Brooklyn Boro

Open Streets program comes to Montague, Willoughby streets

New additions stretch from Greenpoint to Brownsville to Sheepshead Bay

June 26, 2020 Raanan Geberer
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The westernmost part of Montague Street in Brooklyn Heights, a four-block stretch of Willoughby Street in Downtown Brooklyn, and many other streets throughout the borough have been added to the City’s Open Streets program, which is designed to create more open space during this period of social distancing.

From 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. every day, the one-block stretch of Montague Street between Hicks Street and Pierrepont Place, which is a gateway to the Brooklyn Heights Promenade, is open for pedestrians. Vehicle traffic on the block is now limited to local deliveries, pickups and drop-offs, necessary service vehicles, utility vehicles and emergency vehicles, according to the Montague Street BID.

Four blocks of Willoughby Street, from Lawrence Street to Flatbush Avenue just north of the Fulton Mall, are open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. This “open street” is set up in conjunction with the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership.

Regina Myer, president of the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership, said, “This plan paves the way for more people to bike, walk and safely spend time outdoors at a vital moment for our small business and local economy.”

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Two other Brooklyn streets are becoming part of the Open Streets program in partnership with local organizations: Reed Street between Conover and Van Brunt streets in Red Hook, with the Red Hook Business Alliance; and the five-block stretch of West Street between Quay Street and Greenpoint Avenue, with the Brooklyn Greenway Alliance.

Terri Carta, executive director of the Brooklyn Greenway Initiative, said, “BGI is thrilled to be working with local community members to provide more space along the Greenway and better access to the waterfront.” The BGI is an initiative to link 26 miles of the Brooklyn Waterfront with a cycling and walking corridor, much of which has already been completed.

Among the other Brooklyn streets that have been added to the Open Street program are sections of Blake and Livonia avenues in Brownsville; sections of Humboldt and Moore streets in Bushwick; part of Bragg Street in Sheepshead Bay; a stretch of Schenectady Avenue in Crown Heights; two blocks of Avenue K in Midwood; and two separate sections of Stanley Avenue in East New York.

Also included are part of Blake Avenue in New Lots; a one-block stretch of Carlton Avenue between Dean and Bergen streets in Prospect Heights; a three-block stretch of Pacific Street and shorter part of Wyckoff Street, both in Boerum Hill; and parts of Troutman and Ellery streets in Bushwick; Driggs Avenue in Greenpoint; and Fulton Street in Bed-Stuy.

Some streets adjacent to parks were added to the program as well. In Brooklyn, these parks include the Red Hook Recreation Area and Commodore Barry Park.

As of June 24, the Mayor’s Office said, the City was two-thirds on its way to its goal of 100 miles of Open Streets. The program, according to the Montague Street BID, will be in effect until Labor Day.

Not everyone is happy with Open Streets, however. Hamodia, an Orthodox Jewish publication that is widely read in parts of southern Brooklyn, said that “The streets that were blocked off by the barricades surround Avenue K, which is a thoroughfare often used as a route which emergency vehicles use to travel from Midwood to Borough Park, where Maimonides Medical Center is located. The closures around Avenue K will force these emergency responders to be rerouted several blocks out of their way.”

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