NEW YORK (PIX11) — A permanent plan for open streets and outdoor dining got a boost on Tuesday from a study identifying its economic benefits.
The study found corridors with the programs “significantly outperformed” nearby control corridors on three key metrics: sales growth, growth in the number of restaurants and bars, and keeping businesses open.
The NYC Departments of Transportation and Finance, along with Bloomberg Associates, worked on the study. They looked at five neighborhoods: Astoria, Chinatown, Koreatown, Park Slope and Prospect Heights. Corridors with the programs were compared to similar places in the immediate area without them.
According to the report, all corridors with the programs saw faster growth in the number of new restaurants and bars during the pandemic when compared to the others in the area. NYC Department of Transportation Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez says the programs are here to stay.
“Through data from the Department of Finance in five different neighborhoods, the report proves what we have all seen with our own eyes for two years: New Yorkers not only love dining outdoors, when given the choice, they prefer to spend their time and money along car-free Open Streets,” he said.
The City Council and the administration of Mayor Eric Adams are working on another proposal for permanent open streets and dining.
“We have known that outdoor dining and open restaurants saved jobs, and people love dining al fresco. Now we have data to show that when you have it on an open street there’s even greater economic activity. More people are eating, drinking, socializing, creating jobs, creating tax revenue, and activating our streets to give it back to the people,” said Andrew Rigie, executive director of the NYC Hospitality Alliance.
A group of neighbors filed a lawsuit questioning the initial zoning plans for permanent programs.
“We find it interesting that there’s a flimsy report saying it’s a viable solution for the community. We are not against open-space initiatives. It’s the standardized approach that doesn’t work because every block is different,” said Shannon Phipps, a member of the group calling for a new plan.
The next version is expected in November.