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Advocates Ask City to Close Streets to Traffic for Social Distancing Space

City Traffic- Stock Photo (Unsplash)

March 23, 2020 By Allie Griffin

Transportation advocates are asking the City to close off specific streets across the city to traffic, so that pedestrians have more space to practice safe distancing from one amid the coronavirus outbreak.

The calls follow a suggestion by Governor Andrew Cuomo to open New York City streets to pedestrians. On Sunday, the governor asked Mayor Bill de Blasio and City Council Speaker Corey Johnson to come up with a plan to keep defiant New Yorkers from gathering together in city parks.

“You have much less traffic in New York City because non-essential workers aren’t going to work,” Cuomo said. “Get creative: Open streets to reduce the density. You want to go for a walk? God bless you. You want to go for a run? God bless you.”

“But let’s open streets, let’s open spaces. That’s where people should be,” Cuomo added.

Transportation Alternatives and Bike New York agreed with Cuomo’s suggestion and provided specific streets where vehicles could be temporarily banned.

“There is a wealth of street space in the five boroughs that could be converted into social distancing-friendly places for people,” Transportation Alternatives Executive Director Danny Harris and Bike New York Director of Communications Jon Orcutt said in a joint statement.

The groups suggested opening Forest Park Drive, Shore Boulevard within Astoria Park, Jackie Robinson Parkway, 164th Street within Kissena Park and 73rd Avenue and Francis Lewis Boulevard within Cunningham Park to Queens pedestrians.
  • The streets lack directly adjacent commercial or residential land uses, proving to be straightforward options, the groups said.

The group also suggested closing streets around hospitals to all cars other than emergency vehicles and hospital staff as well as streets routinely closed for the city’s Summer Streets and street fairs.

De Blasio and Johnson were given 24 hours to come up with a plan and are expected to outline that plan today.

However, de Blasio said the City will not be shutting down streets to car traffic on Pix11 this morning.

“We’re presenting a plan today,” de Blasio said. “We are not going to [do] the street shutdown in the first place. We’re sticking with the parks we have, the places where people go because we know how to patrol those places and enforce.”

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This has to be one of the dumbest ideas I’ve ever heard. I don’t understand why people just can’t stay the hell inside. This is only temporary, but if idiots keep coming out and socializing this will not go away anytime soon. I’m a first responder/essential personnel who has to go to work and I see everyday morons that are outside just hanging out for no damn reason whatsoever. Just stay in the damn house. I don’t wanna catch this crap and bring it home to my family just because some idiot wants to go outside just to bulls!t and hangout. Stop it already and stay home.


All last week the morning shows were promoting going outside for fresh air and sunshine (Vitamin D). Saying how good it is for our mental and physical health especially now that it is Spring. Perhaps they should of included that it was advice only for certain people who have balconies and backyards that live in less populated cities. They were showing upper middle class families this morning living in two story homes with fenced back yards, pools, play sets and trampolines claiming how hard it is for them to work from home and take care of their kids. Even had rich famous people Skyping on air from their huge condos, homes or vacation homes saying that they are staying inside meanwhile we all know that they have others delivering things they need, doctors testing them and giving them medications that might work that us common people can not get a hold of. People have things to do in such a big city like NYC. Our markets are empty or low on products on demand! There are no masks, hand sanitizers and cleaning supplies that I could find. Stop criticizing the everyday folks and workers for trying to help themselves. Its just not about people not caring it is about a good number of people trying to survive.


The crowds in Astoria Park Saturday were very concerning. The soccer match was insane, violating the restriction on active contact sports. Many groups on close contact around the track and some blocking the full width of the sidewalks. How have so many not gotten the message? Parents, please have a serious talk with your kids, including those 18+. They might survive an exposure, but their recklessness could kill someone else. So many nursing homes in Astoria. It’s a real worry for this community.


The city now has free bus rides and plans on opening streets to pedestrians. This is a dense city with many children and teens and not some suburb where you have big back yards and need a car to get a place. When you have athletes and celebrities going on social media saying that they tested positive but feel fine except for a cough and fever what do you expect. On social media there are trends calling the virus “Boomer Remover.” Unfortunately, this is what many youngsters look at for information.


Transportation advocates that weren’t elected see an opportunity to further trouble car owners for their dumb climate agenda.


So you tell everyone to stay home but yet you want to open specific streets to pedestrians so that they have more space to walk around. That will only bring more people outside during nice weather. The media is failing to at least recognize that perhaps many of the images of the people we are seeing not practicing social distancing are couples, roommates, families, etc. who could live together and do need see a need not to be next to each other. I am by the hospital and i do not see the workers 6 feet away when they are on break and standing outside talking or walking home. If something is in the air and you can catch it just by someone talking to you or next to you then they need to tell us.


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