To Battle Congestion, Mayor de Blasio Announces Stepped-Up Enforcement of “Don’t Block the Box”

File Photo: Traffic agent gives motorist a ticket for blocking the box at New Utrecht 45 St. Photo: Shimon Gifter

Mayor’s congestion initiative includes “Clear Intersections” which will see NYPD write violations at fifty targeted intersections in all five boroughs

NEW YORK—Mayor Bill de Blasio announced today that the NYC DOT and the NYPD had prepared enhancements to 50 key intersections where block- the-box violations will now be aggressively enforced.  DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg and NYPD Chief Thomas Chan made the “Clear Intersections” announcement at one of the targeted intersections — at Broadway and Broome Street in the SoHo section of Manhattan.

“Late last year, we announced a series of initiatives designed to address congestion issues around New York City, a symptom of the city’s record population and economic vitality,” said Mayor de Blasio.  “Blocking the box is one area where focused NYPD enforcement can and will make a big difference to keep traffic moving around hotspots in every borough.”

“The NYPD is dedicated to the Mayor’s initiative to improve traffic flow and to move traffic safely,” said NYPD Chief of Transportation Thomas Chan.  “Drivers who block intersections are contributing to overall congestion, and their disregard of this particular traffic rule comes at the expense of other drivers including emergency vehicles.  Additionally, pedestrians are endangered when they have to navigate between vehicles that are blocking crosswalks.  The NYPD’s enforcement efforts will reduce congestion and improve pedestrian safety.  Motorists should be advised that officers will be out in force issuing summonses to those who block the box.”

“Today, DOT and NYPD are bringing back “don’t block the box” to 50 busy intersections around the City,” said DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg.  “We know traffic can be frustrating, but blocking the box just causes gridlock for everybody — bus riders, pedestrians, cyclists and your fellow motorists.  Please be courteous and safe — and don’t block the box.”

In Manhattan, vehicle travel times have declined by 23% since 2010.  Drivers who enter intersections without sufficient space on the other side “block the box,” which can have cascading effects on traffic and create dangers to pedestrians who cannot cross streets safely. The Clear Intersections effort includes 50 key intersections citywide and is part of a comprehensive series of efforts announced by Mayor Bill de Blasio last October to ease congestion in busy thoroughfares across the five boroughs.  Block-the-box violators face minimum fines of $115 and possible points that can lead to the loss of a driver’s license.

As part of Clear Intersections, DOT has installed special markings and/or updated signage at key intersections (see list below) to make drivers aware of the restrictions.  The City chose intersections along major routes leading to river crossings, highway on-ramps, and commercial centers. NYPD will increase enforcement at these locations to keep traffic moving, hiring an additional 50 uniformed officers to enforce block-the-box violations.

“Ask any commuter from Queens and the Bronx and they’ll tell you that New York City gridlock is a major impediment to their daily lives,” said Congress Member Joe Crowley. “Mayor de Blasio’s initiative to increase enforcement of block-the-box violations will provide tangible relief to New Yorkers who commute in and out of Manhattan every day. I applaud his leadership in keeping our city moving forward.”

“I commend Mayor de Blasio, DOT Commissioner Trottenberg and NYPD Chief Chan on this comprehensive traffic plan and the Clear Intersections initiative to help ease congestion across all five boroughs,” said Congress Member Adriano Espaillat. “Traffic congestion is exceedingly frustrating, and we each have a role to play. Adhering to the new traffic signage and markers at key intersections will help address these concerns and help keep our city moving and pedestrians safe.”

“In a growing and thriving city, the downside has been that traffic congestion has gotten out of control. The “Clear Intersections’ initiative is a critical part of the Mayor’s effort to help bring some much needed relief to New York City commuters and drivers. I applaud Mayor de Blasio for giving this issue the attention it deserves,” said Congress Member Jose Serrano.

Senator Brad Hoylman said: “New York’s roadways are the major arteries of our transportation network. The Department of Transportation’s crackdown on blocking the box is a simple but effective way to alleviate congestion while keeping drivers, pedestrians, and passengers safe. I’m grateful to Mayor de Blasio, DOT Commissioner Trottenberg, and NYPD Chief Chan for keeping New Yorkers safe and secure while on the go.”

“I have long advocated for efforts to deter cars from “blocking the box” in Lower Manhattan and applaud the announcement of these newest efforts,” said Assembly Member Deborah Glick. “In already congested areas, this behavior clogs up our streets, puts pedestrians at risk and impacts quality of life. I applaud the Mayor and the Department of Transportation for taking steps to make streets safer and alleviate congestion.”

“Safety is paramount, and in my district, particularly in the Lower East Side and Chinatown, we have heard public outcries about more than one dangerous intersection,” said Assembly Member Yuh-Line Niou. “Too often, children and seniors find themselves maneuvering around hazardous situations in our intersections just to get across the street unharmed. Unfortunately, Clinton and Grand Street, a problematic intersection in my district that constituents have been outspoken about, did not make the list of the 50 intersections, but I will continue to push for increased safety enforcement at this particular location. I hope that this initiative will help to increase traffic flow, another major issue in my district. Moving forward, I urge City officials and NYPD to work as much with our community boards as possible on this initiative. I look forward to working with the Mayor, Commissioner Trottenberg and Chief Chan to ensure that our intersections are safe for everyone.”

“Congestion in our streets is a complex issue with economic and environmental impacts that merits a multi-pronged approach. I look forward to seeing the results of stronger enforcement and the implementation of other parts of the Administration’s congestion plan,” said Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez, chair of the Council Committee on Transportation. “As we move forward with these potential solutions, we must continue conversations with stakeholders to ensure everyone is part of the solution.”

“Midtown Manhattan has become home to more than just world tourist attractions — it has become known for its traffic congestion,” said Council Member Keith Powers. “The new policies and enforcement are a first step in helping to resolve these issues. I look forward to working with the administration to ensure that these policies are administered in a fair manner.”

“On behalf of all the residents of my community and throughout Manhattan, I want to recognize the City’s enormous effort to make our streets safer for pedestrians, reduce traffic congestion, and aggressively enforce its “Don’t Block the Box” regulations,” said Council Member Helen Rosenthal. “Heightened enforcement not only means that traffic will move more smoothly, it also enhances pedestrian safety because drivers are on notice that they must proceed with caution through intersections. This is government at work, and we greatly appreciate the efforts of the Mayor’s Office, NYPD and DOT who are making it possible.”

“Main Street and Roosevelt Ave is one of the busiest intersections in New York City, and ‘blocking the box’ by cars, trucks, and even buses, is one of the largest contributors to traffic congestion. Cracking down on these violations is a necessary step to unclogging the essential arteries of our city,” said Council Member Peter Koo.

The Clear Intersections effort is part of the Mayor’s plan to reduce congestion, which includes other tactics citywide such as the Clear Lanes, Clear Curbs, Clear Zones, and Clear Highways initiatives. These efforts will help keep traffic moving, clear curbs during rush hours, ensure intersections are kept clear of congestion, limit curbside access in crowded corridors, and bring coordinated attention to recurring traffic hot spots on local highways.  Details about other elements of the congestion initiative will be announced in the weeks ahead.

Clear Intersections will be in effect at the following locations:

1. Broadway & West 57 Street
2. Dyer Avenue & West 41 Street
3. Fort Washington Avenue & West 165 Street
4. 3 Avenue & East 36 Street
5. Broadway & Spring Street
6. Delancey Street & Bowery
7. Delancey Street & Allen Street
8. 9 Avenue & West 207 Street
9. 10 Avenue & West 40 Street
10. West Side Highway (9A)/12 AV & West 51 Street
11. Broadway & Canal Street
12. Canal Street & Centre Street
13. Delancey Street & Essex Street
14. Hudson Street & Beach Street/Ericsson Place
15. 3 Avenue & East 57 Street
16. 3 Avenue & East 58 Street
17. 3 Avenue & East 59 Street
18. 3 Avenue & East 35 Street
19. 6 Avenue & Watts Street
20. 10 Avenue & West 41 Street
21. Broadway and Broome Street
22. Broadway and Chambers Street
23. Broadway & West 66 Street
24. Amsterdam Avenue & 181 Street
25. Canal Street & West Broadway
26. Hudson Street & Laight Street
27. Hudson Street & Vestry Street

28. Queens Boulevard & Skillman Avenue
29. Northern Boulevard & Queens Boulevard
30. Queens Boulevard & Roosevelt Avenue
31. Astoria Boulevard & 31 Street
32. 21 Street & 49 Avenue
33. Laurel Hill Boulevard & 65 Place
34. Queens Midtown Expressway *N S/R & Grand Avenue
35. Main Street & Roosevelt Avenue
36. 71 Avenue & Austin Street
37. 37 Avenue & 138 Street
38. Metropolitan Avenue & 60 Street
39. Queens Plaza South (SR) & 28 Street

The Bronx
40. 135 Street & Third Avenue

41. Flatbush Avenue & 8 Avenue
42. Atlantic Avenue & Pennsylvania Avenue
43. 86 Street & 7 Avenue
44. Tillary Street & Jay Street
45. Flatbush Avenue & Myrtle Avenue

Staten Island
46. College of Staten Island & Victory Boulevard
47. Narrows Road South & Hylan Boulevard w/b @ Steuben Street
48. Narrows Road South & Hylan Boulevard
49. Narrows Road South & Fingerboard Road
50. Narrows Road North & Fingerboard Road


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