Over 7 miles of NYC streets open to pedestrians, part of plan to open up 100 miles

1010 WINS Newsroom
May 02, 2020 - 3:11 pm
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    NEW YORK (1010 WINS) -- Officials on Saturday closed off more than seven miles of streets in and around 13 parks as part of an effort to promote social distancing in New York City.

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    The closure is part of a broader bid to open up 100 miles of roadway to pedestrians and cyclists amid the pandemic. People enjoying the open space still need to practice social distancing by staying 6 feet from other people. They also need to keep their face covered.

    “The warmer weather tells us we’re going to have a new challenge,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said. “We have to meet that challenge by understanding where people are going to be.”

    The first closure includes 4.5 miles of road inside parks and 2.7 miles of adjacent streets that de Blasio says will effectively expand the parks.

    The streets are in or near these parks in each borough. Signs and barricades will designate areas safe for pedestrians:

    • Manhattan: Fort Tryon Park, Carl Schurz Park and Lt. William Tighe Triangle
    • Brooklyn: Callahan-Kelly Park, Williamsburg Oval and Prospect Park
    • Queens: Flushing Meadows, Forest Hill Park and Court Square
    • The Bronx: Grant Park and Highbridge Park
    • Staten Island: Silver Lake Park and Stapleton Waterfront Park

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    Photo by Yana Paskova/Getty Images

    City Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg was at Prospect Park Saturday. She said police and the DOT are watching closely.

    "We want to make sure people do social distance and don't get too crowded together," Trottenberg said. "We also want to make sure obviously as we do these streets, where we open them up to pedestrians and runners and cyclists, that emergency vehicles and local deliveries and things that do need to happen can work."

    The NYPD has dispatched 1,000 officers to monitor social distancing across the city.

    The seven miles of open streets is the first part of a plan to open up 40 miles of streets in May, with the goal of opening 100 miles. The mayor and City Council agreed on a plan earlier this week.

    "The goal here is more space, more social distancing," de Blasio said, adding that it was important to create spaces that wouldn't encourage large gatherings. "This is going to be well-protected and well-regulated space."

    Health Commissioner Oxiris Barbot said the FDNY, NYPD and Parks Department all worked together on the decision.

    The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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