Black Friday: Parking Myths and Realities by Kim Fernandez

Are you ready for Black Friday parking traffic? Not so fast—a new research report says what we believe about traffic the day after Thanksgiving may not be based in fact.iStock_000030661198_Large

INRIX, a big-data technology company, released its Thanksgiving Travel Forecast yesterday, and it predicts a 63 percent Black Friday traffic increase at the country’s busiest malls. Travelers going to major airports today, the report says, should allow at least 50 extra minutes for traffic over and above a regular day. But that’s not all—the report says the belief that Black Friday shoppers hit the malls early turns out to be a myth.

In fact, America’s busiest shopping centers will see peak traffic (including in parking garages and lots) between noon and 3 p.m. Shoppers venturing to Palisades Center, West Nyack, N.Y., which the report identifies as one of the 11 busiest shopping centers in the U.S., should expect a 250 percent increase in travel time to and from the mall (a 46 percent increase over Black Friday 2014), and those patronizing The Galleria in Houston can expect a travel time increase of 110 percent.

Airports also experience interesting trends. The report says travelers to West Coast airports, including Los Angeles and Las Vegas, can expect the biggest traffic and parking spikes early—7 to 10 a.m.—while those on the East Coast will see the most traffic and biggest delays between 4 and 6 p.m.

Curious which U.S. cities see the most traffic the day before Thanksgiving? The report breaks that out, too:

  1. San Francisco
  2. Los Angeles
  3. Seattle
  4. San Diego
  5. Boston
  6. Portland, Ore.
  7. New York
  8. Hartford, Conn.
  9. Miami
  10. Chicago

Expecting a lot of parking traffic this holiday season? IPI has a news release that might help spread the word to your community about how to make it as easy as possible. Get the release here and distribute it in your area as-is or customize it. Read the complete INRIX release here. Remember, plan your route, pay attention to signs and traffic reports, breathe, and happy holidays!

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