Community, Neighborhood, News, Parks
May 27, 2020

This Is How Many NYC ‘Open Streets’ Astoria Has — And How You Can Suggest More

As part of NYC’s summer plan, Mayor de Blasio started an “Open Streets” program, which involves blocking off various streets to traffic across all five boroughs and only leaving them (…)

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As part of NYC’s summer plan, Mayor de Blasio started an “Open Streets” program, which involves blocking off various streets to traffic across all five boroughs and only leaving them open to pedestrians and bicyclists. It’s supposed to help offer New Yorkers more places for socially distant walks and to get more outdoors time during warmer weather without overcrowding parks, and seems to be working well so far.

But Astorians have noticed there aren’t very many in the neighborhood, and think the area could use some more.

President of the Old Astoria Neighborhood Association Richard Khuzami, and President of the 30th Ave. Businessman’s Association Frank Arcabascio wrote an op/ed in the New York Daily News last week encouraging more streets to open, especially to help provide extra space for outdoor dining. “The recovery of our restaurants, bars, cafes and small retail service businesses should be our number one economic priority in Astoria,” they wrote.

“Close streets, like Ditmars, 30th Ave. and Broadway that have a high density of restaurants and cafes to vehicular traffic temporarily in the evening so deliveries will be available during the day, and local retail will not be negatively affected.”

As a reminder, here’s what’s open in Astoria/Long Island City so far:

  • Shore Boulevard from Ditmars to Astoria Park south (Full Block)
  • Crescent Street from Queens Plaza North to 34th Ave (Protected Bike Lane)
  • 27th St. from Hunter Street to Queens Plaza South (Full Block)
  • 5th St. from 46th Ave to 49th Ave (Full Block)

Most are open from 8am-8pm every day. So far, they have opened 43 miles of streets across the city, and aim to have 100 total over the course of the initiative. So, there could be more in Astoria’s future as planned by the city. Our City Council Member Costa Constantinides has even proposed a similar “10 miles of commercial corridors.”

But you can also suggest streets yourself. All you have to do is fill out this survey.

You can propose up to four locations, and though it’s not necessary, it does seem helpful if a community organization can take the lead and help with staffing/permitting. You can also email openstreets@dot.nyc.gov with questions and concerns.

One of the main issues is that they ask you not to submit streets that are on a bus route, which many of the main drags in Astoria are. But, as Khuzami and Arcabascio said, “a temporary route change is a small price to pay.”

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