Fire Union Sounds Alarm on Mayor's Holiday Pedestrian Zone Plan

NY 1 - November 26, 2019

NEW YORK - The city firefighters union is warning Mayor Bill de Blasio about slower emergency response times under a plan to create pedestrian zones around Rockefeller Center this holiday season.

The mayor says starting this Friday, the streets around Rockefeller Center will be closed to traffic during certain times so pedestrians will have more room to walk around.

Under the plan, 49th and 50th Streets from Fifth to Sixth Avenues will only be open to pedestrians beginning in the early afternoon on weekdays, and at 10 a.m. on weekends.

On Fifth Avenue, the lane closest to the sidewalk on both sides of the street will be turned over to pedestrians from 48th to 52nd streets.

But the Uniformed Firefighters Association is blasting the plan.

The group tweeted this response to the mayor's announcement.

It says "de Blasio's plan to pedestrianize streets around Rockefeller Center this holiday season will only cause 'city-wide gridlock river to river' and lead to a slowdown in emergency response times."

The changes will be in effect every day through New Year's Day.