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NYPD: Expect traffic jams near Trump Tower during president’s stay

A heavily armed NYPD officer stands guard outside

A heavily armed NYPD officer stands guard outside Trump Tower in Manhattan on Thursday, Aug. 10th, 2017, as security around the building tightened up ahead of President Donald Trump's upcoming city visit. Credit: Yeong-Ung Yang

With President Donald Trump set to spend a few days in Manhattan beginning Sunday, the NYPD has dusted off the security plan it devised after his election in November, a department spokesman said.

Along with the heavy security that always accompanies the president wherever he goes, New Yorkers should brace for heavier-than-usual Midtown traffic, particularly on Fifth Avenue, near the president’s apartment in the tower that bears his name.

The bottom line: Expect delays.

Trump, in the midst of what he has called a working vacation, is expected to be in the city from Sunday through Wednesday.

According to NYPD spokesman Stephen Davis, the preliminary security plans call for the two Fifth Avenue lanes closest to Trump Tower at the corner of 56th Street to be closed to traffic, leaving two lanes on the west side of the avenue open.

Overall plans will be adjusted if demonstrations occur but Davis said the NYPD is prepared to handle any crowd size ranging from a few hundred to tens of thousands.

Vehicle traffic will not be permitted on 56th Street between Fifth Avenue and Madison Avenue, a continuation of security restrictions in place since late November. Pedestrians will continue to have access, subject to bag checks by police, officials said.

Trucks traveling south on Fifth Avenue will be subject to searches at about 60th Street, Davis said. After Trump’s election victory, police diverted trucks off Fifth Avenue to Park Avenue. It remained unclear Thursday if that diversion point would be enforced during the president’s upcoming stay.

Not all streets in the Trump Tower vicinity will have restrictions, officials said. Traffic will be unimpeded on 57th Street, a major east-west corridor.

At an event in Brooklyn on Monday, Mayor Bill de Blasio said the last time Trump came to Manhattan, on April 26, there were only limited disruptions.

“I think we’re going to be ready by any measure, and I do want to say it’s been a lot less than we expected,” de Blasio said about the predicted traffic nightmare in Manhattan once Trump took office.

“We expected President Trump might be back a lot,” de Blasio said. “He’s only been back once previously, and to his credit he kept the time here very limited and the disruption very limited. So hopefully that will be the same this time.”

The U.S. Secret Service will also have its own security operation in place. A spokesman for the agency didn’t return a request for comment. Earlier this month it was reported that the Secret Service pulled out of space it had in Trump Tower, one floor below Trump’s residence, after a dispute over a long-term lease between the building’s management and the agency couldn’t be resolved. A Secret Service spokeswoman said the dispute had no impact on security plans.

While the NYPD wouldn’t discuss manpower specifics, the department has a special Strategic Response Group of hundreds of heavily armed officer available to handle unforeseen incidents.

With Laura Figueroa.

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