NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — With increased security near Trump Tower now that its most famous resident is the president-elect, roads are being shut down and pedestrians are having a tough time getting through.
And it may not be changing after Jan. 20. President-elect Donald Trump has said he plans to spend part of his time at his home at Trump Tower, and that could create a security and traffic nightmare in the area.
The Department of Transportation said the traffic woes are not their mess to clean up, CBS2’s Hazel Sanchez reported. They said it is a security issue being handled by the NYPD, and safety trumps a quick commute.
Traffic in Midtown is nothing new, of course. But now, lanes are being shut down for protesters on Fifth Avenue, and 56th Street is totally closed to vehicles outside Trump Tower.
Police are also posted outside the president-elect’s New York City home.
“That’s insane. Like, we have been stuck in traffic for hours,” one driver said.
“It’s gridlock,” said Anna Gianatiempo. “I was in Sunday, and it was horrible.”
The result has been bumper-to-bumper crosstown traffic in Midtown. CBS2 watched as an ambulance inched its way across 57th Street, trying to respond to an emergency.
“It’s horrible. I just can’t get around the city,” said driver Jeff Marcus. “I drive this street every day. I have to give it at least another 15, 20 minutes lead time to get to my location.”
Mayor Bill de Blasio showed little concern for the increased traffic when CBS2 asked him about it on Friday.
“There will be some disruptions. Look at the bright side — the holidays are coming anyway. Midtown is going to be messed up anyway,” de Blasio said Friday.
He added: “I don’t think it is an overwhelming challenge. We are talking about the next few months, and then Donald Trump is going to be living in the White House.”
But Trump may not be at the White House all the time as president. The Secret Service wants to ban all traffic from Fifth Avenue near Trump Tower whenever the president-elect is in town.
The NYPD and Secret Service have a meeting planned for Thursday to negotiate a compromise that won’t completely shutdown the heart of Midtown.
The NYPD said it has not determined whether security measures including heavily-armed police and street closures around Trump Tower will remain once Trump takes office.
The NYPD is working closely with the Secret Service to secure the safety of all New Yorkers living in, working in and visiting the area.
THE FDNY said it will work closely with law enforcement and plan accordingly to ensure its members can quickly respond to emergencies.
“I guess it’s just one more reason to avoid Midtown, right?” said Amanda Nazario of Harlem.
But those who work in the area have no choice. They have to share the sidewalk with gawking tourists and barricades to control pedestrian traffic.
“This is like a nuclear bomb hit the city because there was fallout, a little bit of chaos and a lot of tension,” Dan, a Westchester resident who works on Madison Avenue, said.
“This is New York, there’s always some modicum of inconvenience and you deal with it and move on,” said Colin Fleming, who works in the area.
“It’s traffic, what are we gonna do about it? Nothing. It’s New York,” a limo driver said.
The sand-filled sanitation trucks shielding the glass tower last week have been replaced with concrete and metal barricades that could remain here for four to eight years.
Another concern is the skyscraper’s ability to handle a bomb blast. It went up in 1983, 20 years before the city put stricter building codes in place after 9/11.