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Streets Week!: Mayor de Blasio Makes Open Streets Permanent Part of New York City's Urban Landscape

May 13, 2021

NEW YORK—At a bill signing ceremony alongside elected officials and community advocates at the Dyckman Street Open Street in Inwood, Mayor Bill de Blasio today signed official legislation to make Open Streets a permanent part of New York City’s urban landscape. Joined by City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez, and Council Member Carlina Rivera, the Mayor signed Intro.1933-A into law, which requires the New York City Department of Transportation (NYC DOT) to administer a permanent program. Under the program, Open Streets will be either managed directly by NYC DOT or by working with community partners.

New York City first created Open Streets in April 2020. Last year, the City created 83 miles of Open Streets, the most in the United States. A full list of Open Streets can be found at

“Open Streets transformed our city and changed the way we came together as communities. Now, a Recovery for All of Us is coming alive in our streets – and our urban landscape will forever play host to joyful gatherings of families, pedestrians, cyclists, and small businesses,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “COVID-19 is temporary, but getting the most out of life in New York City is permanent. Open Streets are here to stay!”

“New Yorkers have relied on their open spaces more than ever in the last year, and Open Streets have profoundly innovated our uses of the urban landscape,” said Deputy Mayor for Operations Laura Anglin. “Those innovations will serve us in good times and bad. New Yorkers should look forward to another great year of Open Streets this year, and many more to come thereafter.”

"Over the last difficult year, under Mayor de Blasio’s leadership and in partnership with the City Council and our agency partners, DOT worked to reimagine our streets – creating the nation’s largest Open Streets program that has brought New Yorkers much-needed joy and relief,” said DOT Commissioner Hank Gutman. “With this new law, Open Streets will remain a permanent feature of life on Dyckman Street and across the five boroughs – and we encourage more communities to help the recovery by filling out our new application and getting involved.”

"The streets are open for all!" said Ben Furnas, Director of the Mayor's Office of Climate and Sustainability. "In the face of enormous adversity, the Department of Transportation and communities across New York came together to make 2020 the most transformative year on New York City streets in a generation. Access to open space and livable streets help to fight climate change and are central to advancing environmental justice. We are thrilled that New York’s nation-leading Open Streets are becoming a permanent fixture of our neighborhoods.”

The mayor signed the bill on Dyckman Street, a prominent Open Street in the heart of Inwood, surrounded by community advocates and small business owners. Last month, the mayor announced $4 million in funding for community support for Open Streets in FY2022.

“Today we are reclaiming our streets for children, seniors, and communities. This past year has been impossibly difficult for so many reasons, but one bright spot was seeing neighborhoods across New York embrace the idea that our streets belong to people. I’m proud of this Council for pushing for an open streets plans, and look forward to many more years of lively streets filled with people safely enjoying public space together,” said Speaker Corey Johnson.

“From Avenue B in my District, to 34th Avenue in Queens and Vanderbilt Avenue in Brooklyn, it’s clear that Open Streets aren’t just a solution to social distancing challenges posed by the pandemic – they are a successful model for pedestrian prioritization that have helped save local businesses, inspire entrepreneurs and performing artists, and connect us to our neighbors in a way that few City programs have before. It’s time we expand this program equitably and make it permanent. That’s why I want to thank the Mayor so much for signing my bill into law today. This is the kind of quick-build mentality we should be bringing to transportation and infrastructure projects across our City as we recover from the pandemic and build back a New York City that is green, resilient, and accessible to all, and I look forward to working with this administration on further initiatives,” said Council Member Carlina Rivera, sponsor of Intro 1933, the Open Streets legislation.

“Watching New Yorkers take full advantage of the Open Streets initiative during one of the most difficult times in our City’s history was a true beacon of hope. I am proud to be joining Mayor de Blasio, Speaker Corey Johnson, Councilmember Carlina Rivera, colleagues, and advocates here in Quisqueya Plaza as we make this initiative permanent. I hope that we may continue expanding these open streets into all underserved communities with the goal of making some permanent pedestrian street plazas,” said Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez, Chairman of the Transportation Committee. “When I envisioned the first Car Free Day back in 2016, I wanted New Yorkers to take back their streets and embrace alternative modes of transportation. We have come a long way since then and I hope we can continue opening our streets for all New Yorkers to enjoy.”

“Thank you Mayor de Blasio for making Open Streets permanent,” said City Council Finance Chair Daniel Dromm. “Working together with my colleagues, Speaker Johnson, Council Member Carlina Rivera and Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez, we are literally changing NYC’s landscape. The 34th Avenue Open Streets in Jackson Heights is a shining example of what can be done in a community with an Open Streets corridor. I look forward to working with you to provide additional support to the community groups that have volunteered to work with us to ensure the success of the Open Streets program."

“The Open Streets program has revitalized our streetscape while offering a lifeline to struggling small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. I am thrilled to see that the program is now being made permanent. In the coming months as the weather continues to warm and more New Yorkers spend time outdoors, we must prioritize communities that lack access to open space, and ensure the program is administrated on an equitable basis,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams.

"The Open Streets program has been a life-saver for local residents and a boon for struggling small businesses and I am thrilled it is being made permanent," said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. "We now must begin engaging with local communities as we look to bolster these streets with more permanent improvements, as recommended in my recent report "The Future of Open Streets." And we must ensure that every neighborhood has equal access to both a high quantity and quality of Open Streets. Congratulations to Speaker Johnson, the City Council, the Mayor, and DOT on the successes thus far."

"During the height of the pandemic New Yorkers needed additional outdoor space more than ever. I have heard so much praise from my constituents about Open Streets, and I'm so happy that this program will now be a permanent part of our city's landscape," said Council Member Margaret Chin.

"As Chair of the Commission on M/WBE, I am dedicated to promoting minority- and women-owned businesses. The Open Street program has been wildly successful in encouraging local entrepreneurs, and I remain committed to making sure that it will bring commerce to Bed-Stuy, Crown Heights and other minority destinations throughout New York City. I applaud the City's commitment to equity in the Open Streets program, and I will do my part to make sure the implementation lives up to the promises," said Council Member Robert E. Cornegy, Jr.

“The Open Streets program has shown great success in giving New Yorkers opportunity to have dedicated outside space free from vehicle traffic and congestion.  We have seen this design provide open space for arts and cultural activity to flourish, especially in the time of the pandemic.  As we work to expand the program, we must always be aware of pedestrian and bicycle safety and that we work with the local business and community organizations to ensure that their input is heard. Together, we can expand this program to benefit our local communities,” said Council Member Eric Dinowitz.

“I applauded the open streets program when it was initiated last year and I am pleased to see it permanently returning to New York City. The open streets initiative transforms our streets into public spaces for arts and entertainment during the warmer months and adds to the overall character of our city. I want to thank Mayor Bill de Blasio, Speaker Corey Johnson, Council Member Carlina Rivera, Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez and our advocates for pushing this plan forward and for ensuring New Yorkers have space to safely socially distance outside," said Council Member Vanessa Gibson.

"Open Streets kept New York City going during the height of the pandemic, it was an opourtunity for people to be with fellow New Yorkers while staying safe," said Council Member Ben Kallos. "Now as we look and march toward full recovery for our City, making Open Streets permanent will help bring communities back and make New York City even more vibrant and special. This really is a win for everyone, from families with young children to pedestrians and business owners who will benefit from added foot traffic. Thank you to Mayor de Blasio for making this a law today."

"The Open Streets program brought a new life to our city that turned our busy streets into front yards, and offered a rare reprieve from urban isolation. With proper regulation and community input, I look forward to seeing the Open Streets program continue to make New York City a more innovative and livable city for years to come,” said Council Member Peter Koo.

“Open Streets was a vital program the city implemented during the pandemic, giving New Yorkers the space to safely socialize outside. As we begin to recover, I’ve urged our city to continue adopting new, innovative ways to use outdoor space. I’m glad that New Yorkers will be able to enjoy the Open Streets program for years to come, and thank the Mayor and my colleagues in the Council for their work on this,” said Council Member Keith Powers.

"As I have long said, recovering from the pandemic does not mean returning to normal, but learning from the problems exposed and the opportunities found. Making Open Streets a permanent part of our city's infrastructure is a way to make streets safer for pedestrians, support local businesses, and advance the goal of a more accessible New York for pedestrians. I thank the dedicated advocates and elected officials who have long worked to make this progress possible,” said Public Advocate Jumaane Williams.

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