Near the U.N., driving is not a good idea

October 06, 1995|By ANN LOLORDO | ANN LOLORDO,SUN NATIONAL STAFF

NEW YORK -- The antidote for New York gridlock comes down to three little words -- "stay below ground."

That's Danny Duignan's advice, whether the traffic jams synonymous with New York are generated by a pope's visit or a presidential motorcade. Mr. Duignan didn't follow his own advice yesterday as New York police closed streets surrounding the United Nations, the site of Pope John Paul II's morning address.

The 26-year-old stood in the rain along 42nd Street, unloading circulars from the company van. Scanning the line of cars, buses and trucks streaming past, Mr. Duignan pronounced the traffic -- "not that bad."

New Yorkers awoke yesterday to broadcasts of "gridlock alert." Parts of First Avenue -- the major north-south street running in front of the United Nations -- were shut down early in the morning.

Louise McDermott, 27, was riding a bus when police detoured the vehicle off First Avenue at 34th Street, within blocks of the United Nations. She got off. "You can walk faster," she said, as she headed for her office on 50th Street.

At 42nd Street and Second Avenue, New York traffic policeman Robert Choate was busy waving cars through the intersection.

"Whenever you stop traffic for four minutes, it's a domino effect," said Officer Choate. "Look up 42nd Street above Third, I guarantee you they're not going to make very much progress."

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