LIRR urges commuters to 'allow extra travel time'

The Long Island Rail Road urged commuters to “allow extra travel time and check for potential weather-related delays before traveling” Thursday morning.

With more than a foot of snow falling on parts of Long Island, LIRR personnel worked “through the night, doing everything possible” to clear the rails of snow and ice “so we can run normal service,” the railroad said.

“Please be careful on station platforms and staircases,” the LIRR said in a notice to commuters on its website.

Those hitting the roads — many of them snow-covered — were urged to take it slow.

“We’re asking everyone to be as patient as possible,” Islip Supervisor Angie Carpenter said on News 12 Long Island shortly after 5:30 a.m. “A lot of roads are down to pavement but a lot are not.”

Babylon Supervisor Rich Schaffer agreed that patience was necessary on this snowy morning.

“This storm has got to be the worst that we’ve seen this month,” Schaffer told News 12.

Suffolk County Transit said bus service that was canceled Wednesday was set to resume Thursday at scheduled start times “but customers should expect delays systemwide” as a result of the storm.

Nassau Inter-County Express bus service said road conditions “are currently not good.”

“Service to Great Neck, Port Washington, and Glen Cove has been suspended,” NICE said on its website.

On the water, Bridgeport-Port Jefferson ferry service that had been canceled Wednesday was scheduled to resume at 6 a.m. Thursday.

A spokeswoman for Cross Sound Ferry said shortly after 6 a.m. there had been no cancellations Thursday.

There were plenty of obstacles to getting around the region on Wednesday — slick roads, canceled trains, grounded flights.

But many Long Islanders simply avoided them by staying home.

Overall, rail and roadway officials reported far lighter-than-usual traffic.

For those who did venture out, there was plenty of trouble, as the fourth nor’easter this month disrupted travel on all forms of transportation and transit, and contributed to a slew of car accidents, including one on the Wantagh State Parkway in which a woman died.

There were lots of hopes that travel would improve Thursday, but not a lot of assurances. That’s because the unpredictable storm picked up after 6 p.m. Wednesday, and snow kept falling into the morning.

Road crews, train workers and other snow warriors worked to keep things moving. The Long Island Expressway and other major highways were cleared by an armada of 300 plows and trucks.

Traffic had been reduced by 30 percent to 40 percent from normal workdays on the Long Island Expressway, said Stephen Canzoneri, a spokesman for the state Department of Transportation on Long Island.

Spokesman Aaron Donovan said the LIRR began Wednesday with 25 percent fewer riders than a typical weekday, and ridership further dissipated by the evening peak hours.

With the reduced demand, the railroad canceled seven evening trains on three different branches.

Donovan said both evening and morning commutes had gone smoothly.

In the air, flights at LaGuardia all but ended at noon Wednesday and were not expected to resume until Thursday, said Scott Ladd, a spokesman for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. There was extremely limited flight activity at Kennedy as well, he said.

Overall, more than 70 percent of all flights in the region’s three major airports were canceled, he said.

At Long Island MacArthur Airport, nary a flight came in or out all day, save for a few corporate jets, even though little snow accumulation had been reported as of 6 p.m., said Shelley LaRose-Arken, the Town of Islip aviation commissioner. Cancellations at airports elsewhere on the East Coast were the cause of the inactivity, she said.

Twelve hours later it was a different story at the airport: More than a foot of snow had fallen.

While officials hope for better travel Thursday, at least some of the bruising from the storm will remain. There were already a number of flight cancellations at all of the airports, said Ladd of the Port Authority.

With Mark Morales, Alfonso A. Castillo, Lisa Irizarry, Robert Brodsky, Martin C. Evans, Patricia Kitchen, Víctor Manuel Ramos and Rachelle Blidner

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