FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Press Release #05-81
DOT Commissioner Weinshall and Police Commissioner Kelly Announce Holiday Traffic Mitigation Plan Goes Into Effect Friday, November 18, 2005
Transportation Commissioner Iris Weinshall and Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly today announced the 2005 Holiday Traffic Mitigation Plan. The Holiday Traffic Plan is developed each year to address the unusually heavy vehicle traffic associated with the holiday season, which begins the week before Thanksgiving and lasts until 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.
"During the holiday season we see a huge influx of shoppers, sightseers and people here to enjoy the City's many tourist attractions," said Department of Transportation Commissioner Iris Weinshall. "The holiday plan is developed to keep people safe and to keep traffic moving, and each year we see more creative initiatives than the year before. This year is no exception and thanks to a generous donation from Jerry Ehrenwald and the International Gemological Institute, we will be offering a new program that provides free round trip metro cards to commuters who make use of the Shea Stadium park and ride."
"As we enter the busy holiday season, I encourage all residents and visitors to take advantage of New York City's excellent public transportation system, "said Police Commissioner Kelly. "Commuters should also be aware of our holiday traffic plans, designed to reduce traffic congestion during the upcoming weeks and particularly on the traditional heavy days for traffic."
Highlights from the 2005 Mayoral Holiday Mitigation Plan include
Metro Card Giveaway at Shea Stadium - The International Gemological Institute (IGI), the Manhattan based independent expert appraiser of diamonds and gemstone jewelry for consumers and retailers, has donated over 1,000 complimentary, round trip ($4) Metro Cards to promote the use of mass transit during the holiday season. The cards will be distributed every Wednesday (Matinee Days) from November 23rd through December 25th, 2005 to commuters who park at Shea Stadium and use mass transit to enter Manhattan. "We are happy to offer this service to help bring consumers into Manhattan for a wonderful shopping experience," said Jerry Ehrenwald, president of IGI.
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:
Operation Safe Streets - The NYPD will focus on making this the safest holiday season ever, with the goal of reducing accidents, injuries and fatalities. Enforcement will be increased in midtown and in other key areas of the City and will focus on hazardous violations, such as: driving while intoxicated, speeding, disobeying traffic signals, improper turns, seatbelt violations etc. In addition, special focus will be given to the taxi population as well as delivery trucks to ensure that they are complying with all traffic laws. Increased activity will take place at tourist attractions, hotels, and other places where taxis frequently stop.
The Midtown THRU Streets Program - The THRU Streets program which began in the Fall of 2002 and was made permanent in March 2004, provides an incentive to drivers who seek a reliable and consistent cross-town route. The program designates four pairs of Midtown streets, as well as 60th Street, for "express" or "through" operations on weekdays from 10 am to 6 pm Turns are prohibited between Third and Sixth Avenues, except at Park Avenue. The THRU Streets program increases travel speed and enhances pedestrian safety by creating protected intersections where pedestrians can cross avenues without the risk posed by turning vehicles.
The streets designated for the program are:
Dedicated Through Lanes on Fifth and Sixth Avenues - From November 25, 2005, through January 1, 2006, NYPD willestablish "dedicated lanes" on Fifth and Sixth Avenues to help improve through traffic. The center lane of each avenue will be designated for through vehicles to keep traffic moving. Just as the NYCDOT Thru Streets program does, this initiative will allow traffic in these lanes to flow more quickly because vehicles will not be changing lanes or making turns.
MTA Special Holiday Fare - To encourage the use of mass transit, the MTA offers a variety of holiday specials for commuters to New York City. In addition to discounts on the Long Island and Metro North railroads, the MTA will be offering special fares on New York City Transit subway and local buses this year. Specific information on these special subway and bus fares are available on the MTA Web site at http://mta.info/
Extended Holiday Embargo - Street and sidewalk construction will be restricted from 6 am to midnight between November 18, 2005 and January 2, 2006 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. This year, the Department has increased the number of streets covered in the embargo area to better address the influx of holiday traffic. Additional streets included in this year's embargo include: Sixth Avenue (Church to 59th Streets) and Park Avenue (14th to 66th Streets).
For information about other initiatives in 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 nyc.gov/dot
Contact: Kay Sarlin (212) 442-7033