The United Nations week is always a mess for the New York City traffic. Starting September 24 there are gridlock alert days as pedestrians will outpace cars and streets will be morphed into parking lots. At every turn road rage could be seen. In short, worst-of-the-worst days are just ahead.
This year the United Nations General Assembly session has expanded and the annual congestion warning will be for sixteen days, unlike 10 days in 2017. Thousands of world leaders and diplomats will descend turning Manhattan into a labyrinth due to traffic jams and street closures.
A local businessman said, “U.N. week, forget about it… Everything is bad… You can’t drive. You can’t walk. People are all over the place.”
It is a fact in recent years that the United Nations gridlock is worse the Thanksgiving Day Parade, the New Year’s Eve ball drop in Times Square or even the tree-lighting ceremony at Rockefeller Center. A regular driver said on Monday of UN week in 2017 the average time traveling one mile in Midtown Manhattan was 19 minutes, up from the usual 10 minutes on other days. On the day of the Rockefeller Center tree lighting the time taken was 14 minutes and in a blizzard in March it was 20 minutes.
NYC Transportation commissioner Polly Trottenberg said the week is very challenging as people also do know, so if someone is in the traffic, he or she is in fact the traffic.
Meanwhile, a budget of $500,000 will be spent for warning campaign about the gridlock days to discourage drivers remain off the road between September 24 and October 1, which is the busiest stretch of the session. Across the Internet and radio a message will be delivered like, “Your trip through Midtown will take three times as long.”
The ads will start a week in advance to help drivers have enough time in changing their plans. Some incentives could also be used like discounts on shared car pool rides or lower price bike parking
Apart from all these, in past few years it has been seen traffic in Midtown Manhattan has slowed to a crawl averaging 4.7 miles per hour and there are several reasons to it like increase in Ubers and other for-hire cars, more delivery trucks on the road as e-commerce has boomed and continued construction work that narrows car lanes.