Prepping for the NYC Marathon

The MTA plays a critical role in one of New York City's premier events, the ING New York City Marathon. It starts with prepping the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge to accommodate the marathon's 45,000 runners and continues with the careful planning and coordination of subway and bus service wrapped around street closures during and after the race.

To make sure the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge is ready for its worldwide close-up and the start of the race this Sunday, MTA Bridges &Tunnels, like any good host, begins annual marathon preparations. Workers fill in potholes, fix broken delineators, clean roadway drainage areas, ready electronic message signs and temporarily remove guiderails near the toll plaza. Days before the race, the familiar blue, green and orange start lines are painted across the toll plaza.

NYC Transit is once again partnering with the New York Road Runners Club to promote public transportation during the marathon and its related events. This cross promotional effort is leveraged to advise our customers and tourists that the subway is the best way to travel during race week.

NYC Transit and marathon organizers are also communicating effectively about street closures and general orders that may impact subway service, and bus routes. The day of the race, subway service should not be impacted by the marathon although riders should be aware of previously scheduled diversions. Bus customers along the marathon route can expect detours and should allow for extra travel time.

NYC Transit's Marketing Division has developed a customized subway map, which highlights: transportation tips, tools such as our new On the Go iPhone/iPad app, and travel information to spectator viewing locations and runner specific activities. The map will be positioned in various sections of our website including: the System Maps page ( and the Special Events section of our Planned Service Changes page (

A Special Events page will also be posted:

Despite the Long Island Rail Road's Jamaica Cut-Over project, marathon attendees from Long Island will still be able to make it in to view the event. The LIRR has been working closely with marathon organizers to make sure attendees are informed about the available travel options this weekend. LIRR customers should take the Port Washington, Babylon or Long Beach branches for direct service to Penn Station to avoid busing or subway transfers to Penn. Marathon participants are advised to consult special timetables for early morning departure times on these branches. Service has been added on the Port Washington line during AM and PM periods to help accommodate marathon attendees. The LIRR is including this travel info in print ads, on our website and on seat drops. Additionally, those heading to the marathon can also use the "E" subway line from Jamaica.

Metro-North will run a regular Sunday schedule but will have additional cars inbound in the morning and outbound in the afternoon.

The last runner normally crosses the Verrazano by 11:30 AM. Using everything from front-end loaders and mechanical sweepers to workers with shovels and plastic garbage bags, crews begin scooping up discarded warm-up jackets and pants, water bottles, towels and other debris left behind by the runners. Once the concrete barriers, guiderails, cones and delineators - removed for the race - are all back in place, the bridge is reopened to traffic, normally by 3 PM.