City Announces New Open Streets Coming This Summer
An underfunded program will gain 21 new locations. Cue the volunteers!
The city’s Open Street program will gain 21 new locations this summer, adding to the 156 now listed, officials said — but without showing the program any real money.
“[W]e are showing the nation how to reimagine our public space at scale and build a greener, healthier, and safer city,” Mayor Adams said in a statement, calling his commitment to the program “steadfast.”
The rhetoric, however, rings hollow. Since its launch as a pandemic-era measure to give residents locked down in tiny apartments room to walk and breathe, Open Streets has relied heavily on the volunteer labor of community groups, which have erected and broken down the barriers creating the enclosures — as well as provided programming and even sanitation — without much city help. A report by Transportation Alternatives last fall found that only 126 out of the then-274 putatively “open” streets were functionally open by the most charitable definition.
The widely popular program, which proved to be a lifeline for businesses as well as for residents, has drawn pitched attacks from car owners who demand the space for free storage of their vehicles and resent the incursion into what they consider their domain. Recently, the Department of Transportation quietly removed the successful open street on Willoughby Avenue in Brooklyn before restoring it hours later after a vociferous backlash from supporters. The mayor denied he gave the order to erase the open street on Willoughby. To his credit, he campaigned on a promise to bring open streets to underserved neighborhoods with little green space, and most of the additions listed in the city’s announcement bear out that commitment to equity.
The city’s announcement pledges up to $20,000 (each) to help non-profit organizations cover the operating costs of an open street and the provision of materiel, such as metal barriers, traffic signs and movable furniture. The Horticultural Society of New York will also help some 20 Open Streets partners with management, barrier movement, sanitation, and plant care.
Here are the new open streets slated to start this summer: (The asterisks denote streets that have not yet been activated.)
- West 158th Street: Broadway to Amsterdam Avenue
- Forsyth Street: East Broadway to Division Street
- West 188th Street: Amsterdam Avenue to Audubon Avenue
- West 115th Street: St Nicholas Avenue to Lenox Avenue
- *East 115th Street: Park Avenue to Park Avenue (5/28)
- *La Salle Street: Broadway to Claremont Avenue (4/28)
- *West 196th Street: Broadway to Ellwood Street (4/25)
- *East 115th Street: Pleasant Avenue to 1st Avenue (9/10)
- Watkins Street: Street End to Belmont Avenue
- North 15 Street: Nassau Avenue to Banker Street
- South 1 Street: Berry Street to Wythe Avenue
- *Buffalo Avenue: St Marks Avenue to Bergen Street (6/18)
- *West 12 Street: Surf Avenue to Street End (5/21)
- *Lewis Avenue: Fulton to Hancock Street (6/4)
- *Graham Avenue: Scholes Street to Montrose Avenue (4/29)
- *Chauncey Street: Howard Avenue to Saratoga Avenue (7/2)
- *Benson Avenue: Bay 19 Street to 18th Avenue (7/11)
- *Duffield St: Metrotech Center to Willoughby St (4/25)
- Murdock Avenue: 180th Street to Street End
- Longfellow Avenue: Freeman Street to Jennings Street
- *Kelly Street: East 163rd Street to Intervale Avenue (7/11)