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PA: Allow extra 90 minutes just to get to LaGuardia Airport

Traffic builds around LaGuardia Airport in Queens, Feb.

Traffic builds around LaGuardia Airport in Queens, Feb. 16, 2017, ahead of Presidents Day Weekend, which is expected to bring gridlock to the area. Credit: Johnny Milano

Travelers using LaGuardia Airport this Presidents Day weekend are being warned to give themselves an extra 90 minutes just to get to the airport.

Officials have been saying for months that travelers should give themselves at least two hours to get off the congested Grand Central Parkway, through airport roads, past security checkpoints and to their planes.

The snarled traffic at LaGuardia dates to June, when work began on a decadelong, $8 billion dollar reconstruction project.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, who has pushed the LaGuardia redevelopment, said Wednesday that the traffic situation at the airport was “unacceptable,” and that he has ordered the Port Authority, which operates the airport, to come up with a remedy.

“We have a new team that is going to come in and be put in place to manage the airport better, logistically, during this difficult time where we’re building one airport and taking down and operating the other,” he told reporters at an event on Long Island.

He said people may no longer be able to pick up and drop off passengers at terminals.

“We’re going to have to re-engineer literally the whole airport to come up with different drop-offs, short-term parking, long-term parking that is further removed from the terminals and that is what we’re working through now,” he said.

The MTA, which the governor controls, said Wednesday that for this holiday weekend the Q70 bus to LaGuardia from transit hubs in Woodside and Jackson Heights would be free from 12:01 a.m. Thursday to 11:59 p.m. Tuesday.

The parking fee at the long-term lot, P10, remains at $18 daily, the PA said, making it much cheaper than the $59 daily fees at the lots closer to the terminals. Free shuttle buses carry passengers from the long-term lot to the terminals, easing traffic congestion on airport roads, the PA said.

Drivers dropping off or picking up passengers can stay in a cellphone lot P5, for free for three hours.

“Allow an extra 90 minutes to get to the airport,” the Port Authority said Wednesday, adding that travelers should take mass transit and consider ride-sharing.

The federal Transportation Security Administration, citing the crowded roads at LaGuardia, said in August that travelers should arrive at the airport 2 1⁄2 hours before their scheduled departure time.

The agency said it had seen an increase in the number of passengers arriving late at its screening checkpoints.

With Candice Ferrette

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