Wednesday is a gridlock alert day

December 2, 2009 7:17:56 AM PST
The annual Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony will cause traffic changes around Rockefeller Center. The ceremony begins at 7:00 p.m., but the traffic issues will begin hours earlier.

The New York City Police Department says because heavy traffic is expected, drivers should avoid the vicinity of Rockefeller Center and Radio City Music Hall from 3 p.m. to 11 p.m.

Spectators are urged to use mass transit to attend the event and are reminded that backpacks and or large bags are prohibited.

The following streets will be subject to closures from about 3 p.m. until the conclusion of the event: 48th, 49th, 50th, and 51st Streets between Avenue of the Americas and Fifth Avenue.

Highlights from the 2009 Holiday Traffic Mitigation Plan include:

Gridlock Alert Days

The City designates several days around the holidays when there is a significant increase vehicular traffic as Gridlock Alert Days. Residents, commuters and visitors are strongly advised to use mass transit on the following days:

  • Friday, November 20
  • Wednesday, November 25
  • Wednesday, December 2
  • Friday, December 4
  • Friday, December 11
  • Wednesday, December 16
  • Thursday, December 17
  • Friday, December 18
  • Wednesday, December 23

    Turn Restrictions

    Turns will be prohibited during the day at selected locations to both improve traffic flow and minimize pedestrian/vehicular conflicts during the holiday season. Initial restrictions will be posted on 5th Avenue at 55th, 53rd, 51st and 47th Streets to ease congestion around Rockefeller Center.

    Construction Embargo

    A special construction embargo is in effect Friday, Nov. 20 from 6 a.m. to 11:59 p.m. and from 6 a.m. on Monday, Nov. 23 through 11:59 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 2, 2010 for the 2009 Holiday Construction Embargo. There will be strict enforcement of this embargo and violators are subject to be summonsed. The locations and conditions of this embargo are available on our Web site at

    Staten Island Ferry Holiday Service

    Holiday service will be in effect on the Staten Island Ferry on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Year's Day. Holiday service is the same as Saturday service but with additional ferries from St. George Terminal on the half-hour from 7:30 p.m. through 10:30 p.m. and from Whitehall Terminal on the hour from 8:00 p.m. through 11:00 p.m.

    MTA/New York City Transit Service Changes and Special Promotions

    MTA/NYC Transit is implementing a series of bus stop changes and route diversions near Rockefeller Center during the holiday season to keep commuters moving. Subway diversions due to construction will also be reduced on Dec. 5-6, 12-13 and 22-23. The MTA will also have special promotions available throughout the holiday season, including discounts when you present your MetroCard when purchasing tickets for the Radio City Christmas Spectacular or the Big Apple Circus. For further information on MTA/NYC Transit service and promotions, go to New Jersey Transit will also be offering special promotions at several attractions around the City. For further information visit

    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 New York State Department of Transportation last year launched 511 New York - a free telephone and Web service where New Yorkers can find traffic information and use a transit trip planner to organize trips to and from New York City spanning multiple service providers in the region. The service operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week and New Yorkers can start using it by calling 511 or visiting

    To view the full Holiday Traffic Mitigation Plan visit

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