|Contact:||Sunny Mindel/Mathew Higgins (212) 788-2958||Marilyn Mode (NYPD) (212) 374-6700||Mark Patterson (DOT) (212) 422-7033|
Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, New York City Police Commissioner Howard Safir and Department of Transportation Commissioner Wilbur L. Chapman today unveiled the City's HOLIDAY TRAFFIC CONTROL PLAN aimed at easing traffic congestion in all five boroughs during the holiday season. This year's comprehensive strategy will include: an increase in traffic agents, police officers and highway tow truck operators; an embargo on new, non-emergency street and sidewalk construction; enhanced enforcement of commercial vehicle regulations; a toll-free hotline set up to report gridlock congestion; and zero tolerance enforcement against double parking and blocking gridlock boxes at intersections.
"Our City's unprecedented economic boom and the record 34.8 million tourists who visited us this year, as well as New York City's distinction as the Millennium Capital of the World, are great successes that bring new challenges," the Mayor said. "We have seen an increase of 60,000 vehicles entering Manhattan daily since 1997, bringing the total number of vehicles entering Manhattan to an estimated 1 million every day for the first time ever.
"The holiday season is a wonderful time of the year in New York City, and we want to make sure that family and friends can come together in the City and move about as safely and swiftly as possible. However, traffic can impede emergency vehicles and dramatically affect public safety. That is why I have asked the Police Commissioner and the Commissioner of the Department of Transportation to develop a comprehensive Holiday Traffic Control Plan that continues to build on our previous and ongoing successful initiatives," the Mayor continued.
"We ask all New Yorkers and visitors to cooperate with these regulations to keep this holiday season a safe and joyous one. We encourage all visitors and City residents to take advantage of the 'One City - One Fare' program and utilize our great mass transit system through the holiday season," the Mayor concluded.
The traffic plan will focus on the following areas:
DON'T BLOCK THE BOX
As part of the Don't Block the Box initiative, there will be a continued zero tolerance enforcement effort aimed at vehicles that block intersections, with a special emphasis on the midtown Manhattan area. Vehicles caught in the intersection after the light has turned red will be issued a summons. Summonses can be costly -- the initial fine is $40.00 plus a $25.00 surcharge, with additional fines allowable for subsequent offenses up to $200, plus two points against the driver's license. During the first 10 months of this year, 19,350 summonses have been issued, as compared to 4,000 issued in 1998.
The City's toll-free hotline for pedestrians and motorists to report vehicles seen blocking the box is 877-GRIDLOCK or (877-474-3562).
To keep traffic flowing and improve vehicular and pedestrian safety, the New York City Police Department (NYPD) will continue Operation Move-Along, which targets double parking; and the unauthorized use of bus lanes, no standing zones, and construction permits. All violators will be subject to ticketing, booting and towing. Operation Move-Along summonses range from $55 to $280, depending on whether the vehicle is tire booted, towed, or both. Since the initiative began on October 1, 1999, there have been 46,143 summonses issued on 7 target dates. Those summonses are part of the 527,162 double parking summonses issued this year. Additionally, 1,610 cars and 147 trucks have been towed during the 7 targeted dates in Operation Move-Along. In 1998, 210,590 summonses were issued for double parking citywide.
STREET AND SIDEWALK CONSTRUCTION EMBARGO
With the exception of emergencies and buildings already under construction, the Department of Transportation (DOT) has imposed a street and sidewalk construction embargo for the issuance of new permits in numerous locations throughout the City. Each NYPD precinct will be strictly enforcing compliance with existing permits for all construction. The Police Department, together with DOT's Highway Inspection Quality Assurance Unit (HIQA) has issued 11,245 summonses this year for failure to comply with permit regulations including 300 for false emergency permits.
HIQA units investigate existing and new permits to make sure they are genuine emergencies. Permit violators will face significant fines ranging from $150 to $4,000 per occurrence. Complaints may be reported to (212) CALLDOT.
A Citywide total of 292,777 bus stop summonses have been issued this year. Comparatively, 106,000 bus stop summonses were issued for the same period last year. Operation on-Board, in which traffic agents travel on buses and write summonses as they come across vehicles parked in bus zones and bus lanes will continue. For the first 10 months of this year, 9,773 summonses have been issued as part of Operation On-Board.
To provide more off-street parking for charter buses, particularly in the Theater District, the City has secured the use of a 60,000 square-foot commercial parking lot on 11th Avenue, between 44th and 45th Streets, as well as some available space at the Passenger Ship Terminal. This measure will remove nearly 60 buses from the midtown streets immediately. For further information, please call DOT at: (212) 487-8361.
The installation of pedestrian separators at highly congested locations enhances the safety of pedestrians, while increasing road capacity. Pedestrian separators will be installed shortly at the following locations: east side of Broadway between 33rd and 34th Streets; east side of Broadway between 23rd and 25th Streets; and the west side of Eighth Avenue between 42nd and 43rd Streets. A pedestrian separator has already been installed at 33rd Street and Park Avenue. DOT is also considering additional locations for pedestrian separators.
TRAFFIC MANAGEMENT CENTER
DOT houses a centralized command center for Citywide traffic operations. NYPD's Traffic Operation Center is also based at the Traffic Management Center (TMC), where closed circuit TV screens facilitate rapid deployment of appropriate resources to incident areas. The TMC monitors traffic conditions, remotely controls a traffic signalization system, and operates 25 variable message signs to broadcast warnings to motorists. During the holiday season, TMC will utilize its capabilities to mitigate traffic conditions.
To mitigate traffic and provide enhanced security for shoppers, additional NYPD personnel will be deployed at major shopping locations throughout the City, including: Bay Plaza, the Bronx; Kings Plaza Mall, Brooklyn; Queens Center Mall; and Staten Island Mall.
Police Commissioner Howard Safir said, "New York City is safer and better than ever, and as a result, we expect more visitors to come and enjoy the Big Apple's holiday attractions. To ensure that both residents and visitors have a safe and enjoyable holiday, we are going to do our best to maintain the flow of traffic in the City. This is part of our on-going efforts to keep vehicular and pedestrian traffic moving in a safe and efficient manner. I strongly urge everyone to use mass transit whenever possible. And if you must drive into Manhattan, we're going to insist that you obey all parking and traffic regulations. We will be there to enforce the law and to keep traffic moving safely."
Transportation Commissioner Wilbur Chapman said, "This holiday season we are dedicated to maintaining the smooth flow of traffic and keeping our streets clear. The strategies we are employing should augment public safety, and improve the quality of life for all New Yorkers and visitors."
Vehicle fines are as follows:
|Blocking the Box||-||$40.00 plus a $25.00 surcharge and two points on the driver's license. Additional fines can be levied for subsequent offenses up to $200.00|
|Double Parking||-||$55.00 plus towing fees|
|Towing||-||$150.00 plus the fine for the violation cited|
|Booting Fee||-||$75.00 plus the fine for the violation cited|
Additional information can be found at DOT'S website (http://www.ci.nyc.ny.us/calldot) or by calling the CALLDOT hotline at (212 or 718) 225-5368. The DOT will also be working with the Shadow Traffic communications network, which serves 87 radio stations in the tri-state area, to share information on traffic conditions.