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GRIDLOCK SAM: When getaway traffic and sports events’ congestion collide


Spectators heading to and from the US Open, plus drivers headed for late summer getaways, equal headaches on the highways. (Chris Trotman/Getty Images for USTA)

Sunday, August 25 - Saturday, Aug. 31


On the eve of Labor Day weekend, record traffic volumes collide with getaway traffic and multiple sports events. Traffic congestion will peak on Thursday and Friday afternoons so if you can get away after work on Wednesday do so. Another good time to leave is Friday night after 8 p.m., better 9 p.m.

Thursday would be a “bear” without the escape from NYC traffic, the US Open being in action while the Mets play across the street, and without the Jets facing the Eagles at Metlife Stadium. Start time for all three events is 7 p.m.

Around 6 p.m. Thursday, the Grand Central, Van Wyck, and L.I.E. will have traffic going to see the Mets and the Cubs, a Wild Card rival, or to the U.S. Open next door. Earlier in the week, The Amazins’ play the Braves 1 p.m. Sunday, and the Cubs 7 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday. The Open starts Monday and has matches 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday. The 7 train or the L.I.R.R. to Mets-Willets Point are the only smart ways to go to Citi Field or Arthur Ashe Stadium.

New Jersey traffic home and to the Jersey Shore will be heavy on the GW Bridge, the Lincoln and Holland tunnels, the NJ Turnpike, and Rte. 3 especially before the 7 p.m. Jets-Eagles game at MetLife Thursday.

Friday night, just in time for the rush hour, Yankee fans will be heading to The Stadium for a 7 p.m. game against the A’s.

Both Thursday and Friday afternoons will be bad on many bridges and tunnels including the Verrazano, Throgs Neck, Whitestone, and Queens Midtown.

Jones Beach near the Meadowbrook, Wantagh, and Southern State parkways, has concerts 7 p.m. Sunday, 5:30 p.m. Wednesday (and Saturday), 7 p.m. Thursday, and 7:30 p.m. Friday, slowing Long Island trips.

If you’re flying Thursday or Friday, the AirTrain is the best way to JFK or Newark; give yourself an extra hour to drive to LGA, and 45 minutes to the other two.

Returning this year, the GoTopless Day Parade should be a distraction for motorists and pedestrians.
Returning this year, the GoTopless Day Parade should be a distraction for motorists and pedestrians. (Kevin Hagen/AP)

Sunday, the Topless Parade goes from Broadway and 48th St. to Bryant Park 12 to 2 p.m., and Madison Ave. is closed 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. from 42nd to 56th Sts.

The MTV Awards are Monday night in Newark, which will affect NJ Transit’s rush hour and draw larger than normal crowds to New York’s Penn Station.

There’ll be a “Close the Camps” protest at Grand Central Station 5:30 p.m. Thursday.