NEW YORK – As the weather gets warmer and New York City’s fight against COVID-19 stretches into the summer, Speaker Corey Johnson and Mayor Bill de Blasio today announced plans to implement at least 40 miles of street closures, sidewalk widening, and additional bike lanes over the next month – with a goal of implementing 100 miles, focusing on communities hardest hit by the pandemic.
The open streets will be sourced from five broad categories: up to 60 miles of streets within and adjacent to parks; up to 20 miles of streets identified in consultation with local precincts, in consultation with Community Boards and other partners; up to 10 miles of streets managed by local partners such as BIDs, block associations, or other civic groups; up to 2.5 miles of widened sidewalks; and up to 10 miles of protected bike lanes.
“This summer is going to look different from any other in our city’s history – and we’re ready to give New Yorkers more ways to leave home while staying safe from COVID-19,” said Mayor de Blasio. “I’m proud to work with Speaker Johnson, the Department of Transportation, and the NYPD to find creative solutions that support our broader goals of ending this pandemic and rebuilding a fairer city.”
“The Council is thrilled our calls for open streets have been answered and looks forward to working with the administration to give New Yorkers the space they need to socially distance properly. As the weather gets nicer and this unprecedented crisis stretches on longer, we need to do everything in our power to keep our neighbors safe and healthy. This announcement is a great starting point for the ongoing conversation about how we share our public spaces during this pandemic and in a post-coronavirus future,” said Speaker Corey Johnson.
“I want to thank Mayor de Blasio, DOT, and the NYPD for working with Speaker Johnson and I after our Friday hearing on an open streets plan that we can hit the ground running with this week. This initial span of 40 miles of open streets and the 100 eventual miles that will be created will provide the space for essential workers to pursue safer commuting options, provide outdoor opportunities for vulnerable New Yorkers, and give families the chance to play beyond the four walls of their home. This is just a first step, and once successfully implemented I look forward to working further with the Mayor’s Office on open streets and other social distancing measures we can undertake to protect all communities and help keep COVID-19 rates low,” said Councilwoman Carlina Rivera.
Open streets will only be in effect for the duration of “NY PAUSE,” with the exception of bike lanes. Conversations with communities and local stakeholders will take place in the coming weeks.