Bay Ridge added to mayor’s Open Streets program

May 23, 2020 Jaime DeJesus
Bay Ridge added to mayor’s Open Streets program
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Starting Saturday, May 23, Bay Ridge will be added to Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Open Streets program, where streets will be open each day to pedestrians and cyclists with limited vehicle traffic.

Colonial Road from 83rd to 86th Street will be closed to thru traffic from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. every day.

No parking spots will be taken away and neighbors will still be able to use their cars and get out of their driveways.

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Open Streets are available for pedestrians and bicyclists to use while maintaining social distancing.

“New Yorkers deserve space to safely enjoy the outdoors in their own neighborhoods,” said de Blasio on Friday, May 22, adding that New York City will open 13 more miles of streets to pedestrians and cyclists for the Memorial Day weekend starting May 23. “Thanks to hard work from a host of city agencies, we’ve beaten our Open Streets goal for this month – and made our city a national leader in expanding public space as we fight COVID-19.”

Open Streets are located adjacent to parks and away from bus routes and emergency routes. This effort will be supported by the 68th Precinct.

“We gave City Hall a bunch of suggestions but most of them got turned down because of their guidelines,” said Councilmember Justin Brannan. “The idea here really is to expand the footprint of a local park.

“They won’t close a bus route or an emergency route and they want the closed streets to be near or adjacent to a park to help relieve crowds. So right away that meant we couldn’t do Shore Road, or Third Avenue, Fourth Avenue, Fifth Avenue, Fort Hamilton Parkway, 13th Avenue or 18th Avenue and so on. But let’s see how this works. If people like it, we can try to expand it – and keep dreaming about the day when we can have Summer Stroll again.”

“This is a relatively limited stretch of street, but I’m hopeful that it will safely increase open space for the community,” said State Senator Andrew Gounardes. “Looking forward to hearing how our neighbors feel about it, and I’ll keep advocating for ways to safely increase access to open space in the summer months.”

The new locations bring New York City’s total to 43 miles of open streets since the program was first announced in April, surpassing its original target of 40 miles by the end of May.

“We will continue to work with our local partners, elected officials, BIDs, and countless city agencies to further identify streets and neighborhoods to help New Yorkers get outside while maintaining social distancing,” said Deputy Mayor Laura Anglin.

Some residents took to social media to voice their concerns.

“I really don’t understand the point of it. The park that is right next to it is closed, but here’s a street to hang out in. Why?” wrote Andi Donohue Gruber. “I understand it more in congested areas like Manhattan – people need to get outside. That’s not an issue here.”

“Kind of unnecessary,” added Shayna Plascoff. “I think there’s plenty of space for people to walk around from the promenade to actual Shore Road to Colonial…not super duper crowded. This might stop the drag racers though.”

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