New York State announced today that getting to the 2018 Great New York State Fair will be easier than ever as a result of the $27 million renovation of the Fair’s largest parking lot and additional off-site Park-N-Ride parking lots. The changes make a record number of parking spaces available each day of the 13-day Fair.
New York State Commissioner of Agriculture Richard A. Ball said, “With more than one million fairgoers coming through our gates at the Fair, we have to ensure that our visitors can get to the Fair as easily as possible. Thanks to the State’s investment in the new parking lot and the partnerships we’ve formed with Centro, our Upstate New York regional transit authorities, and Amtrak, we are looking forward to welcoming even more visitors to the Fair this year.”
New York State Fair Acting Director Troy Waffner said, “Our goal is to ensure that it is as easy as possible to come to the Fair. As much as we’d like the revenue from parking in our lots, I have to say to our out-of-town friends that the easiest way to get here is to use one of Centro’s convenient Park-N-Ride lots, a shuttle from your hotel if it’s available, or a taxi or ridesharing service. No matter how you get here, get ready for a great time at the Great New York State Fair.”
The Fair’s largest parking lot, the 65-acre Orange Lot, has been rebuilt by the state Department of Transportation and is now open. What had been a dirt parking lot has been paved, with better drainage, lighting and traffic flow. Paving the lot has increased the number of available spaces to more than 7,000. The lot also now features a new exit ramp to I-690 westbound, adding a way for vehicles to exit the lot. Parking is $5 cash per vehicle. EZ Pass service is available in the Orange and Brown Lots. Once parked, fairgoers can use shuttle buses running along the South Access Road, or cross the pedestrian bridge to access the main gate. Details on parking at the Fair can be found here.
The Fair is also expanding its Park-N-Ride options, adding more than 2,000 parking spaces. A new, 1,000 space lot at the former New Venture Gear factory in East Syracuse will be available this year, along with expanded space at Hancock International Airport. A complete map of locations and schedules is available here.
Park-N-Ride service is provided by Centro, the region’s municipal transportation agency. Centro’s buses will again be augmented by buses from the regional transit authorities of Buffalo, Rochester and Albany. A one-way fare from any Park-N-Ride lot in Onondaga County costs $2 per adult. Buses drop off and pick up riders at the Fair’s Main Gate and Pink Lot.
Centro Chief Executive Officer Rick Lee said, “We are happy to once again provide express bus service that fairgoers have enjoyed for decades. Our service moves hundreds of thousands of people over the 13-day Fair and we are proud to be such an important part of the success of the ever-improving Great New York State Fair.”
In addition to the Orange Lot renovations, the New York State Department of Transportation will also be providing important traffic, transit and park-and-ride information for those traveling to the Great New York State Fair over the next two weeks. DOT will monitor the flow of vehicles into the parking lots and make the latest parking information available via 511NY and on its electronic variable message signs along the roadways. For the latest traffic and parking information, motorists are encouraged to download the free 511NY app, visit www.511NY.org or call 5-1-1 before traveling.
DOT is urging fairgoers to also be aware of new traffic patterns and to follow all directions provided by the New York State Police handling traffic control. A new three-color traffic signal has been installed at the end of the westbound Exit 7 off-ramp, along with illuminated overhead lane designation signs. In addition, for the duration of the Fair, the posted speed limit of 65 miles per hour along I-690 and NY-695 near the Fairgrounds will be reduced to 55 miles per hour.
Westbound I-690 traffic using Exit 7 (State Fair Boulevard) should use the three lane exit lanes as follows:
The left lane is exclusively for traffic turning left towards State Fair Boulevard, which provides access to Fair gates 1 – 7, the Brown, Pink and Gray parking lots, and State Route 297 (Bridge Street);
The center lane allows the left turn onto State Fair Boulevard / Route 297 or allows motorists to continue through the intersection and up into the Orange Lot;
The right lane allows the choice of continuing through the intersection and up into the Orange Lot, or turning right to Honeywell’s Lake Cleanup Discovery Center.
Eastbound I-690 traffic using Exit 7 will have a choice of directly entering the Brown lot (with its own new E-ZPass payment option), continuing to State Fair Boulevard to access the Pink or Gray lots, or using the nearby private lots (Red Cross and those on Bridge Street). From the Brown Lot, fairgoers must use the pedestrian bridges, then cross State Fair Boulevard using new high-visibility crosswalks. Those parking in the Pink lot should use the enhanced crosswalks to access Gates 2, 3 and 4.
When exiting the Orange Lot, most drivers will be directed along the South Access Road to use either the new exit ramp to westbound I-690, or to the three-color signal, which allows access to both directions of I-690. When there’s an event at the amphitheater during the Fair, drivers in the lower (eastern) portion of the Orange Lot may be able to exit down the hill to the Exit 7 area.
Other Transportation Options - Amtrak, Trailways of New York and Ridesharing
Amtrak will run special passenger train service directly to the Fair again this year. The Empire Service and Maple Leaf trains will make daily stops at the special Amtrak platform on the western end of the Fairgrounds. The New York State Fair station uses the station code NYF. Westbound trains originating in New York City stop at the Fair at 12:28 p.m. (Train 63), 4:03 p.m. (Train 281) and 7:02 p.m. (Train 283). Eastbound trains originating from Toronto or Niagara Falls stop at the Fair at 9:17 a.m. (Train 284) and 2:55 p.m. (Train 64) en route to Albany and New York City.
Amtrak also offers a “kids ride free” promotion (one free child for each paying adult) for travel to and from the Fair. It must be booked online at Amtrak.com and at least three days in advance of travel with the promo code V787.
Trailways of New York has a terminal stop at the William F. Walsh Regional Transportation Center, located at 1 Walsh Circle in Syracuse. Riders can then use a Centro Park-N-Ride bus or a taxi or ridesharing service to get to the Fair. Click here for routes and timetables.
New this year, ridesharing services will be allowed to use the taxi drop off and pick up area along the northern side of State Fair Boulevard between the Main Gate and Gate 2.
AAA of Western and Central New York will have expert technicians on-scene throughout the course of the New York Stair Fair to assist members and non-members with any automotive issues they may be experiencing.
Department of Motor Vehicles
The New York State Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) will offer motorists DMV services at the Fairgrounds in the Center of Progress Building. For the first time ever, customers will have the option to get a REAL ID or Enhanced Driver License (EDL) on site. Beginning October 1, 2020, anyone flying within the U.S. using their State- issued license or ID card will need a REAL ID or EDL. According to the federal REAL ID Act, a standard license or non-driver ID will not be accepted without additional documentation or an additional security screening.