What to Know
According to de Blasio, 4.5 miles inside city parks and 2.7 miles adjacent to parks will open up to ease crowding. These streets will open up Monday.
The first streets to open up will be:
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The mayor first announced the city's plans to open up 40 miles of streets to pedestrians, with a set goal of expanding to 100 miles of open streets, earlier this week.
"The way we will do it is we are going to focus first on streets in and around our parks. [We are] very concerned about the streets around parks. Often times we are seeing that immediate area getting very crowded," de Blasio said at the time. "Those streets adjacent to parks are an obvious opportunity to open up more space. We are going to work together to figure out how we are going to do that."
De Blasio went on to explain that some other locations will see sidewalks expansion similar to what was done around Rockefeller Center during the winter holidays where the sidewalks space was opened up into the streets a bit more with proper barricades in place for safety.
"Some streets will be more local areas that aren’t necessarily going to be where you have a major attraction like a park but they are places where we can safely open up some space and have it be enforced," he said. "And another piece of discussion is early action bike lanes where we see an opportunity to do more with bike lanes."
According to de Blasio, the city will focus first on where the need is greatest.
"So many communities that we have already identified have been already hard hit by COVID we want to be particularly sensitive to implementing these kind of steps," de Blasio said, adding that it will be a joint effort between the City Council, working with the police department, transportation department, sanitation department, parks department to figure "out all the right places we can do this, but first priority are the places hardest hit and then of course figuring out where they’ll have the biggest impact where the most people are."
This is the second attempt at closing down city streets in order to provide more open space to residents, while still keeping social distancing norms during the COVID-19 crisis.
Earlier this month, New York City abandoned a pilot project to open major streets in each borough for pedestrian open space, citing the demand on NYPD resources as more and more cops call out sick.
The city had closed a series of major thoroughfares from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily for a couple of weeks. However, in a statement at that time, de Blasio's office said it was taking more than 80 cops a day to effect the closures, and not enough people were using the newly opened streets to justify that level of resource commitment.
It now appears that the mayor' office has changed course, and now will be opening up even more streets as the warmer spring weather approaches.
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