City adds 21 miles of open streets, protected bike lanes
by Benjamin Fang
May 20, 2020 | 522 views | 0 0 comments | 50 50 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The city is opening up 12 more miles of streets and adding nine new miles of temporary protected bike lanes throughout the five boroughs.

Starting on May 14, the Open Streets initiative will ramp up, bringing New York City to a total of 30 miles of open streets since the program was announced in late April.

Nearly eight of those miles will be managed by local precincts, while another 1.35 miles will be managed by local business improvement districts (BIDs) and community organizations. Nearly three miles will be adjacent to parks.

The new protected bike lanes, meanwhile, will be phased in over several weeks using barrels, signage and barriers, city officials said.

“Now that warmer weather has arrived, New Yorkers will need more options to enjoy the outdoors at a safe, social distance,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a statement. “We believe new bike lanes will lay the groundwork for a cycling surge in the months and years to come.”

In Queens, pedestrianized streets include parts of 46th Street, Skillman Avenue and 39th Avenue in Sunnyside, 5th Street and 27th Street in Long Island City, 34th Avenue in Jackson Heights, and Roosevelt Avenue and Peck Avenue in Flushing.

“This is a proactive step not only to protect pedestrians, but also to prioritize healthy choices,” said Cristina Furlong, co-founder of Make Queens Safer. “When our kids inevitably remember this time, they will be able to remember this remarkable transformation, which for many, will be their first trips out of their homes in more than two months.”

Brooklyn’s open streets will feature portions of 4th Street in Park Slope, Newkirk Avenue in Flatbush, and Grattan Street in Bushwick. Sections of Crown Heights, Sunset Park, Carroll Gardens, Williamsburg, Brooklyn Heights, Boerum Hill, Kensington, Clinton Hill and Fort Greene are also included in the new wave.

Several Brooklyn parks will have adjacent streets opened for pedestrians and cyclists, including McCarren Park, Maria Hernandez Park, Cooper Park, Sternberg Park, Korean War Veterans Plaza, Dome Playground and Cobble Hill Park.

“Open streets is a public health issue that is desperately needed now more than ever during COVID-19,” Assemblyman Joseph Lentol said. “This measure will help residents in North Brooklyn get the exercise and mental health recharge they need while doing so at a social distance.”

Temporary bike lanes that will be built include 4th Avenue from 1st Street to Flatbush Avenue in Park Slope, Ashland Place from Hanson Place to Sands Street in Fort Greene, and Flatbush Avenue between Grand Army Plaza and Ocean Avenue in Prospect Heights.

Crescent Street between Queens Plaza North and Hoyt Avenue North, stretching north nearly one mile in western Queens, will also receive a protected bike lane.

According to city officials, the lanes may become permanent as city resources come back online, and as the Department of Transportation gathers feedback from elected officials and community boards.

The Crescent Street bike lane has already won support from local lawmakers, including Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, who said he believes it will save lives and go a long way towards making the environment more sustainable.

Another supporter is Councilman Costa Constantinides, who said in a statement that his office is ready to work with DOT to “get this right.”

“Going to work shouldn’t be a daily life-or-death scenario, but sadly it too often is,” he said. “Those who can cycle deserve a safe north-to-south route from the Triboro Bridge to the Queensboro Bridge.”

“I am glad we are finally seeing better bike infrastructure in western Queens with a protected bike lane on Crescent Street,” added State Senator Michael Gianaris. “There is more work to be done, including improving bike access over our bridges.”
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