You are reading

Mayor Pledges to Provide Greater Support to Community Groups That Manage Open Streets

39th Avenue in Sunnyside, is an Open Street closed to vehicles daily from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. except for local traffic and deliveries. Drivers are not permitted to go more than 5 mph along the stretch (Photo: Instagram @Sunnysideopenstreets)

March 29, 2021 By Allie Griffin

The New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) is now accepting applications for the second year of its Open Streets program that transforms roadways into pedestrian spaces and outdoor dining areas.

Local businesses and community groups can apply online to designate a street near them as an Open Street. Both new and existing community partners are encouraged to submit a 2021 application as soon as possible, although the DOT is accepting submissions on an ongoing basis.

Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Thursday that the application period for this year’s program has opened and the city will provide more support for community groups that manage Open Streets.

The program — which was launched last year to both help struggling restaurants when indoor dining was forbidden and give New Yorkers more outdoor space to enjoy while social distancing — will come with a number of improvements.

“With better signage, new barriers, and more support for community partners, this program will be sustainable for the long term – and better position New York City to break free of car culture and build a recovery for all of us,” de Blasio said.

The Open Streets program was enthusiastically embraced by restaurant owners, cycling advocates and local residents last year. It was set to expire at the end of October, but the DOT decided to continue it indefinitely.

“Last year, New York City seized an unprecedented crisis to totally reimagine our city streets,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said. “Open Streets was a runaway success – and now, I’m proud to deliver the framework we need to make it permanent.”

A stretch of Bell Boulevard in Bayside was closed for outdoor dining on weekend nights last year as part of the Open Streets program (Photo: Queens Post)

The program proved popular to Queens residents and restaurant owners last year. There are nearly 50 Open Streets across the borough where through traffic is blocked in favor of cyclist, pedestrian and restaurant usage.

“With the pandemic interrupting our normal way of life, Open Streets became salvations for restaurants and changed the way we dine here in New York City,” Queens Borough President Donovan Richards said in a statement. “Open Streets have truly revitalized boulevards, avenues and more across Queens, and I look forward to seeing our streets enjoyed again this year.”

Some Open Streets in Queens include 34th Avenue, from 69th Street to Junction Boulevard in Jackson Heights; 32nd Street, from 30th Avenue to Newtown Avenue in Astoria; 39th Avenue, from 45th Street to 50th Street in Sunnyside; 66th Road, from 110th Street to Grand Central Parkway in Forest Hills; Court Square West, from Jackson Avenue to dead end in Long Island City; Onderdonk Avenue, from Starr Street to DeKalb Avenue in Ridgewood and Peck Avenue, from 137th Street to Main Street in Flushing.

Many have called 34th Avenue in Jackson Heights — where residents have organized salsa classes, family bike rides, community gardening, art programming and more — as the crowning achievement of the program.

“Open Streets has given us the open space we sorely lacked in Jackson Heights, a community among those with the least amount of park space,” a spokesperson for the 34th Ave Open Streets Coalition said in a statement.

“We have exchanged pollution, noise and injuries for fresh air, tranquility, and safety, and have been thoroughly transformed by a permanent 34 Avenue Open Street.”

34th Avenue Open Street (DOT)

Meanwhile, Ditmars Boulevard — from 33rd Street to 36th Street — is one of many streets across the city that have been made into outdoor dining plazas. Restaurants along the strip can set up tables and chairs in the blocked-off roadway to serve customers outdoors during designated hours.

Other Queens Open Street locations and hours for each can be found on the DOT website.

Interested groups can apply for one of two types of Open Streets — temporary limited local access or temporary full closure.

The first designates a street for pedestrian and cyclist use during a specified set of hours and days each week (typically 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. seven days a week) and only allows car access for local loading, deliveries and parking — at 5 MPH.

The latter — which is formerly known as Open Streets: Restaurants — closes streets off to car traffic completely along business or restaurant corridors during set hours. Restaurants and other businesses can use these streets for outdoor seating and storefronts.

Applicants for Open Streets must agree to help manage the roadway they propose.

Such duties include setting up and breaking down street barricades; coordinating programming on the street; notifying the local community and stakeholders about the Open Street hours; and assisting restaurants and other businesses with Open Streets certification where applicable.

 

email the author: news@queenspost.com

2 Comments

Click for Comments 
Debbie Dunfrie

39th Ave in Sunnyside closure is underutilized and the barricades are a hazard for drivers and others alike! 5 mph signs would be enough to get the message across without inconveniencing fire trucks, delivery trucks, and other local drivers.

Reply
Resident

This is not a solution, but rather a hindrance for food delivery services, first responders, medical supply services, i.e. oxygen tank deliveries, laundry services, etc. who have to physically move the barriers to reach customers in a timely manner. There is plenty of sidewalk space for people to pass each other.

Reply

Leave a Comment
Reply to this Comment

All comments are subject to moderation before being posted.


The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Recent News

Armed robber hits 7-Eleven stores in three Queens neighborhoods in just over an hour Wednesday morning: NYPD

Police from two Queens NYPD precincts are looking for an armed robber who targeted 7-Eleven stores in three different neighborhoods in just over an hour during the early morning of Wednesday, Apr. 17.

Police from the 106th Precinct in Ozone Park reported that the first heist went down just before 2:25 a.m. at the 7-Eleven located at 112-11 Liberty Ave. in South Richmond Hill. The perpetrator allegedly pulled out a handgun and demanded money from the 23-year-old man behind the counter, who complied, handing over $400 in cash from the register, police said.

Jamaica Estates man beaten, robbed by bat-wielding thugs near Cunningham Park: NYPD

A 22-year-old Jamaica Estates man was beaten and robbed in broad daylight three blocks west of Cunningham Park on Saturday, and police from the 107th Precinct in Fresh Meadows are looking for the suspects who attacked him with a baseball bat.

The incident occurred just after 7 p.m., as the victim was walking home in the vicinity of 189th Street and Aberdeen Avenue when he was set upon by the two assailants who struck him in the face and head with the baseball bat, police said. They forcibly removed his cell phone and fled in a black Pontiac Grand Am, heading northbound on 109th Street toward Union Turnpike.

Dozens of restaurant and small business owners urge Sen. Ramos to support the $8B Metropolitan Park proposal at Citi Field

Around fifty restaurant and small business owners from Corona, Jackson Heights, and East Elmhurst signed a letter asking state Senator Jessica Ramos to support the $8 billion Metropolitan Park proposal from New York Mets owner Steve Cohen and Hard Rock International to build a casino and entertainment complex on the parking lot adjacent to Citi Field.

Jessica Rico, the owner of Mojitos Restaurant & Bar in Jackson Heights, hand-delivered the letter to a Ramos staffer while the Senator was in Albany on April 19.

Spring refresh: 10 unique home stores to check out in Western Queens

Apr. 18, 2024 By Amanda Salazar

Spring isn’t just a time for cleaning — it’s also a time of fresh starts and renewal. If you’ve been considering redesigning your home, now is the perfect time to renew your space. Whether it’s as big as a complete overhaul of your home’s interior design or as small as getting a new lamp, there’s a small business in western Queens that can help you breathe new life into your space. Here are 10 local home décor and furniture stores to check out this spring.