NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — If you thought trips to the airport were tough enough, now it seems flyers have been forced to drag their bags along the side of the road just to get in and out of LaGuardia.

Was it a case of poor planning by the Port Authority? And will things gets worse as construction clogs the airport?

As CBS2’s Lou Young reported, building the new airport at the old airport was bound to cause problems, but no one was expecting this kind of trouble.

It’s happened again and again in recent weeks, and on Monday, the work week began with epic gridlock that prompted some air travelers to leave their taxis on the Grand Central Parkway and drag luggage into the airport on foot.

It affected passengers and employees alike.

“A lot of people was missing their flights; a lot of people was complaining, co-workers were complaining trying to get here,” airport employee David Halloway said.

The bottleneck is at the 94th Street entrance to the airport. The closed entrance ramp means traffic entering and leaving the airport has to use the same intersection. When it gridlocks during high volume, the only way in is to walk from East Elmhurst.

That’s what happened on Monday.

“People were double parking their cars and getting out, leaving their cars, and walking into the airport. It was kind of like at the end of the Civil War, when the troops are like straggling back home,” Barry Duke said.

Duke was at LaGuardia dropping off his niece for her flight out. he said one elderly passenger nearly dropped trying to get to the terminal.

One outbound passenger who was making the walk in from outside the airport said she arrived in the Monday mess and didn’t want to risk getting stuck on the way home.

“I took a taxi over, and asked him to drop me off here because I don’t want to take a chance sitting in an hour trying to get to Terminal B,” Sara Yamotahri said.

Taxi driver Meer Islam picks travelers up at the airport at least twice a day. He said Tuesday night, has been better than most, but he averages about 40 minutes per drive through LaGuardia.

“Most of the time, I can’t even get in or get out,” he said.

Matthew Gartner was making the trek across the roadway to pickup his daughter. He didn’t bother parking near the terminal over concerns about a standstill similar to the one he saw while dropping her off last week.

“When I dropped her off I saw what it was like and I didn’t want to repeat it so I parked over that bridge, and I don’t know how I’m going to get back here with her and her suitcase,” he said.

He added that he believes this type of wait is an inevitable burden of a large upgrade.

“I appreciate the fact they’re building a new one, and I think that will be awesome, and I accept the fact that there will be inconveniences,” he said.

It’s a $5.3-billion project sharing one square mile with a major airport. The project director told CBS2’s Young over the phone that they will do better from this point on.

“We know we’ve had some bad days, particularly yesterday. We acknowledge that was a very bad day. we have all hands on deck working on it,” Rich Smyth said.

As CBS2’s Ali Bauman reported, relief doesn’t seem to be on the horizon yet. Anyone flying out of LaGuardia has been advised to give themselves extra time to get to the airport.

The builders said new temporary road systems should be open before the end of the summer.

Frommer’s travel guide is suggesting that air travelers avoid LaGuardia if possible until the early phases of the construction are complete.



Comments (40)
  1. La Guardia Airport was built in the 1930’s. Has been obsolete for years. The only parkway one can use to get thewre is the Grand Central Parkway which was also built in the 1930’s.

    Everybody knows that the New York City area needs a new major airport and a separate Cargo Airport built. The big question is where would you put them? No matter what area you look at it would require a massive condemnation of private property (Emminent Domain) to be instituted.

    In the 1930’s Robert Moses, The man who built modern 20th Century New York had no problem using Eminent Domain to get thoings done. If 10,000 homes had to be destroyed he would advise “That is the price a city pays for progress”) When Moses built the Bronz Parkways he destroyed 10,000 homes, buildings and busiesses.

    So wnat to do? Remove the Town of College Point from the map and build an airport across the bay from La Guardia. Eliminate the Corona Area? Use the World’s Fair Park land for a new extension to La Guardia airport? Take ober the Rockaway Peninsula? Some say you never build an airport right on the Atlantic Ocean.

    The entire immediate area around LaGuardia airport has been undergoing massive rebuilding projects since the 1980’s. Anybody familiar with the Flushing area of the 20th Century would not recognize the place today with it’s 20 and 30 story new luxary buildings. The population of the area keeps doubling every 10 years. Every area of it’s 20th century infrastruture has become obsolete.

    So like it or not New York City needs a new Robert Moses or a group of builders with a Robert Moses mentality and authority to make a 21st century plan and let the Eminent Domain chips fall where they may.

    The World’s Fair Park is 650 acres. La Guardia Airport is approximately 550 acres. The World’s Fair Park already has mass transit access would could be extended into a new airport on the site.
    So eliminating the park sounds like a no brainer to me.

    As for a New York City Cargo airport. The planners need to look at the Floud Bennett Field area Located in Marine Park, southeast Brooklyn which is part of Gateway National Park today. Classified “Historic” because many of the earliest surviving original structures are included in a historic district listed on the National Register of Historic Places, being among the largest collections and best representatives of commercial aviation architecture from the period, and due to the significant contributions to civil aviation and military aviation made there during the Interwar period. I think I know what those in avaition in the 1930’s and 1940’s would say about that. They would say “Take a lot of photographs, save a few of the structures and build a new airport.”

  2. NYC is a sewer…all big BLUE cities are open sewers of human debris…hopefully, ISIS or Iran will nuke it soon.

    1. george arias says:

      Don’t be a fool man, cause ISIS will come for you first asshole!

  3. Beam me up, Scotty…there is no intelligent life down here in this planet.

  4. Geoff Snyder says:

    I am white so i just took the special road designed for us. No traffic and there was beverage service. The background music was a little too loud for my liking.

    1. The hostesses were friendly and courteous, too. Then I woke up.

  5. At least they weren’t jumping out of sky scrapers holding a brief case to avoid being burned alive.

  6. I guess crazy country uncle joe plugs Biden was right….. it is a third world country facility

  7. Close enough fo’ gummint woik.

  8. Dammitt says:

    Just another day in The Big A$$le.

  9. Ernie Ball says:

    New York and California need to secede from the United States. It is the NYC banks and financiers that have wrecked the U.S. economy, U.S. housing values and had to be bailed out by the federal government…and they keep electing corrupt idiots to the Presidency and to run their states. Just take a look at Cuomo’s cronyism and corruption while he has been in office.
    We don’t need their contribution to US GDP….it isn’t worth it.

  10. Rationalist says:

    welcome to New Yawk…

  11. A lot of people was missing their flights? Is “was” the proper word to use in this question?
    I think “not”.

    1. This is CBS… there you go.

      1. george arias says:


    2. Kevin Snyder says:

      Check your privilege.

    3. Fangoski says:

      Dumb and dumberer.

    4. The_Culprit says:

      There were about a dozen grammatical errors. Was this written by an illegal immigrant taking the editor’s job?

  12. gonedaddygone says:

    New terminal will do nothing to decrease the on-time rate. No new runways. Fluff and stuff.

  13. Bill Williams says:

    Endless corrupt union-thug ‘construction’ – one more reason the Normal-American Community would rather live in our cars than within 1,000 miles of this democRat dump.

  14. S G says:

    Four wheel rolling suitcases are the answer to many problems….

    1. Bill Williams says:

      So is living far away from New York.

  15. BW says:

    Yep–I’ve done that. I’m a native NY-er who has proudly resided in Texas for the past 30 years. It’s sad that for millions of visitors each year, LGA, JFK, and EWR are their first and last impressions of the US and of NYC. The New York airports are hellholes of filth, inefficiency, inadequate services, and union indifference.

    1. Dammitt says:

      And those are their best qualities.

  16. Tom Menino says:

    Oh it’s caused by construction? At first I thought Obama and the Mooch had shut down the city again for one of their “date nights”. Let the peasants eat cake!

  17. me says:

    business as usual in this overcrowded metropolis

  18. appleforaface says:

    Flyer’s Lives Matter!

  19. Will they find a way to blame Christie?

  20. Doug Huffman says:

    Shhh…it’s an anti-terrorism trap.

  21. Wharfplank1 says:

    Agenda 21 says we all live this way…the only exceptions are the “growers” to feed the urban cores.

  22. DeJordy says:

    Why do idiots who run these projects never anticipate obvious problems? They always seem surprised. Like the TSA in May.

    1. Bill Williams says:

      Greedy, corrupt, lazy union thugs and people who could only get government jobs. If they were good at what they do, and had self-respect, they’d have real jobs.

  23. Femail says:

    Whatever you do, STAY THERE! Don’t be like the Mexicans, the refugees, and the rest and bring your “NY” lifestyle to the rest of the US. We don’t want what you have, keep it!

  24. Allie says:

    More of DiBlasio mis-steps and poor planning!

    1. I have no use for Comrade DeBlasio, but in all fairness this is a Port Authority project, not the city’s

  25. Milley says:

    Politicians and Unions… what could go wrong?

  26. brenda tannenbaum says:

    This city was not planned for so many people. No more immigrants. Vote Trum!

  27. Kronos says:

    Pro-tip: do not get in a cab with a driver named Meer Islam

  28. David Rice says:

    This is like this every day, 24/7, at the border crossing between Tijuana and San Diego. And yet nothing is done to fix it.

    1. Dammitt says:

      Either way you’re headed, you deserve to suffer.

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