Mayor Bill de Blasio has introduced a comprehensive traffic plan to ease congestion across all five boroughs. These new measures will test the effects of curbside access restrictions, work on increasing NYPD enforcement, and reducing highway backups, among many other features.
“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,” de Blasio said in a statement. “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.”
De Blasio plans to ease congestion through a five-point plan. The first concerns easing backups on 11 main crosstown corridors: 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.), and 37th and 36th Sts. (Sixth to Second Ave).
This will be done by restricting deliveries to one side of the street and enforcing no standing on the other curb from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. In order to enforce these new measures, the NYPD will double the Midtown Manhattan Traffic Enforcement Task Force from 40 to 80, and add 110 additional uniformed officers.
Second, the city will test completely restricting curb access in certain parts of midtown, and along two main corridors in Brooklyn and Queens. In Midtown, this area is bounded by Sixth Avenue, Madison Avenue, East, 45th Street, and 50th Street. In Brooklyn it will pertain to Flatbush Avenue between Tillary Street and Grand Army Plaza, and in Queens it will be along Roosevelt Avenue between Broadway and 108th Streets. Starting in January 2018, for a six-month period, curbside access will be completely off-limits (except for quick passenger pick up and drop offs) between 7 a.m. and 10 a.m., and between 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Other measures in the five-point plan include greater enforcement against drivers who enter intersections without sufficient space on the other side; carrying out infrastructural improvements on other major traffic corridors in areas like Hunts Point, Downtown Flushing, and the North Shore of Staten Island; and convene a task force to reduce congestion on highways outside the city’s jurisdiction like the Cross Bronx Expressway and the Staten Island Expressway.
Previously, Governor Andrew Cuomo had hinted at a congestion pricing plan that would reduce congestion but also help fund improvements to the subway. Mayor de Blasio has opposed these types of pricing plans, as he feels it unfairly targets low-income New Yorkers, according to the New York Times.