NYC launches pilot program, closing streets for pedestrian use during social distancing

Kimberly Dole
March 26, 2020 - 10:28 am
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NEW YORK (1010 WINS) -- Some New York City streets will be closed over the weekend to vehicles as part of a pilot program to ensure pedestrian safety while adhering to social distancing recommendations.

Starting Friday, March 27 through Monday, March 30, the following streets will be closed:

Manhattan: Park Ave, between 28th and 34th streets

Brooklyn: Bushwick Avenue, Johnson to Flushing

Queens: 34th Avenue, 73rd Street to 80th Street

Bronx: Grand Concourse, between E. Burnside and 184th Street

Street closures will occur daily from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., with NYPD personnel patrolling to ensure that pedestrians are safe and adhering to social distancing protocols.

Other city agencies and departments, will also be at city parks to enforce some of the social distancing guidelines.

Police will also be reminding pedestrians to stay six feet apart if they have to be outside, and to return home after exercising or being outdoors.

There are still additional streets being considered for this pilot. 

Mayor de Blasio says the closures of the city's playground are also on the table, should children not be able to stay at least 6 feet apart from each other.

He also adds that eighty of the 1,700 basketball courts found in city parks are having hoops or rims removed.

Cuomo had asked that the city lay out a comprehensive plan to reduce density in public spaces after witnessing crowds and groups gathered in Prospect Park last weekend.

“There is a density level in New York City that is wholly inappropriate," Cuomo said during his Sunday briefing. "This is just a mistake! It is a mistake! It is insensitive. It is arrogant. It is self-destructive. It's disrespectful to other people and it has to stop and it has to stop now. This is not a joke and I am not kidding."

City Council Speaker Corey Johnson believes that opening up the streets is a good idea.

“Many of our sidewalks were crowded before this crisis even began,” said Johnson. “We need to be able to go for walks to maintain our sanity, while at the same time practicing social distancing. This is important for our overall health, and can be done while being sensitive to staffing needs of city agencies.”