NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Traveling through New York City traffic can be tough even on the best days.

A security plan showing the protected bike lane on Second Avenue during the 2019 U.N. General Assembly. (credit: New York City Department of Transportation)

When the United Nations General Assembly is in session, the gridlock can be downright maddening.

The U.N. General Assembly kicks off on Sept. 23 and runs through Sept. 30th.

The Department of Transportation calls those “Gridlock Alert Days.”

This year, officials hope that keeping protected bike lanes open during the U.N. General Assembly will help make getting around town a little easier. It’s the first time they’ll keep protected bike lane access through the security zone along First and Second Avenues.

“My colleagues and I can’t stress enough that next week Midtown will see some of the slowest traffic speeds of the year. If you do not have to drive, please use alternative modes of transportation,” said Ed Pincar, NYC DOT Manhattan Borough Commissioner.

Watch: Officials Discuss 2019 Gridlock Alert Days, Traffic Plan

Here are more details about the bike lanes along First and Second Avenues.

  • First Avenue Protected Bike Lane Access: Along northbound First Avenue, cyclists will pass a security checkpoint at 39th Street, after which they will be able to travel on the temporary bike lane between East 40th Street to East 49th Street.  Cyclists will be directed to use one northbound travel lane through the 1st Avenue tunnel where a temporary bikeway will then transition back to the existing protected bike lane at East 49th Street.  Barrels, signage, and tape will delineate the space for the temporary bikeway and direct cyclists where to travel. Cyclists are advised that the temporary bike lane is a tunnel thruway with no turns: ie. No exit is available between East 40th and East 49th Streets.
  • Second Avenue Protected Bike Lane Access: Along southbound Second Avenue, a temporary bike lane will be created between East 57th Street and East 41st Street, adjacent to the existing protected bike lane using both the travel lane and parking lane.  Traffic and signage will delineate and direct cyclists to the temporary bikeway.  As in past years, the existing protected bike lane on the east side of Second Avenue will be kept clear by NYPD, maintained as a travel lane to accommodate emergency vehicles and dignitary motorcades.

CitiBike will offer a 50% discount on its 3-day pass from Sept. 23-30. CitiBike riders will be able to access the $12 pass by using the code GRIDLOCK19 on the CitiBike app.

This year’s Gridlock Alert Days are:

  • Monday, September 23, 2019
  • Tuesday, September 24, 2019
  • Wednesday, September 25, 2019
  • Thursday, September 26, 2019
  • Friday, September 27, 2019
  • Monday, September 30, 2019
  • Friday, November 15, 2019
  • Wednesday, November 20, 2019
  • Wednesday, November 27, 2019
  • Friday, December 6, 2019
  • Wednesday, December 11, 2019
  • Thursday, December 12, 2019
  • Friday, December 13, 2019
  • Wednesday, December 18, 2019
  • Thursday, December, 19, 2019
  • Friday, December 20, 2019

“The U.N. General Assembly sees some of Manhattan’s most congested days of the entire year, and we want to get the word out early to ask drivers to use alternatives,” said DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg. “Drivers should leave their cars at home next week if they can — and try walking, taking mass transit, or getting on a bicycle.   In fact, our recent Mobility Report showed that cycling is now regularly the very fastest way to get around Midtown.  And we want to thank our partners at NYPD for their creative collaboration this year that will allow safe protected bike lane access along First and Second Avenues.”

“The NYPD reminds commuters who travel by vehicle to avoid east midtown during the United Nations General Assembly, and to expect possible delays and street closures,” said NYPD Chief of Transportation Thomas Chan. “Those that choose not to utilize public transportation and drive in the area must allow for extra travel time and exercise caution behind the wheel, remembering to yield to pedestrians and bicyclists.”