Several streets throughout the five boroughs will be permanently transformed into pedestrian and bike-friendly “Open Boulevards” starting this summer, dramatically expanding the limited street closures that currently exist.
“In a year of dramatic changes to our urban landscape, Open Boulevards will transform New York City’s streets like never before,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “The recovery for all of us will come to life on these streets, where small businesses, restaurants, artists, pedestrians, and cyclists will gather to create the kind of destination you can only find in the greatest city in the world.”
Permanent Open Boulevards will be established on stretches of Fifth Avenue in Park Slope and Sunset Park, as well as Vanderbilt Avenue in Prospect Heights, all of which are already occasionally closed to traffic under the current Open Streets program.
Additionally, a portion of 21st Street in Greenwood will be designated as a permanent Bike Boulevard.
The Open Boulevards program will expand upon the current provisions made for Open Streets by adding more permanent signage, landscaping, and advertising. The streets will be closed to traffic to allow for outdoor dining, performance space, and pedestrian access.
The Open Streets program has been subject to criticism from some business owners who feel the job of placing and removing barricades has unfairly become their responsibility.
Additionally, some Brooklynites bitterly opposed the Open Streets program outright. In Greenpoint, a feud over Open Streets culminated when multiple street barricades were mysteriously stolen and thrown into Newtown Creek