May 1, 2020 By Allie Griffin
Several streets in Forest Park, Flushing Meadows Corona Park and near Court Square will be closed to traffic and opened to pedestrians Monday, as part of the city’s new Open Streets initiative.
Earlier this week the City Council and Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that 100 miles of New York City streets would be turned over to pedestrians and cyclists as the coronavirus pandemic continues into warmer months.
The goal of the initiative is to provide more outdoor space for New Yorkers looking to get some fresh air amid stay-at-home orders. The additional mileage of open space will make it easier for people to follow social distancing rules as more people go outside to enjoy the warm weather, de Blasio said.
“The open streets are going to be another way we help encourage social distancing,” the mayor said today at a City Hall briefing.
The first streets to open are in and around parks, so spillover of park visitors can safely keep six feet apart from others.
“The focus [will] be on those streets near parks because we expect them to attract a lot of people in the warmer weather,” de Blasio said. “We want to expand the parks, if you will, by opening up these streets.”
In Queens, three streets within Forest Park and one street within Flushing Meadows will open to pedestrians and cyclists Monday. A street adjacent to Court Square in Long Island City will also open Monday.
The Forest Park streets opening are:
- Freedom Drive, from Park Lane South to Myrtle Avenue;
East Main Drive, from Metropolitan Avenue to the Overlook parking lot;
West Main Drive, from the band shell lot to the golf course lot
In Flushing Meadows Corona Park, 1.5 miles of Meadow Lake Drive, from the model airplane field to the Meadow Lake bridge parking lot, will open.
Next to Court Square, Court Square West, from Jackson Avenue to the dead end, will also open.
No through traffic will be permitted on the streets. However local deliveries, pick-ups/drop-offs, necessary city service vehicles and emergency vehicles are still allowed on the roadways. The permitted vehicles must drive at 5 MPH along the streets.
The Department of Transportation is working with local elected officials to identify which streets to open up.
The city will open 40 of the 100 miles of streets this month and identify the remaining 60 miles in the weeks ahead.