2006-11-24 / Community

DOT Commissioner Sets Holiday Traffic Plans

New York City Department of Transportation Commissioner Iris Weinshall has set the 2006 Holiday Traffic Mitigation Plan for those traveling by automobile to Manhattan during the holiday season.

The Holiday Traffic Plan is put into effect each year to address the unusually heavy vehicular traffic associated with the holiday season, beginning the Friday before Thanksgiving and ending the Sunday after New Year's Day.

To make holiday travel as smooth as possible, City officials, in coordination with regional transportation partners, have developed a series of initiatives designed to encourage mass transit use and facilitate vehicular travel in and around the City.

"There is nothing better than New York City during the holidays and each year we take steps to help make room for the many people that want to enjoy our City's attractions," said Weinshall. "This plan is put into place to handle the additional traffic that the holiday season brings."

Highlights from the 2006 Mayoral Holiday Mitigation Plan include:

Gridlock Alert Days - The City designates a number of days during the holiday season as Gridlock Alert Days which are days when significant vehicle traffic is expected. Residents, commuters and visitors are strongly advised to use mass transit on the following days: Wednesday November 29; Friday December 8; Thursday December 14; Friday December 15; Wednesday December 20; Thursday December 21; and Friday December 22.

"Times Square Shuffle" - Pedestrian Traffic Mitigation - DOT, in association with the Times Square Alliance, changed traffic operations in Times Square on November 4. This change provides expanded space for pedestrians in the vicinity of Times Square. By eliminating the crossover option at 45 Street in Times Square, vehicles traveling south on 7 Avenue must now continue on Broadway. The change in vehicle lanes has allowed the sidewalks to be expanded on both sides of Broadway and 7th Avenue in Times Square, and also on the center islands.

The Times Square Shuffle is in place now as a pilot program, which will last for at least 6 months. Throughout the holiday season, pedestrians in Times Square will have 50% more new sidewalk space to ease their movement.

Central and Prospect Park Drive Changes - On June 5th, 2006, portions of the Park Drives in both Central Park and Prospect Park were closed to vehicular traffic as part of a six-month pilot program to enhance opportunities for recreational users and to promote pedestrian safety.

During the holiday season Central Park Drives will be open to traffic from 7 a.m.-7 p.m. weekdays beginning Monday November 20th, 2006. In Prospect Park the West Drive will remain closed in the a.m. peak period (7-9 a.m.).

Community Based Muni-Meters- The community based muni meter project was initiated in the spring of 2005 in order to provide additional local communities in all boroughs with the benefits that muni meters bring to neighborhoods. These include an additional fifteen to twenty percent space gain (since the set spacing required by single space meters is no longer necessary); improved streetscape by the elimination of single space meters and pipe; the convenience of the use of parking cards instead of coin change; and greater operability due to reduced vandalism. Prior to the inception of this project, the Department had previously installed muni meters in a number of local neighborhoods throughout the City.

Holiday Construction Embargo-

Street and sidewalk construction will be restricted from 6 a.m. to midnight between November 17, 2006 and January 2, 2007 on many roadways in New York City, primarily in Manhattan. The goal of the embargo is to reduce unnecessary construction activity that may impede the flow of traffic during the highly trafficked holiday season. Work may only occur from 12:01 a.m. to 6 a.m. following a complete review of the proposed work by DOT and issuance of the necessary permits. Only emergency work and ongoing building construction activity may be performed during this period. All permittees must comply with this embargo unless a special waiver is granted by DOT.

For more information about the holiday plan, including mass transit links and special holiday schedules provided by various agencies such as the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, New Jersey Transit and the Port Authority, visit www.nyc.gov/dot .

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