FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 28, 2016
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MAYOR DE BLASIO ANNOUNCES PARTIAL RE-OPENING OF 56TH STREET TO CROSSTOWN TRAFFIC
NYPD to maintain enhanced security perimeter protecting the President-Elect, while allowing limited vehicle access
NEW YORK—Mayor Bill de Blasio today announced that 56th Street between 6th and 5th avenues will reopen to crosstown traffic, following several weeks of closure. In addition, the New York City Police Department will relocate their mobile command post from the southwest corner of 56th Street to the northwest corner of 56th Street. This will allow for the opening of the south side of 56th Street to one-lane thru traffic while still allowing the mobile command post to act as a traffic deterrent to keep vehicular threats at bay. These changes – implemented in coordination with the Department of Small Business Services, Department of Transportation, NYPD and Secret Service – will improve congestion and allow for easier access to deliveries for businesses within the security perimeter all while maintaining the safety and security of Trump Tower and the surrounding area. The changes take effect today, Wednesday, December 28.
“The safety of New Yorkers and of the President-Elect are our top concern. The changes we are implementing will maintain that security, while allowing for more movement in the area and addressing concerns raised by surrounding businesses. We will continue to examine and carefully confront the challenges presented by this unprecedented responsibility,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio.
“Protecting the President-elect while minimizing the impact to nearby businesses has required constant dialogue from everyone involved,” said Police Commissioner James P. O’Neill. “We welcome the re-opening of 56th street to increase pedestrian and vehicular movements in the area while still maintaining the security of the next President of the United States.”
“DOT is working closely with the NYPD, local businesses and building owners to continue to mitigate the impact of Midtown security measures on traffic, bus routes and pedestrians on our sidewalks,” said DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg.
“Our department heard the concerns of small business owners near Trump Tower and we took swift action,” said Gregg Bishop, Commissioner of the Department of Small Business Services. “By working with Mayor de Blasio, the NYPD and other colleagues in government, I am pleased that 56th Street will be reopened and that this big security challenge can be met without harming area small businesses.”
The Department of Small Business Services recently canvassed businesses around Trump Tower with the NYPD regarding challenges they faced, and SBS Commissioner Gregg Bishop, joined by Council Member Dan Garodnick, met with small business owners within the security perimeter. That outreach helped inform changes that will alleviate some constraints on customer traffic and deliveries.
In addition, a preliminary DOT study of travel times on West 57th Street between 7th and 5th avenues during November showed that eastbound traffic travel times on that street had increased by over 20 percent with the closure of West 56th Street.
The new changes – implemented in coordination with SBS, the NYPD and Secret Service – ensures that the safety and security of Trump Tower and the surrounding area remain intact while improving traffic flow. The City and Secret Service will continue working closely to keep the area secure and maintain steady traffic for surrounding businesses.
“West 56th Street between 5th and 6th is home to a diverse group of merchants and professionals, the kind of small businesses our city needs to thrive. I’ve met with some of these business owners, and they’ve told me that since their street was dead-ended, deliveries have become nearly impossible and customers have stayed away, costing them anywhere from 30 to 70 percent of their business,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “I’m delighted that the Secret Service and NYPD have found a way to get West 56th Street at least partially moving again as a through street. I urge the Secret Service to keep working with NYPD to do everything they can to avoid unnecessary harm to midtown Manhattan’s businesses.”
“I thank the de Blasio Administration for heeding our calls and making these much needed and sensible changes. These changes will normalize the commercial activity on the block and will ensure that small businesses on 56th Street will not become a casualty of the Trump presidency. And it sends a message to all New Yorkers and visitors: 56th Street is open for business,” said Council Member Daniel R. Garodnick.