April 27, 2020 By Allie Griffin
Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that 100 miles of New York City streets will be turned over to pedestrians as the coronavirus pandemic continues into warmer months.
The announcement follows weeks of pressure from the City Council and advocacy groups who have called for car-free streets amid the outbreak. It also comes nearly a month after de Blasio ended a similar short-lived street closure pilot program at the end of March.
Today, the mayor said the city will begin to open 40 miles of streets to pedestrians over the next month in partnership with the City Council and Speaker Corey Johnson. The goal is to reach 100 miles, focusing on communities hardest hit by the outbreak.
“The Council is thrilled our calls for open streets have been answered and looks forward to working with the administration to give New Yorkers the space they need to socially distance properly,” Speaker Johnson said.
Supporters say there is a pressing need for extra space–particularly as the weather heats up and residents want to venture outside. The additional closures will help residents observe social distancing requirements.
The City and the Department of Transportation (DOT) plan to close 60 miles of streets adjacent to parks. Local precincts and community boards will identify an additional 20 miles of streets to be closed and BIDs, block associations and other civic groups will identify another 10 miles.