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Queens Borough President Candidate Calls for Open Streets to Help Restaurants

Council Member Costa Constantinides (John McCarten for the City Council via Flickr)

May 20, 2020 By Allie Griffin

City Council Member and Queens borough president candidate Costa Constantinides is calling on the city to create 10 miles of commercial corridors — where streets are shut to traffic and local restaurants can open “European-style” sidewalk cafe space.

The proposal is part of a plan Constantinides announced today that would close more city streets to traffic for pedestrian and cyclists’ exclusive use during the pandemic.

The plan is similar to the mayor’s open streets initiative announced at the end of April in that both propose closing streets near public parks — but the council member has also called for establishing 10 miles of commercial corridors.

  • “Queens residents deserve open streets, so they may get fresh air and get back to work while keeping a safe distance from others,” Constantinides said. “But this needs to be a holistic plan that allows people to connect from one neighborhood to another as well as get restaurants back open.”

Constantinides said the the corridors would be key to helping restaurants in Queens reopen. The streets in the corridors would be closed to traffic, allowing restaurants to take over sidewalks for outdoor seating.

The sidewalk overflow would provide more space for social distancing between customers in the open air, he said.

The BP candidate is calling on the Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Department of Small Business Services to identify suitable commercial strips.

  • His plan also calls for the creation of 20 miles of protected bike lanes as well as new busways, or bus-only streets. Constantinides also wants to close the southern outer roadway along the Queensboro Bridge to car traffic, which would enable separate paths for cyclists and pedestrians.

  • The plan could create a framework for Queens even after the pandemic subsides, the council member said. If elected borough president, Constantinides promised to work with the DOT, MTA and community members to evaluate which of parts of his plan could be implemented long term.

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6 Comments

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Joe Zullo

The commercial corridor plan sounds sensible and reasonable. It would tremendously benefit restaurants and other businesses. No harm in trying it on a trial basis.

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Anon

Please open Ditmars Blvd between 35th and 37th! It’s basically a party there every night and social distancing is impossible.

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Midtown girl

Although I am a NYC driver I would agree it is a good idea to close some streets temporarily where there is a lot of restaurants, like Ditmars or 31 st. Ave. The restaurants are the soul of the neighborhoods. Good idea to temporarily close Austin St And Restaurant Row in Forest Hills to put tables in the streets so people can st outdoors. I fear if something is not done soon there will e no turning back and we’ll have ghosttowns.

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Jose Sanchez

that is a great idea this way some restaurants will benefit until the pandemic settle down finally someone comes with an idea to help
the small business thank you Mr Constantinides

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Joh Fredersen

The curve has been flattened, hospitalizations down, businesses are in ruins, people on food lines, why not reopen the goddamn city already?

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