You are reading

Queens Officials Want 75 Miles of City Streets to Be Used for Cyclists and Pedestrians Only

Social Distancing Downtown NYC (Twitter: NYC Mayor’s Office)

April 17, 2020 By Michael Dorgan

Several Queens officials are backing legislation that would ban vehicles on up to 75 miles of city streets to create space for pedestrians.

Council Members Costa Constantinides, Daniel Dromm and Peter Koo are supporting legislation that would block vehicles from certain roads so that the public can use them with enough space to safely socially distance from one another.

They said that there is currently a lack of outdoor open space available for the public to use for exercise and that the new measures are needed as a matter of urgency.

“Right now it’s impossible on many of our cramped streets, which both endangers those who must go outside and discourages others from getting fresh air, said Council Member Costa Constantinides.

The proposal is being introduced by Speaker Corey Johnson and Manhattan Council Member Carlina Rivera who said that the council can no longer wait on Mayor Bill de Blasio to act and instead wants to force the city into action.

“While we want to work collaboratively with the administration to open streets, this issue is so important and so urgent that we are taking legislative action to make it happen ourselves,” Johnson said in a statement Friday.

De Blasio said in a press briefing Friday he would look at the legislation but that he had several safety concerns including the danger of blocking roads that emergency vehicles might need to use. He also said he was not convinced the measures justified the use of law enforcement officers that would be needed to police the streets.

Mayor Bill de Blasio (Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office)

De Blasio piloted a similar program on March 27 but scrapped it 10 days later because he felt that police officers could be better used elsewhere.

However, Johnson said that other states and countries have successfully implemented similar measures and said he sees no reason why the program cannot be applied to New York City. Washington D.C., Austin, Cleveland and Denver, and several other cities have shut streets down for the use of social distancing purposes.

The proposal also has the backing of bicycle advocacy group Transportation Alternatives who said that council members are seeking to lead and not play catch-up as the crisis unfolds.

“We call on the City Council and the mayor to implement this plan without delay, and, over time, to expand the program to support the needs of all New Yorkers,” the group’s Communications Director Joe Cutrufo said Friday.

“Streets account for roughly 80 percent of New York City’s public space, and their ambitious open streets program will give 75 miles of streets back to people, their rightful owner, when New Yorkers desperately need them,” he said in a statement.

The legislation is set to be introduced at the Council’s April 22 Stated Meeting, according to Johnson.

email the author: news@queenspost.com
No comments yet

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

Local electeds rally at Flushing Library, urge Mayor Adams’ administration to reverse library budget cuts as city’s deadline approaches

Jun. 24, 2024 By Athena Dawson

Local elected officials and advocates held a rally at Flushing Library to call on Mayor Adams’ administration to fully restore $58.3 million in funding for the city’s library systems on Sunday, June 23. Supporters are pushing for a resolution before the deadline for the city’s budget at the end of the month.  

Woman found dead with ‘visible signs of trauma’ inside her Little Neck home: NYPD

NYPD detectives are working to determine how a woman was killed inside a Little Neck home on Saturday morning.

Police from the 111th Precinct in Bayside responded to a 911 call of an unconscious woman inside a home on 58th Avenue near 251st Street, two blocks south of the Long Island Expressway, where they found a 44-year-old victim lying face down on the floor with visible signs of trauma to her back, police said. EMS responded to the location and pronounced the woman dead at the scene. She was later identified as Kate Tierney.

Motorcyclist killed in hit-and-run on Clearview Expressway in Bayside; White Plains driver busted in Fresh Meadows: NYPD

A Westchester motorist was arrested following a fatal hit-and-run that killed a motorcyclist on the Clearview Expressway in Bayside Saturday night.

Alex Cruz, 23, of Dekalb Avenue in White Plains, was taken into custody in Fresh Meadows less than two miles away from the crash scene that closed the southbound Clearview Expressway south of Northern Boulevard for hours.