The city last Wednesday added just under two miles of open streets and nearly a full mile of temporary bike paths in Queens to its roster of temporary open space.
The streets were part of 12 more miles of open roads and nine miles of protected bike lanes announced by Mayor de Blasio and Department of Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg.
The aim is to set up areas for cyclists and pedestrians to gather that are free from most motor vehicles while allowing for social distancing. The hours are generally from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. The aim is to eventually have 40 to 100 miles available through the duration of COVID-19-related shutdowns.
“Now that warmer weather has arrived, New Yorkers will need more options to enjoy the outdoors at a safe, social distance,” said Mayor de Blasio in a prepared statement
The 1.95 miles of new open street segments in Queens include:
• 0.89 mile of 34th Avenue between 78th Street and Junction Boulevard in Jackson Heights;
• 0.19 mile of Skillman Avenue from 39th Place and 43rd Street in Sunnyside;
• 0.43 mile of 39th Avenue between Woodside and Barnett avenues in Sunnyside;
• 0.28 mile of 5th Street between 46th and 49th avenues in Long Island City;
• 0.16 mile on 27th Street from Hunter Street to Queens Plaza South in Long Island City;
• 0.09 mile on Roosevelt Avenue between 155th Street and Northern Boulevard on Flushing; and
• 0.1 mile of Peck Avenue between 137th and Main streets in Flushing.
All the streets will be enforced and managed by local NYPD precincts.
A bike path of 0.98 mile will be dedicated in Astoria between Queens Plaza North and Hoyt Avenue North.
“As we continue our efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19, we are also working to help New Yorkers travel more safely by bringing new temporary bike lanes and open streets to more neighborhoods ...” Trottenberg said. City Council members in the designated areas were on board.
“These temporary open streets are a great opportunity to provide additional open space for pedestrians and bicyclists so they can maintain social distance while enjoying the outdoors,” said Councilman Peter Koo (D-Flushing).
Councilman Paul Vallone (D-Bayside) said the additions are very well-timed.
“With warmer weather on the horizon, more of our New Yorkers will be bound for recreation in our parks and green spaces,” he said.
“Creating more open spaces and closing these streets for pedestrians enables a healthy environment for people to get exercise while also keeping their distance from others,” said Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside). “I am pleased to see so many sites chosen in the district. I am also thrilled with the Mayor’s announcement of a protected bike lane on Crescent Street, which I believe will save lives and go a long way towards making our environment more sustainable by creating more transportation options.”
Cristina Furlong, founder of Make Queens Safer, also was pleased.
“This is a proactive step not only to protect pedestrians, but also to prioritize healthy choices,” she said.