How Will NYC’s Next Mayor Improve Our Open Streets Program?

This is part of our One Issue Explainer series, where we break down where mayoral candidates stand on issues concerning New Yorkers. What do you want to hear about? Email us at tips@gothamist.com (subject line: One Issue Explainer)


Almost exactly a year ago, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that the city would open at least 40 miles of streets to give pedestrians and cyclists room to maintain proper social distancing while getting fresh air during the pandemic. Over the rest of 2020, almost 70 miles of streets were opened (which was short of the city’s goal of 100 miles, but still the most in the country). Where it worked, the program became a vital part of the city’s infrastructure during this difficult period.

The Open Streets program ended up expanding to include Open Restaurants (which over 11K restaurants have taken part in), Open Storefronts, and an Open Culture program. Last fall, de Blasio made the outdoor dining program, which had become a major lifeline for the restaurant industry during the pandemic, permanent and year-round. Overall, Open Streets was one of the more popular and successful initiatives the city undertook during the COVID-19 crisis.

But the initiative wasn’t without its flaws. Critics were frustrated from the start with the way in which the city chose (or didn’t choose) locations, with an emphasis on wealthier neighborhoods. Then as time went on, there were frustrations with the lack of resources given to maintaining those open streets, some of which were neglected by local police precincts, some of which were left solely in the hands of local community groups. In many areas, drivers simply tossed the wooden barricades aside and reclaimed the streets for their cars.

Transportation Alternatives offered an assessment of the program in mid-summer 2020 that noted the city failed to expand its vision for what Open Streets could be to truly transform the urban landscape. “At present, the program remains a disconnected network of public space islands with management challenges,” the “complete streets” advocacy group wrote. “While pocket parks and outdoor restaurants are helpful, they will not solve our transportation crisis or revive our economy.”

Many believe there is still plenty of room for improvement for Open Streets and its off-shoot initiatives—something which will fall on the next mayor. We asked eight leading Democratic candidates what the value of having public space outside is, what they think the de Blasio administration did right and wrong with Open Streets, and how they would expand upon it in their administration.



A chart showing Open Restaurant seating types in NYC as of April 2021
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Open Restaurant seating types in NYC as of April 2021 NYC

Eric Adams

What does “Open Streets” mean to you? What is the social or societal value of having open streets? Is NYC equipped for handling and regulating so much public outdoor space? I think open streets can be tremendously valuable to New Yorkers’ physical and mental health, as well as for attracting visitors and shoppers to commercial areas if done well. I also see open streets as an important part of any citywide plan to reduce deaths and injuries to pedestrians and bicyclists caused by cars.

What do you think about the de Blasio administration’s Open Streets program during the pandemic? What were its strengths and weaknesses? I have been supportive, but I believe more funding is needed to make the open streets plan sustainable. I also believes that open streets should be deployed more equitably to communities across the city, including lower-income areas and not mainly wealthy areas.

Do you have a specific plan for Open Streets if elected mayor? How would it expand upon or differentiate from the de Blasio version? I would focus on opening streets in communities of color and lower-income areas—particularly those that are underserved by parks and recreation space.

How much responsibility is on the city vs local communities to maintain those open streets/areas? I believe that if the City is going to essentially create new promenades, it is up to the City to maintain them. Of course, local groups should be involved in the planning of open streets and can contribute to their use and maintenance if they choose.

What about Open Restaurants and Open Storefronts? How closely would they be tied into the Open Streets program, would they be treated as separate programs/under separate agencies, etc? Ideally, I believe that open restaurants and open storefronts programs are integrated directly into open streets, creating truly vibrant, bustling commercial corridors that benefit our local economy as much as our cityscape and quality of life.



A photo of outdoor diners in Chinatown

arrow Scott Lynch/Gothamist

Shaun Donovan

What does “Open Streets” mean to you? What is the social or societal value of having open streets? Is NYC equipped for handling and regulating so much public outdoor space? President Obama would often tell us not to let a crisis go to waste, and Open Streets is a perfect example of that motto by using the pandemic as an opportunity to allow our communities to thrive and continue to engage with one another during these unprecedented times. 

Open Streets allocate more space to pedestrians and active transportation such as bike lanes. They reimagine a roadway not dominated by private cars, and a network of Open Streets that connects nearby neighborhoods adds mobility options. It creates opportunities for people to walk freely, restaurants to provide outdoor seating, and our children to play. 

However, New York City’s approach was implemented haphazardly and not done in an equitable enough manner. I do believe that NYC has the resources to ensure a permanent and equitable Open Streets Program, and something I look forward to carrying out as the next mayor of NYC. 

What do you think about the de Blasio administration’s Open Streets program during the pandemic? What were its strengths and weaknesses? The biggest issue with de Blasio’s Open Streets Program is that it is not equitable. 

Open Streets are often located in wealthy neighborhoods, where the residents have greater access to parks, or have left the city. The average median income of New York City’s 235 Open Streets locations is $81,567, compared to $60,762 for New York City overall. 

The neighborhoods that would benefit most from Open Streets have reaped the least benefits from the Open Streets rolled out by Mayor de Blasio. For example, areas of Brooklyn with the highest concentration of COVID-19 cases—Borough Park and Canarsie—were without any Open Streets as of September of last year.  

Another issue is that NYPD manages 77 percent of current Open Streets, even though we know that the most successful Open Streets are managed by local leaders and community organizations, which represents another example of our city asking police to do jobs they aren’t equipped to do.

We should look to these local groups to lead the way, not ask the police to take on yet another task that can lead to conflict and mistrust.

Do you have a specific plan for Open Streets if elected mayor? How would it expand upon or differentiate from the de Blasio version? I am committed to permanent Open Streets in New York City because I know they will improve our quality of life, while setting a world-class example. But as I have previously stated, our approach needs to start with equity. 

We must place Open Streets in the neighborhoods that have been hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic and areas where residents have disproportionately suffered from chronic conditions like asthma due to trucking corridors or local “peaker” plants. In general, equitable public space planning must be a part of our strategy to address these historical environmental inequities.

We will also better synchronize the Open Streets program with the needs of transit and active transportation to ensure that buses, pedestrians, and cyclists are better able to navigate our streets even as we continue to expand the use of our streets beyond just cars and parking. 

Using a framework rooted in data, we will work with agencies, small business owners, and community leaders to evaluate where Open Streets need to be prioritized, to develop Open Streets and to help community leaders and organizations manage this new public space. 

In my administration, the Office of the Public Realm will oversee our public spaces: everything from Open Streets to outdoor dining to public art will be coordinated through this office. Doing so, we will develop strong grassroots efforts and public-private partnerships to coordinate the creation, development, and maintenance of such a network. 

As Mayor, I will develop interim-use projects and pilot programs to allow communities to visualize and actively participate in changes that take shape in their neighborhood before they become long term. This also ensures that a space is not left unusable or empty during maintenance periods.

We will also couple permanent Open Streets with educational, stewardship, and job-creation programs:

  • We will establish a Youth Horticulture Corps—inspired by the Civilian Conservation Corps—that will help to maintain public spaces while serving as a jobs creation and education program for young people. This Corps was inspired by the New Deal, and may also be revived by the incoming Biden administration—we will look to partner with them, or stand up New York City’s own program. 
  • We will also partner with New York City public schools, to incorporate an environmentally-focused curriculum within the existing policy of outdoor learning, which will also contribute to stewardship and educational opportunities. 

How much responsibility is on the city vs local communities to maintain those open streets/areas? In my view the city will generally oversee the Open Streets program in terms of permitting and things of that nature, but it will be local communities who will play the primary role in managing these open street areas. 

As I’ve previously stated, we know that the most successful Open Streets are managed by local leaders and community organizations. Local community boards should play a key supporting role in identifying Open Streets candidates, and community boards should be guided by principles of equity, safety, and access for all residents.

Many restaurants and other storefronts have been unable to afford the initial construction costs for street-level infrastructure, and that disparity is particularly pronounced in low-income communities that haven’t benefited from Open Streets. Funding for Open Streets, including seed grants and no-cost loans, should be co-developed with city resources, local funding provided through City Council and the participatory budgeting process, local Business Improvement Districts and nonprofits, and community foundations. 

Many of these small businesses need clear, modular guidance from city agencies to help them understand what types of outdoor setups will comply with existing and evolving city codes and ordinances. In order to offer clear guidance for owners, the city should develop a website and handbook that offers, in multiple languages, direction to businesses on how to install legal sidewalk infrastructure, as well as available resources to help set up outdoor dining. 

What about Open Restaurants and Open Storefronts? How closely would they be tied into the Open Streets program, would they be treated as separate programs/under separate agencies, etc? Dividing the Open programs across agencies is a recipe for confusion, frustration, and lost opportunities for support and revenue for small business owners. Open Restaurants, Open Streets, and Open Storefronts should all be run through a single commissioner-level appointment—The Office of the Public Realm—with appropriate staff and funding, responsible for coordinating across agencies to promulgate guidance, ensure laws and ordinances are followed, develop and deploy a website and other resources to help small business owners understand the programs, and share resources, including funding, at the local level to build equity into all programs. 



A photo of the outdoor dining setup at Cafe Du Soleil this winter
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The outdoor dining setup at Cafe Du Soleil this winter Ben Yakas/Gothamist

Kathryn Garcia

What does “Open Streets” mean to you? What is the social or societal value of having open streets? Is NYC equipped for handling and regulating so much public outdoor space? Open Streets fundamentally prioritize pedestrians and public use over cars, while preserving access for emergency services and deliveries. Our streets and sidewalks are a losing battle between competing uses, and our public spaces must start serving the public first. I would create permanent Open Streets in all five boroughs to create more equitable access to jobs by expanding transportation options, but also to protect our health and make our streets, sidewalks, and bike lanes safer and more enjoyable. 

What do you think about the de Blasio administration’s Open Streets program during the pandemic? What were its strengths and weaknesses? During the pandemic, we learned we can move faster. The Open Restaurants program was built almost overnight. Previously, it would have taken many months of debate to put together a program like this. In order to implement the dramatic shift in use of open space, we need to continue to move this quickly. Building on the success of open streets and outdoor dining, we have an unprecedented opportunity to redefine our streetscape and create vibrant outdoor spaces that will attract tourism and drive our recovery.

Do you have a specific plan for Open Streets if elected mayor? How would it expand upon or differentiate from the de Blasio version? I would create permanent open and complete streets, which will not only prioritize the wellbeing and safety of pedestrians and cyclists, but will also expand NYC’s bike lane network by 250 miles. The de Blasio administration has made small steps in the right direction, but has not invested the necessary resources to maintain our bike lanes. As Mayor, I will procure badly needed small equipment to clean and plow bike lanes. I will also further integrate CitiBike into the existing transit network and subsidize expansion into communities that have been underserved by the existing program. 

How much responsibility is on the city vs local communities to maintain those open streets/areas? The City should work in collaboration with communities—specifically with BIDs and block associations—to develop community-driven programming to make our Open Streets vibrant and lively. It is the responsibility of the City to make these spaces beautiful, safe and enjoyable with retractable bollards—and each community should be provided with clear guidelines to ensure additional amenities are safe and enjoyable for all New Yorkers.

What about Open Restaurants and Open Storefronts? How closely would they be tied into the Open Streets program, would they be treated as separate programs/under separate agencies, etc? I support making Open Restaurants a permanent program. I have proposed a Reopen to Stay Open plan that calls for a wholesale reimagining of how the City uses public space to give local businesses and art organizations a bigger footprint in their communities—by reforming our concessions and public art permitting process to unlock hundreds of thousands of square feet of public space for arts and culture. I would support letting restaurants and bars serve drinks outdoors in designated areas nearby their shops.



A blue barricade belonging to the NYPD lies broken on a street in Brooklyn as a Mercedes Benz heads toward it.
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A broken NYPD barricade, used to cordon off this street, lies broken as a car approaches. Gothamist

Ray McGuire

What does “Open Streets” mean to you? What is the social or societal value of having open streets? Is NYC equipped for handling and regulating so much public outdoor space? My overarching vision is to make our city’s streets a place where people and transit of all forms can coexist safely. This means reducing congestion and emissions to make streets more pleasant, and re-imagining the streetscape to incorporate open streets. Under my administration, I will expand the program and ensure that there is enough staff in place to protect and maintain open streets.

What do you think about the de Blasio administration’s Open Streets program during the pandemic? What were its strengths and weaknesses? I believe that the Open Streets program was a much-needed initiative to give New Yorkers more spaces to spend time outdoors when most in person activities were closed. More foot traffic helped local small businesses attract customers during these devastating times, and less car congestion allowed for a cleaner and safer environment for both pedestrians and cyclists. However, some open streets were not fully barricaded from cars, which created confusing and sometimes dangerous situations.

Do you have a specific plan for Open Streets if elected mayor? How would it expand upon or differentiate from the de Blasio version? I will build on the Open Streets program with an emphasis on partnerships with local businesses. This can facilitate more street festivals, expanded outdoor dining, and outdoor exhibitions from local artists. This will support local businesses, many of which are on the brink of closing shop, can bring communities together after more than a year of feeling isolated, and can make New York City a more attractive destination for tourists.

How much responsibility is on the city vs local communities to maintain those open streets/areas? The Mayor should take ownership over maintaining open streets. Under my administration, the Department of Transportation will oversee which streets close to vehicles with extensive input from the surrounding communities, ensure that businesses and residents are properly notified, and clearly barricade the streets from vehicular traffic.

What about Open Restaurants and Open Storefronts? How closely would they be tied into the Open Streets program, would they be treated as separate programs/under separate agencies, etc? I will preserve the Open Restaurants and Open Storefronts initiatives post-pandemic. I will closely tie all three programs together under the Department of Transportation because they benefit from one another, and effective coordination will allow the programs to be more robust. It would be an innovative way for New Yorkers to engage with their local communities and businesses, and can help create a more liveable city. Expanding access to outdoor areas will turn public space back over to the people for multipurpose use. 



A photo of the open streets pilot on Grand Concourse in The Bronx
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Grand Concourse in The Bronx David ‘Dee’ Delgado/Gothamist

Diane Morales

What does “Open Streets” mean to you? What is the social or societal value of having open streets? Is NYC equipped for handling and regulating so much public outdoor space? I’m a strong supporter of redesigning our streets in NYC to make them more livable. Our streets need more room for bike lanes, open street activities, greenspace, and the city’s Open Streets Program is a great framework to build street-redesign off of.

I believe our streets should be spaces of accessible public use. Spaces where people can come together, not places where people face dangers due to vehicular traffic. Open Streets not only generates safe spaces, but also creates a greater sense of community, sending a message that people are welcome. Open Streets and all other public spaces are key components of healthy and thriving communities. They’re where we meet our neighbors, celebrate our cultures, and connect with each other.

The pandemic has devastated our city, but it has also revealed ways we can rebuild a healthier and more equitable city. The Open Streets program allowed us to reclaim space and build community; we need to build up this program and continue reclaiming public space for the people instead of for cars.

It’s not coincidental that streets with among the highest commercial value, specifically Times Square, Herald Square and Wall Street, have all had some type of restricted access to vehicles for more than a decade. ALL of our communities deserve spaces like these. 

What do you think about the de Blasio administration’s Open Streets program during the pandemic? What were its strengths and weaknesses? Like most actions by the current administration taken in response to the pandemic, there was a lot of inaction, hesitancy and delay. I’m thankful for the community members, restaurants and small businesses who advocated for Open Streets and put pressure on city leaders. De Blasio needed to be proactive on this issue and should have immediately engaged with communities and listened to their needs.

Do you have a specific plan for Open Streets if elected mayor? How would it expand upon or differentiate from the de Blasio version? I plan to expand the Open Streets program and make it permanent. While focusing expansion particularly outside of the central tourism corridors—not with focus on commercialization, but on community. 

Our built environment, our public space options reflect the same racial and class inequities found in transit, health, employment and safety. I have spent my career centering the marginalized, and will continue to as Mayor, prioritizing these communities not just in words but in funding; that includes Open Streets.

I support TransAlt’s 25 x 25 Plan that includes 1,000 lane miles of permanent Open Streets. This will include pedestrian-only zones in the central business districts of each borough, and a signature car-free public space built on a major thoroughfare in every borough. The City must implement this with immediate and consistent input from communities, especially in terms of the specific locations.

And I do not plan to add more red tape to the process of setting Open Streets up. Barriers to implementation should be eliminated and the City/DOT should instead be providing resources to ensure accessibility and equity across all five boroughs.

How much responsibility is on the city vs local communities to maintain those open streets/areas? While it is incredible to see community members volunteer their time and energy to facilitate open streets, it isn’t sustainable. 

I stand with the Open Streets Coalition in calling for safer and stronger accommodations from the City. We must dedicate more resources toward supporting Open Streets, including improved road barriers, signage, seating, and other measures to strengthen the program.

We can’t forget that not every community can give time, resources, or fundraising that we’ve seen in some of the wealthier communities. So, the program must take this imbalance into account when working across the five boroughs.

What about Open Restaurants and Open Storefronts? How closely would they be tied into the Open Streets program, would they be treated as separate programs/under separate agencies, etc? I believe we need to expand and make permanent ALL “Open” Programs: Open Streets, Open Restaurants, Open Storefronts and Open Culture. 

The Open Restaurants program must be made permanent. The same goes for Open Storefronts. I will also work alongside the Department of Small Business Services to help keep restaurants, bars, and cafes—which are key cultural institutions in this city—open throughout and beyond this pandemic. A Morales administration will grant small businesses more ability to utilize Open Streets to conduct sales outside.

We must also support the Open Culture Program and permanently institutionalize it for years to come (this program should exist beyond the pandemic). Place Open Culture sites on streets participating in the Open Streets program to avoid possible car accidents or other issues, ensure that the application process for Open Culture is accessible to all organizations.

Open Restaurants, Open Storefronts and Open Culture will comprehensively be incorporated into the Open Streets program, but they won’t be limited to just Open Streets locations, as there are other options for their expansion.



Plastic bubbles for outdoor dining line the sidewalk outside a NYC restaurant.

Scott Stringer

What does “Open Streets” mean to you? What is the social or societal value of having open streets? Is NYC equipped for handling and regulating so much public outdoor space? The Open Streets program does something very simple: it reminds New Yorkers that the streets are for our communities to use to come together, not just park cars. 

Like countless New Yorkers, I love the Open Streets program. To me, it means more outdoor space to enjoy with my sons, Max and Miles, and more opportunities for outdoor dining in local restaurants with my wife, Elyse. It’s a successful initiative that pedestrians, cyclists, families with children, and small business owners relish in every year. It’s an indispensable outlet for New Yorkers to get outside, exercise, dine and enjoy recreational activities.

To ensure that Open Streets expands and continues to be a success, the City must prioritize the program. The City DOT has over five thousand employees and has added more than 700 since the beginning of the de Blasio administration, but too many are focused on handling and regulating car traffic and not enough are dedicated to open streets and sustainable transportation. In my administration, a greater share of DOT staff and staff from other agencies will be devoted to making sure that Open Streets and other innovative street projects are  successful in every community. Partnerships with local community members and community groups will be key in this mission.

What do you think about the de Blasio administration’s Open Streets program during the pandemic? What were its strengths and weaknesses? The Open Streets program was a lifeline to countless restaurants that struggled to stay open amid shutdowns last year. It was crucial to the survival of tens of thousands of restaurants and was critical in saving thousands of jobs. But more could have been done to support local communities that relied on the extra outdoor space for recreational activities and for small businesses that were struggling to stay open.

Last September, I called on the City to allow the City’s small business and retail community to offer more goods and services outside and to extend Open Streets into a year-round program and to provide guidance around heat lamps and other ways to adapt for cooler weather. I’ve also highlighted the disparities in the distribution and success of the Open Streets program and pointed out that a pure volunteer-model doesn’t work everywhere and that the City needs to offer real support for maintenance and traffic calming.

Do you have a specific plan for Open Streets if elected mayor? How would it expand upon or differentiate from the de Blasio version? As Mayor, I would drastically expand Open Streets — it’s exactly the kind of creativity and smart urban planning the local economy and communities need. “Open Restaurant” permits would be automatically renewed each spring and extended through November under my administration.

We would work to expand the program into neighborhoods with low participation and, following the roadmap of the Open Streets Coalition, dedicate resources to volunteer groups that manage open streets; provide amenities, such as signage, benches, chairs, planters, and improved barriers, to provide for a safer and more inviting experience; and allow businesses in the Open Storefronts program to utilize the roadway on non-Open Streets. Finally, I would add more benches, bathrooms, and bike parking and allow for 24/7 operation. 

How much responsibility is on the city vs local communities to maintain those open streets/areas? It will be a collaboration between the City and local communities. The City should dedicate funding to support local staffing, maintenance, and programming — particularly in lower-income neighborhoods that might not have the same fundraising and volunteer capacity. With funding from the City, local communities would run the program and manage activities, upkeep, enforcement, and coordinate with local businesses. 

Let’s start with that hybrid model and if the City needs to be more engaged in the years to come, I’m very open to doing so.

What about Open Restaurants and Open Storefronts? How closely would they be tied into the Open Streets program, would they be treated as separate programs/under separate agencies, etc? There would certainly be outdoor seating and outdoor retail taking place outside of Open Streets in my administration. But to the greatest extent possible, we want these programs to be coordinated and sit primarily under the jurisdiction of DOT. Creating more open space is good for local communities, good for families, and good for local businesses. 



Open streets sign on York Avenue near Carl Schurz Park on the Upper East Side.
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Open streets sign on York Avenue near Carl Schurz Park on the Upper East Side. Elizabeth Kim / Gothamist

Maya Wiley

What does “Open Streets” mean to you? What is the social or societal value of having open streets? Is NYC equipped for handling and regulating so much public outdoor space? I believe that open streets have been a wonderful way to help New Yorkers socialize safely and enjoy outdoor spaces while maintain a safe distance. Recently, I was at the Vanderbilt open street, and enjoyed talking to New Yorkers about their view on open streets—and overwhelmingly, they supported the outdoor communal areas.

What do you think about the de Blasio administration’s Open Streets program during the pandemic? What were its strengths and weaknesses? I know firsthand how hard the pandemic was on all New Yorkers. Open streets provided a safe socializing space for us to gather during this difficult time. I have enjoyed the open streets program in a personal capacity and look forward to them this summer.

Do you have a specific plan for Open Streets if elected mayor? How would it expand upon or differentiate from the de Blasio version? I see that value of open streets for restaurants, bars, and small businesses throughout New York. As Mayor, I would incorporate an open streets concept into a more long term part of city planning.

What about Open Restaurants and Open Storefronts? How closely would they be tied into the Open Streets program, would they be treated as separate programs/under separate agencies, etc? Outdoor dining has been an incredible way to allow New Yorkers to maintain some sense of normalcy during the pandemic, and I believe that there is a way to continue promoting outdoor dining and storefronts.

In addition, Wiley has released a Community First Climate Action Plan that includes the creation of an Office of Public Space Management (OPSM) which would turn the streets “into vibrant public spaces, de-emphasize private vehicles, and reduce carbon emissions.” She writes that the office would “expand Open Streets, and continue to invest in Safe Streets, building on the success of newly opened streets like 34th Avenue in Queens.”

She says that under her administration, the DOT would work with the OPSM to “create a street hierarchy, to differentiate between transportation network and neighborhood streets, with the latter available for communities to design according to their needs.” The program would be modeled off of similar departments in cities including Boston, Paris, France, Portland, OR, and Seattle, WA, all of which have improved “their city’s walkability, liveability, and climate responsiveness.”



an open street with a family walking

Andrew Yang

What does “Open Streets” mean to you? What is the social or societal value of having open streets? Is NYC equipped for handling and regulating so much public outdoor space? As we head into the Spring season, after a year of feeling locked in due the circumstances around us, New Yorkers are once again heading outside. We deserve streets that provide a breath of fresh air, that are spaces for friends and family to gather, and the Open Streets program has allowed us to connect as a community.

The program is an early success, but it can easily be improved as I outlined in a recent policy plan that I released after visiting Open Streets in Park Slope and Prospect Heights.

What do you think about the de Blasio administration’s Open Streets program during the pandemic? What were its strengths and weaknesses? The program itself is a great start and obviously New Yorkers across the five boroughs have taken the program. A TA poll has made this clear. But as I shared in my plan, my administration will provide funding so that Open Streets programming does not have to solely rely on local donations. We want to work with and empower our neighborhoods, help provide the resources needed to take advantage of this program.

Do you have a specific plan for Open Streets if elected mayor? How would it expand upon or differentiate from the de Blasio version? Yes, our plan is here. [That includes making Open Streets permanent, and providing resources such as french barricades, benches, and signage to support local community groups and BIDs overseeing their local Open Streets programming.]

How much responsibility is on the city vs local communities to maintain those open streets/areas? From our plan: “Dedicate DOT, Parks Department or other city personnel to Open Streets in neighborhoods that do not have BIDs, established community groups, or dedicated volunteer support for Open Streets. While several Open Streets have strong community engagement and local volunteer organizers, many do not. The Department of Transportation will provide the resources and workers needed to block off the street, arrange barricades, and work with neighborhoods to tailor the hours and days that the streets should be open.”

What about Open Restaurants and Open Storefronts? How closely would they be tied into the Open Streets program, would they be treated as separate programs/under separate agencies, etc? Open Streets should serve as opportunities for all restaurants and storefronts as well. As we share in our plan: “Provide new opportunities for restaurants along Open Streets. Open Streets provides a great opportunity to also bolster support for local restaurants and bars. The Yang campaign has previously released proposals for ‘lending’ outdoor adjacent space to restaurants. Already, on Vanderbilt Ave, restaurants saw a 54% increase in customer visits for restaurants compared to the month before the initiative started.”

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