New York City to open 100 miles of city streets to pedestrians
New York City will open up to 100 miles of city streets to pedestrians by stopping vehicle traffic to the area, including at least 40 miles in the next month, Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) announced Monday.
Speaking during his daily press briefing, de Blasio said the city hopes to create more space for New Yorkers to exercise in crowded areas that would make it difficult to practice social distancing, such as parks.
De Blasio said the closures will focus on “the hardest-hit communities” and prioritize streets in close proximity to parks, also expanding some sidewalks. De Blasio said he had been in talks with City Council Speaker Corey Johnson (D), who had called for closing 75 miles of roads to vehicle traffic.
“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. “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.”
The sidewalk expansion, the mayor said, will echo the opening of spaces around sidewalks conducted around Rockefeller Center last winter to better protect people.
“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.”
The announcement follows an abortive attempt earlier in April to open major streets in each borough, which the city abandoned after determining it was overly taxing to police resources, NBC4 New York reported.