Road trips this Memorial Day weekend are expected to set...

Road trips this Memorial Day weekend are expected to set a record since AAA has been tracking statistics in 2000. Credit: Howard Schnapp

Want to beat Memorial Day weekend traffic — or at least try to?

Then don’t travel Thursday and Friday between 2 and 3 p.m. and 6 and 7 p.m., according to Mark Schieldrop of AAA, which has studied historical traffic patterns and concluded that volume tends to be higher than normal during those times.

The best time to depart? Before lunch — and even ideally before 11 a.m., Schieldrop said.

AAA projectedt in a news release that nearly 2.8 million New Yorkers will travel at least 50 miles from home over the long weekend — Thursday to Monday — and 2.5 million via car. Nationwide, of the 44 million Americans expected to travel, road trips are expected to set a record — 38.4 million people, the AAA said. That’s the highest number since 2000, the year the AAA started tracking the statistic.

For the return trip, coming back Sunday or Monday, from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. “will be the worst time on the road,” Schieldrop said.

“The best travel time on Saturday is before 1 p.m., and on Sunday, the best time to travel would be after 7 p.m.,” said Schieldrop, who suggests adding at least an hour to expected travel time — “at a minimum.”

Long Island Rail Road schedules are being adjusted for the holiday weekend. Monday trains will run on a Sunday schedule. Additionally, the Cannonball — the express 4:07 p.m. train to Montauk from Penn Station — will make its seasonal debut Thursday and keep operating on Thursdays and Fridays for the rest of the season, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority wrote in a news release.

“This train operates express to Westhampton in 94 minutes, then stops at Southampton, Bridgehampton, East Hampton, and Montauk. The westbound Cannonball, scheduled to depart Sundays from Montauk at 6:22 p.m., will not operate this Sunday. Instead, it will operate on Memorial Day, Monday, May 27,” the release said.

Montauk summer trains are set to run every weekend  until the first weekend of September.

Nearly 6.4 million travelers — a record high — are expected to use the region's major airports and vehicle crossings between Thursday and Tuesday, according to a news release from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey — about 4.2 million taking bridges and tunnels and nearly 2.2 million through Kennedy, LaGuardia, Newark-Liberty and Stewart airports, the release said. The busiest days at the airports will be Friday and Monday, and airport parking is expected to be “extremely limited given high volume of travelers,” the release said, so travelers are advised to ride mass transit.

All nonemergency construction work is being suspended from early Friday through early Tuesday. 

Gas prices are trending downward from earlier this year, said Alec Slatky of the AAA, but are higher than the last Memorial Day holiday. Still, he said, the higher prices aren't enough to deter motorists from driving. 

Last year, statewide, regular unleaded gas averaged $3.65 per gallon, and $3.54 on Long Island. This year, statewide, gas averages $3.69 and $3.63 on the Island. (The figures are based on credit card transactions.)

Slatky said he surmises that motorists have adjusted their budgets and made cuts elsewhere to pay for gas. 

“People have those memories of $5, or near $5 gas … Prices are gonna be in the $3 range, which they have been for the past couple years,” he said.

Earlier this week, the Biden administration announced it  will release 1 million barrels of gasoline from a Northeast reserve established following Superstorm Sandy, in an effort to lower prices at the gas pump this summer.

Want to beat Memorial Day weekend traffic — or at least try to?

Then don’t travel Thursday and Friday between 2 and 3 p.m. and 6 and 7 p.m., according to Mark Schieldrop of AAA, which has studied historical traffic patterns and concluded that volume tends to be higher than normal during those times.

The best time to depart? Before lunch — and even ideally before 11 a.m., Schieldrop said.

AAA projectedt in a news release that nearly 2.8 million New Yorkers will travel at least 50 miles from home over the long weekend — Thursday to Monday — and 2.5 million via car. Nationwide, of the 44 million Americans expected to travel, road trips are expected to set a record — 38.4 million people, the AAA said. That’s the highest number since 2000, the year the AAA started tracking the statistic.

For the return trip, coming back Sunday or Monday, from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. “will be the worst time on the road,” Schieldrop said.

“The best travel time on Saturday is before 1 p.m., and on Sunday, the best time to travel would be after 7 p.m.,” said Schieldrop, who suggests adding at least an hour to expected travel time — “at a minimum.”

Long Island Rail Road schedules are being adjusted for the holiday weekend. Monday trains will run on a Sunday schedule. Additionally, the Cannonball — the express 4:07 p.m. train to Montauk from Penn Station — will make its seasonal debut Thursday and keep operating on Thursdays and Fridays for the rest of the season, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority wrote in a news release.

“This train operates express to Westhampton in 94 minutes, then stops at Southampton, Bridgehampton, East Hampton, and Montauk. The westbound Cannonball, scheduled to depart Sundays from Montauk at 6:22 p.m., will not operate this Sunday. Instead, it will operate on Memorial Day, Monday, May 27,” the release said.

Montauk summer trains are set to run every weekend  until the first weekend of September.

Nearly 6.4 million travelers — a record high — are expected to use the region's major airports and vehicle crossings between Thursday and Tuesday, according to a news release from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey — about 4.2 million taking bridges and tunnels and nearly 2.2 million through Kennedy, LaGuardia, Newark-Liberty and Stewart airports, the release said. The busiest days at the airports will be Friday and Monday, and airport parking is expected to be “extremely limited given high volume of travelers,” the release said, so travelers are advised to ride mass transit.

All nonemergency construction work is being suspended from early Friday through early Tuesday. 

Gas prices are trending downward from earlier this year, said Alec Slatky of the AAA, but are higher than the last Memorial Day holiday. Still, he said, the higher prices aren't enough to deter motorists from driving. 

Last year, statewide, regular unleaded gas averaged $3.65 per gallon, and $3.54 on Long Island. This year, statewide, gas averages $3.69 and $3.63 on the Island. (The figures are based on credit card transactions.)

Slatky said he surmises that motorists have adjusted their budgets and made cuts elsewhere to pay for gas. 

“People have those memories of $5, or near $5 gas … Prices are gonna be in the $3 range, which they have been for the past couple years,” he said.

Earlier this week, the Biden administration announced it  will release 1 million barrels of gasoline from a Northeast reserve established following Superstorm Sandy, in an effort to lower prices at the gas pump this summer.

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