WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. – Westchester County commuters are reporting a relative “calm before the storm,” as New York and New Jersey prepare for an influx of tourists in preparation of Super Bowl XLVIII.
Motorists and rail riders alike have been warned to expect congestion and traffic as thousands flock to the tristate area for the most watched sporting event in the country, set for Sunday, Feb. 2 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.
Although as many as 400,000 are expected to visit the area, neither motorists nor commuters have experienced many traffic-related issues as of Wednesday.
“I haven’t noticed or heard of anyone having issues. I took a taxi through Times Square (where Super Bowl Boulevard is located) and breezed right through,” Armie Schaefer, who takes a train and subway to work from New Rochelle each day, said. “Maybe they’re waiting for the weekend when the game gets closer.”
Residents in Westchester may ultimately be fortunate when it comes to traffic-related problems, as many are staying in Manhattan or New Jersey, where Super Bowl festivities are more prevalent. Certain side streets have been closed in midtown, and there will be limited access to the Lincoln Tunnel as the big game approaches.
“So far, so good, but I think it might still become a zoo over the weekend when there are more closures and security gets beefed up for the parties and game,” Juan Sanchez, a truck driver from Port Chester, said at a rest stop.
According to operations personnel at the Westchester County Airport, there has been a normal number of arriving flights, though they expect some overflow from the bigger airports before the game. A runway will be closed from Friday through Monday to accommodate the parking of aircrafts and the Westchester County Police Department will be on site to increase security for all travelers.
Metro-North has also made certain accommodations for the expected tourists, adding extra trains from Wednesday through Friday. Express trains will depart from Poughkeepsie (Hudson Line) at 9:47, Southeast (Harlem) at 10:08 a.m. and New Haven at 9:21. There will also be 17 extra New Haven line trains and two additional Hudson line trains on Saturday.
“It’s an exciting time to be a New Yorker, especially if you’re a fan of football,” Scarsdale resident Mitch Schwartz said. “Once Super Bowl Boulevard is up and running, we plan to take the kids down there just for the experience. This may never happen again, if we have to suffer through some traffic to get there, then that’s what we’ll do.”
The weather forecast for Sunday looks favorable, with the National Weather Service calling for mostly cloudy skies and a high around 40 degrees.