NYC streets open for pedestrian use amid COVID-19 outbreak

Coronavirus
coronavirus Outbreak New York City

Shoppers wait on one of several lines to make purchases at the farmer’s market at Grand Army Plaza in Brooklyn on Saturday, May 2, 2020.

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NEW YORK — The city’s new “Open Streets” initiative launched Saturday, making seven miles of roadway across the five boroughs available for pedestrian use during the COVID-19 outbreak.

The program was initially set to begin on Monday, but Mayor Bill de Blasio pushed for an early start citing concerns that “spring fever” could create overcrowding in and around New York City’s parks this weekend.

The streets will be closed to vehicle traffic from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. every day.

Some of the designated roads are located within parks while others are adjacent to greenspaces.

Here’s a breakdown of the pedestrian-only areas:

4.5 miles of streets inside parks

  • Fort Tryon Park
  • Flushing Meadows
  • Forest Hill Park
  • Callahan-Kelly Park
  • Grant Park
  • Silver Lake Park

2.7 miles of streets adjacent to parks

  • Williamsbridge Oval
  • Court Square
  • Carl Schurz Park
  • Highbridge Park
  • Prospect Park
  • Stapleton Waterfront Park
  • Lt. William Tighe Triangle

The city is working toward expanding to 40 miles of pedestrian-only streets by the end of the month. Depending on how long the outbreak lasts, the city could see up to 100 miles of road incorporated into the program.

With warm weather on tap for the weekend, de Blasio is urging New Yorkers to continue to follow social distancing rules.

The death toll in New York rose to 18,610 on Friday. There are more than 308,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases statewide.

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