Closing Streets to Cars Is Critical to New York City’s Public Health and Economic Recovery

Mayor de Blasio’s Plan to Open Streets for People Walking and Biking is a Strong First Step in Supporting Public Health, Environmental Justice and Economic Recovery
Joseph Cutrufo -
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Statement of Transportation Alternatives Executive Director Danny Harris:

“We thank Mayor de Blasio, Council Speaker Corey Johnson, Council Member Carlina Rivera, and the entire City Council for advancing this Open Streets plan. At 100 miles, this would be one of the most ambitious Open Streets programs in the United States. 

New York has 6,000 miles of streets, which are primarily devoted to car traffic and parking. In opening our streets to people, New York City will unlock countless opportunities not only for physical distancing during the COVID-19 crisis, but also in the longer term for sustained economic recovery, reimagining urban life and prioritizing public transportation.

As we expand this program, we must continue to learn from cities around the world that are using Open Streets for public health in the neighborhoods with the narrowest sidewalks, for shopping along a neighborhood’s Main Street, and for environmental justice in the places in our city most burdened by asthma. Open Streets should be focused, not on parks as destinations, but the destinations of a city coming back to life: jobs, transit hubs, essential services, and retail spaces.

For New York to manage and emerge from this crisis, we must recapture more of our precious space from the reign of cars and return it to people. The result will be a more prosperous, healthy, community-minded and environmentally safe city.

Transportation Alternatives applauds this plan as a strong first step to allowing New Yorkers to maintain physical distancing. We stand ready to support the City in ensuring our streets are opened equitably and quickly."