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Staten Islanders May Have Advantage Over Fellow New Yorkers During Transit Strike

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TWC News: Staten Islanders May Have Advantage Over Fellow New Yorkers During Transit Strike
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Staten Islanders have some of the city's longest commutes, and those trips could get even longer if transit workers go on strike. NY1’s Roger Clark has more in the following report on how residents are preparing.

For the first time, Staten Island commuters may actually have an advantage over their fellow New Yorkers. After all, not only will the Staten Island Ferry continue to run, so will the Staten Island Railway, which runs to the ferry terminal.

But for those who don't live near the train or the ferry, getting to work could be tricky during a transit strike. The island's MTA bus drivers may walk off the job, leaving behind riders who take MTA express buses or the bus to the ferry.

“I’m probably going to end up having to take a cab. That's the only possible way,” said S.I. Ferry rider Charise Hall.

“I'll probably drive to the train and park,” said express bus commuter Brian O'Connor.

With more riders expected on the ferry, the city is adding extra service during peak hours. Ferries to Manhattan will run every 15 minutes starting at 6 a.m., and during the evening rush beginning at 3 p.m. for the ride back.

The city is also taking a step to keep traffic flowing to and from the ferry terminal, turning one of the major routes to the boats into a one-way street during the rush hours. Bay Street will be one-way from St. Julian Place to Vanderbilt Avenue heading north from 6 a.m. until 10 a.m., then south from 3 p.m. until 7 p.m.

Work on the ferry terminal's new passenger drop-off area is also being rushed.

In addition, two “park and ride” lots are being established to allow for overflow parking at the terminal, one at Staten Island Yankee Stadium in St. George, the other at Cromwell Recreation Center in Tompkinsville.

But not everyone will make their way to the ferry - some will try to drive. The problem is, once you cross the Verazzano Bridge into Brooklyn, you have to have four people in a car on the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway and the Gowanus Expressway.

“I don't know how I'm going to get to work,” said one motorist. “I'll go to some of the parking facilities, and I'm going to be riding with maybe three strange people in the car.”

He can meet those potential riders at carpool staging lots at South Beach and Wolf's Pond Park.

The Taxi and Limousine Commission also is setting up a commuter van pick-up site at Hylan Boulevard and Steuben Street. It'll shuttle passengers to Brooklyn during the a.m. rush. In the evening, the vans will return from Fourth Avenue and 86th Street in Bay Ridge.

Despite all the preparation, Staten Islanders have their fingers crossed.

“It’s just an inconvenience and just bad timing at this time of the year,” said one commuter.

Another added, “Hopefully, we'll be able to settle their strike, and everybody will be able to get where they have to go.”

- Roger Clark
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