Your 2022 guide to New York travel this Thanksgiving | Tech US News


Thanksgiving weekend is fast approaching and with it the busiest days of the year in New York.

The state is expected to set a record in 2022 for the number of travelers during the five-day Thanksgiving holiday period, according to a forecast by AAA and IHS Markit. This includes more than 3.5 million travelers – and 60,000 more than last year – which would be the highest number recorded since tracking began in 2000.

Traffic expert “Gridlock” Sam Schwartz told Gothamist on Monday that drivers better be prepared for the holiday weekend as car traffic in the metro area is officially back to pre-pandemic levels. What’s worse, he said, is that truck volumes were 10% higher than in 2019.

“So it’s like we had 105 to 110% of the traffic we had in 2019,” Schwartz said.

For those who can’t avoid traveling by car, Schwartz said New Yorkers should expect a “wild week in traffic.”

Here’s what Schwartz said those who can’t avoid driving this week should know:

Tuesday and Wednesday are “traffic alert” days.

Fleeing the city before Thanksgiving may have been easier to do on Tuesdays in the past, but Schwartz said enough people have since changed their patterns that both days can experience traffic jams.

He said city drivers should expect backups of three to five miles on the George Washington Bridge and all roads leading to the airports.

“Tuesday has become the new Wednesday when it comes to getting away during Thanksgiving week,” Schwartz said. “If you’re taking a plane … allow an extra 45 minutes to an hour to get there. Especially if you’re going in the afternoon.”

The city also included the Tuesday and Wednesday dates in its calendar of “traffic alert” days, set aside for the busiest days of the year.

Wednesday is still the busiest day of the year, whether you’re coming from or going from New York, he said.

“What’s unusual about Wednesday is that as many people are leaving New York as they are coming into New York. So you get it both ways,” Schwartz said. “We don’t have a one-way rush hour, it’s a rush hour in every direction.”

The AAA and IHS Markit forecast said that 89% of New Yorkers were expected to travel by car by 2022.

Thanksgiving Day Parade street closures on Wednesday and Thursday

Street closures in Manhattan for the Thanksgiving Day Parade begin Wednesday for balloon inflation and continue through Thursday afternoon. See a full list of streets that will be closed here and a map of the parade route here.

Schwartz said Thursday morning is a good time to drive, unless you’re around the parade. Around noon, avoid the Lincoln Tunnel at all costs, he said. Then in the afternoon, things should settle down again.

“There’s an unusual time on Thanksgiving when it’s OK to drive, and that’s between 5 and 7 p.m.,” Schwartz said. “That’s because everyone’s having dinner then. So if you could somehow. From Grandma’s house between 5 and 7, do it. You’ll have a much easier time.”

And as for the day after the holiday, Schwartz said Black Friday is the biggest day of the year for parking tickets in the city because many people think it’s a parking holiday, many unknowingly parking illegally.

The best way to avoid traffic jams is by public transport

With the roads jammed and airports busy, Schwartz said it might be smart to stick to public transportation.

“It’s a wonderful week to be a New Yorker, but if you could be a New Yorker who takes the subway, you’ll be much better off,” Schwartz said.

To ease some of the burden of holiday travel, NJ Transit said it was adding extra service this weekend and would allow children to ride for free.

Find MTA service changes here.

How to avoid the post-holiday slump

Saturday is a good day to fly and drive, and Sunday is just the reverse of Wednesday, Schwartz said.

“People are coming back to the city and people are leaving the city,” he said. “And we have a football game at MetLife Stadium at 1 p.m., but it ends around 4:30 p.m. So be careful if you’re coming back, avoid Route 3.”

Other tips, he added, included avoiding the Lincoln Tunnel and the George Washington Bridge, especially between 4 and 6 p.m. to avoid football game traffic.

“And if you think we’re done with the blockade, forget it,” he said. “Nov. 30 is the [Rockefeller Center] tree lighting”.


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