New Yorkers and tourists alike can rejoice over extra elbow room this holiday season as they visit the iconic Rockefeller Christmas Tree in Midtown.
Mayor de Blasio on Friday announced a temporary expansion of the pedestrian space around Rockefeller Center and Radio City Music Hall to help ensure the safety and comfort of visitors at the famous holiday tree.
“The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree is New York City’s crown jewel during the holidays, and we’re always excited to welcome the world to see it—but when the world descends on Rockefeller Center for a month on end, additional tools are clearly necessary so that our Vision Zero agenda stays in place,” de Blasio said. “This historic announcement pedestrianizing Rockefeller Center will keep holiday revelers safe while ensuring minimal disruption to the rest of the life of the city.”
Officials will be using moveable barriers to help with partial or full street closures to help with foot traffic.
The new measures that went into effect on Friday include:
Side Street Closures: 49th and 50th Streets between 5th and 6th Avenues are open to pedestrians alone during the most congested hours.
· By default, these streets are closed between 2 p.m. and midnight from Monday to Thursday, 1 p.m. and midnight on Friday, and 10 a.m. and midnight on Saturdays and Sundays.
5th Avenue: Movable barriers are placed on the east and west sides of the streets on 5th Avenue between 48th and 52nd Streets, eliminating a lane of traffic on each side of the avenue to create more pedestrian space. Additionally, there are no turns on 47th, 49th, or 51st Streets.
· Barriers are in place between 5 p.m. or earlier and midnight during the week, and between noon or earlier on weekends.
6th Avenue: Movable barriers may be placed on the east side of the street on 6th Avenue between 48th and 52nd Streets, eliminating one lane of traffic to create more pedestrian space.
· 6th Avenue will be monitored and barriers will be put in place or removed depending on crowd conditions.
Buses: MTA buses will bypass 48th to 52nd Streets.
Besides the barriers, NYPD and Department of Transportation (DOT) employees will be monitoring the area year-round. Chief of Department Terence Monahan said in a press release, “Due to collaboration with the Department of Transportation and our ability to adjust assets on the street in real-time, NY’s Finest will ensure the safety of those enjoying the holiday season in the Big Apple while minimizing vehicular congestion.”