NBC 4 New York traffic anchor Lauren Scala went on Facebook to answer some live questions about upcoming mass transit and traffic changes planned for Pope Francis' visit to the city this week.
This is an edited transcript of the original questions and answers, which can be found on the NBC New York Facebook Page.
On Subway Service
Carmine Bassano: “How about the subway system?”
Lauren Scala: “Subways will be operating on their regular schedules, but you can expect overcrowding and disruptions. As of now, there are no planned service changes.”
Henry Deeb: “How's Penn Station going to be?”
Scala: “Penn Station should be okay for Thursday but Friday there will be only be 2 entrances open - the one under the MSG marquee on 7th Ave and 32nd as well as the LIRR entrance on 34th and 7th. It's likely going to be difficult to get to and quite jammed.”
Maryann Flynn: My daughter goes to school on East 68th St. [How are the] Metro North and uptown 6?
Scala: “Yes, trains will be the way to go. No matter what leave a lot of extra time for travel! Friday morning Pope Francis will be traveling from E 72nd Street to the United Nations so that will greatly affect the streets in the area.”
On Bus Service
Marylu Kohler: “Will the X17J express bus be rerouted?”
Scala: “According to the MTA, Staten Island Express Buses are expected to be running on their regular routes.”
Henry Deeb: “How will Port Authority be? I'm already on 8th Ave, so I'm basically curious as to how bad traffic will be for buses getting in and out of Port Authority on Thursday and Friday.”
Scala: “Thursday should be okay. Friday is going to be tough no matter where you are coming from. 7th and 8th Aves have partial or full closures all day Friday by MSG. There are a tremendous amount of commercial vehicle restrictions in that area. If all trucks use 9th & 10th Aves, it will take longer for buses to get into PABT to take people home Friday night. Hard to tell right now truthfully but safe to say you will have to plan ahead and leave yourself a lot of time to get home.”
Lynda Bertinetti: “Coming into Penn Station Thursday around 5 - need a cab to 43rd St and 10th Ave - what are my chances?”
Scala: “You should be okay! Closures around MSG are scheduled to start at 12am Friday.”
D.J. Baron: “Picking up a rental on UES at 11am Friday and trying to get to Queens for the day. Will the northbound FDR be affected above 86th St at this time?”
Scala: “There is nothing scheduled as far as closures on the FDR Drive that far north and the Pope should be in Lower Manhattan around that time, so you should be okay.”
Lois Whitaker: “Coming from Newburgh to the George Washington Bridge to Fort Washington area. Are we crazy??”
Scala: “Friday is going to be the toughest day of all. The George Washington Bridge will likely take on a lot of alternate traffic from trucks that will try to avoid the Lincoln/Holland and all of the commercial vehicle restrictions within Manhattan.”
On Pedestrian Changes
David Spizzirro: “Is there any listing of areas that will be closed to pedestrians?”
Scala: “The only pedestrian traffic restrictions I have seen will be on 5th Ave in the vicinity of St Patricks Cathedral tomorrow (Thursday) at approximately 5:45pm.”