May 12, 2021 By Allie Griffin
The city is expanding last year’s outdoor street dining initiative into a new program called “Open Boulevards” which will create multi-block restaurant street seating, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced today.
The program will create extra space for diners on roadways along 10 restaurant-heavy corridors across the city, including two in Queens, over the coming weeks.
“Open Boulevards takes the concept of Open Streets and supercharges it,” de Blasio said during a morning press conference. “Multiple blocks in a row filled with restaurants, with performances, with community activities.”
Ditmars Boulevard, from 33rd Street to 36th Street, in Astoria will be transformed into an Open Boulevard on Fridays from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. and on Saturdays and Sundays from 12 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Woodside Avenue, from 76th Street to 78th Street, in Elmhurst will be transformed into an Open Boulevard on Saturdays and Sundays from 12 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Queens Borough President Donovan Richards called into the mayor’s press conference to commend the new Open Boulevards and pushed for more in the borough.
“I’m very excited about what we will see happening on Ditmars Boulevard and Woodside Avenue,” Richards said. “Mr. Mayor, you know, I always like to push the button on more, so I look forward to hearing more announcements eventually for Southeast Queens, for Forest Hills and other neighborhoods as well.”
The streets will be closed to vehicular traffic during the designated hours when they are transformed into outdoor dining areas.
Both streets have been part of the city’s Open Streets: Open Restaurants program since last summer.
De Blasio provided few details as to how the “Open Boulevards” program is different from the Open Restaurants program.
He did say, however, that Open Boulevards will feature cultural activities, community-based programming, landscaping and other beautification measures and art installations in addition to restaurant seating.
The city will mark Open Boulevards with branded banners and gateways at entrances and also provide seating for the public.
Take away more parking places. You don’t want cars in the city? I guess those of us who need our cars to see family or shop or to medical appointments should just pack up and leave. I wonder how many votes you’ll lose!!
How are ambulances and other first responder vehicles going to get through when half of the street is blocked? Ditmars is a 2 way street and if delivery trucks are double-parked (there’s no place for them to park) how are vehicles going to get through??? This is, as usual, a stupid and not thought out plan.
Open boulevards will lead to gridlock traffic, which will lead to more carbon monoxide emissions from delays.
Open boulevards will also lead to noise pollution if these arts the city claims will revitalize these streets will involve concert level speakers blasting music and people loitering on the streets and being loud and obnoxious after drinking too much.
This is a bad idea. And emergency stimulus funding is being wasted on it.