Friday's horrifying crash on the Metro North railway in Connecticut has halted train service for hundreds of thousands of daily commuters in and out of New York City. And as the big Monday commute approaches, officials want you to know that the highways probably can't handle the anticipated influx of extra cars.
With little warning, a holiday weekend coming up, and no telling when the trains will start running as normal again, it looks like commuters this week are going to have a pretty brutal time getting into the city. On Monday, Metro North will run limited service on the tracks that are still operable (with busses doing a lot of heavy lifting), while Amtrak service between New York and New Haven is out completely. Metro North's New Haven Line alone serves about 125,000 daily commuters, while Amtrak's Northeast Corridor service (most of which passes through the New York-New Haven track) serves over 750,000, daily, according to the Wall Street Journal. Jim Cameron, chair of the Connecticut Rail Commuter Council, is estimating that 20,000 to 30,000 commuters will be completely out of luck for the limited Metro North service on Monday, prompting him to make this dire prediction to the Stamford Advocate (emphasis ours):
"Well, tomorrow that highway is going to be a nightmare. I'm calling it "Carmageddon." We know what I-95 Southbound looks like in normal morning rush hours. And there's 20,000 to 30,000 people who are affected beyond the collision site who won't be able to take their morning train, and I don't think they're going to get on a train and go to Bridgeport, then wait to catch a bus to South Norwalk to catch another train. I don't think they will. I think they're going to get in their car and they're going to start driving down 95."
To make things even worse, there's a chance of rain for the area tomorrow. Because of this, Connecticut Governor Dan Malloy tweeted that the state would have extra tow trucks standing by on I-95 for tomorrow's commute in anticipation of all the ensuing highway accidents. That can't be a good sign. So it's not surprising that his advice to commuters more or less boils down to "don't:"
There are going to be substantial travel delays until we get this line back to normal. Residents should plan on a week of disruptions— Governor Dan Malloy (@GovMalloyOffice) May 19, 2013
The delays will not be limited to mass transit - as more ppl get behind the wheel, traffic on our highways will be worse— Governor Dan Malloy (@GovMalloyOffice) May 19, 2013
If at all possible, avoid the mess altogether and work from home or go in later, if you can— Governor Dan Malloy (@GovMalloyOffice) May 19, 2013
Of course, the last time we were promised a highway "carmageddon" (not THAT kind) in America, the results were a lot less apocalyptic than anticipated. Here's hoping (but not expecting) that we'll luck out once again.