After being closed off for several weeks as part of security measures to protect Trump Tower, 56th Street between Sixth and Seventh avenues will reopen to crosstown traffic, the mayor announced today.
As part of the change, the NYPD will relocate its mobile command post from the southwest corner of 56th Street to the northwest corner of 56th Street, and that’s no small thing. The switch “will allow for the opening of the south side of 56th Street to one-lane thru traffic while still allowing the mobile command post to act as a traffic deterrent to keep vehicular threats at bay,” according to the release.
Balancing security around the PEOTUS’s New York home base with the needs of the rest of the city has been what one might call “a challenge,” but the (partial) reopening of 56th should improve congestion in the area—and make it easier for businesses who’ve found themselves within the security perimeter to receive normal deliveries—while also “maintaining the safety and security of Trump Tower and the surrounding area.”
“The safety of New Yorkers and of the President-Elect are our top concern,” de Blasio said in a statement. “The changes we are implementing will maintain that security, while allowing for more movement in the area and addressing concerns raised by surrounding businesses. We will continue to examine and carefully confront the challenges presented by this unprecedented responsibility."
Allowing thru traffic on 56th will also ease the sudden burden on 57th: a preliminary DOT study in November showed closing 56th had increased travel times along 57th between Fifth and Seventh Avenues by more than 20 percent. With any luck, the plan will be a boon to businesses in the area, which have seen major losses since the street was dead-ended last month.
“These changes will normalize the commercial activity on the block and will ensure that small businesses on 56th Street will not become a casualty of the Trump presidency. And it sends a message to all New Yorkers and visitors: 56th Street is open for business," Council Member Daniel R. Garodnick said in a statement.