation

And while the negotiations continue to flounder, we here at CBS New York have taken proactive steps to help commuters reach their destination as easily as possible. Here within you will find all that you need to know about how to get to New York City during the LIRR strike beginning July 20.

MTA Contingency Plans

A Long Island Rail Road train on Friday, July 11. (Credit: CBS 2)

A Long Island Rail Road train on Friday, July 11. (Credit: CBS 2)

The MTA plans to offer several free options for commuters, including buses, ferries, ride sharing, and additional parking spots near key LIRR stations and Queens subway stations to get people into and out of the city.

If there is a walkout, the MTA is urging riders to use one of four options:

  • Work from home or stay with friends and family in the city.
  • Discuss telecommuting and/or flex time options with your employer.
  • Carpool with others
  • Use existing bus services provided by NICE, NYC Transit and MTA buses.

In the event of a strike, the MTA said commuters should expect severe delays and overcrowding on Long Island roadways, buses and subways in Queens.

Ride Sharing & Carpooling

FILE - Parking Lot (credit: Clip Art)

FILE – Parking Lot (credit: Clip Art)

The MTA has set up a network of designated carpool park & ride lots, including at various state parks and LIRR rail stations.

More: Connect with others willing to carpool at 511NYRideshare.

Locations for carpool parking/staging areas:

Valley Stream State Park

  • Total parking spaces: 652 spaces
  • Parking spaces allocated for carpool: 352 spaces
  • Access: LIE Exit 15 – South on Corona Ave. – West on Hendrickson Ave. – North on N. Henry St. – East on Valley Stream State Park Rd.
  • Signage: Variable Message Sign on westbound LIE east of Exit 15 (will say whether parking is available or full); posters will be placed at Corona Ave. at Hendrickson Ave.; Hendrickson Ave. at N. Henry St.; N. Henry St. at Park Rd.

Hempstead Lake State Park

  • Total parking spaces: 796 spaces
  • Parking spaces allocated for carpool: 398 spaces
  • Access: Southern State Pkwy. Exit 18 – South on Lakeside Dr.
  • Signage: Variable Message Sign on westbound Southern State Pkwy. east of Exit 18 (will say whether parking is available or full).

Bethpage State Park

  • Total parking spaces: 1,100 spaces
  • Parking spaces allocated for carpool: 550 spaces
  • Access: LIE Exit 44; or Northern State Pkwy. Exit 36 – South on Seaford-Oyster Bay Expwy. to Exit 9 – East on Powell Ave., North on Access Rd.
  • Signage: Variable Message Sign westbound LIE east of Exit 44 (will say whether parking is available or full); Variable Message Sign on westbound Northern State Pkwy. east of Exit 36; posters will be placed at Powell Ave. and Access Rd.

Farmingdale State College

  • Total parking spaces: 1,000 spaces
  • Parking spaces allocated for carpool: 1,000 spaces
  • Access: LIE Exit 49 – South on Broad Hollow Rd. (Rte. 110); West on Access Rd.
  • Signage: Variable Message Sign on westbound LIE east of Exit 49 (will say whether parking is available or full); posters at Broad Hollow Rd. at Access Rd.

Belmont Lake State Park

  • Location: West Babylon, N.Y.
  • Total parking spaces: 1,312 spaces
  • Parking spaces allocated for carpool: 656 spaces
  • Access: Southern State Pkwy. Exit 38 – North on Flower St.
  • Signage: Variable Message Sign on westbound Southern State Pkwy. east of Exit 38 (will say whether parking is available or full)

Sunken Meadow State Park

  • Location: West Babylon, N.Y.
  • Total parking spaces: 7,000 spaces
  • Parking spaces allocated for carpool: 3,000 spaces
  • Access: Northern State Pkwy. Exit 45; or LIE Exit 53 – North on Sunken Meadow Pkwy.
  • Signage: Variable Message Sign on westbound Northern State Pkwy. east of exit 45 (will say whether parking is available or full); Variable Message Sign on westbound LIE east of Exit 53 (will say whether parking is available or full); Poster in parking field

Heckscher State Park

  • Location: West Babylon, N.Y.
  • Total Parking Spaces: 5,000 spaces
  • Parking spaces allocated for carpool: 2,500
  • Access: Northern State Pkwy. Exit 45; LIE Exit 53 – North on Sunken Meadow Pkwy.
  • Signage: Variable Message Sign on westbound Northern State Pkwy. east of Exit 45 (will say whether parking is available or full); Variable Message Sign on westbound LIE east of Exit 53 (will say whether parking is available or full); poster in parking field.

Limited Shuttle Bus Service

LIRR Strike Map (MTA)

LIRR Strike Map (MTA)

The MTA said it will use 350 buses to bring roughly 15,000 riders from eight locations in Nassau and Suffolk counties to three major subway stations in Queens. The shuttle buses will depart from the Manhasset, Hicksville, Seaford, Bellmore, Freeport, Deer Park, and Ronkonkoma LIRR stations as well as Nassau Community College.

  • Buses from the Ronkonkoma, Deer Park, and Manhasset stations will connect to the No. 7 line at the Mets-Willets Point station.
  • Buses from Nassau Community College and the Seaford, Bellmore, and Freeport LIRR stations will connect to the A line subway station at Howard Beach.
  • Buses from the Hicksville LIRR station will connect to the M and R subway station at Woodhaven Boulevard.
  • Shuttle bus service will only be available during peak hours, between 4 a.m. and 7 a.m., and between 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. and only in peak direction (Westbound in the morning, Eastbound in the evening)
  • Subway cars will be added, and more trains will run, on the 7 and A lines.
  • Disabled customers will also be able to use Access-A-Ride vehicles available at the shuttle bus locations.
  • You must present a valid LIRR ticket to board a shuttle bus.
  • A valid MetroCard will be required to enter the subway. Please purchase a MetroCard beforehand to avoid long lines and additional delays. MetroCards are available at all LIRR stations, and at subway stations.

Note: The MTA said there will be no weekend, off-peak or reverse peak shuttle bus service and said on its website that “shuttle bus service should be your last resort.”

Park & Ride To Subway

7 Train (file/credit: Mario Tama/Getty Images)

7 Train (file/credit: Mario Tama/Getty Images)

The MTA has set up two park and ride locations to designated subway stations in Queens:

Citi Field

  • South side of Roosevelt Ave., adjacent to the Grand Central Pkwy.
  • Transfer to the No. 7 line subway.
  • Fees will be waived for commuters.

Note: If an evening ballgame is being played, the lot closes to new commuters at 12 p.m.; if an afternoon game is being played, the lot closes at 9 a.m.

Aqueduct Race Track

  • North Conduit Ave., adjacent to the Belt Parkway.
  • Transfer to the A Line subway line.
  • There is no fee for parking.

Ferry Service

(Credit: Clipart)

(Credit: Clipart)

The MTA will be providing free ferry service from Glen Cove that will take passengers to the East 34th Station in Midtown.

The ferry will only operate three westbound runs during morning peak (4 a.m.-7 a.m.) and three eastbound runs during evening peak (3 p.m. and 7 p.m.).

Ferries can carry 1,000 passengers each and trips will take approximately 40 minutes.

Parking at Glen Cove is very limited. The MTA recommends that passengers carpool to Glen Cove or arrange for dropoff and pickup.

Driving: MTA Bridges and Tunnels

(Chris Hondros/Getty Images)

(Chris Hondros/Getty Images)

The MTA will optimize roadway and toll plaza lane capacity at all major crossings into New York City from Long Island, keeping peak travel direction in mind. Additionally, the HOV lanes on the LIE will require three people instead of the usual two as a way of encouraging ride sharing and carpooling.

More: Check Tri-State Traffic & Transit Conditions

There are several ways to drive from Long Island directly into Manhattan:

  • Robert F. Kennedy Bridge (Toll road)
  • Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge
  • Queens-Midtown Tunnel
  • Hugh L. Carey Tunnel (formerly Brooklyn-Battery)
  • Williamsburg Bridge
  • Manhattan Bridge
  • Brooklyn Bridge

Commuters are urged to use E-ZPass to save time, money and gas, the MTA said. Visit www.ezpassny.com or call 1-800-333-8655 for more information.

  • Note: E-ZPass is required to travel in the Bus/HOV lanes that lead to the Queens Midtown and Hugh L. Carey (formerly Brooklyn-Battery) tunnels.

Bus Travel Options

Commuters board MTA bus. (Photo by Daniel Barry/Getty Images)

Commuters board MTA bus. (Photo by Daniel Barry/Getty Images)

Bus Service to Flushing: Main Street Station No. 7 Line

  • N20: Weekday and weekend service
    • Major streets of operation: Northern Blvd.
    • Areas served: Lake Success, Great Neck, Thomaston, Munsey Park, Roslyn, Greenvale, NYIT, CW Post, Brookville, SUNY Old Westbury, Jericho and Hicksville.
    • LIRR stations: Great Neck, Manhasset, Greenvale and Hicksville
    • Park and Ride lots: Route 106/107
  • N21: Weekday service
    • Major streets of operation: Northern Blvd., Bryant Ave., Prospect Ave. and Glen Ave.
    • Areas served: Lake Success, Great Neck, Thomaston, Munsey Park, Roslyn, Greenvale, Glenwood Landing, Sea Cliff and Glen Cove.
    • LIRR stations: Great Neck and Sea Cliff

Bus Service to Far Rockaway: Far Rockaway-Mott Ave. Station A Line

  • N31/N32: Weekday and weekend service (N31 does not run on Sundays)
    • Major streets of operation: Hempstead Ave. and Broadway
    • Areas served: Inwood, Lawrence, Cedarhurst, Woodmere, Hewlett, Lynbrook, Malverne, Franklyn Square, West Hempstead and Hempstead.
    • LIRR stations: Inwood, Lawrence, Cedarhurst, Woodmere, Hewlett, Lynbrook, Malverne, West Hempstead and Hempstead
  • N33: Weekday and weekend service
    • Major streets of operation: Park St., West Beech St. and West Park Ave.
    • Areas served: Atlantic Beach and Long Beach
    • LIRR stations: Long Beach

NYC Transit/MTA Bus Services (Eastern and Central Queens)

Most LIRR stations in Queens are adjacent to alternative bus and subway service, including express bus services which operate direct to Manhattan. Local bus and subway fare is $2.50; Express bus fare is $6.00. Fares paid by MetroCard include a free transfer between bus and subway services.

More: Click here for information on NICE bus service to/from Queens subway stops

  • From the Murray Hill, Broadway, Auburndale, Bayside,Douglaston andLittleNeckLIRR stations:
    • Q12: Operates along Sanford Ave./Northern Blvd. to the Flushing Main St. station No. 7 train
    • Q13: Operates along Crocheron Ave/Northern Blvd. to the Flushing Main St. station No. 7 train
    • Q28: Operates along Northern Blvd./Crocheron Ave. to the Flushing Main St. station No. 7 train
    • QM3: Peak hour express bus service via Northern Blvd. and the Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge to Midtown Manhattan; picks up passengers between Little Neck Pkwy./Horace Harding Expwy. and Northern Blvd./Parsons Blvd.
  • From theQueensVillageLIRR station:
    • Q1: Operates via Springfield Blvd./Hillside Ave. to the 179th St. station F Line train
    • Q36: Operates via Jamaica Ave./Hillside Ave. to the 179th St. station F Line train
  • FromtheHollisLIRR station:
    • Q2: Operates via Hollis Ave./Hillside Ave. to the 179th St. station F Line train
    • Q110: Operates via Jamaica Ave. to the Jamaica Center station E Line, J Line, Z Line trains
  • From the St.AlbansLIRR station:
    • Q4: Operates via Linden Blvd./Merrick Blvd. to the Jamaica Center station E Line, J Line, Z Line trains
  • From theLocustManorLIRR station:
    • Q85: Operates via Bedell St./Merrick Blvd. to the Jamaica Center station E Line, J Line, Z Line trains
    • QM21: Peak hour express bus service via Bedell St., Guy Brewer Blvd., Linden Blvd., Queens Blvd. and the LIE to Midtown Manhattan. Picks up passengers between Bedell St./127 Ave. and Queens Blvd./Hoover Ave.
  • From theFarRockawayLIRR station:
    • Take the A Line train from Far Rockaway-Mott Ave. station
  • From the Kew Gardens andForestHillsLIRR stations:
    • Take the E Line, F Line, M Line, R Line trains from the Kew Gardens-Union Tpke. or Forst Hills-71 Ave. stations
  • FromtheWoodsideLIRR station:
    • Take the 7 Line train from the Woodside station

Social Media: Stay Informed

A Long Island Rail Road train at Jamaica station on July 11, 2014. (credit: Marta Zielinska/CBS New York)

A Long Island Rail Road train at Jamaica station on July 11, 2014. (credit: Marta Zielinska/CBS New York)

The MTA plans on alerting customers to service changes and information via email and text messages, digital signs at stations and on social media.

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