Here Are The Four Streets de Blasio Will Close to Cars — For Four Days

Park Avenue on Friday, March 20, 2020. Photo: Clarence Eckerson Jr.
Park Avenue on Friday, March 20, 2020. Photo: Clarence Eckerson Jr.

So it’s not even two streets per borough — and it’s only from Friday through Monday for now — but the de Blasio administration has revealed the four streets where cars will be banned so that New Yorkers have a little more breaking space.

The envelope please:

  • Manhattan: Park Avenue between 28th and 34th streets
  • Brooklyn: Bushwick Avenue between Johnson and Flushing avenues
  • Queens: 34th Avenue between 73rd and 80th streets
  • The Bronx: Grand Concourse between E. Burnside Avenue and 184th St. (the service road will remain open)

Staten Island does not get one. Taken together, the closures amount to roughly 1.5 miles of city roadway. Total.

Transportation Alternatives Executive Director Danny Harris was disappointed, and issued the following statement:

At this time of crisis for New York, the best strategy right now is to listen to our officials and stay home. But for those who need to go out, Mayor de Blasio’s open streets proposal is a step in the right direction. However, we need to quickly provide New Yorkers who must be out with even more space for social distancing. Right now, New Yorkers are competing with traffic, parking, garbage, scaffolding, and narrow sidewalks to get around safely. We have an incredible underused resource of 6,000+ miles of streets, we can do better than a limited “pilot” on .03% of them. This is a crisis, and while we appreciate and acknowledge the constraints on our city, now is the time for bold action to keep our neighbors safe. Transportation Alternatives and our members stand ready to support.

The mayor’s announcement comes four days after Gov. Cuomo ordered the city to take some significant steps to create more public open space during the coronavirus crisis so that people could get outside without being crammed in together. The governor said on Wednesday that he had signed off on the mayor’s plan, though his initial request sounded as if he wanted something more ambitious.

“You have much less traffic in New York City because non-essential workers aren’t going to work. Get creative,” the governor had said on Sunday after visiting overcrowded city parks on Saturday. “Open streets to reduce the density. You want to go for a walk. God bless you. You want to go for a run. God bless you. But let’s open streets. Let’s open space. That’s where people should be — not in dense locations.”

The mayor initially said he would create up to two car-free roadways per borough, which would be 10, not four. His plan is far less ambitious than those put forward by Council Speaker Corey Johnson and TransAlt.

As such, initial reactions were pretty negative:

“Absolutely pathetic,” added Adrienne M.

(Officially, City Hall said Wednesday night, “Additional sites are being considered for this initial pilot and will be announced when details are finalized. These current locations will be re-evaluated for continued public access.”)

Through traffic will be allowed on cross streets during the closure hours, which are from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., starting Friday and continuing through Monday. Parked cars can remain in place, and the bus route will continue to run on service roads, City Hall said.

The goal, according to City Hall, is “to provide additional open space as a means to facilitating social distancing protocols.”