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NYC climate change activists block FDR in lower Manhattan and West Side Highway

Climate change activists cause traffic chaos in NYC by blocking FDR in lower Manhattan and West Side Highway

  • Protesters blocked off both of New York City’s main highways Monday morning, causing backlogs and holdups at the height of the city’s rush hour
  • The protesters blocked traffic on the FDR Drive, while a sister group assembled crosstown on the West Side Highway
  • Commuters saw delays of more than an hour as the two speedways were sealed off, with protesters sitting and laying on pavement to form human barricades 
  • The protests come amid deliberations for Joe Biden’s ‘Build Back Better’ plan – a spending bill that calls for investments in climate change mitigation 
  • President Biden is in New Jersey Monday to promote the yet-to-be-passed spending package 


Protesters blocked off both of New York City’s main highways Monday morning, causing massive backlogs at the height of the city’s rush hour. 

Climate change activists from a host of organizations – including Extinction Rebellion – blocked off northbound traffic on the the city’s FDR Drive for more than two hours, and southbound lanes crosstown on the West Side Highway as well.

The protests come amid deliberations for President Joe Biden‘s ‘Build Back Better’ plan – an ambitious social spending bill that calls for billions of dollars of federal funds to be allocated to climate change mitigation.

‘If we do not act today, if @potus does not act today, NYC will be underwater by 2100. It’s a matter of life and death,’ the group tweeted earlier Monday morning. 

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Protesters blocked off New York City’s FDR Drive Monday morning, going as far as to lay down on the pavement, daring drivers to run them over

As of 9:00 a.m. on Monday, all the FDR's northbound lanes were closed, with dozens of dissenters stationed along a stretch of the highway on the city's Lower East Side

As of 9:00 a.m. on Monday, all the FDR’s northbound lanes were closed, with dozens of dissenters stationed along a stretch of the highway on the city’s Lower East Side

President Biden is in New Jersey Monday to promote the yet-to-be-passed spending package, amid negotiations with holdouts from the Democratic Party on how to scale back the bill enough to get it to make its way through Congress.

As of 9:00 a.m. on Monday, the FDR’s northbound lanes were all closed as a result, with dozens of dissenters from Extinction Rebellion stationed along a stretch of the highway on the city’s Lower East Side.

The group tweeted Monday that the demonstrations were not intended to annoy or obstruct commuters, but to bring attention to the dangers of unchecked climate change ahead of the president’s prospective spending bill. 

A sister group simultaneously assembled on the other side of the city, along the Hudson near West 34th Street, was blocking all of the West Side Highway’s southbound lanes.  

Thousands of motorists on both of Manhattan’s main speedways subsequently experienced delays of more than an hour and were advised to consider alternate routes – but many found themselves hopelessly stuck and unable to move, as protesters used their bodies to block off the roads, and going as far as to sit or lay down on the pavement, daring drivers to run them over. 

The protests come amid deliberations for President Joe Biden's 'Build Back Better' plan - an ambitious social spending bill that calls for federal funds to be allocated to climate change mitigation as well as to child care, home health care and paid family leave

The protests come amid deliberations for President Joe Biden’s ‘Build Back Better’ plan – an ambitious social spending bill that calls for federal funds to be allocated to climate change mitigation as well as to child care, home health care and paid family leave

‘We’ve been stuck on the FDR Drive for about 40 min. due to a climate protest blocking all lanes,’ one commuter wrote on social media at 9:14 am.

‘In addition to inconveniencing thousands of drivers, I wonder how much carbon has been emitted due to to [sic] idling engines of all these stuck vehicles.’ 

The bottlenecks began sometime around 8:30 am, with police notifying drivers at 8:43 am that the southbound West Side Highway was blocked at West 34th Street. 

The FDR had all northbound lanes blocked at Houston Street

The FDR had all northbound lanes blocked at Houston Street

The FDR had all northbound lanes blocked at Houston Street.

The congestion on the West Side was caused by an array of activist groups clamoring for new policies on climate change – such as the Sunrise Movement, Extinction Rebellion and Jews for Racial and Economic Justice – who were urging Biden to maintain an emphasis on environmentally conscious energy programs in the upcoming bill.

At least three protesters were arrested on the West Side Highway, one of the groups said. 

At both scenes, protesters linked arms across the highways, despite blaring megaphone message from police advising them they were ‘illegally occupying the crosswalk,’ one witness Tweeted.

By 9:54 am, the West Side Highway had reopened, according to a city alert.  

Thousands of motorists experienced delays and were advised to consider alternate routes - but many found themselves stuck on either highway, unable to move

Thousands of motorists experienced delays and were advised to consider alternate routes – but many found themselves stuck on either highway, unable to move

Climate change activists from the organization Extinction Rebellion blocked off northbound traffic on the the city's FDR Drive for more than two hours

Climate change activists from the organization Extinction Rebellion blocked off northbound traffic on the the city’s FDR Drive for more than two hours

Arrests were made Monday morning in an effort to get traffic moving again, after hundreds of cars were forced to a standstill by hordes of protesters

Arrests were made Monday morning in an effort to get traffic moving again, after hundreds of cars were forced to a standstill by hordes of protesters

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