Avoid These Roads!: Top 10 Bottlenecks in the New York City Region


Traveling in and around the New York City area this holiday season? Make sure you avoid these roads. A recent study by the Texas Transportation Institute identified the most congestion-prone corridors in the nation. Using this data, the Rudin Center has developed a list of the worst traffic bottlenecks in the Tri-State area to help you plan ahead and get where you’re going on time. These corridors were ranked based on the Texas Transportation Institute’s Buffer Index, a measure of how much additional time should be allocated for travel along these corridors to account for traffic congestion.

The Christmas holiday season is one of the busiest long-distance travel periods of the year, as tens of millions of Americans will be traveling long distances each day during a two-week period. A 2001 study by the Bureau of Transportation Statistics identified that 9 out of 10 Americans who travel long-distances during the holiday season do so by car, and long-distance travel during the Christmas holidays is 23% higher than that of other periods. The 2001 study also identified the weekend before Christmas was the busiest travel days of the holiday period, with 93% more long-distance trips than the daily average on Saturday, or December 22. Thus, travelers driving in and around New York City both during and after the holiday season should take note of these ten worst traffic bottlenecks in the region.

  • The Bronx-bound Whitestone Expressway and the northbound Hutchinson River Parkway are tied for the worst traffic bottlenecks of any corridor in the Tri-State area. The two-lane northbound “Hutch” in Westchester County requires motorists to plan for a trip three times longer than normal along the corridor to guarantee on-time arrival at the end of the route.
  • While part of the Whitestone Expressway from Flushing to the Bronx is twice as wide as the “Hutch,” it is just as prone to crippling congestion during peak traffic hours, and also requires motorists to plan for a trip that’s three times as long as expected.
  • Traveling north out of the city during an evening rush hour? Pick your poison. The northbound Henry Hudson Parkway, FDR Drive, and Major Deegan Expressway are all equally unreliable and all experience peak congestion from 3 pm to 7 pm on a typical weekday.
  • The longest traffic bottleneck among the top 10 in the region is southbound I-95, including the notorious Cross-Bronx Expressway and the Jersey-bound George Washington Bridge. Evening commutes along this route can be a nightmare, as motorists must plan to travel 24 minutes more (about 40 minutes total) along this 11-mile corridor to guarantee on-time arrival.
  • Heading into Lower Manhattan early in the morning? Make sure you avoid the Pulaski Skyway approach to the Holland Tunnel. This 3.3 mile corridor is the least reliable stretch of highway in the entire state of New Jersey, and requires motorists to plan for at least 10 more minutes of travel.