How Bad Is Syracuse Traffic?

With just a 10% congestion level, Syracuse has manageable traffic patterns and rush hours.
Written by Rob Shapiro
Reviewed by Jessica Barrett
Syracuse isn't a city known for its traffic. Its traffic flow can be so efficient, that you can probably get anywhere in Syracuse in under half an hour. It only has a 10% congestion level, meaning even bumper-to-bumper traffic shouldn’t change your commute by much.
Located in New York State,
is a gateway to the Finger Lakes that offers history, the fun of a college town, an interesting food scene, and tons of fun festivals. Its population of over 140,000 enjoys a fairly high quality of life and affordable living costs. 
If you’re anything like us, you probably can’t judge a city until you understand its traffic. Traffic can wreck your commute or cause you to lose hours every day. It's why so many people avoid living in certain cities. 
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, the pocket-sized broker every driver needs, is here to explore everything you need to know about traffic in Syracuse. We’ll review some statistics, look at how COVID-19 has altered driving trends, and offer some tips for getting around Syracuse when it’s most congested. 

How bad is Syracuse traffic?

According to the
2021 Global Traffic Scorecard
, Syracuse fares pretty well, ranking as the 152nd most congested city in the United States
The city’s rush hour congestion has been steady since 2019—except for a slight dip in 2020 due to COVID-19. 
As you can see from the below table, Syracuse’s congestion is relatively mild:
Hours lost to congestion
36 hours
26 hours
29 hours
MORE:New York to Key West road trip

Why is Syracuse traffic so good?

Syracuse isn’t a densely populated city and its urban planning is considered to be solid. As home to college students with limited driving needs aside from trips home for breaks, Syracuse roads tend to stay relatively clear.

Population size 

Syracuse is home to about 142,874 people. Most residents don’t experience heavy work commutes, and Its population density prevents bottlenecks and congestion during rush hour. 

Major chokepoints

Some of the more significant traffic hotspots in Syracuse include:
  • Burnet Avenue
  • 1-81/1-690
  • E Fayette St.
  • E Jefferson St.
  • S State St.
  • Harrison St.
  • Oak St.
These areas have even more traffic between September and May when the university is at its busiest. 

Driving habits

Syracuse doesn't have a big traffic problem, but its drivers have certain habits that are good to recognize—and even avoid. 
The worst rush hour tends to be on Tuesdays between 3 pm and 4 pm. For some reason, February 2nd is the most congested traffic day of the year. 
Syracuse doesn’t have “big city” traffic, so a lot of its patterns won’t add time to your commutes. One thing to consider is that Syracuse runs a ton of festivals and student events. These can affect traffic, so give yourself a little more time if you’re driving near something that will attract a crowd.
MORE:The best type of car insurance to get if you commute long distances
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How to navigate Syracuse traffic like a pro

Just because Syracuse traffic isn’t bad enough to give most drivers
road rage
, doesn’t mean there aren’t tips to navigate the city in the most efficient way possible. 
six million people die
in car accidents every year in the United States, so it’s always good to understand the best way to safely get around a city.
Here are a few tips to drive around Syracuse:
  • Avoid rush hour. Syracuse traffic isn’t exactly Manhattan at the end of a workday, but you shouldstill avoid congested times of the day. If possible, circumvent driving in popular areas between 6 am and 9 am and 5 pm and 7 pm. 
  • Listen to 570 WSYR for all the traffic updates and to learn about construction zones and accidents that are causing congestion. 
  • Try to avoid distractions. Whether you’re cruising on an open road or stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic, fight the urge to text or talk on the phone. Also, make sure you leave more than enough room between you and the vehicle in front.  
MORE:The 3 best apps for avoiding traffic jams

Prepare for Syracuse traffic by updating your car insurance

If you live in Syracuse or are considering moving there, make sure you have the right car insurance. You should review your car insurance at least twice a year to ensure you’re not overpaying and that you have the protection best suited to where you live. 
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Syracuse is not a hard place to drive. There isn’t a ton of traffic and confusing parts of town. It’s a good idea to still have GPS so that you don’t get lost.
Based on congestion, the best times to drive in Syracuse are Sunday from 12 am to 10 am and Monday to Friday after 10 pm.
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