NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – The city’s sudden change to traffic flow on a heavily traveled west side avenue led to mass confusion Tuesday.
A one-way only stretch on 11th Avenue has been extended. The city said it’s part of the mayor’s “Vision Zero” plan, but drivers and bikers say it came with zero warning.
With the brush of this truck, Department of Transportation workers wiped out the double lanes on 11th Avenue and slowly erected one way sign posts.
There will now be only one way traffic from 57th Street all the way to the Lincoln Tunnel.
“Just another inconvenience,” one driver said.
“Now what?! We didn’t know. There’s no signs, there’s no nothing,” Tony Diaz, who works in the area, added.
Historically 57th to 44th has been two ways, but as of Tuesday you can only go south on 52nd Street.
One driver didn’t notice the poorly announced change and was chased down by an NYPD officer to turn around, but still didn’t understand why.
“He wasn’t going the wrong way – it’s a two way right here,” a passenger argued.
“There’s two way right here,” the frustrated driver added.
CBS2 saw a ride-share vehicle making an illegal U-turn in the middle of the road. Even though the DOT says the change won’t be implemented between 57th and 52nd Streets for three weeks, a no turn sign was already put up – leaving even more drivers scratching their heads until then.
Some drivers realized the change Tuesday morning as police issued summonses to drivers making a left onto 11th Avenue from 56th Street to head north.
CBS2’s Lisa Rozner then questioned the officers on why they were handing out pricey tickets for a policy that was literally minutes old and gave drivers no warning.
Hours later – and as more cars continued to make the customary turn – police instead pulled over drivers to give out fliers informing them about the “new traffic pattern.”
The NYPD’s chief of transportation then had to answer why summonses were given to Tuesday morning’s drivers and what would happen to them now.
“We will have a five-day grace period when they will issue summonses so they will look into that particular matter,” Chief Thomas Chan said.
There’s yet another change coming to 11th Avenue. The DOT said over the summer a protected bike lane would be installed on the west side from 57th to 42nd Street, along with a bus lane and islands for boarding.
It remains unclear what will happen to those who received tickets Tuesday.