Open Streets: Mayor de Blasio Names Next Streets to Be Used for Social Distancing Among Pedestrians and Cyclists
Business Improvement Districts will manage Open Streets in four boroughs, where streets will be open each day to pedestrians and cyclists — with limited vehicle traffic —starting Thursday.
May 06, 2020
NEW YORK — Mayor Bill de Blasio today announced that, starting May 7, over 1.5 miles of streets will be managed by Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) as part of the Open Streets initiative designed to provide greater social distancing for New Yorkers. Open Streets will also return to 34th Avenue in Jackson Heights, Queens, which had been part of a pilot last month.
“As the weather gets warmer, New Yorkers will need options to safely enjoy the sunshine— and we’re excited to give them even more options to do so,” said Mayor de Blasio. “We thank our partners at local BIDs, which play an essential role in making commercial areas safe places to social distance. We want New Yorkers to enjoy these streets and continue all best practices to stay safe from COVID-19.”
“I applaud all of the BIDs who are stepping up in this crisis and working with the City on creating these Open Streets for New Yorkers to practice safe social distancing,” said Deputy Mayor Laura Anglin. “Last weekend our City partners sprang into action with the first wave of these Open Streets and initial reports have been encouraging. As we continue to roll out additional Open Streets we need to New Yorkers to continue to be vigilant about social distancing and utilize these streets to do so.”
Last week, 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 a total of 100 miles to be identified in the weeks and months ahead. The hours of operation for these streets vary.
The Mayor also announced the return of Open Streets to 34th Avenue in Jackson Heights, Queens. The street had been part of an initial open streets pilot program last month. Open Streets will be in operation there from 8am through 8pm, also starting tomorrow.
Under Open Streets, pedestrians and cyclists can use the roadbed of the street. No through traffic is permitted, with remaining vehicle traffic limited to local deliveries, pick-ups/drop-offs, necessary city service, utility, and emergency vehicles only. Such drivers are alerted to be hyper-vigilant and to drive at 5 MPH along these routes.
Organizations wishing to have other New York City streets considered for the Open Streets program should reach out to email@example.com or fill out an online survey.
“We want to thank so many of our City’s great BIDs from Manhattan to Downtown Brooklyn to the Bronx, for their leadership as we unveil this next group of Open Streets for pedestrians and cyclists,” said DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg. “The BIDs have stepped up in this crisis, and we are so grateful for their partnership. But we now ask other BIDs, community boards, and local organizations to also identify more miles of streets and help us make them a successful part of this growing initiative.”
“Open Streets is a great example of how resilient New Yorkers and the business community can be in challenging times. This step helps us safely navigate and enjoy the City as we continue adjusting to unprecedented times,” said Gregg Bishop, Commissioner of the NYC Department of Small Business Services. “I am proud of our BID network for stepping up to keep our commercial corridors vibrant.”
“Having access to more open streets gives pedestrians the opportunity to be socially distant from each other while enjoying the outdoors as the weather improves,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “I thank the Mayor and Commissioner Trottenberg for embracing our call, together with my colleagues in the City Council, to rely on local neighborhood groups, such as Business Improvement Districts, to help expand pedestrian space for New Yorkers. I look forward to further announcements of additional expansions, including hopefully the rest of the portion of Broadway between Times Square and Chinatown that I initially called for.”
“Creating open space for our community to travel from one place to another while facilitating social distancing is crucial to flattening the curve and ensuring our city can recover sooner than later. I thank the Mayor for prioritizing the safety of our neighbors in Jackson Heights and for encouraging more walking and bike riding as a means of travel,” said State Senator Jessica Ramos.
“I am glad to see the City responding to our neighbors need for open space as we continue to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Assemblymember Jo Anne Simon. “As we are all doing our best to socially distance and to slow the spread, we need space for New Yorkers to get out and safely enjoy the increasingly warmer weather. This crisis has highlighted our need to distribute street space more equitably, with pedestrians and cyclists taking precedent. I’m very pleased to see the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership open streets in my district and hope to see more open streets very soon.”
“We must continue expanding the open streets initiative to all underserved, Immigrant, Latino, Black, and Asian Communities. I thank Mayor de Blasio, and Speaker Corey Johnson for his their leadership during these unprecedented times,” said Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez, Chairman of the Committee on Transportation. “As the weather gets warmer and people begin to enjoy the outdoors, we must continue practicing social distancing rules and ensure that the City is providing communities of color and the poorest New Yorkers with face masks to protect themselves and their communities from COVID-19.”
“As the weather gets warmer, we have to do everything in our power to continue to promote responsible social distancing. Pedestrianizing streets will provide more public space for New Yorkers to walk and bike around while taking the strain off of neighborhood parks. I thank the Mayor and the Lower East Side BID for working on this pilot initiative and I look forward to working with residents and community leaders to thoughtfully expand this program to more Lower Manhattan communities in need,” said Council Member Margaret Chin.
“As the city continues to expand open space in our streets, help from dedicated community groups quickens the process and ensures safety,” said Council Member Keith Powers. “I thank the Garment District Alliance for their partnership and DOT for its continued work on this initiative.”
“I want to thank Mayor de Blasio, Commissioner Trottenberg and DOT for taking the next step in our open streets plan and working with community partners — in this case our local BIDS — to open these new streets, including in my District on Broadway with the Flatiron/23rd Street Partnership,” said Councilwoman Carlina Rivera. “I encourage more community groups to submit proposals to DOT so we can rapidly open even more streets across the Five Boroughs, particularly in communities that lack open space.”
“Access to open space is essential to what makes New York City, New York City,” said Michael Brady, CEO of the Third Avenue Business Improvement District “The open space plan set forth by the Mayor and the New York City Council to encourage social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic is a smart and safe activation of roadway to promote public health and safety. Third Avenue Business Improvement District is happy to support and assist in implementing this creative, forward thinking solution.”
“The Flatiron/23rd Street Partnership is ready to partner with the City on this important Open Streets initiative. As we work collectively to overcome this crisis, 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,” said Executive Director James Mettham.
“It’s more important now than ever to expand our pedestrian spaces and provide New Yorkers with a safe and welcoming environment, especially as we approach warmer weather,” said Barbara A. Blair, president of the Garment District Alliance. “The Broadway corridor in the Garment District will be an important part of the City’s Open Streets network, by increasing opportunities for pedestrians in the heart of Midtown and helping to maintain social distancing as our businesses reopen.”
“Creating additional public space and the shared use of our streets is essential now more than ever,” said Tim Laughlin, President of the Lower East Side Partnership. “We are excited to help create a unique destination in the heart of our community for exercise and outdoor enjoyment where proper social distancing can be maintained.”
“We are excited to partner with the City on its Open Streets initiative, and create safer streets for Downtown Brooklyn,” said Regina Myer, president of Downtown Brooklyn Partnership. “The city’s economic recovery depends upon our streets being safely navigable for workers, residents, and businesses, and Open Streets improves the ability of our retail, food and beverage, and small businesses to get back on their feet. We thank NYCDOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg for pushing this forward, and look forward to working with her team and NYPD to expand the program further.”