New York - Mayor De Blasio Announces Initiatives To Help Ease Congestion

Published on: October 22nd, 2017 at 06:53 PM

New York - Mayor Bill de Blasio today announced action on a series of initiatives designed to ease congestion in busy thoroughfares across the five boroughs. The new effort will include both new and proven approaches to traffic congestion, including the creation of new moving lanes in Midtown, clearing curbs during rush hours, expanding NYPD enforcement of block-the-box violations, limiting curbside access in crowded corridors, and bringing coordinated attention to recurring traffic spots on local highways. The Mayor announced the steps along one of the new Clear Lanes corridors in Midtown Manhattan, where vehicle travel times have declined by 23% since 2010.

“With 8.5 million people, New York City is experiencing both record population and economic vitality; but our success has put serious demands on our already crowded street network,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “New Yorkers have been telling me loud and clear about the quality-of-life problems created by traffic where they live and work.  With a targeted effort to help clear travel lanes, delivery zones, intersections and highways, these initiatives will address these concerns head-on, using established and new tools that will keep our City moving, from midtown to all of our neighborhoods .”

These initiatives will encompass the work of the Department of Transportation (DOT), the Police Department (NYPD), the Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC), the Economic Development Corporation (EDC), the Department of Design and Construction (DDC) and the Department of Finance (DOF) -- and will include five major elements: 

  1. Clear Lanes:  Keeping Traffic Moving in Manhattan’s CBDs  

To address congestion in the core of Midtown, the City will create continuous curb moving lanes during busy times on 11 key crosstown streets. Deliveries will generally be permitted on one side of the street, while the other curb will be signed for no standing from 6 am to 7 pm.  To enforce these Clear Lanes, the NYPD will double the Traffic Enforcement Agents (TEAs) in the Midtown Manhattan Traffic Enforcement Task Force from 40 to 80 and increase uniform headcount by 110 officers. These officers will focus on moving and parking violations, double parking, and off-route trucks. The City will also expand its off-hour delivery program to assist businesses that are interested in shifting their deliveries to less busy times. Clear Lane streets will include:

  • 60th and 59th Sts. (Fifth to Second Ave.)
  • 58th St. (Lexington to Second Ave.)
  • 54th St. (Eighth to Third Ave.)
  • 53rd St. (Ninth to Third Ave.)

  • 50th and 49th Sts. (Ninth to Third Ave.)
  • 47th and 46th Sts. (Ninth to Third Ave.)
  • 37th and 36th Sts. (Sixth to Second Ave)

To address congestion in Lower Manhattan, the City will expand its network of traffic cameras to better monitor traffic conditions and extend Midtown in Motion, NYC DOT’s signals-based congestion management system, to include Lower Manhattan. Finally, the City will reform its double parking and other curb regulation rules to make them easier to understand for drivers and easier to enforce.

  1. Clear Curbs: Testing Curb Access Restrictions  

In an effort to develop additional tools to manage traffic congestion, the City will test curb access restriction on two major commercial corridors and in a zone within Manhattan. The City will then monitor the impact of the pilot program and, if successful, expand the approach to additional corridors. For six months beginning in January 2018, the City will ban curbside loading on both sides of the street on the pilot corridors and within the pilot zone during peak hours (7 am-10 am and 4 pm-7 pm). Focusing on the morning and evening peak periods will preserve business viability while addressing the most severe congestion. The expeditious pick-up and drop-off of passengers would still be allowed, as would deliveries to off-street loading docks. This treatment will be implemented in:

These corridors serve as important links in the regional road network, carry high volumes of traffic, and are subject to significant blockages by double parking and delivery activity. Additional NYPD staff will be assigned to the pilot locations to enforce the new restrictions and keep curbs clear. The City will collect data on traffic congestion, double parking, delivery activity, and curb regulation compliance before and after the six-month pilot period and report on the new program in the fall of 2018.

  1. Clear Intersections: Expanding Block-the-Box Enforcement to Reduce Gridlock

Drivers who enter intersections without sufficient space on the other side “block-the box,” which can have cascading effects on traffic and create dangers to pedestrians who cannot cross streets safely.   The City will reinvigorate its efforts against block-the-box with focus at 50 key intersections citywide. NYC DOT will install special block-the-box markings and update signage to make drivers more aware of block-the-box restrictions, while the NYPD will increase enforcement at these locations to keep traffic moving. NYPD will hire an additional 50 uniformed officers to enforce block-the-box rules.

The City will target about 30 intersections in Manhattan and 20 intersections outside Manhattan, with a focus on major routes leading to river crossings, highway on-ramps, and commercial centers. A new public-awareness campaign will also target drivers.

  1. Clear Zones: Reducing Congestion in Commercial Districts Outside Manhattan

The City will undertake a range of efforts to address congestion at hotspots outside Manhattan, including: 

  1. Clear Highways: Reducing Congestion on the Arterial Highway System 

The City will engage state and local elected officials with the goal of convening task forces to focus on persistent congestion on highways outside the City’s jurisdiction, starting with the Cross Bronx Expressway and the Staten Island Expressway (SIE)/Verrazano–Narrows Bridge/Gowanus Expressway corridor. These task forces will seek to work with partner agencies, including the MTA, NYS DOT, and the Port Authority, to improve highway operations and address choke points. The SIE and Cross Bronx task forces will be convened in the coming months. Moving forward, the City may convene similar groups to focus on additional highways, such as the LIE.

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