Winter Storm Causes Travel Headaches, Even Without Record Snowfall

By David Cruz

A snowmageddon it wasn’t, and while many of us enjoyed the day off, there was still digging out to be done and maybe justification needed for that snow blower purchase. Crews were busy clearing secondary streets but the highways were mostly clear. And for kids, there was some time for play.

“This is the only thing we can do in this weather, right?” said one man. “We live right here.”

Not everyone was off today, though. Some had to work, making sure those of us who had somewhere to go could get there safely.

“I just do everything that I can do. I just do the best best,” said Jersey City resident Kenneth Delgado.

“But we were just in New York shoveling snow. It’s cold out there. We were out there since, what, 10 o’clock last night. Until now, got stuck out there couldn’t make it back for nothing. Yeah, overnight shoveling snow. With shovels, no plows or nothing, just shovels,” said Newark resident Jeremiah Williams.

The Hudson Bergen Light Rail was running this morning by mid-morning or so, but platforms were pretty empty. It looked very much like a holiday throughout the metropolitan area. PATH, NJ Transit trains and buses, the LIRR and MTA brought their systems back from full shutdown mode, slowly, most running on weekend and holiday schedules, commuters scarce. Transit officials said getting systems fully back on line takes time. You can’t just hit the on button and go.

“In order to restart a rail system, it takes a minimum of 12 hours to make sure you go through all the federal inspections,” explained NJ Transit Spokesperson Nancy Snyder. “They encompass a lot more than what many would just assume. We have over 590 miles of track throughout the state, along with the switches, the overhead wires, the signals. The signals are also included. We have to make sure that everything is in a state of good repair and that’s not even including the rail stop, with 850 units. Whether they be locomotives or cab cars. ”

The three major airports were also slowly coming back to life. While there were still many canceled flights, more were coming back on line. Officials say you should still call your airline before you even head out to the airport. In the city, though, some tourists were making the best of it.

“Yeah, we’re leaving on Thursday because tomorrow I think is going to be absolute madness at the airport so just add another day to the vacation, go back on Thursday. Hopefully, it’ll be nice and calm,” said Neil Evans of Birmingham, England.

“I’m actually from Green Bay, where we’re more used to these kind of storms on a weekly basis, so it’s no big deal; I’m liking it a lot, you know,” said Alfredo Moyano of Green Bay, Wisconsin.

So, maybe the storm did over promise and under deliver. But the sun was starting to shine by mid-day and you can never truly discount the value of an unplanned day off.