During a virtual press conference on Monday morning Mayor Bill de Blasio responded to growing calls to shutdown NYC streets for pedestrian-only use this summer as social distancing measures are likely to extend through the coming months.
Working with the NYPD, DOT, Parks Department and community organizations we’re going to open up streets in and around parks, expand sidewalks and use barricades to open up neighborhood streets. We’ll also be increasing bike lanes.
— Mayor Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) April 27, 2020
Mayor de Blasio said he will open 40 miles of streets by the start of summer with the greater goal of reserving 100 miles of streets for pedestrians this year.
“Working with the NYPD, DOT, Parks Department and community organizations we’re going to open up streets in and around parks, expand sidewalks and use barricades to open up neighborhood streets. We’ll also be increasing bike lanes,” de Blasio tweeted on Monday morning, later adding the correction that the “NYPD will not be, and does not need to be, involved beyond dropping their barricades to close off the streets.”
With beautiful sunny weather last Saturday, crowds of people were once-again photographed in Domino and McCarren Parks.
The exercise equipment at McCarren Park was taped off last week to restrict access to the high-touch machines where people have continued to sweat it out side-by-side during the pandemic.
The tabloid TMZ even got a kick out of the hordes of parkgoers lounging on Saturday in Domino Park.
NYC’s Domino Park Packed to the Gills, Not Much Social Distancing https://t.co/72P9Vl0GBc
— TMZ (@TMZ) April 25, 2020
Videos of dozens of people laying on the grass and hanging out with friends at Domino Park were also posted on social media to draw attention to the lax social distancing.
— Sarah Dawson (@sarahbeth_says) April 25, 2020
The City Council proposed a bill last week to restrict access to vehicles on 75 miles of NYC streets in order to give residents more space for recreation, which de Blasio initially did not back.
According to the website Streetsblog, a statement from Council Speaker Corey Johnson roughly outlines the open streets plan and includes more bike lanes and widened sidewalks:
“The open streets will be sourced from five broad categories
up to 60 miles of streets within and adjacent to parks (editor’s note: “within” is a key word, as it potentially covers scores of miles)
up to 20 miles of streets identified in consultation with local precincts, in consultation with community boards and other partners
up to 10 miles of streets managed by local partners such as BIDs, block associations, or other civic groups (perhaps a reference to Broadway-style interventions that Streetsblog previously covered).
up to 2.5 miles of widened sidewalks
up to 10 miles of protected bike lanes”