What to know: New pedestrian plan in place near Rockefeller Center for holiday season

MIDTOWN, Manhattan (WABC) -- Big changes are taking effect this holiday season for pedestrians and drivers getting around Midtown.

A new holiday pedestrian plan stars Friday around Rockefeller Center and concrete barricades are now in place to stop vehicular traffic on 49th and 50th streets between 5th and 6th avenues.

The streets will be for pedestrians only from 1 p.m. to midnight on Fridays, but the rules will be in place starting at 10 a.m. on weekends.

The closure starts at 2 p.m. Monday through Thursday.

The plan will also close two lanes of 5th Avenue, including one of the two bus lanes, starting at 5 p.m. every day.

Police also have the option to remove a lane on 6th Avenue as well, depending on the crowds.

It's a plan that might make the hordes of shoppers and tourists happy, but it has angered drivers, the MTA and firefighters who say this will make Midtown's notorious gridlock even worse.

"This is something we have to do, we have to make sure that the pedestrians who come to Rockefeller Center, anyone who has been there knows exactly how crowded it can get there, how many people there are, we have to ease the congestion," said NYPD Chief of Department Terence Monahan.

Those who need to take a bus should also take note that the M50 will be rerouted and several busy bus routes on 5th Avenue that usually have two dedicated bus lanes will now have to share one.

The closures will be in effect through January 2.

* More Manhattan news
* Send us a news tip
* Download the abc7NY app for breaking news alerts
*Follow us on YouTube
Copyright © 2021 WABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.