How to ride your bike to LaGuardia Airport

Biking to LGA is not only possible, it is sometimes the fastest and always the most predicable way to get there. Here’s how to do it…

1. Ask google maps how to get to the 94th Street overpass…

Snag_3112611d
https://goo.gl/maps/Q8xixfJBzY82

2. Go over the overpass on the the right side….
2019-02-24 18.35.11.jpg

3. Cross the street, turn right, and follow the (sort of) sidewalk along the side of the parking lot…
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4. Go into the parking lot doors here…
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5. Walk though the parking lot and back outside and lock up here….

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You can now follow the normal pedestrian signs to walk to terminals A and B. The whole process takes about 5 minutes from 94th Street to Terminal B. 

Note that there is constant brutal construction at LGA right now, so these instructions might change without warning. Please let me know if you have any problems or suggestions so I can update this page!

FAQ

What if I want to go to terminals C or D?

This sucks. There does not even seem to be a way to walk from Terminal B to C or D now, and taking the shuttle bus all the way around can take 10-45 minutes with all the crazy construction now. 

There is an unsanctioned bike lock here at the 102nd street overpass…

SNAG-0011.jpg
https://www.google.com/maps/@40.7695391,-73.8687236,296m/data=!3m1!1e3

It looks like this (pretty sketchy)…

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You can park your bike there and it is about a 3 minute hairy dash across the overpass (against traffic with no shoulder!) to get to terminal C. 

I’ve been stopped by cops twice doing this and been told I had stop where I was standing on the roadway and call an Uber to pick me up and take me to the 94th Street overpass and then take the shuttle bus from there to terminal C – which would take like an hour. 

I turns out that both cops who stopped me totally understood the absurdity of what they had to tell me, and were physically pained to be in the position they were in. I’m not going to tell you exactly how things played out because the last thing I want to do is get these guys in trouble for being nice and reasonable people, but in both cases it ended up with me in the terminal within 5 minutes. It is really a freaking shame that we put our cops in positions like this where they are ordered to do things that defy all sense and they can not win. I feel bad for these guys.

How about the Marine Air Terminal?

I’ve heard there is a bike rack there and it is easy to get to, but I’ve never done it myself. LMK if you have and I’ll update this answer (with photos please)!

Will my bike get stolen?

I’ve left my bike locked at LGA for as long as 4 days with no problems. Statistically speaking (n=1), you are more likely to get your headlight stolen parked in front of Rockefeller Center than to get your bike to get stolen from LGA.

My bike is pretty crappy (you should have a crappy bike if you live in NYC), but my guess is that people who steal bikes are not hanging around at LGA. And there are cops and cameras everywhere so it is not an inviting place for bike poachers. 

Is the ride to LGA is anything as harsh and ugly as the drive?

No, the ride is very nice. you go though quiet and interesting neighborhoods. You will be tempted to stop for food multiple times on your way home!

Citibike?

The nearest dock is a good 40 minute walk from the airport entrance, so not really practical unless you have plenty of time and are determined.

There really should be a special Citibike dock just for the airport, and they should make heroic efforts to ensure it never gets full or empty. 

Can I ride my bike to JFK?

It is not as easy as it looks on the map. I spent about an hour looking for a way in before I gave up and locked up at Howard Beach and took the AirTrain, which worked out fine. 

Can I ride my bike to EWR?

This should be a no brainier trip, but they ACTIVELY work to block you from doing it! Don’t be fooled by the map, I’ve tried every path that looks like you could take and all of them are blocked either by fences or armed (really!) guards. 

The best I’ve come up with is find a place to lock up at one of the private long term parking lots around the edges and then wait for the parking lot shuttle bus to come. The lot I used specifically has the bus driver ask you if you parked in the parking when you get on the bus, but each time I’ve been honest with the guy and begged… and he sighed something like “Ok… get on.”. 

Can’t I just lock up at the the Newark AirTran station and pay the $6 to get in that way?

No! There is a fricken armed guard who’s job is to stop you from doing this! (I tried to take his picture, but he did not have a good sense of humor about that.)

The only way to get on the Airtrain without getting shot at is to go up to Penn Station and then take the idiotic ride back down to a spot 25 feet from where you started. To add insult to injury, both the Amtrak and NJ Transit trains your are forced to use on your symbolic pilgrimage are expensive and totally unreliable.

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Why won’t they let me get on the AirTran at the AirTran station? Why on earth do they force you to go up to Penn Station to then go back down? I’m not trying to get away with anything, I want to pay for the AirTran ride, why won’t they let me?

From the look of that gun, I’d say this is about rent seeking and politics. Did you know that NYC cabs are not allowed to pick up fairs at EWR? Only New Jersey cabs can. These cabs are expensive and suck. They have a carefully protected turf where they can extract rent out of people unlucky enough to find themselves at EWR without a car. The drivers all live and vote in NJ. If there was an easy & fast way to get in and out of EWR without a car then people would use it, so the AirTran was made artificially hard and slow. Really all it would take to solve this problem is to NOT have an armed guard stopping you from paying to get on the AirTrain. WTF?

Why is this so hard?

It should not be. Sadly airports are the perfect storm of concentrated rent seeking interests enabled by fake security excuses mixed in with a high level of other unpleasantness noise. The rent seekers fight hard because they get big rewards, and since most people only go to the airport rarely, the costs to individuals are diffuse enough that no one really pushes back. We end up with pretty much the opposite public policy that we want on everything airporty. Welcome to New York/America/Earth. :(

(As a side note, the land of perfect air travel is Belize. I think this is because of the geography. Lots of people have to fly a lot there, so any stupidness is felt broadly and deeply. In Belize City, you can walk unmolested from downtown to the tarmac, look around for your flight, and get on. No ticket? No problem- depending on the airline you can either run into the terminal, or pay the friendly ticket vendor standing next to the plane.  The white picket fences around the airport are not for security theater, but to keep people from accidentally walking onto the runway. It is so totally easy and natural and fast and cheap. There is no inherent reason why aviation has to suck.)

5 comments

  1. John Craver

    Just locked up for an overnight trip (from midtown). Couple of notes:
    – looks like the sort-of walkway has been extended further east a bit
    – directional note: bike racks are on the east end of the garage, exit in garage is a narrow path through a single door
    – lots of construction workers using these racks for their bikes and scooters

  2. Pingback: Why I bike to my flights from Washington National Airport – Aerospace News Crunched
  3. Pingback: Why cycling is the best way to catch a flight at D.C.’s National Airport | Travel News

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