New York City is looking to open as much as 100 miles of city streets for pedestrian-only use to give New Yorkers more outdoor space to enjoy while maintaining social distancing as the weather gets warmer.
Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Monday that the city plans to first open up about 40 miles of streets, with the aim of expanding to 100 total by the summer.
"The way we will do it is we are going to focus first on streets in and around out parks. [We are] very concerned about the streets around the parks. Often times we are seeing that immediate area getting very crowded," de Blasio said. "Those streets adjacent to parks are an obvious opportunity to open up more space. We are going to work together to figure out how we are going to do that."
Other locations could see sidewalk expansion, like what the city does around Rockefeller Center during the holidays, using barricades to expand the pedestrian area.
The mayor said the city is also consider adding more bike lanes where there is opportunity to do so.
The first communities in line for the expanded pedestrian streets will be ones hardest-hit by COVID-19.
Earlier in April, the city abandoned a project to open major streets in all five boroughs for pedestrian space due to the high demand on NYPD resources while so many officers were calling out sick.
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