The ongoing construction work at LaGuardia Airport is causing so much trouble that some passengers and travel bloggers have suggested avoiding the airport altogether for the next few years, the New York Times reports.
Reports of the traffic snarls first surfaced a couple of weeks ago, with passengers getting off on the highway and wheeling their luggage to the terminal, and the TSA recommending that passengers factor in at least two and half hours before their departure to get to the airport.
The Times spoke with the chairman of the Port Authority, John J. Degnan, about the problems surrounding the $8 billion overhaul. "It’s totally unacceptable to expect the traveling public to put up with these conditions for a multiple-year period," he told the Times.
Fixes are on the way, the PA says with a redesign of the 94th Street entrance in the works, according to the New York Post. A ferry service has been one of the suggestions to mitigate the problems, but the person in charge of the reconstruction project, Richard Smythe told the Post that ferries would be able to carry a fraction of the commuters. Another suggestion was express buses, but it's unlikely that will make much of a difference with the traffic snarls.
The lack of public transportation to and from the airport was another point of contention for disgruntled passengers. The overhaul includes plans for an air train like the ones used to connect JFK Airport and Newark, but funds haven’t been set aside for that project, and it will only be able to move forward after the new terminals at LaGuardia are built.
Plans for the main terminal, currently known as Terminal B, call for the demolition of a parking garage, and the new terminal built in its place. Two new concourses will connect to this terminal with pedestrian bridges. Delta Airlines is paying to replace the terminals it occupies—C & D—with a new one, and the Port Authority anticipates that both these projects will be complete by 2020. The overall project has a 2024 deadline.
At present, some airport hangars have been demolished, and demolition work is also underway on the 2,000-car parking garage in front of the central terminal. Work is also underway on a new parking garage that will fit 3,200 cars, and hopefully alleviate the ongoing problems.