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Open Streets Program

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Rule status: Adopted

Agency: DOT

Effective date: March 29, 2024

Proposed Rule Full Text

Adopted Rule Full Text

Adopted rule summary:

This adopted rule allows DOT to develop criteria for eligible Open Streets partners and corridors, as well as establish guidelines for how the program will be managed.

Comments are now closed.

Online comments: 165

  • CN

    There needs to be improvements to accessibility of the NYC Open Streets Program.

    The Open Street applicant should be mandated to have one or two staff members or volunteers to assist a person with a visual disability or blindness to navigate the Open Street event so that person with the visual disability or blindness can enjoy the Open Street event like everyone else.

    Also a contact number to reach a staff member or volunteer should be made available through the DOT Disability Services Facilitator on request.

    With some Open Streets Events being held in shared streets that are difficult and hazardess for people with visual disabilities and blindness to navigate it is essential for the applicant to provide staff members or volunteers who would be designated to help assist a person with a visual disability or blindness. That staff member or volunteer should be easy to locate by a member of the public or Open street vendor that might be asked for help from the person with a visual disability or blindness.

    Every Open Street applicant should provide contact numbers for Access-a-Ride employees who schedule Access-A-Ride rides, so that they can also pass the contact Open Street applicant’s numbers to the Access-A-ride drivers, so that drivers can inform the Open Street staff of the time the Access-A-Ride vehicle will be arriving at the location of the Open Street event, so access can be better coordinated and made available in a more efficient way.

    Access through Open Street events for Access-a-ride passengers, passengers who use the Access-A-ride E-Hail On Demand taxi service, thoes with disability and severe disability parking permits should have mandatory access through an Open Street event, the language in the proposal should replace the word “may” with the word “shall” in regards to providing access through Open street events for the above mentioned circumstances and include Access-A-Ride E-Hail On demand riders in taxis for gaining access for pick up and drop off.

    There needs to be better outreach in regards to informing people with disabilities of upcoming Open street events more than just notices on the DOT website. Information about Open Streets should be provided to such agencies and organizations such as the Mayors Office For People With Disabilities who has a monthly informational public meetings for the disability community, the (NFB) National Federation Of The Blind NYC Chapter, Center for Independence of the Disabled, etc.

    NYC Open Streets should be accessible to everyone and people with disabilities need to be able to enjoy Open Streets like everyone else.

    Comment added March 31, 2023 7:42am
  • Alia

    DOT must end “Open Streets” where there are bus routes and therefore closing streets has forced bus rerouting.
    1. Mass transit must be the priority – as it has always been in NYC. People are entitled to being able to get regular bus service. Mass transit must be the priority instead of more restaurant seats for the wealthy.
    2. The City Council did not intend “Open Streets” to harm and sabotage mass transit.
    3. People who depend on buses have no other way to get around! Bus riders include women, people with lower income, elderly, people with medical/health/mobility issues, families with children, non-white people.
    4. Detouring buses discriminates against the above. Reminder that bus riders don’t have money for taxis or Uber (and if street is closed for Open Streets” could not even access)
    5. “Open Streets” was developed during the Covid lockdown for health reasons. That made sense then. But the Covid emergency is over.
    6. Reminder that the City Council developed Open Streets legislation during Covid and without notifying residents or seeking the input of residents. The City Council acted just like the GOP would.

    Comment added April 1, 2023 9:07am
  • maryann taurozzi

    What about people who live & have disability permits for parking on vthe same block the street is closed & acess to be dropped off & picked up in front of building. My neighbor besides my self arew seniors he is in a wheelchair plus he uses a walker in the HEART OF LITTLE ITALY 2 BLOCKS ARE CLOSED OFF RIGHT WHERE WE LIVE

    Comment added April 9, 2023 9:05am
  • maryann taurozzi

    Do I need to move my vehicle on my block which is in front of my building. I am handicap I have a ppcd placard & my block is closed from thursday to sunday with long hours I hope you would consider this since it is very hard to park in little italy due to the sheds outside Thank you.

    Comment added April 10, 2023 9:03am
  • Sam

    Open Streets?
    The irony of the name!
    “Closed Streets” is more like it.

    A Closed Street = Ambulances cannot access our loved ones who need immediate emergency medical attention.

    A Closed Street= Fire trucks are prevented from properly accessing the fire and saving lives when every second counts.

    A Closed Street= My elderly, handicapped father with severe mobility issues will not be able to get to car from his front door for regular doctor’s appointments.

    A Closed Street= A more dangerous street. With no opportunities for police cars to patrol using essential vehicle spotlights to target criminals at night.

    A Closed Street= More opportunity for crime. The harder to access a street- especially by car at night- the quieter (and unquestionably more dangerous) the street. The presence of cars at night make us all feel safer & make criminals think twice before committing a crime. The presence of cars with their headlights are deterrent to criminals.

    “Open Streets” is an extremely bad- and dangerous idea that- in every way- will hinder and hurt- not help- New Yorkers, in every age bracket and every demographic.

    Comment added April 11, 2023 10:55pm
  • JRC

    I am a disabled individual who just turned 85 and am suddenly being told my freedom of access is now limited by the stupidly named open streets program.

    I’ve complained to the Community Board -and told them that I can’t get Ubers or taxis to pick me up or drop me off at my home. They shrug and say the DOT wants the gates for safety?! Safety for who? What about when I need to safely get to my doctor or my errands-and I have to walk a long block to the corner for a pick-up in all kinds of weather? It’s crazy-because there’s no one on the street except for a rare bicycle -and people who are actually walking on -the sidewalk!

    What about my friends and family who hate to visit now because there’s no parking?

    Do not keep this miserable and thoughtless plan going, please.

    Comment added April 12, 2023 2:11pm
  • Enid Braun

    I continue to be frustrated by overly-simplistic, un-nuanced discussions around permanent Open Streets (and the Orwellian naming of streets closed to traffic). Like most seniors, I do most of my travel on foot or by public transit, and this program does not enhance my life or make me feel “safer”.

    The cart-before-the-horse aspect of “pedestrian safety” measures, i.e. cutting and neglecting public transportation while demonizing the need of so many to use a private vehicle is both insulting and dismissive. At 72 years old, I am still able to make the 12 minute walk to my closest subway but if I need to travel to other parts of Brooklyn or to Queens, the lack of intra-borough bus routes, the infrequency of service, means adding 45 minutes to an hour to any trip, with multiple transfers and subway station stairs. Many of my neighbors are less fit, and my days are probably numbered in kind.

    My husband and I have a 21-year old car that we only use for errands requiring the transport of large items, and usually only drive every couple of weeks. We might get rid of the car altogether if it were possible or easy, as it once was, to flag or call a taxi. However the City enabled private for-profit middlemen such as Uber and Lyft to take over this mode, putting the bulk of taxi drivers and car services out of business, and I refuse to download an app linked to my bank account that only enriches these platforms at the expense of actual driver/workers.

    The dedication of so much public funding to closing streets—promoted by predominantly-young, white transplants to the city—discriminates against the elderly and the disabled.

    Vehicle travel in the city can and should be reduced by first offering viable alternatives. Demonizing private car ownership primarily punishes low-income people of all ages who cannot afford off-street parking garages. Further, a closed street only shifts vehicles on to another one, and causes them to drive farther to get to where they’re headed.

    Streets are for vehicles, sidewalks for people, and parks for recreation. I never walk in the street for pleasure; why would I?

    Yours truly,
    Enid Braun
    116 Adelphi Street
    Brooklyn, NY 11205

    Comment added April 12, 2023 2:20pm
  • Robert Sinclair



    Comment added April 14, 2023 2:19pm
  • Alan Mooiman

    This proposal looks like a promising adaptation of rules and should help DOT continue to iterate on the open streets program in a way that addresses the concerns of other commenters. I especially look forward to the prospect of shared streets in the future!

    Comment added April 20, 2023 9:40pm
  • AL

    As someone who volunteered for Open Streets, it is a poor program. DOT does not want NYPD involved. Even though the NYPD is kind enough to provide barricades, cars and trucks will still swerve around barricades on closed streets. Obviously, it is NOT safe especially where there is a program area for children. DOT’s only concern are car-free streets, and zero focus on vision zero.

    Comment added April 21, 2023 8:57am
  • Voices of Jackson Heights

    As we experienced in Jackson Heights, the outreach for community input that the DOT does is not adequate. There are many elderly and others who do not have a computer or are not computer savy. So, outreach via the internet, Facebook, Twitter and the such does not reach the community.

    Holding a showcase at a Community Board meeting where the non-board members cannot ask questions, make comments or be part of the convesation is not community outreach, In our area where there are over 160,000 residents a zoom meeting with 100+ people is not real outreach.

    Random meetings for small groups along the avenue is also not community outreach. When it was suggested that meeting be held with the residents who live along the avenue – small, controlled meetings for a limited group, it was rejected. When we asked for a larger meeting in a community school it was also rejected.

    There was no outreach via mail either,

    The imput in our case was limited to a few members of a small group who ultimately became the partners that run the OS.

    P.S. the Community Board was told that their comments, suggestions or votes would only be reviewed and not accepted as a done deal. We have seen that these suggestions and comments have been rejects over 90% of the time.

    I suggest that this be changed but NOT the way you have, Now you will just let the Board know after it is a done deal. TOTALLY UNACCEPTABLE

    Comment added April 21, 2023 1:44pm

    -Open Street should never be done on a residential street/avenue.
    -The lost of parking is an essential problem.
    -The speeding cyclists and e-vehicle drivers are making it dangerous for pedestrians. An Open Street is NOT a speedway. Cyclists races should not be allowed. e-vehicles (inclucing electric bikes) should be BANNED from an OS and be enfoced. The SAFETY OF THE STREET USERS must be maintained. This would fall under “(23) No person shall ride a motorized device on or through any part of an open street, except electric
    personal assistive mobility devices”
    – The application MUST include support of the residents in the area and specifically those who live along the route. Perhaps a petition from a majority of the residents in the area and 75% of the residents who live along the route should be required. If it is on a commercial area then the same percentages of merchants hould be required. Community outreach is just that – OUTREACH TO THE ENTIRE COMMUNITY.
    – Enforcement of the no drinking policy is a must. This is a problem in Jackson Heights at this point. we have people (and not necessarily residents) drinking daytime/night time. We find empty bottles & cans in the morning.
    – Enforcement of the hours of operation – barricades removed at proper times, no partying late into the night, no sleeping on the street, urinating on the street, etc.
    – Enforcement of noise abatement – loud music in front of large apartment buildings often and for long times. Permits must include decibel levels within the NYC regulations.,
    – Notification of parades, protests, etc. For example there was a loud UFT protest march on 34th Avenue yesterday and there was no notification. Only complaints of “what is happening”.
    – Enforcement of all permits esp. photography/videoing. NO NOTIFICATION given to residents, community or Community Board. This happens often including filming for the DOT,
    – a lot of these items fall under the “Engaging in conduct or committing acts that disturb the peace, comfort or repose of a reasonable person of normal sensitivities”. One example is very loud Zumba classes at 9am in front of apartment buildings. ((24) No person in an open street shall make, continue, cause, or permit to be made or continued unreasonable noise in violation of the Noise Code pursuant to subchapter 2 of title 24 of the
    Administrative Code.)
    – Dangerous activity enforcement – children & adults jumping off the granite blocks placed along the OS
    – Enforcement of littering – we have a major problem with this
    – “(27) Except as otherwise permitted by law, no person shall bring or place tables, carts, chairs or furniture in or on any open street.” This MUST include vendors – esp. unlicensed vendors.

    Comment added April 21, 2023 2:27pm
  • betty mccain

    Open Streets should be discussed with the community before they are designated. S
    There also is no reason to have Open Streets extend for several blocks nor to be open fo24/7.

    Comment added April 22, 2023 9:07pm
  • Melissa

    I agree with the comments posted by Alia.

    It is unacceptable that the City has implemented “open streets” where there are bus routes, and forced bus rerouting.

    In Manhattan, multiple avenues and bus routes have been effected.
    The situation is even worse when there are street fairs or bike events etc. On many weekends in 2022, there was essentially no bus service on the West Side of Manhattan because there were street closures for “open streets” and an “event.”

    The City wants people to use mass transit – then deprives people of bus service that they have had for decades!

    The City would not have implemented “Open Streets” if the bicycle lobby had not wanted it.

    People are entitled to have normal bus service.
    DOT must end “Open Streets” where there are bus routes.

    Comment added April 23, 2023 6:52pm
  • Jack

    Although the Open Street program has had some advantages, such as increased foot traffic, there continues to be the issue of accessibility for disabled individuals who live on these streets. As many have mentioned, disabled individuals seem to have been an afterthought when it comes to their method of transportation, and require more nuanced focus than what this proposed amendments provide.

    CN brings up some very valid points in regards to keeping these streets accessible for everyone. Specifically, there needs to be a better way of notifying and allowing disabled people who live on these closed blocks to be able to have access to transport. I don’t think having them apply for more permits is the best solution, as this is just making it harder for these people affected and having them jump through more hoops.

    This seemingly also is making it more difficult for people who have to take busses that are interrupted by closed roads and the increased traffic that these provide. This also seems to affect not only disabled individuals, but those that may not be able to afford / have the privilege of alternative forms of transportation.

    In all, this proposal seems to cater towards certain demographics that can afford and is able to use these streets while disregarding those that may be negatively affected by street closures. Although this program may have been nice during the COVID pandemic for safety reasons, it seems like it currently may bring more harm than good for many residents throughout the City.

    Comment added April 23, 2023 9:36pm
  • Sara Lind

    These rules, proposed without any input from public space partners, neighbors, elected officials potentially codify an increasingly cumbersome and bureaucratic program. These rules make it clear it is harder and harder to volunteer for the city. There are lots of hoops to jump through to source letters of support, create site plans, management plans for removing barricades, what happens with emergency vehicles, etc. The city is offloading responsibility for their program onto volunteers. Big picture, if the City wants people to use the streets as easy as a vehicle can they shouldn’t require a permit, site plan, run of show and to indemnify the City to do so. On top of this, detractors of the program are using this as an opportunity to whittle away at the program.

    We are dismayed and frustrated to see DOT and the City add any financial penalties to the Open Streets program. Individual Open Streets are primarily organized, managed, and operated for the city by volunteers and neighbors. It makes no sense to create this punitive dynamic to a program intended to provide safe and joyful public space. If this rule stays, Open Streets operators deserve explicit clarity about what triggers a penalty.

    We remain concerned about the requirement to get a SAPO permit for every single activity on an open street. This is a massive barrier to activating and programming Open Streets, comes with insurance requirements, and a whole mess more city red tape. The fact of the matter is opens streets are most successful when people see people centric, non-car activity on the street. It is simple, people attract people. If programming needs a permit every single time it becomes a lot harder to do and limits the organic nature of public space.

    Comment added April 24, 2023 1:49pm
  • EC

    Open Streets are safe and joyful public spaces that all New Yorkers should have access to. By creating more barriers to hosting these Open Streets, we are making it more limited in neighborhoods that would truly benefit from them, and are discouraging volunteers and organizers from creating more around the city.

    Volunteers already work hard to ensure that there is enough programming and activities on the street and asking for them to gather additional letters is an added burden that can prevent them from effectively running the space. It is a barrier that does not affect the success of the program, so they should not be required to collect them.

    Open Streets require a lot of time, money and resources from organizers and volunteers. By requiring SAPO permits for every single event, DOT is making it even harder for these open streets to host programming which helps attract more people to the street. If a permit needs to be submitted every time there is an event, organizers will feel less inclined to host them – which will hurt the success of the program.

    Lastly, there needs to be better outreach for people that use Access-a-ride and need to go through Open Streets. There needs to be clear communication so that folks don’t feel like they are left out when it comes to outreach, and so that they too can enjoy the Open Streets without feeling like it is an inconvenience for them. Open Streets should be a space that everyone can enjoy and benefit from – We need better outreach.

    Comment added April 24, 2023 2:44pm
  • Ben Turndorf

    I oppose most of the changes proposed for the open streets program. Instead of the responsibility for supporting volunteers falling on DOT, these proposed changes shift burden, liability, and financial cost unto unpaid volunteers in a way that doesn’t make any sense. Open Streets are incredibly popular, drive business in the local economy, and are actually one of the most important uses of our streets – something that should fall squarely in the remit of the DOT, instead of on the shoulders of local volunteers through an increasingly cumbersome and bureaucratic program. I oppose adding hoops to jump through to source letters of support, create site plans, management plans for removing barricades, etc. The city is offloading responsibility for their program onto volunteers, and should instead be offering support, training, and resources to the communities and volunteers who are attempting to enhance usage of their local streets by turning them into open streets.

    Comment added April 24, 2023 2:50pm
  • Alexander Morano

    “Open Streets” is a good program that benefits the city and should be continued and expanded with careful considerations. Rules need to make it easier for communities to apply for and create more open streets in their neighborhoods.

    As a general note, comments reflecting individuals’ preferences for using personal vehicles to travel, and how open streets creates difficulties for them, are not indicative of the reality of how public spaces are divided and residents use streets. In NYC, more than 2/3 or individuals walk or take public transit to and from their destination while less than 1/3 drive. Additionally, more than 75% of streets are currently dedicated to the storage and movement of vehicles. The vocal few who speak out against OS due to their personal bias against closing streets to cars should be ignored. Furthermore, although it may seem counterintuitive, restricting streets to pedestrians and cyclists actually reduces traffic. A study published in the Journal of Transport Geography examined the impact of an open streets program in San Francisco, California, and found that the program led to a significant reduction in traffic volumes on the streets adjacent to the open streets route. Those who speak up against open streets citing traffic issues are misperceiving and misunderstanding the issues at play.

    Also of extreme importance is accessibility. Accessibility needs to be clarified and better communicated in the rules and generally by DOT. It is clear from the several posts on the rules webpage that people are upset about the current process. Outreach should be done between volunteers, DOT and those with accessibility issues in order to ensure that those individuals feel they are being prioritized and their needs are being met. The DOT must do a better job of communicating with and between Access-A-Ride, the disability advocacy groups, New Yorkers with disabilities and Open Streets. Access to Open Streets for Access-A-Ride is important, and we have seen that thus far drivers fully abused any access to an operating Open Street by driving down it while often not replacing the barrier behind them.

    Comments on specific proposed rule changes are below:

    Add new penalty to Section 3-01 relating to open streets (Pg 2)
    — It is dismaying and frustrating to see DOT and the City add any financial penalties to the Open Streets program. Individual Open Streets are primarily organized, managed, and operated for the city by volunteers and neighbors. It makes no sense to create this punitive dynamic to a program intended to provide safe and joyful public space. If this rule stays, Open Streets operators deserve explicit clarity about what triggers a penalty.

    (E) A community outreach plan detailing how the applicant will regularly notify businesses, residents, and other relevant stakeholders about the proposed open street and its operation and programming; (Pg 4)
    — Both sections (D) and (E) highlight the inherent challenges baked into this program. By asking typically new volunteers to understand this level of detail the city is creating a prohibitively high bar for New Yorkers to launch new open streets. If anything, there should be a mentoring program with SBS or DOT to educate the new Open streets applicants on how to undertake these steps. As a recurring theme, the city continues to over rely on and place the burden on volunteers to perform unpaid labor to launch and manage Open Streets. These sections should be the responsibility of the DOT, who has the actual expertise to complete these steps.

    (5) Any person holding a parade, procession, or demonstration in an open street, where such activity is subject to the permit requirements of the New York City Police Department, must have an applicable permit from such department. (All on Pg 8)
    — The requirement to get a SAPO permit for every single activity on an open street is concerning. This is a massive barrier to activating and programming Open Streets, comes with insurance requirements, and a whole mess of more city red tape. The fact of the matter is Open Streets are most successful when people see people centric, non-car activity on the street. It is simple, people attract people. If programming needs a permit every single time it becomes a lot harder to do and limits the organic nature of public space.

    Comment added April 24, 2023 3:05pm
  • Zach Miller

    Please see attached comments issued on behalf of the Trucking Association of New York (TANY).
    As always, the Trucking Association of New York looks forward to ongoing collaboration and dialogue with the Department of Transportation
    Thank you for your time.

    Comment attachment
    Comment added April 24, 2023 3:27pm
  • Cormac Nataro

    Several of the proposed rules will, if enacted, severely hinder the ability of New Yorkers to fully participate in the Open Streets program, while providing little to no benefit to the community:

    (b) (5) (i) – this does not provide adequate time for community members to respond to the decision to rescind an Open Street designation – should be a minimum of 30 days, not 10.

    (d) (22) – as written, this rule unnecessarily infringes on the public’s ability to share information and communicate with neighbors about events both related and unrelated to Open Street activities. Further, based on (iv), this rule creates a circumstance in which a person acting in bad faith could post fliers in the name of another party and thereby create an undue burden on said party to disclaim responsibility for said flier, with threat of fine or prosecution.

    (d) (23) – as written, this rule appears to prohibit the use of electric citibikes on Open Streets and should be amended or removed.

    (d)(25) – this is already a citable offense under New York City Administrative Law 10-125, it is unnecessary to create additional penalties for it. Further, this introduces ambiguity into restaurants’ ability to serve customers on an Open Street, eroding confidence in the program in contrary to the stated intentions of the Department.

    (d)(26) – it is unclear if this prohibits the use of personal barbecues and grills

    (d)(27) – there is no reason a person should not be entitled to bring their own personal table or chairs to enjoy the Open Street, provided they observe other rules regarding obstructing emergency access and fire hydrants. If the purpose of this clause is to prohibit unauthorized vending, it should be amended to be more specific.

    Section 3, 4-17 (c) and (d) – a $500 fine for violations of these rules is absolutely exorbitant and places a wildly disproportionate penalty on Open Street users. For example, running a red light or speeding in a school zone is a $50 violation – 10x less than the proposed fine. Parking violations are $65, and even blocking a fire hydrant is only a $115 fine – nearly 5 times less than this proposal. A more appropriate fine would be $25 for a first offense, with the potential for escalating fines for repeated violations, but the idea that a person could receive a $500 citation for taping a flier to a lamp post, or bringing a lawn chair to sit in, is completely absurd.

    Comment added April 24, 2023 7:25pm


    Comment added April 24, 2023 8:19pm
  • Rebecca Dengrove

    The open streets are a wonderful thing in our community. I have met neighbors I would have never met. They are good for business and the environment. It is important that people be allowed to enjoy the street. Restrictions about signage during the open street and limitations to sitting on the street with blankets hinder our ability to embrace what the open street is creating. It’s about community and building a gathering place where we can relax and enjoy the beauty the city has to offer. Please let the streets continue without such restrictive and limiting rules that discourage these activities and volunteer efforts. DOT and the city need to do a better job to work with the communities running these programs, not fining and punishing people that are working hard to create these events. Thank you.

    Comment added April 24, 2023 9:30pm
  • Yolanda ( Lonnie) Hardy

    Please see the attached letter of support for the Open Streets Program.

    Comment attachment
    Comment added April 24, 2023 10:12pm
  • Amy


    I disagree with a number of the newly proposed rules for the Open Streets program, particularly extremely excessive fine fees — as high as $500 — for something as inconsequential as putting up a flyer or having a lawn chair to sit in. These excessive measures for actions that by most instances do not cause harm, and in some cases, enable people working with disabilities to participate in an open street misunderstand and lack of trust in our community. As a constituent of Queens and the city of New York I urge you to reconsider such misguided measures.


    Comment added April 24, 2023 10:38pm
  • Jenny Bruno

    Open Street is a great place for children of any age to come enjoy and stay off the streets especially during the school year when children come out of school as well as during the summer. Open street provides volunteering opportunities and resources on college and other job opportunities for the future. It’s a safe space for anyone to come and just have fun.

    Comment added April 24, 2023 10:38pm
  • Joan O'Bryan

    I think the Open Street Program is elitist, promoting a young, healthy population while discriminating against an older adult population who may have compromising health conditions that are directly affected by weather, extreme changes in temperatures and air quality. As a 75 year old retired native New Yorker, I would like to enjoy the benefits of my labor by “aging in place” in my own neighborhood of Clinton Hill, Brooklyn where I have been a resident for over 40years. Nevertheless, the bus redesign plan and the open streets program has made it more difficult for me to live here. One of my primary needs is safe, reliable public transportation The closest form of public transportation near me is the B54, Myrtle Avenue bus. In the Fall of 2019, the bus redesign network cut back service on the B54; since that time, the bus service on the B54 has totally deteriorated It is now slower, unreliable with long waiting periods and it is dangerously overcrowded. Another factor contributing to the bus situation is the high volume of traffic congestion on Myrtle Avenue which is mainly due to the closing of Willoughby Avenue from Fort Greene Park to Washington Avenue by the Open Streets Program. The motorists who usually use Willoughby Avenue are now forced to use Myrtle Avenue, which is a commercial street with shopping, two-way traffic, truck deliveries, buses and other motor vehicles. In addition, it has parking on both sides of the street. From the street, there is a very high concentration of carbon emissions, particularly on humid days. I have Asthma, and when I go out to Myrtle Avenue to board a bus or shop, I must take my rescue inhaler so I can breathe

    Comment added April 24, 2023 11:36pm
  • Trevor Sheade

    Hi – I support the open streets initiative and the rules provided. Please move forward as efficiently as possible with this plan.


    Comment added April 25, 2023 6:51am
  • Brian

    First of all, the rule restricting furniture in the open street is absurd – what’s next, banning picnic blankets from parks? Is the intent to ban all small business, all community gatherings, and all limited mobility people from participating in these Open Streets?
    More importantly, the Open Streets need stronger protections at intersections. I sat at the intersection of 31st and 34th in Astoria last Saturday and watched as dozens of cars drove through red lights, nearly hitting families and bikers. They also begin turns into the blocked street, before realizing the street is blocked for cars.
    What ever happened to local police participating in local events and protecting the safety of local events?

    Comment added April 25, 2023 7:34am
  • Adam

    Bringing a chair or a sign to an Open Street shouldn’t be an offense of any kind much less one that has a $500 fine.

    Comment added April 25, 2023 8:33am
  • Jeff Krenn

    There should be NO FINE for denizens to bring their own chairs out to the 31st av open streets. Businesses and the community need to come together in this space, that is the whole point. Many who have mobility limitations will be excluded from this otherwise perfect environment for relaxation and safe enjoyment of all the great events happening during the Open Streets if this restriction is put into place. Please reconsider this! Thank you

    Comment added April 25, 2023 9:10am
  • Maria

    The fine for bringing your own chair to an open street event seems like unnecessary oversight. People bring their chairs to the park. Why can’t they bring them to an open street so they can sit and chat with their neighbors, or enjoy a book outside?

    Not allowing people to bring their own chairs also excludes members of the community who can’t stand for long periods of time but still want to enjoy open streets.

    Overall, open streets is a wonderful program for the community. We have really enjoyed having it here in Astoria. It has been a welcome and affordable gathering space for so many community-oriented programs. Looking forward to going to all of the great programs this summer!

    Comment added April 25, 2023 9:25am
  • Abigail Baron

    Being able to bring your own lawn chair to the open streets is an absolute must. As someone who lives right on the open street, I have no backyard and no outdoor space. The open street is my time to get outside and not stay cooped up in my apartment. It allows me to be apart of the environment and action for an afternoon without just standing around. A fine for bringing a chair would be ridiculous.

    Comment added April 25, 2023 9:41am
  • Irak Cehonski

    I’m an avid user of Open Street through the city, especially the one on my neighborhood; 31st Avenue Open Street. Some of the proposed rule changes will have unintended consecuences and will interfere with the nature of open streets itself. I will lay out the lines that made me concern on how the provisions could be used by open streets opposition to affect the enjoyment of pro-open streets people.

    (26) No person shall kindle, build, maintain, or use a fire in an open street – I’m aware of the dangers fire represents. However, in past years, I witnessed a neighbor who wanted to grill for himself and his family. That activity brought so much joy to his family. This is an activity that I believe should be allow. It will be ideal if the rule lay’s out the safety measures needed for grilling in Open Streets for personal purpose.

    (27) Except as otherwise permitted by law, no person shall bring or place tables, carts, chairs or furniture in or on any open street – This is a very gray area, people often will come out with their own moveable furniture to enjoy the space with their groups to enjoy programming or the space. The rule should allow for people to bring their own furniture and should explicitly say that these should not be left abandoned in the open street.

    I really hope this and other feedback is taken into account to improve this program which has transformed many communities and has become a staple for many.

    Comment added April 25, 2023 10:34am
  • Lewis Anderson

    I love using open streets to get home (in Crown Heights) from my night classes at Pratt. They make walking at night feel much safer because I don’t have to be constantly looking out for oncoming traffic. I want to see the open streets program strengthened, expanded, and made easier for communities to establish and maintain open streets.

    Comment added April 25, 2023 10:53am
  • Neil Kimmett

    The Open Streets program has been transformational for the Fort Greene/Clinton Hill neighborhood and the city more broadly. The new public space for families to stroll, kids to ride their bikes, and community to gather has been wonderful. We already dedicate an absurd amount of our public space to cars and I’m extremely glad that we can carve out just a little bit of space for the majority of New Yorkers who do not own cars. In Fort Greene there are two major thoroughfares just 1 block away in either direction for cars to use.

    That said, the proposed new rules concern me. So many Open Streets programs are run by volunteers who need more help from the city, not more rules and regulations. The SAPO permitting requirements for events on Open Streets is already a big burden and has discouraged the Open Street program that I volunteer with from being able to host many events. The new rules around what tables and chairs people can bring to the street seem totally unnecessary. I encourage the city to rethink these new restrictions.

    I would also urge the city and the DOT to instead focus their efforts on ways we can redesign our streets to reduce vehicle-pedestrian conflict. We already know the heavy metal barricades are an accessibility problem, as well as being an eyesore. Why is the city not investing in proper solutions like retractable bollards? Why are we not introducing chicanes to slow cars down? Why are we not reversing the direction of travel every few blocks along open streets to discourage cars from driving around the barricades and using the open street as a cut through for multiple blocks? We should be more ambitious here, not less. I look forward to seeing the Open Streets program continue to flourish in the years to come.

    Comment added April 25, 2023 11:12am
  • RI

    KEEP THE OPEN STREETS OPEN! So far, 2023 is on track to be the deadliest year for traffic violence since 2014. Just last week a pedestrian who had the right of way was killed in a crosswalk in Brooklyn Heights by a driver running a red light. Bending the rules of the Open Streets to the will of drivers is actually violence, as we’re seeing by all of the deaths so far this year.

    NYC was not built for cars, it was built for people. From a personal standpoint, the open streets have made my life better throughout the city, not just in my neighborhood – Clinton Hill. Especially on the weekends when I’m able to enjoy the public space, see kids learning to ride bikes, say hello to neighbors and just generally get out and about, I am so grateful for the space to do all of that.

    DOT – the continued prioritization of cars over people is killing us.

    Comment added April 25, 2023 11:24am
  • Jeff

    I love open streets. THey are vibrant places and a million times more valuable than car traffic.

    I am writing to passionately advocate for the relaxation of regulations and the creation of a more fluid and accessible process for open streets in New York City. Open streets have proven to be invaluable public spaces that promote community engagement, sustainability, and well-being. However, the current regulations and restrictions can hinder the full potential of open streets as a permanent and inclusive part of our city’s public space.

    Firstly, it is crucial that the process of creating and maintaining open streets is made easier for regular people, without burdensome red tape. Open streets should not be limited to special events or temporary closures, but rather a regular feature of our city’s landscape. By streamlining the permit process and reducing unnecessary bureaucracy, more communities and neighborhoods can have the opportunity to create and sustain their own open streets.

    Furthermore, open streets should not solely rely on volunteers to set up barricades and manage programming. While volunteers play an important role, it is essential that the city provides adequate funding and resources to support the creation and maintenance of open streets. This can include financial support for infrastructure, programming, and staffing, so that open streets can thrive as inclusive, well-managed, and sustainable public spaces that benefit all residents, regardless of their socioeconomic status or available time for volunteering.

    Open streets have the potential to become key community spaces that foster social connections, promote healthy and sustainable transportation options, and enhance the overall quality of life for New Yorkers. By providing adequate funding and support, open streets can become a permanent and integral part of our city’s public space, rather than being limited to occasional events or reliant on the efforts of a few volunteers.

    In conclusion, I urge the committee to consider the benefits of open streets as permanent public spaces and to relax regulations to make it easier for regular people to create and maintain them. By providing city funding and support, open streets can become vibrant, inclusive, and sustainable spaces that contribute to the well-being of our communities. Let us embrace the potential of open streets and work towards a more accessible, equitable, and community-driven approach.

    Thank you for your attention to this important matter.


    Comment added April 25, 2023 11:34am
  • Samuel G

    I am writing to support the proposed permanent open streets program. The multitude of spaces that have opened over the course of the past three years have dramatically improved my experience in the city, my ability to enjoy the outdoor environment, and the vibrancy of my neighborhood (which has benefitted from several open streets). In particular, open streets has brought community yoga to my neighborhood, created a vibrant street music scene, and allowed numerous restaurants, festivals, social activities, and community groups to thrive.

    In all honesty, I believe the program does not go far enough. Instead of advisory rules around the vehicular use of open streets, they should be enforceable, temporary changes in road regulations. Currently, advisory signs are small, orange, and hard to read — meaning many drivers ignore them if they notice them at all. Additionally, making the rules advisory means drivers will drive at full speed — even breaking the normal speed limit — in the presence of children in the roadway. I would further encourage additional parking restrictions as an option on some open streets, for example, giving the community organization the option to prohibit parking alongside a park or school during open street hours.

    The way to ensure that shared streets are safe and equitable for all road users is to ensure — rather than ask — that cars operate in a manner commensurate with the current uses of the road.

    Comment added April 25, 2023 11:46am
  • Justin

    Open streets are an excellent way to promote active transportation, reduce traffic congestion, and improve air quality. They also provide opportunities for physical activity, socializing, and community building, and can help to support local businesses.

    However, the proposed Rule 27, which would prohibit the use of tables, carts, chairs, and furniture in open streets, would severely limit the ability of residents to enjoy these spaces. By restricting access to these amenities, the proposed amendment would discourage people from using open streets and undermine their many benefits.

    Comment added April 25, 2023 11:49am
  • Jake

    As an NYC resident, I appreciate being able to walk around the Open Streets with my parents. They have trouble making long trips and they have an Open Street closer to their apartment than the park so it’s a great way to enjoy some out door time with them while the weather is nice.

    Thank you for creating more outdoor space for New Yorkers!

    Comment added April 25, 2023 11:54am
  • Margaux A

    I do not support the fine for bringing your own furniture to the Open Streets. In many cases, the number of people occupying the open streets vastly exceeds the capacity of the city- or organization- provided seating. In order to enjoy the outdoors, many want or need to sit down at some point.

    In fact, I have seen families move their entire dining rooms into a parking space during open streets in order to have an outdoor family meal among the community. This should be encouraged so long as the furniture does not obstruct fire access.

    Comment added April 25, 2023 12:07pm
  • The open streets program is invaluable for cleaner air, socialization, and providing open space for pedestrians. Many neighborhoods lack park space.
    NYC streets are choked with cars. Cars dominate every open space– from free car storage on streets, to blocking sidewalks and crosswalks. Yet we are pretty much the only city in the country with expansive, 24-hour public transit.
    Everyone, regardless of whether they bike or ride the bus, is a pedestrian at some point. We desperately need to open the streets to communities- not to drivers.
    I support adding actual physical protection to Open Streets, lengthening the hours, and adding more of them.
    The current hours on the Astoria Open Street are insufficient. Also, the cheap, flimsy barriers don’t cut it. We need actual daylighting and bollards and heavy planters similar to those on 34th Ave in Jackson Heights. We also need *real* protection from drivers who cut through.

    Comment added April 25, 2023 12:13pm
  • Elena F

    We believe it is essential for all applications to go through a public hearing and comments for approval/denial should happen at the meeting. It needs to have a more clear guideline on what will be approve. For example: If a school is within x miles from a public park it should not be approved. If an association is hosting a music festival in a heavily residential neighborhood, it shall not be approve. The rules seems very arbitrary and only said “DOT will consider proximity to parks and other factors”. That can mean anything.

    But again, I think the most important factor is that all of the applications should go through a public hearing through the community board to make sure it is appropriate for the community. This will save DOT time, and make sure the programs are well supported.

    Comment added April 25, 2023 12:16pm
  • Courtney Guarino

    I LOVE open streets. It builds such a sense of community and ever since they have been around I feel so much happier and even safer in my neighborhood! I feel like I would not have the same amount of bonds with my people in my community if open streets were not there. Keep them around!

    Comment added April 25, 2023 12:23pm
  • Vincent Valdmanis

    The proposed rules create a red tape burden that will crush Open Streets, which primarily depends on the nonprofessional volunteerism of ordinary New Yorkers to operate. To avoid death by a thousand cuts, the following must change:

    1. Financial penalties (Section 3-01): remove
    – Open Streets depend on unpaid volunteers and neighbors participating in civic life. Introducing the threat of financial of penalties on volunteer labor is unduly punitive and extreme.

    2. Management, staffing and operations plan (Sections D & E): remove
    – The level of detailed planning demanded in Sections D & E creates a prohibitively high bar for New Yorkers to launch new open streets especially for non-English speaking neighbors and volunteers who are not full-time city bureaucrats.
    – If such detailed plans are truly necessary (in many residential neighborhoods they are not), it should be the responsibility of DOT to complete these steps and mentor/support OS applicants to implement them.

    3. Three letters of support required (Section F): amend
    – This step is time-consuming and has no tangible benefit to launching an Open Street. Letters of support should be encouraged but not mandated.

    4. DOT notification protocols (Section B): clarify
    – The text should make explicitly clear that Community Boards do not get a vote on the approval of an Open Street.

    5. Management Agreement (Part 2): clarify
    – This section should clearly state whether an Open Street partner is liable, and on what terms. While professionalized Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) know how to manage liability, small-scale volunteer operations do not and ambiguous rule language will end up making them potentially liable in ways they do not understand.

    6. Permit requirements (Part 2): remove
    – Requiring SAPO permits for every single activity in an Open Street imposes a massive barrier to programming, adds insurance requirements and exponentially increases city red tape that volunteers with limited time and means will struggle to overcome.
    – The entire point of an Open Street is for New Yorkers to use and enjoy their civic space. The permit system is not designed to facilitate organic public activity in an Open Street and will unduly burden small-scale, unpaid volunteer initiatives.

    7. No unauthorized parking (Part 9): elaborate
    – An Open Street fundamentally depends on enforcement of this rule. What is DOT’s plan to enforce car-free Open Streets?

    8. Seating and unattended property (Part 13 & 14): remove
    – These parts should be deleted. They provide undue grounds to harass and limit people’s Open Street use and potentially be used as reasons to call the NYPD.

    9. Carts, tables, furniture (Part 27): remove
    – This rule makes no sense. New Yorkers should be able to bring out their own chairs to enjoy an Open Street. This rule seems like a veiled attempt to prohibit street vending on Open Streets and should be clarified.
    – Vending operators provide a service to the public and should be allowed.

    Comment added April 25, 2023 12:24pm
  • Marlon Morina

    Open Streets has been a beloved addition to the city since it’s inception. It provides much needed safety for pedestrians & allows residents to enjoy their communities. It also provides a boost in business for local shops & restaurants. The program should be expanded & made easier to manage. Safety precautions for pedestrians should also be strengthened & enforced. Red tape should be removed for community volunteers to be involved. The open streets in Fort Greene (Willoughby Ave & South Portland Ave), Prospect Heights (Vanderbilt Ave) & Park Slope (5th Ave) are treasured by so many families & residents. NY neighborhoods should be focusing on accommodating it’s people & NOT CARS. There’s already plenty of parking and space for cars to continue to pollute the city. Let’s instead give back to tax payers by giving them more opportunities to enjoy & explore different communities of this beautiful city!

    Comment added April 25, 2023 12:26pm
  • Jonathan

    The open streets program has dramatically improved the livability of our community, made our streets safer, and improved mobility for a large majority of the residents in our neighborhood.

    I feel much safer walking down the open streets as a pedestrian than on any other street in the neighborhood. The 70+% reduction of crashes on the Berry Open Street back this feeling up.

    Comment added April 25, 2023 12:30pm
  • Jackson Heights Immigrant Center

    The Open Street in my neighborhood provides a wonderful place to meet new neighbors and provides a space to build community. We love the Open Street and want to keep it easy for all to access. Do not put in unnecessary extra rules.

    Comment added April 25, 2023 12:36pm
  • Valeria Matto Morina

    Open Streets has been a beloved addition to the city since it’s inception. It provides much needed safety for pedestrians & allows residents to enjoy their communities. It also provides a boost in business for local shops & restaurants. The program should be expanded & made easier to manage. Safety precautions for pedestrians should also be strengthened & enforced. Red tape should be removed for community volunteers to be involved. The open streets in Fort Greene (Willoughby Ave & South Portland Ave), Prospect Heights (Vanderbilt Ave) & Park Slope (5th Ave) are treasured by so many families & residents. NY neighborhoods should be focusing on accommodating it’s people & NOT CARS. There’s already plenty of parking and space for cars to continue to pollute the city. Let’s instead give back to tax payers by giving them more opportunities to enjoy & explore different communities of this beautiful city!

    Comment added April 25, 2023 12:56pm
  • Janice Clear

    Open Streets is a wonderful idea that should be continued and supported by the DOT. Let’s make it as easy and burden-free for the many volunteers who spend endless hours making Open Streets a possibility in our neighborhoods. The process should not be onerous to have an Open Street.
    Open Streets benefit residents and businesses alike. Let’s use the streets for the people and not for cars.

    Comment added April 25, 2023 12:59pm
  • Rob D

    People should be able to bring a chair to open streets without worrying about a $500 fine, or any fine, for that matter.
    Open Streets is good, cars are mostly bad. Thanks

    Comment added April 25, 2023 1:05pm
  • MP

    The open streets in Astoria have been a real benefit to the neighborhood. We have free food and clothing distribution, activities for children, composting, and more. It brings people from different walks of life together, people I never would have met if we only operated in our little circles on opposite sides of the neighborhood. We have fundraising events and lots of education. I don’t want more unsafe drivers having unfettered access to every street in Astoria. There are already far too many deadly car accidents in my neighborhood. The open streets are a positive development and I hope NYC continues to make them a priority.

    Comment added April 25, 2023 1:06pm
  • Jillian Scheidler

    Very thankful for the open streets program. It’s a way to feel more at home in our community, allows for more safe space, and is community building.

    Comment added April 25, 2023 1:12pm
  • Morgan Ratner

    Open streets are one of the best things about NYC — there’s nothing like spending a spring or summer day strolling down one! Support open streets!

    Comment added April 25, 2023 1:12pm
  • LL

    I’d like to echo Ben Turndorf’s points — the city should be looking for ways to support volunteers and other Open Streets managers, not codifying the hoops they should jump through to enliven and enrich our public spaces. Each and every day, our city welcomes drivers on the vast majority of our streets, at all hours of the day, in front of schools, senior centers, houses of worship. They do this without needing letters of support from their community. They do this without providing a site plan; a programming plan; a sanitation plan. It’s absolutely offensive that the city requires volunteers to work harder, potentially pay fines, be on the hook for liability, etc.
    Open Streets provide space for community, physical activity, and clean air. We should want them in every single neighborhood. There’s no way that will happen with onerous and inequitable rules like these.

    Comment added April 25, 2023 1:23pm
  • Joey Fischground

    Hey there, I wanted to add my voice to the huge community of supporters for the open streets program. New York has always been a leader in pioneering street design. The city was the first to cram urban highways through poor neighborhoods and the rest of the country followed our lead to their detriment. That has widely been accepted as a mistake. We can correct the tides by setting a good example and giving the streets back to the people. The open streets bring so much joy to communities. Please continue to expand the program instead of shrinking it. Thank you.

    Comment added April 25, 2023 1:27pm
  • Rich Mintz

    I love the Open Streets program! It changes the face of neighborhoods for the better. I use the Open Streets in three boroughs regularly (Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens) and would like to see the program significantly expanded.

    Comment added April 25, 2023 1:28pm
  • Ben

    I believe open streets need to be aggressively expanded and made permanent in a way where it does not need constant upkeep from a sponsor group and is instead implemented us permanent fixtures and traffic designs. This can be done by traffic filtering that turns streets into dead ends.

    Comment added April 25, 2023 1:29pm
  • Benjamin L

    I am an organizer at an open street, and I feel these new rules and policies need a lot more clarification. I love the program and see the need for more space for pedestrians. I’ve seen the safety improvements when cars have to actually slow down and look around. I want this program to continue, and I want it to be improved. I do not believe that many of these new policies will improve the open streets.

    One of the most concerning new elements is about adding a new penalty to open streets. This is not supposed to be a punitive program, and it is unclear what that punishment is for or what it will be. People should not be scared to participate in an open street nor to volunteer at one.

    These policies also put an undue burden on organizers, many of whom have full time jobs, not the least of which are business owners on the open streets themselves. We do not all have time to become policy experts and navigate red tape. We are volunteers trying to make our communities less congested from cars (because cars alone cause congestion, not lack of parking spaces), safer from cars not obeying traffic laws, and give pedestrians more space in an increasingly crowded city. To make this program more effective, we need less complication to run events (SAPO permits for every little thing, really?), enforcement of actual violations by vehicles on the streets, clarity around how emergency vehicles and Access-a-Rides will enter the space, and leniency for people in the neighborhood to use the space as they see fit.

    This is a great program in a city that desperately needs more open space for people, but it needs to be done in a more sensible way that respects and helps the volunteers who are effectively running it.

    Comment added April 25, 2023 1:30pm
  • Jean

    I think it’s important to have public hearings for all applications. There are neighborhoods/streets where these programs make the perfect sense and it’s beneficial for people who live there (Williamsburg, Jackson heights etc, or on a low traffic streets). And there are streets/places where it severely disrupt the lives of the residents and therefore should not be a candidate.

    So really, all application should go through a public hearing, and it shouldn’t be just DOT telling residents AFTER approvals that there will be such open streets, but these conversation should happen BEFORE any approvals. I would suggest all applicants to go through community board hearings. It’s the best way to reach out to the community.

    Comment added April 25, 2023 1:33pm
  • Ben C.

    Our local open street has been crucial for local access for disabled pedestrians and parents with strollers. (We live in a neighborhood with extremely uneven, cracked-up sidewalks.)

    Please don’t weaken this program with needless bureaucratic hurdles. It has been a huge success and sees far more pedestrian traffic now than there were drivers on it before the program. There should be more open streets. The city should be doing everything possible to disincentivize driving and eliminate the free storage of private property in public space.

    Comment added April 25, 2023 1:38pm
  • Harris

    There are some valid complaints here, but a lot are points are unfounded. Obviously Open Streets certainly need to comply with accessibility rules and there are improvements to be made with the program. But in General we need to be heading in the direction of making Open Streets easier to implement and maintain so they become more widespread and popular. The benefits of open streets are immense- shared access open streets’ traffic calming helps reduce noise pollution, tailpipe emissions, and increases safety. Pedestrian/bike only Open Streets have these benefits, plus they act as a crucial “third place” for residents to socialize, exercise, and play. These new rules create unnecessary barriers to successfully launching a Open Street by requiring too much of volunteers. The city should step up with management of Open Streets once they’re launched by local volunteers in the neighborhood. I am concerned by the amount of proposed rules that will inhibit spontaneity by the users, like required permits for basically all activities, or the prohibition of chairs, for instance.

    Comment added April 25, 2023 1:41pm
  • Naomi

    “(27) Except as otherwise permitted by law, no person shall bring or place tables, carts, chairs or furniture in or on any open street.”

    Why are we restricting our ability to enjoy the open streets? This is an absurd rule to limit participation in an event that is meant to give unrestricted access to our neighborhood.

    Comment added April 25, 2023 1:51pm
  • Austin Polanco

    Open streets is an invaluable program for NYC. It gives residents a much needed breath of fresh air from the personal single occupancy vehicles that constitute a minority of road users yet take up the vast majority of space and pollute our air with both environmental contaminants and noise. Access-a-ride can still access these areas which is nice for my disabled mother and it makes it better since now they don’t have to fight through a bunch of traffic causing pick up delays. Please expand this program and make it easier to close a street to cars that have no intentions on stopping on that street and contributing to the community. The program is a huge benefit for the common people of this city.

    Comment added April 25, 2023 2:07pm
  • Alex Wong

    I’ve been to many open street locations and there are some really good points here, one that I strong agree with is the outreach. I strongly oppose of the fact that community board/nearby residents have zero say in whether a site is going to be approved or not. And I am amazed that people are supportive of it.

    It sounded like “We’ll enact something, you don’t get a say in this, I’ll just inform you that we pushed it through”. Think about this for a second. It’s the equivalent of “Hey, I’m going to turn the street Infront of your apartment into a trunk parking lot, you don’t get the agree/disagree, and only after I approve it will I inform you of such thing. ” or “I’m gonna cut your paycheck in half and double your workload, you don’t get a say in this, and only after I approve of your pay cut will I tell you.” It is just not right.

    This is a democratic city and country, if people think that most people are supportive of their site then they shouldn’t be afraid to go through public hearings. We built the country on votes! Vote vote vote! Let the community decide whether they want an open street there or not! I fully support sites that are about to gouge engagements and approvals.

    Many Thanks!

    Comment added April 25, 2023 2:08pm
  • Dave Johnson

    The open streets program is a great addition to the city and should be expanded. The streets of NYC should be filled with people, not cars.

    Comment added April 25, 2023 2:11pm
  • Paul Rasmussen

    Please leave the open street open full time! It is an incredible asset to the neighborhood. Why do we need just another street for cars. This serves as an safe place to move through the neighborhood as a community. It is amazing for the neighborhood and should it be taken away

    Comment added April 25, 2023 2:15pm
  • Landon Knoblock

    Open streets have improved the quality of life in the neighborhoods where they are implemented. Disabled individuals can access vehicles from open streets by having the vehicle’s driver move the barricade and drive to the individual’s door. Emergency vehicles can access open streets by moving a barricade and driving on the open street. Individuals who want to access parking spaces can move a barricade and drive to an open parking space. All of these situations are made easier by the lack of vehicular traffic, which may impede emergency vehicles and other accessibility.

    Comment added April 25, 2023 2:18pm
  • King

    31st Ave open streets in Queens is hurting this neighborhood. The majority of people I speak with here,I live here and work here,I’m here everyday,do not want this here. At least two established businesses left because of open streets,aka,closed streets. Other business owners are telling me they will not renew their lease. Organizers claim it’s for the community, but won’t listen to the actual community members. The organizers are never around,and if they are,they completely ignore you. They set up the gates and leave. The gates say bikes only,so obviously no acces a ride or emergency vehicle, or even a disabled car driver will attempt to get through, they don’t think they can. Ebikes fly through here,all it takes is one to hit a child and it’s all bad. There is a petition with over 100 signatures from people who actually live here ,that want this removed. When there is an event ,it’s too loud for the resting residents. Some grill guy comes and almost burns down the neighborhood with the flames.Bottom line,move it somewhere else. Thanks

    Comment added April 25, 2023 2:19pm
  • Dean Silfen

    Open streets has been a great boon for the neighborhood. It is safer for pedestrians because we do not have to dodge cars when crossing the street and generally makes the lived environment far more pleasant. I enjoy spending weekend afternoons on Vanderbilt patronizing local business and soaking up the summer weather.

    Comment added April 25, 2023 2:28pm
  • RL

    I have ridden down this open street on my bike dozens of times in the past year. It is a great implementation where children, adults, and the elderly can safely use the street in an equitable way. I hope you keep this open street.

    Comment added April 25, 2023 3:13pm
  • Ira Gershenhorn

    There should be NO need for volunteers to maintain open streets and certainly NO criteria for such volunteers. They are showing up and spending their FREE time. That is more than enough.

    Comment added April 25, 2023 3:19pm
  • A M

    1. Open Streets is a terrific program, but far too limited. It should be dramatically and permanently expanded, to improve civic life for the millions of non-car-owning New Yorkers whose taxes finance this city, and to protect New Yorkers from the deadly violence and pollution that cars bring to our neighborhoods.
    2. The Open Streets fee should be $0. Forcing neighborhood to pay to achieve brief and modest freedom from the tyranny of cars is a misfire.
    3. All past and current Open Streets should be permanently liberated from being choked with traffic and parked cars. Free, publicly-subsidized, on-street car storage should be terminated, replaced with trees, play areas, and seating. (There are plenty of well-proven design strategies from cities around the world to preserve emergency vehicle access along with designated pick-up and drop-off zones for taxis, accessibility rides, and delivery vehicles.)

    Comment added April 25, 2023 3:22pm
  • Leith

    Open streets make our city a more vibrant, safe place to live. We should be making them *easier* to implement, not making it more difficult for the volunteers invested in bettering our city. I am vehemently against adding more restrictions to the operating guidelines for our open streets program.

    Comment added April 25, 2023 3:31pm
  • Ann Ruzicka

    The open streets on 31st Ave are not welcomed here. We are isolates from family and friends because of the no parking. Emergency vehicles cannot get through when there are large scale events which really belong in a park not the middle of the street. People who live on the side streets hate it as well. This is nothing more than a noisy, disruptive inconvenience to all who live here. The residents should have had a say in what happens in our neighborhood.

    Comment added April 25, 2023 3:39pm
  • Charles Kelly

    Open streets are terrific and I hope we continue to see them all over the city! NYC is so walkable and open streets helps neighborhoods meet each other and be joyful. More more more open streets please! Keep up the great work.

    Comment added April 25, 2023 3:41pm
  • Edvart Snomen

    DOT please don’t listen to these shills. Open streets should be pushed for locals who wanta walk their neighborhoods + it makes it easier for emergency vehicles to reach destination since there’s no one there to double park for that quick bit at the shop. Ya know the deal “lemejustdoubleparkhererealllquick”. Close these streets and get these double parking goofballs outa here, “chrow em out”. Let em take the train like the rest of us NYers. No doubt, for that senior or disabled person of course they should get priority. Letsss goooo OPEN Streets.

    Comment added April 25, 2023 3:47pm
  • Michael Muenchow

    I live next to the 31st avenue Open Streets area in Astoria. It’s a wonderful and welcome staple of the area. I do not agree with the fining portion of the proposal. Specifically, parts like fining for hanging up fliers (22) or bringing your own foldable tables or chairs (27). These are community events, meant to engage the community, not find simple ways to fine them. It should feel like a safe space to fellowship, not an event you need to stand in line for seats at. If there’s room, it should be allowed.

    Comment added April 25, 2023 5:03pm

    I am disappointed by a lot of these rules as they significantly increase the amount of red tape and liability for the volunteers helping DOT run those spaces.

    Volunteers are already providing their free labor to help the community and those new rules will have a chilling effect on new open streets.

    Comment added April 25, 2023 6:02pm
  • Sam Anderson

    The Open Streets program’s proposed changes are something I strongly oppose, as they shift the burden, liability, and financial cost from the Department of Transportation to unpaid volunteers. Rather than requiring volunteers to bear the responsibility, the DOT should be in charge of managing Open Streets – a highly popular initiative that boosts local businesses and represents one of the most important uses of our streets.

    The proposed changes would make the program increasingly cumbersome for local volunteers, forcing them to navigate through hoops such as sourcing letters of support, creating site plans, and managing barricade removal plans. Instead of offloading responsibility onto volunteers, the city should provide support, training, and resources to communities and volunteers who seek to enhance their local streets by transforming them into Open Streets.

    Comment added April 25, 2023 6:20pm
  • Phyllis

    NYC Access for All advocates for the civil rights of seniors and the disabled. NYC Mayor Adams, NYC DOT and NYC Council intentionally overlooked persons protected by the American Disabilities Act (ADA) for the last three years as they close streets, cutting off access to essential services (FDNY, NYPD, EMT, Sanitation etc.) and depriving access to homes. They rolled out a calculated strategy online, in English, with biased surveys, exploiting the pandemic and with private coalitions that censored public participation.
    I AM NOT IN FAVOR OF “Open Streets” which is funded by billions of dollars and dehumanizes and violates the human rights of all NYC citizens.

    Comment added April 25, 2023 6:22pm
  • MZ

    As a parent of a disabled young adult, we have struggled since Open Streets began on 31st Avenue in Astoria. Access has been denied not only for the disabled but for emergency vehicles. Large planters put in the street make it impossible for any emergency vehicles to pass. There is no reason post COVID to cater to the young able-bodied who can easily walk or bike ride to one of Astoria’s many parks. My son cannot. The city has thrown ADA compliance out the window. It is unfair, unjust and illegal.

    Comment added April 25, 2023 6:22pm
  • Kate murphy

    I live on Willoughby and see every day the difference the open streets make for the community. It is a wonderful program that makes our streets safer for walkers!!

    Comment added April 25, 2023 6:30pm
  • Connie

    While I wholeheartedly support this program I agree with a key point here and it needs to be address: Do the people who live ON/NEAR the open street want them? It is crucial to go through community outreach and public hearing for any given site. If people are confident that the open street site will get lots of support from nearby residents then there shouldn’t be any issues with having a public hearing.
    If we want less bureaucracy I think letters of supports should be mandatory every year from PEOPLE WHO LIVE ON THE BLOCK. I know that is part of the rule now, but the current rule gives it room where they can completely skip over the people who live on the street and just go somewhere else for them.
    At the end of the day I still think each application should go through community board hearings. That’s the best way to ensure that all voices are heard.

    Comment added April 25, 2023 6:48pm
  • Brent

    I am glad to see the city continue to formalize its Open Streets program but I am concerned about the level of burden placed upon neighborhood volunteers.
    Technical elements like sanitation plans, accessibility & emergency access should not be the primary responsibility of unpaid volunteers in their spare time but of professional DOT staff who can help communities get a project off the ground. A better solution to accessibility, like remote-controlled gates or bollards, cannot be the responsibility of volunteers in their spare time.
    Open Streets function as great public spaces and that should be encouraged. People should be allowed to place temporary furniture as long as it doesn’t block vital services. The Open Street permit should allow for basic activities and simplify permits for more complicated ones. Reducing friction to activate the street for non-car purposes will allow the Open Streets to be more successful.
    A “failure to comply with open street rules” needs to be clearly defined if someone is going to be subject to a fine. I fear how this can be weaponized for the most minor infraction and innocent mistakes.

    Comment added April 25, 2023 6:55pm
  • Maria Notaro

    Under the guise of the pandemic, a quiet, beautiful street with spacious sidewalks was destroyed and striped away from its residents. People who have lived there for decades now have limited access to their buildings. This was supposed to be a temporary fix but now things have opened up and 34th Ave for 26 blocks continues to be closed at the request from special interest groups. The continued closure is a clear-cut violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Title II with regard to Public Transportation & Title III with regards to Public Accommodation. In addition, the closure is a clear-cut violation of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) standards which outlines fire safety and appropriate emergency response time in any community. Both ADA & NFPA are FEDERAL LAW WHICH SUPERCEDE ANY STATE AND LOCAL LAW. Our elected officials must realize that EQUITY MUST BE MAINTAINED IN ANY SITUATION WHICH INCLUDES PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES. Their equity cannot be taken away on the request of any special interest group. Please continue to support this petition and tell our leaders that KEEPING IT CLOSED TAKES EQUITY AWAY FROM THE DISABLED & UNECESSARILY INCREASES RESPONSE TIME FOR EMERGENCY VEHICLES. Their increased response time violates NFPA Standards.

    Comment added April 25, 2023 7:02pm
  • Stephanie Y.

    Open streets are an integral part of community in nyc. Open streets allow so many people who care about the neighborhood to come together, engage in volunteering and enrichment of the neighborhood. The rules and red tape around open streets actively harm those who give their time and effort to the neighborhood, diminishing the value open streets provide. As someone who wants to engage with my neighbors and work on making our community a better place for everyone, I want open streets and I want them with less red tape

    Comment added April 25, 2023 7:14pm
  • Evie McKenna

    Residents of the Open Streets program in the lower, I repeat, lower number areas of 34th Ave (69 to 73 or 75th sts) having been trying to get an assessment of use. This area differs greatly from the other sections of the avenue! It does’t get much use during the 13hours a day of closure and is nowhere near as popular as people say the upper areas are. Aside from the morning and afternoon school drop off use, it’s very lightly used but the closures impact the rest of this part of the community greatly. The sidewalks are empty! We have not been able to get an individual in government or DOT to listen to the different concerns this area has. It looks like the cartoon where people cover their ears and the caption says “blah, blah, blah” because supposedly everyone loves Open Streets. Not so! Please put cameras on 34th Ave below 72nd street and see for yourself. I am speaking also for neighbors who have asked me to help because they believe they will be targeted as some of the Open Streets advocates have displayed a kind of nastiness to anyone with any level of opposition. These neighbors live in individual private homes, the primary housing in this lower area, they have front and back yards, they have cars both for business and personal use. They moved here knowing they could have car access. Many have large multigenerational families. They shop at big stores and buy for the whole large family. Grandma and little babies are not biking, fyi. Maybe one person in the family might? These residents are tradespeople, caregivers, teachers, disabled people, car service providers, musicians and others who might need to use a vehicle in their daily life and now with Open Streets are finding that use difficult. These people are almost universally working middle class. One couple has saved for years for retirement after being a bus driver and a cleaner. The woman has early dementia and now the street is making it difficult to pick her up from home because of a new loading area and a weird right turn direction at 72nd that is bizarre. On that block is a parapalegic man who has great difficulty coming and going to appts by ambulance with the block closures. Another family had tears in their eyes and said why do they think we want to bike everywhere which is like Singapore in the 70’s which we worked so hard to leave.
    The whole ecosystem of car use was ignored and how morning workers left and teachers and caregivers came in for the day and in late afternoon, the drivers came for a late lunch and then workers returned. A diverse ecology of people living their lives. Gone. Disregarded. By the City. By Open Streets.
    Please fix.
    I could go on but please, as Pres. Biden says, for the love of god, can someone look at this who is not part of the fan club for Open Streets to give an unbiased opinion about why this part of 34th Ave, with such low usage, is subject to the same closures as the better used higher numbered areas? Makes no sense to us residents and feels like an abuse of power.

    Comment added April 25, 2023 7:16pm
  • Alex McGuigan

    Since my local open street started, the most disruptive people, the people who harm others in the community, are drivers who act entitled to every inch of asphalt.

    The insistent on navigating vehicles through community spaces is more dangerous and violates more city rules than open streets organizations ever could. I do not see why the focus on financial penalties is being aimed towards volunteer and community groups who are putting on events at their own expense. If you want different rules to be followed on open streets, put people on the ground, working side by side with us, to make the streets a better place.

    Comment added April 25, 2023 7:26pm
  • JLM

    My wife and I live directly on 34th Avenue in Jackson Heights and after three years of continued street harassment, noise, and trash everywhere 13 hours a day, 365 days a year, we are tired of it and want to see it end today. We tried working in good faith with the DOT and elected leaders to come to a compromise, but we’ve been lied to continually by everyone involved. After being gaslit by John O’Neill and Jason Banrey of the DOT, last May I mailed a paper letter to the head of the Queens DOT, Nicole Garcia, detailing many of the concerns my neighbors and I have about our safety accessing our garage that is on 34th Avenue. I got an automated email response in AUGUST acknowledging its receipt, but she never bothered to reply. It’s obvious that the powers that be simply do not care about the lives of the aged and the disabled. I cheered when the ADA lawsuit was filed against you yesterday. I can’t wait for you to lose in court.

    Comment added April 25, 2023 7:47pm
  • Colin Hamilton

    More open streets!

    The idea that, especially in a city where walking and mass transit account for 75% of all travel, that motor vehicles should have exclusive access to 75% of every single street is simply abhorrent. The noise, pollution, visual blight, constant congestion, and physical danger posed by this city’s car population is something that very few people have actually signed up for. (Speaking as someone who’s been hit by negligent drivers twice so far while cycling).

    Design this city for people first, not cars. Return public space to general use, and it can become a living space instead of mere flyover territory.

    Comment added April 25, 2023 7:51pm
  • M F

    As barriers on Open Streets impede access by FDNY, NYPD, and EMS, and as people with disabilities, the elderly, or those with physical limitations are those often in most need of these services there should be no barriers, concrete blocks, large planters, etc. on any Open Street. Here are my suggested changes to the Open Street rules and questions:

    p. 4 Applications. Required Documents.
    C) “Unobstructed emergency access lane” therefore no barriers on any Open Street. Barriers obstruct emergency vehicles.
    D) “Moving barricade in event of emergency” Add: Department employee required to be assigned at every corner where there is a barricade at all hours of operation.
    F) “At least three (3) letters of support from community stakeholders…”Add: Three stakeholder support letters must be obtained from the owners/ administrators of businesses/ institutions. And Letters of support and approval must be obtained from local/applicable police precinct Commanding Officer and local/applicable fire house Chief Officer.

    p.5 Selection
    (A)1. “Safety of all street users” Add: All wheeled devices/ vehicles to go no more than 5MPH. Also add: Safety of all street users and residents along the Open Street.
    5. “Access for emergency vehicles” again means no barricades. Barricades obstruct access for emergency vehicles.

    p.6 (5) Rescinding Open Street Designation
    (i) Add: At the same time Department shall also notify the community of the rescission.
    (c) Operation and Management
    (1) “Open streets must be maintained in a manner that allows for emergency vehicle access at all times” Add: thereby requiring staff person in attendance at each barricade during all hours of operation.

    p.7 (10) Accessibility for limited local access streets
    (ii) “The Department may, on certain limited local access open streets, provide services to assist individuals….” Identify exactly who, in what position, will provide such services to assist individuals.

    p.8 (d) Conduct of the Public on Open Streets
    (1) “Any person in or on an open street must comply with the lawful direction or command of any police officer or designated Department employee…” How will the designated Department employee officially be identified?

    Thank you.

    Comment attachment
    Comment added April 25, 2023 8:06pm
  • Matthew Rader

    The Willoughby Ave Open Street is a treasure to the families of the neighborhood and must be maintained at all costs.

    Open Streets should be expanded and easier to apply for. I fear that burdening it with volunteer and permitting requirements is a stealth way to minimize and gradually chip away at the program.

    Comment added April 25, 2023 8:23pm
  • Deborah H.

    I am an occasional visitor of the Vanderbilt Ave and 5th Ave Brooklyn Open Streets as there is no open street in my immediate area, and it is a mostly nice and cheerful experience that benefits local business owners.
    These rules, proposed without any input from public space partners, neighbors, and elected officials potentially codify an increasingly cumbersome and bureaucratic program. These rules will make it harder and harder to volunteer for the City and to access the Open Streets program. There are lots of hoops to jump through to source letters of support, create site plans, management plans for removing barricades, what happens with emergency vehicles, etc. The City is offloading responsibility for its program onto volunteers. Big picture, if the City wants people to use the streets as easy as a vehicle can they shouldn’t require a permit, site plan, run of show and to indemnify the City to do so. On top of this, detractors of the program are using this as an opportunity to whittle away at the program.
    Please consider all New Yorkers’ needs; the Open Streets are only a small fraction of the City’s streets. We deserve to sit, stand, walk, carefully bike and participate in activities freely outside on our Open Streets!

    Comment added April 25, 2023 8:29pm
  • Lauren Paradis

    Please eliminate any fines for bringing one’s own chair to Open Streets. This is not accommodating to people who have physical conditions where they need to sit every so often. The chairs provided by the City are often occupied. Thank you!

    Comment added April 25, 2023 9:27pm
  • Mark Genovesi

    Open streets helped transform parts of Manhattan into a more people-friendly and welcoming city.
    I would love to see spring through fall closures of side streets for restaurants to set out dining tables as we saw on E 20th Street by Park Ave. It convinced us to try some restaurants there that we would not have otherwise dined at.
    It also gives a safe, low traffic spaces to let our kids learn to ride their scooters or bikes. It makes the city a better place for families, especially children and the elderly.
    The key here is low traffic, which means preventing or discouraging car traffic. Local traffic can be fine, but through traffic eliminates our ability to use the street. Opening up space for people and recreation attracts people to use the space.

    Comment added April 25, 2023 9:44pm
  • JR

    I do NOT support the closed street program, the local group that closes our street (Open Streets Coalition/NBK Parks Alliance) is a very nasty group that harasses local residents, does not let them access their homes, and does not put away barricades at their proper time.

    We have elderly residents who lived here for decades, pay taxes, and lose their rights to enter their homes. This is SHAMEFUL!

    People have to suffer noise pollution from events and long time businesses cannot operate their storefronts.

    End this program immediately!

    Comment added April 25, 2023 10:05pm
  • Alex N

    Open Streets is an absolute blessing to the community and something that should have been established long ago, it’s a shame we needed a global pandemic for something like this to happen.

    I frequently visit my local OS in 31st Ave and patronize the businesses on that street, it is clear to me that all the restaurants along the route receive a lot more foot traffic because of OS, to the point where they should be sponsoring the program, instead many here lie about going out business.

    The program should be strengthened. It provides a safe space for the community to have many small gatherings that could not take place in any other place and provide a relaxed public environment to areas that don’t have enough public spaces, as is the case with 31st Ave.

    The rule change that includes fines for people who bring their chairs is ridiculous. A fine of $500 for bringing a chair or table is insane, especially in this economic climate, and discriminates against people who can’t stand for long periods. If the city is so thirsty for money, why not fine all the commercial trucks that use our streets as their parking garages or fine all the cars that treat stop signs as suggestions and leave law abidding citizens relaxing with their neighbors alone. Additionally, if some commenters are so concerned about bikes or ebikes “flying by” they should demand a stronger police precense to hold those individuals accountable, besides, those ebikes would be flying by regardless of OS.

    Comment added April 25, 2023 11:08pm
  • TY

    I was taken by complete surprise last Friday to find out that the block I have lived on, with my multigenerational family for 15 years, was now a “complete closure” Open Street – starting in 24 hrs and lasting all weekends for almost 7 months. A quick survey of the residents on the block did not turn up a single other resident who was aware of what was coming.

    But clearly, the bars that have recently stated to dominate our block, were completely aware and very well prepared. Residents were told to move their cars and tables and chairs were set up in the street.

    Our block already feels like it is is under siege by the quickly increasing number of bars and the seemingly inevitable noise, and antisocial behavior that they bring (and that the city has done little to curb). Now we will have 34 weekends of “programming” to add to that.

    This open street must feel like a huge win for the bars and their shareholders – they now appear to have license to control the entire street, but the future feels very ominous for the us, the residents.

    Comment added April 25, 2023 11:11pm
  • Peter Nigrini

    Open Streets are critical to the future of our city. Arguments that place automotive access to public space above that on individuals are not about service to the public, they are about serving the minority of automotive users of the public realm. Every effort should be made to make free and unfettered access to the the public realm for pedestrians the priority.

    Disability access is of course desirable, but they should be held in balance with the relative accessibility of a street open to automobiles, which are of course a much greater danger and are a much less accessible space that of an open street.

    Comment added April 25, 2023 11:41pm
  • Kathy Farren

    Wednesday April 26th

    Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez,

    Hello, I am Kathy Farren, we met about a year ago when you were here on 34th Ave for the ribbon cutting. I asked you if I could show you what I felt was a dangerous situation. I know you have met many people, but you might remember me!
    I took you to 78th Street which is a street that was taken away (one of many) from the community. On that block I took you to a handicap entrance to Dunnolly Gardens where there are many planters and cement blocks, blocking that entrance for ambulances or deliveries. At that time, you told your assistant and Jason Banray of the DOT to investigate it. Almost a year later and nothing has changed.
    For over two years I have been saying I am not in favor of the change to 34th Avenue because I am in my 70th year and I am not about to ride a bike to get to my needs for the day.
    When I purchased my apartment in 2007, I did not choose to live in a segregated gated community. I said segregated because that is what you are doing by making it a gated community. Separating our community.
    I have been preaching about SAFETY. Safety of people and their homes. People must get out of their cars to move the barrier, this is dangerous! Drivers are at risk for carjacking. Parents must leave children in the car to get out and move the barriers. The safety issue is real! Ambulances and Fire Trucks cannot maneuver around the barriers in a timely manner. I don’t think many Ambulances and Fire trucks drive slow to an emergency. We are at risk! If they are moving at a good speed to get to the emergency, they themselves are in danger of flipping over when turning.
    Sanitation, why do we not get our streets cleaned now? Services that I believe are part of our taxes to the city. Is it because the trucks cannot get around the war like blocks of cement that have been put around our once beautiful neighborhood. The signs have been removed for alternate side parking around Travers Park. There are people that walk around with a garbage bag and pick up large pieces of paper. But the people that live in 77-02 and 77-10 no sweeper comes into their street. Why???
    I would like to continue with the fact that many of the signs that are up on our avenue are not legal signs. As of today, I believe 34th avenue is still a shared road. Signs on your barriers say no through traffic. That is not true. Also, the signs that say 5 MPH, that law has not been set yet. NOT TRUE!
    Back to the DANGER, after 8 pm not all the barriers are removed. If driving from 69th street up to 76th Street where I live is like training to become an emergency vehicle driver. DANGEROUS!! Now because DOT has made it seem that the street is open to walkers all the time, people sit on the median at all hours of the night. Sitting on the median in dark clothes on a dark street is dangerous for all.
    Now to your new reason for having bikers all over the city. You claim that it makes us all healthier. First, I am in my 70th year and my husband in his 76th year. We are not about to start riding bikes in the streets like we are in our 50’s. We rode bikes back in the day, NOT today! But back to your claim that it is healthier. I might agree with you if everyone was riding a peddled bike. But I would say 80% of the Riders here on 34th Avenue are on Electric scooters, Electric mopeds and Electric bikes. So healthy, I would say NOT! DANGEROUS, YES!
    Once again, I am on the Safety bandwagon. I have been preaching to have these 26 blocks put to a vote. If the people in the community want it to be ok, let’s make it safe. But not having any say and you and the Mayor and Transportation Alternatives and Uber and all the other rich people and the people getting richer from the bike project being shoved down our throats when YOU know it is not safe or fair, it is NOT right.
    As I told you a year ago. If you really want input from the people who are affected by this, reach out to me and people like me. Not just all your yes people! I tried to wait and say some of my thoughts, on Monday at the City Council meeting, But the meeting started late, plus 1 and ½ hours into the meeting, I had to disconnect, you see I needed to get to an appointment, and I must move barriers to get to where I needed to go.
    Thanks for listening. Hope you might get to read this but probably not. Can’t say I haven’t tried.

    Kathy Farren
    Farren [email protected]

    Comment attachment
    Comment added April 25, 2023 11:50pm
  • Jaime Meisler

    Open Streets is terrible for the elderly and the disabled. The DOT and people running these programs must really either dislike vulnerable populations or just not care at all about their wellbeing.

    Comment added April 25, 2023 11:56pm
  • Justin Khalifa

    I’m excited for this program to be formalized, but also think the rules seem overly restrictive and punitive. Flying a kite being a $500 fine is a lot, and I think people should be allowed to bring chairs. I would also like to see more clear policies around vehicles (including that even placarded vehicles are prohibited), which are the clearest threat to open streets.

    Comment added April 26, 2023 7:24am
  • jeff oconnell

    the Frederick Douglas Boulevard Alliance (FDBA) sponsors open streets on FDB between 112th and 120th in manhattan, and the businesses along this corridor regularly break the noise rules, bring high-powered DJ and amplified music systems out into the street.

    this means that frederick douglas boulevard – a mixed RESIDENTIAL and commercial corridor – is turned into a NOLA-style BOURBON STREET every saturday and every sunday from may through october.

    i fully support Section 4-21.(d).24 and would like to see better enforcement of this rule:

    “No person in an open street shall make, continue, cause, or permit to be made or continued unreasonable noise in violation of the Noise Code pursuant to subchapter 2 of title 24 of the Administrative Code.”

    i fully support the open streets program for the extra space it gives residents, pedestrians, cyclists, etc –– the program should not be abused by businesses to the extreme detriment of the people that live in a neighborhood.

    Comment added April 26, 2023 8:06am
  • VR

    I believe that the Open Streets Program is a positive addition to all communities in NYC. Not only does it allow businesses to increase their foot traffic, but it also creates a safe space for children to ride bikes, etc. I also think that, over time, it will create a precedent for more ADA support in terms of sidewalk and street design overall.

    Comment added April 26, 2023 8:49am
  • Ramona Candy

    After having lived on Willoughby Avenue for over 40 years, I have never felt more harassed and unseen as since the Open (closed) street was put into effect. It is more dangerous crossing Willoughby Avenue, now that bikers speed down the street like it’s truly a regulation-free roadway. I work at a nearby school and walk via Willoughby Avenue at least 4 times a week. I have to check twice before crossing, having almost been hit by bikers (motorized and non-motorized) several times. The bikers (I hear they’re called biker bros) almost always have a rude comment to make. One evening, coming back from a school event and walking down a now always dark Willoughby Avenue (since automobile lights are no longer part of the scenery at night), I was accosted by two young men. the looked new to the neighborhood and while walking, rammed right into me. I used a few bad words and kept on walking. They gave me the finger. In my own neighborhood. That could have turned ugly but, thank goodness, I got home safely. Now, I take car service four blocks to my home. Luckily I live on the other side of Washington so the car service can drop me in front of my home, after making several detours to get me there. Ubers and other car services will not get out of cars to move barricades and they shouldn’t have to (some drivers are seniors and/or disabled), so passengers have to walk to corners to get into cars, or are left on corners when they reach their “destination.” One of the reasons citizens take car services is because of safety, especially at night. What sense does it make to take a service and have to walk a half a block to your destination???? Two years ago, the city stood in windows and at doors clapping for essential workers. Now, the city has turned its back on those same people. Car services, access-a-ride drivers, FedEx, UPS, NYPD, FDNY and others are all inconvenienced doing their “essential” work. Why? Because a few entitled people need to have access to the street, where good sidewalks already exist? There is the lovely Fort Greene park at one end of Willoughby Avenue, several smaller playgrounds along the way on Lafayette and Dekalb and a real pedestrian mall on Myrtle Avenue. Is that not enough? And, let’s not forget about the vitriol and animosity that many of these entitled few are dishing out. It is unbearable and disrespectful to a community that, for many years, has always been welcoming, diverse and respectful to one another. Hear us! Stop ignoring us! Give us back our streets!!!! Give us back our streets!!!! There’s enough city for everyone!!!!!

    Comment added April 26, 2023 8:56am
  • Brian Baxter

    Open Streets has been a very successful program in giving valuable space back to pedestrians and the community. It has been a benefit for local businesses and continues to make life safer for individuals of all ages.
    Open Streets should be expanded and studies continue to show that removing cars near schools decrease accidents and fatalities.
    The arguments that it penalizes some due to limited access to emergency vehicles is false when emergency vehicles are regularly delayed by congestion in all parts of the city.
    Many neighborhoods have extremely limited sidewalk space and are difficult to navigate by pedestrians regardless of their physical abilities.
    I will also echo other comments that there should be no penalties for furniture or other items brought to these spaces when there is no enforcement for vehicles that block bike lanes, sidewalks near precincts or double park with impunity.

    Comment added April 26, 2023 9:51am
  • Edward Koral

    I am writing to object to this proposal. It will create more congestion, and less safety.
    I live near a pilot “Open Streets” block, and I don’t think it can be categorized as anything but a total failure.
    There is nothing “open” about the street. There is French fencing at the top of the block, placed there ostensibly to slow vehicles down, but in effect the fencing is there to inflict needless damage on vehicles trying to pass through. Confusion reigns, since nobody knows why the fencing is there.
    During the many months that this pilot “open street” has been operating, there is zero evidence of people using the street as a more open space for perambulating. What we do see is more and more cars fruitlessly searching for parking spaces, as streets are “opened” for pedestrian use – even as pedestrians show little or no interest in this.
    The proposal is something that involves a change that at best has questionable benefit, but has numerous concrete costs. Our neighborhood has been classified as a “Naturally Occurring Retirement Community.” How do these changes actually help residents? Answer: They don’t. Specifically:
    – Diminished access for emergency vehicles such as ambulances and fire engines.
    – Diminished ability for motor vehicles to provide door-to-door service for people with disabilities

    The one thing that everyone in our neighborhood will agree on is that the sidewalks are considerably more dangerous in recent months due to the proliferation of e-bikes riding on the sidewalks with impunity. What is the city doing to prevent that?

    Let’s be realistic about why people live in a city. The whole social experiment with closing streets has been thoroughly debunked, over 50 years ago. READ YOUR JANE JACOBS! The city needs thoroughfares, and people passing through them. Closing down streets adds to desolation, and creates opportunities for more street crime.

    Please put an end to this wrong-headed idea.

    Comment added April 26, 2023 10:15am
  • KB

    Open streets are detrimental to first responders trying to get to an emergency call, in addition any disabled or special needs person can not gain access to doctors, restaurants, stores or thier own home at times because they can not reach the location on foot. In Astoria we have thousands of acres of “open space” at parks for example Astoria Park, Gantry State Plaza, Socrates Sculpture Park and many more that can be used for these programs. It is unfair to keep so many public streets closed to the public.

    Comment added April 26, 2023 10:56am
  • Sal Garro

    From teaching my child how to ride a bike to enjoying live music and conversation with my neighbors, Open Streets were a lifeline during the height of the pandemic and continue to bring joy and vibrancy to our city. Open Streets allows us to see what is possible when we prioritize our city’s public space for people.

    Comment added April 26, 2023 11:13am
  • FK

    Fining a volunteer $500 for someone else bringing a kite to an open street, while fining someone who illegally parks $65, is an absolutely unhinged approach to street safety. Why are you focusing on people bringing camping chairs instead of making it more difficult for drivers to speed? Stop making this more difficult for people to implement and run, you are talking about volunteers for god’s sake.

    Comment added April 26, 2023 11:39am
  • Anders Kapur

    These proposed rule changes to NYC’s incredibly popular Open Streets program only place more of a burden on already overburdened Open Streets volunteers. They will have the net result of stifling open streets in areas of the city that are already underserved, and where volunteers have less free time and energy to jump through the hoops the city sets for them.

    Pedestrian friendly spaces are something the city should be building an encouraging from the top down. The onus should NOT be placed on unpaid volunteers to run these popular programs. If we must rely on volunteers, we must respect their time and make the program guidelines as easy for them to follow as possible, AND it must be possible to expand the program further in the future.

    Comment added April 26, 2023 11:42am

    The majority of New Yorkers are vaccinated and we are at the end of the pandemic. The 34th Ave Open Streets has run its course. Although I do use the bike lane to get to and from home, I also drive and dislike the fact that I can no longer use 34th Ave to leave or enter my neighborhood. It’s a disruption to our quality of life. I’ve lived here 22 years and never felt so restricted.

    I am also against vendors setting up shop along the Avenue, and closing 78th Street (between 34th & 35th Ave) to traffic is ridiculous for those people who live there and the surrounding area. As well as the removal of hundreds of parking spots that are extremely rare to find in congested Jackson Heights. The NYC DOT has only exasperated the street parking issue. Shameful!

    The community was not asked how they felt about these drastic changes and should be considerate to EVERYONE. Please reverse these changes and open up 34th Avenue to cars. It’s a street, NOT a park. During the cold winter months, nobody will be lingering around in freezing temperatures on the Avenue and night time arrives earlier than usual. Thank you in advance.

    A Jackson Heights resident.

    Comment added April 26, 2023 11:47am
  • Joseph Neuhaus

    I am a neighbor of a block–the 200 Block of West 22nd Street between 7th and 8th Avenues–that was designated as an open street during the pandemic. As the pandemic eased, widespread neighborhood opposition to the designation surfaced, leading to the passage of a resolution by Community Board 4 urging that the barriers used to close the street twelve hours a day be removed and replaced with a “chicane” to slow traffic on the block. Among other things, the street has a large indoor parking garage on it so the barriers needed to be opened dozens of times a day. Partly as a result, the street was almost never used as an open street and virtually no events were held on the street. Since the CB4 resolution, the open street has ceased to function. Based on that experience, I have the following comments on the proposed rules:

    1. In deciding to put the use of a public resource largely in private hands, the City Council gave the DOT discretion to grant or deny such private applications. In order to minimize conflict in the community and promote rational and equitable distribution of public assets, it is essential that DOT exercise its discretion robustly, taking into account a wide range of factors, including the existence of businesses on the street that depend on car traffic and the degree of community support.

    2. With that in mind, I suggest that Section 4-21(b)(1)(v)(A), the list of factors that the Department will consider when reviewing an application to designate an open street, be amended to include (i) the presence of businesses such as parking garages that depend on car traffic and (ii) any expressed views from the community.

    3. Further, the rule does not provide for publication of an application to designate a particular street as an open or shared street, but only (in Section 4-21(b)(1)(v)(B)) for publication of the approval of an application and then possibly only for 30 days. This means that opponents to a designation are faced with the burden of overturning a decision already made and have a relatively short period of time to do so. I suggest that applications to designate an open street be made public when they are submitted, including by posting on the DOT website and notice to local Community Boards. Further, in order to generate as much community involvement as possible, it would make sense to circulate any postings to local news media outlets. These initiatives would be more equitable and more likely to lead to open streets designations that have community buy-in.

    4. The bases on which an open street designation can be rescinded set forth in Section 4-21(b)(5) are too limited. In particular, there is no indication that the Department will consider whether the open street operator has complied with its undertakings and the extent to which the open street has been used for its intended purpose. I recognize that the broad factor already listed “that such re[s]cission would benefit the community” is a kind of catch-all that might encompass these factors, as well as community opposition, but I suggest that explicit mention of factors going to how the open street has functioned would serve to emphasize that the Department will monitor the designation after an application is approved.

    5. Finally, I believe there is an ambiguity in proposed Section 4-21(d)(23), which provides that “[n]o person shall ride a motorized device on or through any part of an open street” except for certain personal assistive mobility devices, electric scooters and bicycles with electric assist. As far as I can tell, the term “motorized device” is not defined in the list of definitions in Section 4-01(b) of Title 34. On its face, the term might be read to include motor vehicles. But motor vehicles need to drive on an open street to gain access to local homes and businesses, and that use is contemplated in Sections 4-21(a)(i), 4-21(c)(10)(i), and 4-21(d)(8), and elsewhere. The ambiguity could be removed by defining the term “motorized device” to exclude motor vehicles or by prefacing Section 4-21(d)(23) by a phrase such as, “except as otherwise provided in these rules.”

    Thank you.

    Comment added April 26, 2023 11:52am
  • Ramona Candy

    I already made an earlier comment but after having attended today’s public meeting, I have more to say.

    It’s interesting that those who favor Open (closed) Streets do not favor and are griping about many of the rules for open streets. I do not favor open streets in my neighborhood, living on Willoughby Avenue, a neighborhood with a major park, several playgrounds and a beautifully maintained and programmed pedestrian space on Myrtle Avenue. We have open space all around us. Why close 8 blocks of a street 24/7? I only remember one event (a puppy day) on Willoughby Avenue. Other than that, it’s an empty street, unused except for the privileged few who choose to walk in the middle of the street instead of the sidewalk. And, now our streets look like construction zones with cones and barricades and do not enter signs and bikes attached to barricades (photo attached). Where did our lovely tree-lined Brooklyn streets go? That was our green – not these ugly barricaded so-called “street calming” paraphernalia.

    With the introduction of potential rules, we now hear “unfair,” but the unfairness began with the institution of open streets in the first place — without input from the community. Open (closed) Streets with these potential rules is entitlement and wreaks of gated communities and, like it or not, feels a lot like apartheid in New York City. Give us back our streets where we lived as neighbors following already established rules and regulations. This need for space is ridiculous with all the parks we have. One person on the call even mentioned there was an Open (closed) street next to McCarren Park. McCarren Park? Are you kidding??

    If you want to talk about safety, there are many other issues that can be discussed and reviewed by DOT and other city agencies. I have seen at least 4 or 5 pedestrian lights in the last six months, either out of order or totally missing from major intersections. I’ve called 311 to no avail. It took over a month for them to be replaced. Why are we monitoring safety on small streets with no major traffic and overlooking safety on intersections that are used daily. (The one at Clinton and Flushing Avenues sees major truck traffic coming and going to the Brooklyn Navy Yard. I don’t know if that’s been replaced yet. As of last week, it hadn’t).

    Please let’s look at priorities and the needs of the community over a minority of privileged, disrespectful individuals. It’s unfortunate that I have seen language and attitudes that completely ignore and belittle unheard voices who have been here for many years. There have been postings that were ordered taken down on social media showing faces of concerned citizens on a zoom meeting with disparaging comments. Why? One of your DOT staff said during a Community Board meeting last month, “DOT will not retreat.” What? This is not a battle. This is a community standing up for our rights.

    Thank you.

    Comment attachment
    Comment added April 26, 2023 12:22pm
  • Birgit Rathsmann

    The new rules make it very difficult for new volunteers to apply for an open street. Particularly these two sections below. DOT has all the expertise on how to do this, new volunteers do not. Those of us who have been running these open streets on a volunteer basis tookseveral years to learn how to these detailed things you list in these paragraphs.
    Will there be mentoring? Will DOT teach people how to do this? Or are these rules meant to discourage people from volunteering for the city?

    (D) A management, staffing and operations plan that details how barricades and any other traffic control devices, as applicable, will be managed and monitored, including the moving of barricades in the event of an emergency; how the applicant will ensure that the proposed open street is clear and roadway reopened at the conclusion of open street hours, as applicable; how the applicant will ensure programming providers and businesses will comply with the site plan; and, for full closure open streets, the proposed cleaning and trash disposal procedures;
    (E) A community outreach plan detailing how the applicant will regularly notify businesses, residents, and other relevant stakeholders about the proposed open street and its operation and programming;

    Comment added April 26, 2023 12:34pm
  • Floris Keverling Buisman

    Open streets are much saver for people with disabilities then “closed streets” (Ie with moving cars.

    Do not put additional burdens on the volunteers to be available at all times. Make appropriate design guidelines to facilitate people with disabilities navigating the car free streets.

    Comment added April 26, 2023 1:10pm
  • Bill Bruno

    The Open Streets program has been an overall success. In my own neighborhood in Jackson Heights, it has provided an invaluable neighborhood gathering space where one can meet neighbors and have a place of recreation and repose right around the corner. It has also enhanced safety, with crashes and injuries being 60% lower than pre-OS.

    As the saying goes, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. Requiring a SAPO for every event would unduly burden what is an already strained volunteer program. As long as DOT has a trusted partner (such as the 34th Avenue Open Streets Coalition), that partner can see to rules compliance and SAPOs should only be required for the more complex events. Further, $500 penalties for having a folding chair or flying a kite is simply draconian.

    Also, any outreach to locals, business, etc., should be done by DOT. Outsourcing this burden to volunteer groups again over strains them with a job that DOT should do and many proposed outreach plans (door-to-door surveys, petition signed by a majority of residents (there are over 100,000 people in Jackson Heights), etc.) are nothing more than obstructionism in disguise, especially on preexisting Open Streets where the community has had more than ample opportunity to comment.

    Comment added April 26, 2023 1:20pm
  • Amelia Josephson

    The proposed rules are overly restrictive and overly burdensome for the volunteer operators of open streets. For example, the restriction on bringing in chairs is unreasonable. A walk down Vanderbilt Avenue’s open street proves that people can use their chairs on the medians, without obstructing emergency access. Doing so makes open streets accessible for people who don’t want to or can’t pay to enjoy the open streets (i.e. by sitting outdoors at a restaurant or bar). The proposed rules also impose too much liability on volunteer operators, threatening the sustainability of these volunteer-run programs.

    Comment added April 26, 2023 1:58pm
  • Rachel Knopf

    My family loves the Open Streets!

    I do NOT support the need to get a permit for any small event in the open streets. My children like to play games with their friends or invite neighborhood kids to go on a “bug walk” together, looking for bugs with their magnifying lenses. They make signs and hang them up.

    Our volunteer led coalitions hold amazing programming which supports so many people in our community and which we value beyond belief. We don’t want this to change with increased city bureaucracy and high fines.

    These rules could hamper our vibrant and much needed open street.

    Comment added April 26, 2023 2:35pm
  • Lewis Speaks-Tanner

    The organization running an open street should not be fined. This is onerous and can easily be exploited by those who oppose open streets

    Comment added April 26, 2023 2:41pm
  • Matt H

    Open Streets have been a great addition to our city. I look forward to the continued support from the city and from the volunteer organizations that run them. I do have concerns about the proposed rule changes that would result in fines to these volunteer organizations. This would potentially result in fewer open streets due to onerous rules and fear of repercussions.

    Comment added April 26, 2023 3:01pm
  • Elena F

    I would like to add another point. I think there can be a middle ground between people who want open street and who don’t want open street and DOT should take this into consideration.

    Simple: Let the people decide, how? Vote! All application should go through hearings and if more than half the residents support then it goes through. If not then it doesn’t go through. Simple! Only telling residents the fact that the street is going to be close AFTER approval is extremely inappropriate.

    Comment added April 26, 2023 3:05pm
  • Lexa

    Please do not make open streets even harder to implement and maintain! Open streets are one of the best programs to happen in NYC. They are vibrant community spaces that enable tight knit communities. It is also great that they are volunteer-led so that they are community managed. Don’t make this harder!

    Comment added April 26, 2023 3:15pm
  • Kevin

    Open Streets are a wonderful asset and improvement to NYC’s urban fabric. The proposed rules and criteria would add burdensome and unnecessary regulation to the program, rather than improving it.

    Comment added April 26, 2023 3:15pm
  • Michael Rothstein

    I am very disappointed to see increased restrictions and regulations proposed for the Open Streets program. This has been a wonderful program, providing open spaces for all New Yorkers to enjoy. Our streets belong to all of us, and using some of our street space for everyone, rather than simply traffic and parking, is a benefit to our communities. Parks and other outdoor space is limited in our city, and we should be adding to that, not increasing hurdles for people to enjoy being outside. Why are are restricting the public’s access to our city’s public space? If anything, we should be expanding the program, and by no means should we be limiting and restricting it. Part of being a livable city is having open spaces, plazas, pedestrian boulevards, ample space for the public to congregate and enjoy. Anything that limits this is a step in the wrong direction, and harmful to the well being of our communities (particularly chidlren).

    Comment added April 26, 2023 3:26pm
  • Yulee

    I think open street is a great idea for the kids.

    Comment added April 26, 2023 3:52pm
  • Chris

    Open Streets is a lifeline for a more livable NYC that reduces noise & air pollution from vehicles, that gives space back to the communities by allowing them to enjoy weekends without the danger posed by constant traffic. More foot traffic benefits local business and brings neighbors together by allowing them to interact with each other on their blocks in their neighborhood. DOT should not propose burdensome restrictions or additional hoops that community organizations need to jump through.
    Open Streets is a net positive for more livable and equitable neighborhoods in NYC.

    Comment added April 26, 2023 3:53pm
  • Katya Willard

    I’m a big fan of the Open Streets. Lots of places in the world have beautiful pedestrian only areas for people to enjoy public spaces, like plazas, shopping streets, etc.

    I love that New York is adding more of these. I love our parks, but it’s nice to have car free places that aren’t Prospect Park or Central Park. I want to be able to walk calmly down a street on a Saturday and enjoy some food, get some groceries, and sit outside without needing to avoid cars, listen to honking, etc. I am a part of the majority (!) of New Yorkers who does not own a car, and I want public space too. Too much of our public space is given over to cars.

    I would like to see certain Open Streets expanded to be more permanent. I don’t like it when Open Streets are sort of Open but then sometimes cars drive down them to park or whatever. I would like to see Vanderbilt Avenue in Brooklyn be converted to a permanently car free stretch, with no parking or space dedicated to cars at all. The cross streets can be used for deliveries and have local neighborhood loading zones. Lots of other cities make this work, so can New York. Other cities also have disabled people, other cities also have seniors, other cities also have deliveries. We can make this work in NYC, and we owe it to all the people in NYC. We don’t owe it to cars, especially in a city with more noncar owners than car owners!

    Comment added April 26, 2023 4:06pm
  • Michael Frumin

    I’m very supportive of our open streets programs and would like to make sure that they persist without a lot of extra costs and complications. As a resident who lives half a block from one of the bigger ones on 5th avenue in Brooklyn, it’s clear how it brings the community together and stimulates economic activity in the neighborhood.

    Comment added April 26, 2023 4:07pm
  • David Perlmutter

    Open Streets is a lifeline for our restaurants and food vendors. They have also become essential for calming traffic to ensure safer streets for people walking, biking, and using transit nearby. Please keep the program going with continued, year-round resources and programming. We cannot afford to lose Open Streets!

    Comment added April 26, 2023 4:09pm
  • Brad Willard

    I love open streets. I’ve been using a bicycle as my main means of commuting to work for 16 years nows in Brooklyn and Manhattan. Bike lanes and Citibike have really helped raise awareness for cycling making it overall safer than when I started, however with car designs getting bigger and bigger, having poorer visibility, and with more and more drivers playing with their phones while driving, I feel like open streets are becoming more and more important and more and more relevant for people who choose not to own cars. Cars do not like sharing the road with cyclists and love parking in bike lanes.

    It’s long overdue for streets to be made available for pedestrians and cyclists only as it continues to increase in popularity. I go out of my way to use the existing open streets such as Willoughby on my commute to avoid the road rage of cars. I don’t think my commute to my job is any less important than someone else driving, drivers feel entitled, and pedestrians deserve their own dedicated spaces.

    Comment added April 26, 2023 4:22pm
  • Alex Weiner

    The Open streets program has immensely improved my quality life sand that of my community. I urge the DOT not to do anything to restrict this program. In fact it needs to be expanded. MORE OPEN STREETS!

    Comment added April 26, 2023 4:25pm
  • Jared Speck

    Open streets is a godsend to New Yorkers with disabilities. Please do not jeopardize this wonderful program. It allows those of us with disabilities to enjoy our neighborhoods like never before.


    Comment added April 26, 2023 4:29pm
  • Mike Burns

    Open Streets have been amazing for my disabilities, and I am excited to see them expand both in number and in access for others.

    Being able to safely experience the outside without much travel is important as I embrace year three of my recovery from COVID. Easy to access seating is vital for all of us, and, even though the Open Streets seating is commercial only, it still provides access that our street otherwise lack. All steps from my apartment!

    The freedom to move without fear of death from a machine, the freedom to breathe, the freedom to talk without shouting over motor vehicles — these basics make life in the city worth living.

    I’m thankful to the visitors from elsewhere for respecting our Open Streets and finding ways to park their cars in more appropriate places.

    Comment added April 26, 2023 4:32pm
  • Jackson Chabot

    My name is Jackson Chabot, and I am the Director of Advocacy and Organizing at Open Plans, an over 20-year-old non-profit dedicated to safe and livable streets. We are submitting this testimony to highlight the issues with the proposed rules. These rules, proposed without any input from public space partners, neighbors, and elected officials potentially codify an increasingly cumbersome and bureaucratic program.

    Furthermore, these rules make it increasingly onerous to volunteer for the city. The proposed hoops to jump through to include sourcing letters of support, drafting site plans, creating management plans for removing barricades, what happens with emergency vehicles, etc. These are examples of how city is offloading much of the responsibility for its program onto volunteers when it should be doing most of the heavy lifting to create and conduct management and outreach plans. These points and others listed below require technical expertise beyond what most New Yorkers posses especially volunteers and are more fit for trained urban planners. Big picture, if the City wants people to use the streets as easy as a vehicle can they shouldn’t require a permit, site plan, run of show and to indemnify the City to do so.

    Inherently this program is a beautiful expression of the best of New York: people, energy, and community building. We look forward to working with the agency and the administration to continue to improve the Open Streets. Please see our full comments attached.

    Comment attachment
    Comment added April 26, 2023 4:36pm
  • Dawn Siff

    The Open Streets are run by an army of volunteers, people like me. We have lives, families and other responsibilities. We are already doing enough unpaid labor and do not need more burdensome restrictions. We need more financial support and labor support from the City, the DOT, HORT and Parks Dept.

    The current barricades are a problem of access for all neighbors in a community, it’s true. But Open Streets benefit all members of a communithy, including disabled, seniors, children … the City and DOT need to find a better solution, moveable barricades or bollards that are better designed, ADA accessible. The City owes us Open Streets for safer passage to schools, exercise, relaxation etc. We do not need more red tape that makes keeping streets open for communities more burdensome on volunteers and community groups.

    Comment added April 26, 2023 4:36pm
  • Mike M.

    My comments concern the closing of Columbus Avenue from 77th Street to 68th Street:
    People who live on Columbus Avenue do not benefit in any way, shape or form from this program. How many people at DOT actually live on one of these closed streets or have apartments whose only windows abut these closed streets? It’s obvious you have no idea what it’s like to experience the hell that this program brings to us. Let’s start with the noise. Thanks to this program, every summer Sunday is now a nightmare of relentless noise, illegal pop-up bands with amplifiers that literally rattle my windows all day, and outdoor dining areas with illegally spread seating all over the sidewalks and street. Try enjoying your apartment with a bagpiper outside your windows for 3 hours – just another small example of what goes on. I cannot even open my windows on a summer Sunday.
    DOT employees do NOTHING when confronted about these issues. They witness violations all day long wandering in their orange vests up and down the avenue. They HIRE the bands that disturb what used to be a rare peaceful day for our neighborhood; other bands are hired by the restaurants who now take advantage of the lax policies and set up their amplifiers and microphones wherever they please. Your own “Open Streets” advertisements show a street musician with electric keyboard, microphone & amplifier! I called mostly every Sunday last summer to complain about the excessive noise and the police responded just once. The Sundays that I didn’t call, I was just too discouraged to bother.
    NYC Streets have been designed on a grid system to get from Point A to Point B in the most efficient manner possible – people who need to get to work, to Church on Sundays (you completely disregard and disrespect this population with Sunday street closings) and to hospitals -especially in the event of life-threatening medical emergencies. None of these basic needs are accommodated by closing the very avenues designed by the city to efficiently carry people where they must go. You even change the routes for 2 bus lines!
    All of this chaos, and Central Park sits a mere block away, visible from any Columbus Ave corner – 840 acres of the most beautiful park space in the world – equipped with children’s play areas, wide open fields, lawns for lounging. It makes no sense. And just 3 blocks west of Columbus lie Riverside Park AND Riverbank State Park – 2 more major parks – again with playing fields, picnic areas, piers, vistas, child areas and lots of seating lining the Hudson River.
    These are 3 major parks with nothing but open space 5 minutes away from the avenue that you close for “open space”. What is the point of closing a major street for “open space” when there is access to thousands of acres of “open space” within blocks of either side of Columbus Avenue??
    Columbus Avenue also is the major route to the nearest hospital for this part of the Upper Westside – a route that is now closed every Sunday for thousands of NYC residents because of Open Streets. This is the MAJOR and FASTEST route to the hospital!! It is insane to close this avenue! Open Streets is a death sentence for anyone unfortunate enough to have a medical emergency on a Sunday, in the summer, on the Upper West Side. DON’T HAVE A HEART ATTACK ON A SUNDAY ON THE UPPER WESTSIDE!! Thanks to “Open Streets”, there’s an increased chance that you will die.

    Comment added April 26, 2023 4:38pm
  • TY

    I think one thing we can all take away from this mornings comments by the unelected stakeholders is that they should be trusted to wield their power benevolently, with only minimal oversight. Surely the residents of the open streets will sleep better tonight.

    Comment added April 26, 2023 4:44pm
  • Christina Towne

    Open Streets is a wonderful program that brings much needed car free recreational space to neighborhoods with a lack of that space.

    I strongly disagree with administrative rules that allow a fine to be levied on community partners for open streets violations committed by the public. Amend the NYPD patrol guide to allow the NYPD to issue a violation/ fine or desk appearance ticket to a child a flying a kite if you must – but asking Open Street partners to police the behaviors of the public on open streets is doomed to fail.

    Comment added April 26, 2023 4:55pm
  • Tim L

    As stated in today’s New York Times article, “American Road Deaths Show an Alarming Racial Gap,” — “every killing of a cyclist or pedestrian by a car is preventable.” The Open Streets program needs to be expanded exponentially and made simpler for all involved. Many of these should become permanent and finally begin to bring the city back to the people, cyclists, and pedestrians that actually live here – not the cars, delivery trucks and other vehicles that proliferate and operate freely at the cost of taxpayers and lives. This program should also be greatly expanded to include and focus on historically Black and Hispanic neighborhoods, where for – as stated in the article – “Black cyclists, the fatality risk per mile was 4.5 times as high as that for white cyclists. For Hispanic walkers and bikers, the death rates were 1.5 and 1.7 times as high as those for white Americans using the same modes of transportation.” This is simply unacceptable and I urge the city to take action to add more protected bike lanes, expand accessibility and center future interventions on slowing cars throughout NYC.

    Comment added April 26, 2023 4:56pm
  • Kama Kasow

    The proposed changes requiring permits for all events and fines for any and all violations, including volunteer organizations partnering with DOT, are needlessly punitive and would make running this program all but impossible if enforced for organizations focused on small scale, community programming. Please reconsider these rules.

    Comment added April 26, 2023 4:57pm
  • Donovan Richards Jr.

    Statement by Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr. on Proposed DOT Amendments on Traffic Rules relating to Open Streets

    The Department of Transportation proposed amendments to Traffic Rules relating to the Open Streets program are concerning for several reasons. As New York City strives to expand public access to our shared streets, I call on the city to provide more funding to the program rather than codifying increasingly cumbersome and bureaucratic processes.

    In particular, the requirement of a Street Activity Permit Office (SAPO) permit for every single type of activity on an open street is a massive bureaucratic barrier to activating programming on Open Streets. Instead, increasing existing City permitting and licensing capacity for legal programming and commercial activity in a timely manner is paramount to the future success of the Open Streets.

    It is especially alarming to see the City propose additional and excessive financial penalties to the Open Streets program. Rather than expanding punitive fines and offloading responsibility of the program onto volunteer organizations and vendors, the City should make it easier for vendors and performers to practice business.

    Additionally, the amendment stating no person shall bring tables or chairs onto any open street without a permit is a prohibitive measure in stark contrast to the mission of expanding access to shared public spaces. New Yorkers should be able to bring out their own tables or chairs to enjoy any Open Street.

    Lastly, I am disappointed in the lack of engagement and notice about the hearing on the proposed rule changes for Open Streets which took place today. The communities we represent deserve clear communication and opportunities to engage in our city’s policy process.

    If the City wants pedestrians to use Open Streets as easily as vehicles use roads, then we cannot allow excessive permitting, licensing, and bureaucratic processes to hinder organic public use of our shared Open Street spaces.

    Comment added April 26, 2023 4:58pm
  • Eric McClure

    I am submitting this comment on behalf of StreetsPAC, a political action committee and advocacy organization focused on street safety in New York City, and a strong proponent of the Open Streets program.

    Accessibility: We believe DOT must more clearly communicate with the public about accessibility, especially regarding Access-A-Ride and other services for people with limited mobility. Access to Open Streets for Access-A-Ride, as well as emergency services, is critically important, but there is also a responsibility for Access-A-Ride drivers or operators of private vehicles picking up or dropping off a passenger to replace barriers once they’ve passed through.

    Financial Penalties: We oppose assessing financial penalties to operators of Open Streets programs. Individual Open Streets are primarily organized, managed, and operated for the city by volunteers and neighbors. It’s counterproductive to establish a punitive dynamic for a program intended to provide safe, positive public space. If this rule is established, Open Streets operators must be given explicit clarity about what types of actions would trigger a penalty.

    Management, Staffing, Operations, and Community Outreach Plans: By asking volunteers, many new to the program, to understand this level of detail, the city is creating a dauntingly high bar for or the establishment of new Open Streets. If these items are ultimately required, DOT should establish an effort to educate new Open streets applicants on how to undertake these steps.

    Community Board Notification: Any rule regarding notification to Community Boards should be explicit in explaining that Community Boards should not have any veto power over establishment of an Open Street.

    Permitting: Requiring a SAPO permit for every single activity on an Open Street is tremendously burdensome. It creates a huge barrier to activating and programming Open Streets, substantial and costly insurance requirements, and more red tape. If programming needs a permit every single time it becomes a lot harder to do and limits the organic nature of public space.

    Comment added April 26, 2023 4:59pm
  • Regina

    I live by the open street in Jackson Heights. It has been amazing and a net gain to the neighborhood. I’m against proposals to make it more difficult to operate and to stiffle community members actually using and enjoying the streets.

    Comment added April 26, 2023 5:00pm
  • Jon

    Hi, Brooklyn Open Street neighbor here. I’m writing in support of the current implementation of open streets.
    Streets without traffic are safer for everyone, don’t risk getting emergency vehicles stuck in weekend gridlock, and provide enjoyable outdoor space for New Yorkers who don’t own cars. In our neighborhoods, we should treat pedestrian traffic as importantly as vehicle traffic.

    Comment added April 26, 2023 5:03pm
  • Steven Bodzin

    These new rules are trying to solve an imaginary problem. The city’s open streets are wonderful. I live on 34th Avenue in Queens and the only problems with our open street are that it isn’t 24 hours a day, and that the barricades used to slow cars are a bit of a hassle to move.

    Ignoring the incredible success and wide public love for these streets, DOT appears set on acceding to the demands of a fringe group of cranks who spend all day in front of Facebook, Zoom and Whatsapp, complaining to one another and to public officials. That is the only reason I can imagine for these punitive and unnecessary rules.

    For example, look at the new section (27). “Except as otherwise permitted by law, no person shall bring or place tables, carts, chairs or furniture in or on any open street”

    Is this really what’s wrong in our city? Too many people bringing their own lawn chairs to events on open streets? You are seriously going to make that a crime?

    Rule 13, similarly, is just ridiculous. When I put my backpack on a chair to keep it off the ground, I shouldn’t be subject to criminal penalties. Come on.

    Rule 22(c)

    Rule 12, that no one shall shave on an open street — is this something that is happening? Is it not already covered by existing city rules? Is there even water on open streets? What is even going on?

    Rule 10 bans littering — which is already banned. Rule 21 bans feeding wild animals, which is also banned by existing codes. Rule 25 bars public drinking, which is already illegal, and is a bad rule that we should be seeking to dismantle rather than reinforce.

    Rule 31 is one of the worst, as it requires that open streets be called “open streets.” This after DOT already floated the possibility of renaming 34th Avenue “Paseo Park” — a wonderful name. Why limit the name by statute?

    This whole rulemaking is a farce. This whole thing should be sent back to DOT to be stripped down to those rules that are truly useful and necessary.

    Comment added April 26, 2023 5:03pm
  • james Izurieta

    Passing rules that overcomplicate and overburden unpaid volunteer roles is either an act of incompetence or of sabotage. If regulatory overhead is required, then the roles must be funded. Convert Open Streets to a Parks Department program, and add net new funding to Parks to execute on the oversight. Do not turn volunteer roles into unpaid full time jobs, and do not require enforcement of rules volunteers are not empowered to enforce.

    Comment added April 26, 2023 5:08pm
  • Christopher Goeken

    I often meet friends and bring lawn chairs on the 34th Avenue OS next to my apartment. Please do not include fines for people who want to sit on a lawn chair and enjoy the open street.

    Comment added April 26, 2023 5:10pm
  • Bronwyn Breitner

    I am a supporter and active user of NYC open streets. I believe that the Open Streets program has brought joy, livelihood, healthy, safe streetscapes to New Yorkers across all 5 boroughs. I am glad to see the city continue to formalize its Open Streets program. However, I am concerned about the level of burden placed upon neighborhood volunteers.

    Technical elements like sanitation plans, accessibility & emergency access should not be the primary responsibility of unpaid volunteers in their spare time but of professional DOT staff who can help communities get a project off the ground. A better solution to accessibility, like remote-controlled gates or bollards, cannot be the responsibility of volunteers in their spare time.

    Open Streets function as great public spaces and that should be encouraged. People should be allowed to place temporary furniture as long as it doesn’t block vital services. The Open Street permit should allow for basic activities and simplify permits for more complicated ones. Reducing friction to activate the street for non-car purposes will allow the Open Streets to be more successful.

    A “failure to comply with open street rules” needs to be clearly defined if someone is going to be subject to a fine. I fear how this can be weaponized for the most minor infraction and innocent mistakes.

    Comment added April 26, 2023 5:25pm
  • Patrick Johnson

    NYC DOT has been subverted by Uber/Lyft trying to upend society by closing streets and funding these communist organizations transalt and open plans…open streets is criminal, go to a damn park and use the sidewalk. Bring New York City back to the way it was under the 3rd term of Bloomberg you fools

    Comment added April 26, 2023 5:38pm
  • Carla Sanderson

    Please do not make it harder for volunteers to manage this program!!!

    Comment added April 26, 2023 5:41pm
  • Timothy Hanna

    I absolutely love open streets. Vanderbilt and 5th Avenue are vibrant and bustling on weekends. Willoby and Underhill are friendly quiet and a welcoming to families. DOT should be lavishing resources on existing open streets and looking to expand the program wherever possible.

    Comment added April 26, 2023 5:52pm
  • Anthony Martin

    NYC Open Streets are the BEST — What a life saver. Every moment I get to enjoy on an open street is the best moment in my day. My family is happier, the neighborhood children have a safe space to be outdoors and the impact is nothing less than monumental. Please keep safe spaces for our community. Thank you.

    Comment added April 26, 2023 6:13pm
  • Sam O'Hana

    Don’t cave to the cagers.

    600 vehicle collisions a day in this city.

    2,000 deaths a year from air pollution.

    We didn’t start this.

    Comment added April 26, 2023 6:20pm
  • Melissa Litwin

    The Open Streets is something I look forward to every year. It helps me stay fit while enjoying the outdoors, along with the added safety of no cars.
    To make it more difficult for volunteers to manage is not what I’d like to see. Make it easier and expand the program in whatever ways possible.
    Please listen to the people and let this wonderful program continue to exist.

    Comment added April 26, 2023 6:24pm
  • Samir Lavingia

    I am hugely in favor of the Open Streets Program. I’ve helped run two of them (Ave B and University Place) and there are always so many people out and about enjoying them.

    Like any proposal, it can use some work, but it has good bones and there are simply too many onerous restrictions in the proposal. There should be no financial penalties for New Yorkers who are just trying to activate the street and make it a more pleasant place to be. Additionally, we can’t make it overly taxing to run these Open Streets or we will end up with an inequitable distribution where areas with people with free time will have nicer amenities than folks with lesser means.

    When I helped with University Place, I put in untold hours moving barriers around, and the idea that that level of commitment should be required is absurd. We should make it as easy as possible to have an open street so we can have as many of them as possible all over the city!

    Please take away some of these owners requirements and help us have open streets citywide!

    Comment added April 26, 2023 6:39pm
  • Phil Godzin

    The Open Streets program has been an excellent lifeline for both businesses and neighborhoods. My neighborhood with an Open Street has never felt more connected and alive, even during the pandemic.

    Overall, rules to codify the management and operations of Open Streets are welcome, but these specific rules are way too ambiguous. In particular, every programming event of Open Streets should not require its own permit, and people should be free to set up their own tables and chairs in the streets.

    The types of enforcement that would lead to $500 fines is extremely unclear, and that kind of potential liability is a huge deterrent to running and even attending an Open Street, especially when running a red light in a school zone results in less of a fine.

    In general, the application process should be as straight forward as possible, with resources dedicated to new Open Streets partners just starting out.

    I hope any passed rules help formalize a permanent and successful Open Streets Program.

    Comment added April 26, 2023 6:43pm
  • David

    This program must end!

    Nobody uses these open streets and they are just part of the anti car agenda from TransAlt. Encourage people to visit a park! These CLOSED streets block traffic, emergency vehicles, harm our disabled residents who need motor vehicles. There isn’t a single redeeming thing about this program. Huge waste of money.

    Comment added April 26, 2023 6:51pm
  • Debora McCleary

    Please make Open Streets permanent and easily implemented by neighborhoods who want to enjoy clean air, safety from cars and their pollution and noise, and local streets for playing, walking, eating, riding bikes, and life. Stop accommodating CARS. People matter. New Yorkers would like a better quality of life and cars that have unfettered access to every corner of the city are RUINING NYC for those of us who live here.

    Comment added April 26, 2023 7:01pm
  • MM

    The NYC Open Streets program is a critical initiative that has brought about numerous benefits to the city’s residents, businesses, and communities. The program has transformed busy streets into vibrant pedestrian zones, providing much-needed public space for people to walk, bike, and enjoy recreational activities.

    Firstly, the Open Streets program has improved public health by creating safer and healthier environments for people to exercise and socialize. The program has helped to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 by creating more space for outdoor dining and allowing businesses to expand their operations onto sidewalks and streets. Additionally, by reducing the number of vehicles on the roads, the program has helped to reduce air and noise pollution, improving the overall quality of life in the city.

    Secondly, the program has had a significant economic impact, especially for small businesses that were hit hard during the pandemic. The program has allowed businesses to expand their operations onto sidewalks and streets, creating more space for outdoor dining, shopping, and events. This has led to increased foot traffic and revenue for local businesses, helping to revitalize neighborhoods and stimulate economic growth.

    Thirdly, the Open Streets program has promoted social cohesion and community engagement. The program has created safe spaces for people to gather, participate in community events, and enjoy public art installations. By encouraging people to come together and interact in public spaces, the program has helped to build stronger social bonds and foster a sense of community pride.

    Lastly, the Open Streets program has helped to address issues of social and environmental justice by creating public spaces in underserved communities. These communities often lack access to green spaces and recreational areas, and the Open Streets program has provided a much-needed reprieve from the concrete jungle. Additionally, the program has helped to address transportation inequities by providing safe and accessible routes for pedestrians and cyclists, promoting active transportation and reducing reliance on cars.

    In conclusion, the NYC Open Streets program is a crucial initiative that has brought about numerous benefits to the city’s residents, businesses, and communities. The program has improved public health, stimulated economic growth, promoted social cohesion and community engagement, and addressed issues of social and environmental justice. As such, the program deserves continued support and funding from city officials, residents, and businesses.

    Comment added April 26, 2023 7:19pm
  • Megan Martin

    Open streets are a danger and burden on our community. They are done with no community input or thought. We have overwhelming traffic for the luxury of one person sitting in the street. It’s an abomination of power from paid activists and needs to end

    Comment added April 26, 2023 7:46pm
  • Daniel Ranells

    Don’t make open streets more difficult to run

    Comment added April 26, 2023 8:24pm
  • Dee B

    I fully support Open Streets. It is a wonderful program that returns some of the City’s space to people, not cars. I Please do not implement changes that would increase the burden on volunteers. (I also think that folding chairs should be permitted.)

    Comment added April 26, 2023 9:30pm