New York City will close 40 miles of streets to cars, mostly near parks, to expand the amount of space that pedestrians have to keep social distance, Mayor Bill de Blasio said.
The ultimate goal will be to have 100 miles of “open streets” during the coronavirus outbreak, de Blasio said today at a press briefing.
The mayor has been pressed by the City Council and bike advocates to open more streets to pedestrians and bikers, and to give more recreation possibilities to New Yorkers. De Blasio had resisted these proposals, saying they would create challenges for law enforcement. The mayor also said he was concerned that drivers might not obey the street closing, placing pedestrians and bikers in danger.
This opened a rift with the City Council. “If the Mayor won’t open streets to New Yorkers, who so desperately need safe public spaces right now, the @NYCCouncil will look to @NYGovCuomo for leadership on this issue. We are prepared to work with the State to make this happen,” City Council Speaker Johnson Tweeted on April 26.
“There’s been a really good consensus that we could do something substantial,” de Blasio said Monday.