The NYC Department of Transportation is warning everybody to forget about using a car to get around Manhattan later this month on six specific days when the U.N. General Assembly is in session. The city's dreaded "Gridlock Alert" is being expanded beyond the traditional ten days around the November and December holidays, and will this year include the week from September 24th to October 1st, when traffic will slow to its most enervating crawl of the year.

During last year’s U.N. General Assembly, average motor vehicle speeds slowed to about 3 MPH in midtown, which translates to 20 minutes just to travel a single maddening mile. Last year, the slowest day for traffic within the district for the entire year was September 18th, 2017, the Monday of UN General Assembly week. This year, that day of reckoning comes on the 24th, and a Gridlock Alert is already in effect for that date, plus the 25th, 26th, 27th, 28th, and October 1st.

To be clear, the Gridlock Alert is nonbinding—it's just a polite warning intended to scare people off the roads. The city is spending $500,000 on a multi-media PSA campaign encouraging everyone to try other modes of transportation, and Citi Bike will be offering a 50% discount on its 3-day pass from September 24th to October 1st. And the e-hail app Via will encourage people to share rides with a half price discount for customers who use the ominous promo code "GRIDLOCK."

The concept of Gridlock Alerts was created by "Gridlock" Sam Schwartz when he served as the city's traffic commissioner in the 1980s. "The intent was to reduce the total volume of traffic coming in," Schwartz told the NY Times. “And to lower driver expectations to keep them calm."

Another strategy for reducing gridlock would be for the city to implement a congestion pricing plan, which would charge drivers a fee to enter certain zones in Manhattan and funnel money into mass transit improvements. Schwartz has been a longtime advocate for such a plan, and although Governor Andrew Cuomo came out in favor of congestion pricing last year, the proposal died in the legislature.

But hey, at least we can spend half a million to alert everyone to the gridlock we seem incapable of doing anything meaningful about? #BIKENYC y'all.