See It: People Really Enjoy Open Streets When Cars are Banished

The auteur on the avenue.
The auteur on the avenue.

Kids having fun. Neighbors meeting neighbors. Everyone walking safe. And a lot of it!

That’s the takeaway from Streetfilms’ latest examination of the need for more car-free space in town.

In just 44 minutes of footage on Wednesday night, documentarian (and Jackson Heights resident) Clarence Eckerson Jr. counted 910 users (not counting the birds that can now be heard!) of the 34th Avenue open street — a video that demonstrates beyond a shadow of a doubt that the neighborhood needs to retain this unique pedestrian paradise despite pressure on city officials to make all the roadways normal (i.e. car-filled) again.

Seeing is believing:

Mayor de Blasio has yet to visit 34th Avenue — the standout in his open streets program, thanks to scores of volunteers who set out barricades and pay for programming like Zumba classes. But Council Member Carlina Rivera journeyed from from her Manhattan district on Wednesday to be on the street to announce her new bill mandating a robust open streets program.

It’s the latest Streetfilms video to demonstrate the profound need for the city to reclaim more space from drivers and give it to cyclists or pedestrians. Earlier this month, Eckerson counted so many cyclists on First and Second avenues in Manhattan that local elected officials have started calling for bike lanes to be widened.

Here’s what that looks like: