After finally getting on board with the idea of opening New York City streets to pedestrians, Mayor de Blasio closed the first wave of streets to cars earlier this week. This totaled 4.5 miles inside parks and 2.7 miles adjacent to parks; eventually, the city will open up to 100 miles of streets. The next group will open up tomorrow, which includes 1.5 miles in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and the Bronx done in collaboration with Business Improvement Districts (BIDs), as well as 0.4 miles in Jackson Heights, Queens.
The BIDs will oversee the open streets and make sure that their streets are set up for the program. These 1.5 miles of streets are as follows:
- Flatiron Partnership: Broadway from 21st to 23rd Streets and Broadway from 24th to 28th Streets
- Garment District: Broadway from 36th to 41st Streets
- Lower East Side BID: Orchard Street from Delancey to Houston Streets; Ludlow Street from Delancey to Houston Streets; Stanton Street from Allen to Essex Streets; and Rivington Street from Allen to Essex Streets
- Downtown Brooklyn Partnership: Willoughby Street from Pearl to Lawrence Streets and Lawrence Street from Fulton to Willoughby Streets
- 3rd Avenue Bronx BID: Willis Avenue from 147th to 148th Streets and 148th Street from Willis Avenue to Bergen Avenue
James Mettham, Executive Director, Flatiron/23rd Street Partnership, said:
An open Broadway will provide New Yorkers much-needed space to walk and bike with room to safely spread out and social distance through the heart of Flatiron and NoMad. Additionally, it’s critical that we continue to consider new and creative approaches to business district management and the responsible use of the public realm, like Open Streets, to aid our city’s economic recovery from COVID-19.
In addition, the mayor announced the return of Open Streets to 0.4 miles in Jackson Heights, Queens–34th Avenue from 69th to 77th Streets.
The mayor noted that the city is able to open more streets now as many employees from city agencies including the NYPD, Parks Department, and Department of Transportation who were out sick due to coronavirus have now recovered and returned to work, allowing for the proper amount of enforcement and planning.
The streets that opened earlier in the week were focused on those in and around parks, as well as communities that have the greatest need. They were:
- 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 city is planning to open 40 miles of streets by the end of the month, with the goal of 100 miles throughout the duration of the coronavirus pandemic. The program was introduced by the City Council during its April 22 meeting. At the time, City Council Speaker Corey Johnson said, “New Yorkers don’t have the street space they need to maintain proper social distancing, which we know is essential in this public health crisis.”
- First wave of NYC open streets plan to start next week
- NYC to open up to 100 miles of streets for pedestrians
- Most NYC sidewalks are too narrow for proper social distancing
- NYC Council wants to open up to 75 miles of streets for pedestrians during COVID-19