Better safe than sorry, boro braced for strike

By the Times/Ledger staff

Before the Metropolitan Transit Authority and the Transit Workers Union reached an agreement to avert a walkout early Wednesday, the city had made extensive preparations to combat traffic and commuter problems if the public transportation system had shut down at midnight.

In Queens, commuters who normally use the MTA buses and trains to get to their jobs and school had several options made available to get into Manhattan.

Since automobile traffic was to be barred from entering Manhattan city south of 96th Street between 6 a.m. and 10 a.m., all private cars containing less than three passengers were to be turned away. Commuters would have been able to leave their cars parked in a number of designated staging area and carpool into Manhattan.

The staging areas throughout Queens were located at Astoria Park, Shea Stadium, Flushing Meadows, Van Wyck Expressway and College Point Boulevard, Main Street Flushing, the Douglaston LIRR station, Cunningham Park and across the Nassau County line at Belmont Raceway.

The Long Island Expressway was to follow HOV restrictions, with commuters traveling with fewer than three passengers turned back by the police. Similarly, all bridge and tunnel crossings into Manhattan had the same regulations.

To ease the traffic congestion to and from Manhattan, the Queensboro Bridge and the Midtown Tunnel were to change lane configurations to accommodate the increase in traffic.

The city also arranged for ferry service to shuttle people from Hunters Point in Long Island City to East 62nd Street, and a special service was put into effect to take people from Shea Stadium to East 34th Street. The ferries were operating Wednesday even though the strike did not occur.

Queens private bus lines had also planned to add service to help accommodate the anticipated surge in ridership.

Doris Drantch of the Green Bus Line said her company had added extra service and the Q60 and Q35 buses were to run all night to help out the Queens community.

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