Traffic Conditions Improve As Drivers Leave Manhattan for the Thursday Evening Commute: Manhattan Traffic Analysis

Return of Train Service, Free Public Transit and Carpooling Restrictions Reduces Delays on Local Roads

Nov 01, 2012, 20:04 ET from INRIX

KIRKLAND, Wash., Nov. 1, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- After a morning commute that saw typical a.m. rush hour travel times triple on many routes as drivers were caught off guard by new carpool restrictions, the evening commute showed signs of improvement across the five boroughs.

To help ease congestion, authorities issued a carpooling order through November 2nd requiring cars heading into Manhattan via bridges and tunnels have at least three people.  The only exception is the George Washington Bridge, which remains free of restriction.

The new traffic restriction combined with the return of some train service and free public transit contributed to improved traffic conditions and travel times compared to Wednesday evening's rush hour commute. 

As a public service to commuters and the news media, INRIX reported the most significant delays during the Thursday evening rush hour in the following areas:

  • I-278 from Steinway St. to the Harlem River Drive exit is taking drivers 3x longer than normal.  The 1.5 mile stretch is taking drivers 10 minutes to go 1.5 miles at a speed of 10 mph.
  • FDR Drive Southbound from East 96th St. to the Queensboro Bridge remains gridlocked with vehicles traveling just 9 mph taking drivers 15 minutes to go only 2 miles.
  • Drivers headed through Queens down to Brooklyn via the I-278 South are experiencing long delays from the I-278/I-495 Interchange to the Brooklyn Bridge  taking drivers 30 minutes to go just 6 miles.
  • The 8 mile trip from where the Prospect Expressway merges with Gowanus/Queens Expressway into Manhattan takes over 30 minutes at an average speed of 15 mph.
  • Aside from longer than normal delays through the I-95/I-495 Interchange traffic in and out of Manhattan via the Lincoln Tunnel is flowing relatively smoothly.  However, the approach to the Lincoln Tunnel from Manhattan out to New Jersey is much slower than normal with drivers moving at 25 mph on average from 11th Street to about halfway through the Lincoln Tunnel.  Once drivers get to the New Jersey side, traffic is flowing smoothly up the I-95 Interchange.
  • Traffic is also flowing freely between New York and New Jersey across the George Washington Bridge at rush hour with few delays.
  • Drivers in New Jersey on I-95/New Jersey Turnpike Northbound between Rt. 120/Patterson Plank road and the Vince Lombardi Service Area are experiencing delays that are taking them 30 percent longer to travel this short 4 mile stretch of road.

Major road closures and public transit outages of note impacting traffic on Thursday include:

New York

  • The Holland Tunnel, Queens Mid-Town Tunnel, Brooklyn Battery Tunnel and the Battery Street underpass are all closed
  • Traffic also isn't allowed to get on the FDR from 128th Street.
  • 8th Avenue is closed northbound between West 14th and 15th Street because of collapsed scaffolding.
  • The Long Island Expressway is open.  However, drivers headed to Long Island will encounter road closures throughout the area in places due to flooding and debris in the roadway debris, particularly on the northern coast near Port Washington and Huntington.


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