Gridlock Alert Days

DOT Traffic Congestion 5th Avenue Midtown Manhattan

Coined in New York City, the term gridlock means traffic congestion that blocks a city’s network of intersections and has been used to describe the Manhattan core’s overwhelming traffic volume in general. Despite the number of vehicles on our streets, New Yorkers most often choose from a variety of available transportation options including regional rail lines, the 24/7 metropolitan subway and bus system, ferries, cycling, and walking.

DOT designates the busiest traffic days of the year as Gridlock Alert Days. Whether traveling for work, errands or recreation, please consider walking, biking or taking public transportation whenever possible.


Holiday Gridlock Alert Days

Select days in November and December are designated Gridlock Alert Days, as traffic volumes increase with holiday shopping and travel, as well as special event street closures. Drivers can expect that travel through Midtown will take twice as long as a typical day of week.


2019 Gridlock Alert Days
Monday, September 23, 2019 Friday, November 22, 2019
Tuesday, September 24, 2019 Wednesday, November 27, 2019
Wednesday, September 25, 2019 Wednesday, December 4, 2019
Thursday, September 26, 2019 Friday, December 6, 2019
Friday, September 27, 2019 Wednesday, December 11, 2019
Monday, September 30, 2019 Thursday, December 12, 2019
  Friday, December 13, 2019
  Wednesday, December 18, 2019
  Thursday, December 19, 2019
  Friday, December 20, 2019

Alternatives and Incentives

Public Transportation

Public transportation is widely available and an ideal way to travel on Gridlock Alert Days – and every day. Visit to check the service status of subways, buses, Metro North Railroad and Long Island Railroad. The new MYmta app and website is a great resource for personalized trip planning and real-time service information.

New Gridlock Alert Days

Increased traffic volume and UN Assembly related street closures have a profound effect on the movement of vehicles in Midtown. As a result, weekdays from September 23-30, 2019 were newly designated Gridlock Alert Days. DOT’s Traffic Operations Division conducted analysis using GPS data from medallion taxis and NYCT buses in the Manhattan Central Business District. The analysis revealed that the week of the UN General Debate includes the most significant driving delays. Drivers can expect Midtown travel times up to three times longer than what is typical for that day of week.

Bike Lane Access During UN General Assembly 2019

Protected bike lanes along First and Second Avenue in Midtown are used by about 6,000 cyclists daily and are among New York City’s busiest bike lanes, completed in 2011 and 2017 respectively. During the UN General Assembly in September 2019, bike lane access was maintained through the security zone along First and Second Avenues. Details available in our Press Release.

Photos of First and Second Avenue are marked with yellow to indicate UN motorcade lane and green to mark bike lane accommodations.