First Streets To Be Used For Social Distancing Among Pedestrians & Cyclists

Published on May 01, 2020, 11:57 pm
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In response to the COVID-19 crisis, Mayor Bill de Blasio and Speaker Corey Johnson today announced the first group of streets that would be opened to pedestrians and cyclists every day starting next week, when spring temperatures are forecasted to arrive. The streets, spanning over seven miles and reaching all five boroughs, are part of the Open Streets initiative designed to provide greater social distancing among New Yorkers.

“New Yorkers deserve safe ways to enjoy the warm weather while we fight through this crisis, and I am proud of my team for jumping into action with this first group of open streets,” said Mayor de Blasio. “Our parks have played a critical role in maintaining public health during this crisis. But we cannot afford to have a high demand for open space create unhealthy situations. That is why we are opening streets and offering more options for New Yorkers to get outside safely.”

“Today is a great first step and an exciting day for an entire city starved of adequate open space,” said Council Speaker Corey Johnson. The Council is glad our efforts on this initiative have brought us this far, and we are eager to work with our colleagues in government, community groups, and our neighbors to keep expanding this program in a safe, effective, and enjoyable way. While we continue our fight against this awful virus, we need to give people the space they need to maintain proper social distancing, and I am glad we are making progress towards that goal.”

“As we continue to fight this virus, we need to provide New Yorkers with public spaces to properly socially distance while ensuring our streets remain safe,” said Deputy Mayor Laura Anglin. “I applaud and thank our agencies, the City Council, and countless partners across New York City for collaborating on a quick and actionable open streets plan. We look forward to naming even more streets in the coming weeks.”

On Monday, the Mayor and the Council announced that 40 miles of streets citywide would be opened during May to allow greater social distancing, with a plan to expand to 100 total miles to be identified in the weeks ahead.

Beginning Monday, May 04, 2020, the following streets within parks will be open:

ParkBoroughStreetFromToMileage
Fort Tryon ParkMNMargaret Corbin DriveFort Washington AvenueCabrini Boulevard0.88
Forest ParkQNFreedom DrivePark Lane SMyrtle Avenue1.10
East Main DriveMetropolitan AvenueOverlook Parking Lot
West Main DriveBand Shell LotGolf Course Lot
Silver Lake ParkSISilver Lake Park RoadForest AvenueVictory Boulevard0.72
Callahan-KellyBKSackman PlaceTruxton StreetFulton Street0.05
Flushing Meadows Corona ParkQNMeadow Lake DriveModel Airplane FieldMeadow Lake Bridge Parking Lot1.50
Grant ParkBXGrant Avenue170th Street169th Street0.20
Total mileage:4.45

The following streets adjacent to parks will also be open.

ParkBoroughStreetFromToMileage
Williamsbridge OvalBXReservoir Oval E/WBainbridge AvenueBainbridge Avenue0.60
Court SquareQNCourt Square WJackson AvenueDead End0.10
Carl Schurz ParkMNEast End AvenueE 83rd StreetE. 89th Street0.31
Lt. William Tighe TriangleMNDyckman StreetBroadwaySeaman0.05
Prospect ParkBKProspect Park West3rd StreetGarfield Place0.15
Parkside AvenuePark CircleOcean Avenue0.56
Stapleton Waterfront ParkSIFront StreetCanal StreetEdgewater Street0.51
Highbridge ParkMNLaurel Hill TerraceAmsterdam AvenueAmsterdam Avenue0.41
Total mileage2.69

Pedestrians and cyclists can use the roadbed of each open street. No through traffic will be permitted, with remaining vehicle traffic limited to local deliveries, pick-ups/drop-offs, necessary city service vehicles, and emergency vehicles only. These drivers are alerted to be hyper-vigilant and to drive at 5 MPH along these routes.

“We are excited to announce this first group of Open Streets for pedestrians and cyclists, many of which are in and around our parks, which have already proven to be such a precious resource during this crisis,” said DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg. “But today’s streets are only the first step. We have many more miles in our sights. We urge Community Boards, BIDs and neighborhood organizations to recommend other streets we can open – particularly in areas that have been hard hit by COVID-19.”

“The additional open space that this plan provides by way of our parks, their perimeters and so much more, goes a long way toward encouraging New Yorkers to socially distance and ensuring our city’s safety and health,” said NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, FAICP. “I am inspired by the way that our sister agencies have come together to reimagine the use of the public realm.”

“As an immigrant myself I know that in many places where my brothers and sisters live there is a need for more open spaces for their children to walk and ride their bicycles. We know that in the poorest communities where asthma, obesity, and heart disease are common health conditions, New Yorkers have been especially vulnerable to COVID-19,” said Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez, Chairman of the Transportation Committee. “We welcome the opening of the streets, and we are ready to work with Mayor de Blasio, DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg, Speaker Johnson, my colleagues at the Council, and advocates to continue expanding this initiative to all other low-income neighborhoods. We must continue prioritizing communities of color who have been affected the most.”

“The uneven impact of the coronavirus pandemic underscores the importance of creating public policies that focus on reducing disparities in access. I am grateful for this collaborative effort between the City Council and the Mayor as well as various agencies in taking the necessary steps to open up our streets and ensure our hardest-hit communities have access to public spaces for safe social distancing and outdoor activity,” said Council Member Andrew Cohen.

“This is the first step to opening recreational spaces and opportunities for residents while prioritizing safety and social distancing. I am excited to see Grant Park will now be accessible for families in my district and commend the administration for this decision,” said Council Member Vanessa Gibson.

“The Department of Transportation informed me of its decision to close three streets in Forest Park as part of the Mayor and City Council’s initiative to allow greater social distancing,” said Council Member Robert Holden. “I would like to thank Commissioner Trottenberg for calling me personally to discuss the plan, and I believe it will have a minimal impact on the community while providing some more space for safe recreation during the pandemic.”

“As the weather gets warmer, we need to make sure New Yorkers can go outside safely. East End Avenue is a perfect street to open exclusively to pedestrians. Making East End from 83rd to 89th Street one continuous pedestrian plaza will expand our open space to make it much easier for New Yorkers to get fresh air without risking infection. Once the street is open to pedestrians, this will relieve the pressure off our local parks and give everyone the space they need to the practice social distancing outdoors correctly,” said Council Member Ben Kallos.

Organizations and community boards wishing to have other New York City streets considered for the open streets program should reach out to openstreets@dot.nyc.gov or fill out an online survey.

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