Gridlock For United Nations General Assembly In Manhattan Begins

Marla Diamond
September 23, 2019 - 7:13 am

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — As the United Nations General Assembly gets underway, commuters prepare themselves for major gridlock in Midtown and on the East Side beginning on Monday.

“Midtown will see some of the slowest traffic speeds of the year. If you do not have to drive, please use alternative modes of transportation,” said Edward Pincar, the Department of Transportation’s Manhattan Borough Commissioner.

Those who must get to the East Side are encouraged to take mass transit, walk or use a bicycle.

The U.N. General Assembly runs from Monday through Sept. 30 and in order to help alleviate traffic, bike lane access on First and Second avenues in Midtown will remain open, including a temporary bikeway through the First Avenue tunnel.

"We want to make it safe for both our motorists, our bicyclists and our pedestrians," said NYPD Transportation Chief Thomas Chan.

Police shut down traffic on First Avenue from 42nd to 48th streets Sunday night and 44th, 45th and 46th streets will be inaccessible from First Avenue to Second Avenue.

The FDR Drive will be closed between Whitehall Street and the RFK-Triborough Bridge.

Street Closures from Sept. 17 to 30:
FDR Drive between Whitehall Street and Willis Avenue Bridge/RFK Bridge
Area bounded by
60th Street on the North,
34th Street on the South,
1st Avenue on the East, and
3rd Avenue on the West
All Inclusive
Area bounded by
54th Street on the North,
48th Street on the South,
1st Avenue East, and
Madison Avenue on the West
All Inclusive
6th Avenue between 50th Street and 59th Street
Grand Army Plaza between 58th Street and 60th Street
5th Avenue between 56th Street and 63rd Street
Madison Avenue between 42nd Street and 58th Street
76th Street and 77th Street
Park Avenue between 76th Street and 77th Street
FDR Drive Service Road between 48th Street and 49th Street
77th Street between Madison Avenue and Park Avenue
76th Street between Madison Avenue and Park Avenue
61st Street between 5th Avenue and Lexington Avenue
59th Street between 7th Avenue and 5th Avenue
58th Street between Broadway and Madison Avenue
57th Street between 7th Avenue and FDR Drive
56th Street between 6th Avenue and Madison Avenue
55th Street between 7th Avenue and Madison Avenue
54th Street between 7th Avenue and Madison Avenue
53rd Street between 7th Avenue and FDR Drive
52nd Street between 7th Avenue and Madison Avenue
50th Street between 7th Avenue and FDR Drive
51st Street between 7th Avenue and 1st Avenue
49th Street between 1st Avenue and FDR Drive Service Road
48th Street between 1st Avenue and FDR Drive Service Road
42nd Street between 7th Avenue and FDR Drive
34th Street between 7th Avenue and FDR Drive

Bike Lane Access:
Along northbound First Avenue, cyclists will pass a security checkpoint at 39th Street, after which they will be able to travel on the temporary bike lane between East 40th Street to East 49th Street. Cyclists will be directed to use one northbound travel lane through the 1st Avenue tunnel where a temporary bikeway will then transition back to the existing protected bike lane at East 49th Street. Barrels, signage, and tape will delineate the space for the temporary bikeway and direct cyclists where to travel. Cyclists are advised that the temporary bike lane is a tunnel thruway with no turns: ie. No exit is available between East 40th and East 49th Streets.

Along southbound Second Avenue, a temporary bike lane will be created between East 57th Street and East 41st Street, adjacent to the existing protected bike lane using both the travel lane and parking lane. Traffic and signage will delineate and direct cyclists to the temporary bikeway. As in past years, the existing protected bike lane on the east side of Second Avenue will be kept clear by NYPD, maintained as a travel lane to accommodate emergency vehicles and dignitary motorcades.
CitiBike will offer a 50% discount on its 3-day pass from Sept. 23-30.

CitiBike riders will be able to access the $12 pass by using the code GRIDLOCK19 on the CitiBike app.

In addition to all of the traffic caused by the gridlock, an anti-Trump protest is expected to happen Monday night beginning at Bryant Park and possibly making its way down Fifth Avenue.

President Donald Trump will be in New York during the Assembly and is expected to hold an event of his own, focusing on religious freedom.