Every Day is Gridlock Alert Day in New York City

Photo: joiseyshowaa/Flickr

Yesterday, December 2, was designated a “Gridlock Alert Day” in New York City. Tomorrow will be a Gridlock Alert Day too, according to the New York City Department of Transportation. Friday, November 20 and Wednesday, November 25 were also designated Gridlock Alert Days, and there will be five more between December 11 and December 23.

What makes a day eligible for Gridlock Alert status? Yesterday, it was the tree lighting in Rockefeller Center, which requires a number of blocks in midtown Manhattan to be closed to traffic. The reason for tomorrow’s alert: it’s a Friday during the holiday season, so NYC DOT says you should “consider walking, biking or taking public transportation whenever possible (as if most New Yorkers had an alternative).

How useful is a gridlock alert, anyways? It’s nice of the City to warn us of street closures, but traffic is nothing new in the five boroughs. For example, if someone at TSTC headquarters on West 31st Street were to drive or take a cab 1.6 miles to Grand Central Terminal today– not a Gridlock Alert Day — it would take at least 20 minutes under current traffic conditions. An able-bodied New Yorker could probably hoof it in that amount of time.

Issuing a special advisory for traffic congestion in New York City — where the term “gridlock” was invented — is like issuing a cold weather advisory in the North Pole. Thanks to toll free bridges, free parking and cheap gas, congestion in New York City is not a bug; it’s a feature.

1 Comment on "Every Day is Gridlock Alert Day in New York City"

  1. Rather than urging people to walk, bike or take mass transit, why don’t City officials back up their words with policies like tolled bridges and market-rate parking that are proven to persuade people to do something other than drive?

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