First wave of NYC open streets plan to start next week

May 1, 2020

Photo courtesy of NYC DOT on Flickr

The first phase of the city’s plan to close up to 100 miles of streets to cars will start on Monday, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Friday. The first streets to open to pedestrians include 4.5 miles inside parks and 2.7 miles adjacent to parks, according to the mayor. “The goal here is more space, more social distancing,” de Blasio said.

The initiative, created in collaboration with the City Council, includes opening 40 miles of streets to pedestrians over the next month, with the goal of opening up to 100 miles for the duration of the coronavirus pandemic. The total 7.2 miles opening on Monday include:

  • 4.5 miles inside these parks: Fort Tryon Park, Flushing Meadows, Forest Hill Park, Callahan-Kelly Park, Grant Park, Silver Lake Park
  • 2.7 miles of streets next to these parks: Williamsbridge Oval, Court Square, Carl Schurz Park, Highbridge Park, Prospect Park, Stapleton Waterfront Park, Lt. William Tighe Triangle

The open streets are going to be protected and regulated by officials. According to Polly Trottenberg, the commissioner of the Department of Transportation, there will be barricades and signs to limit any vehicle activity. Trottenberg said the DOT is working with the NYPD, FDNY, the Parks Department, and Businesses Improvement Districts and neighborhood groups to coordinate the effort.

The plan aims to make social distancing easier in a city where maintaining six feet from others is nearly impossible in most places and as the weather gets warmer.

With public outdoor pools closed and city beaches most likely to shutter for at least some or all of the summer, New Yorkers will need public places where safe social distancing is feasible.


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