The intersection of Greenpoint and Manhattan Avenue.

New York Assembly Member Joe Lentol is calling for the open streets plan announced by Mayor Bill de Blasio to include areas in Greenpoint and Williamsburg in order to ease overcrowding in parks.

Mayor de Blasio announced last Friday that the NYPD will enforce stricter social distancing measures on crowds in NYC parks, including limiting the number of visitors to Williamsburg’s popular getaway Domino Park.

On Tuesday, Lentol requested in a letter to de Blasio that the Department of Transportation identify local streets to reserve for pedestrian use as part of his plan:

“I am writing to request an expansion of the Open Streets program to my North Brooklyn Assembly District. The intent of this program is to provide the public with more open space at a time when it is desperately needed. The communities of Greenpoint, Williamsburg, Fort Greene and Clinton Hill have seen large crowds in our parks over the past few weekends as the spring weather sets in. This is especially true at Domino Park, McCarren Park, McGolrick Park, Fort Greene Park and Transmitter Park.

In the interest of public health and in keeping with the spirit of social distancing during the COVID-19 crisis, I call on you and the Department of Transportation to identify streets in North Brooklyn that can be temporarily converted for open space and pedestrian use in order to ease the burden on overcrowded parks in this community.”

Mayor de Blasio introduced the plan to open 40 miles of streets this month, with a goal of opening up 100 miles this summer to give NYC residents more options for walking and recreation. The initial open streets introduced by the DOT center in an around parks and do not include streets in either Greenpoint or Williamsburg.

Local community groups such as the North Brooklyn Neighbors have advocated in recent weeks for more pedestrian-only space claiming that sidewalks are not wide enough to successfully socially distance.

Restaurants are also calling for the city’s open streets plan to include space for more outside seating, Streetsblog reports.

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  1. I think it’s a terrible idea to close street to pedestrians. It only going to cause more problems. All bars along these routes will be selling alcohol to go and the streets will be littered with garbage, let alone no public bathrooms to use. Residents who live along these routes will feel it the most as they are going to have to police their own blocks to ensure it’s safe and clean. Lentol, after many years of voting for you I think you just LOST MY VOTE !

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