For the past year, New Yorkers of all stripes have rolled up their sleeves, laced up their boots, and hit the streets to fight for a better tomorrow. Across our open streets coalitions we have seen small slivers of that future. Our open streets have transformed our neighborhoods into safe, peaceful, and accessible open spaces. We are thankful to CM Rivera, Speaker Johnson, and the Council for paving the way for concrete change.
Though the pandemic, all New Yorkers have cherished whatever outdoor space they could find. Those of us who didn’t have backyards or terraces, ran to the open streets. As the summer waned, so did our barriers and our open streets. Sadly, neighbors and volunteers were forced to contend with 75 years of urban planning dominated by the automobile. Due to an inability to make concrete change and a lack of resources, not all open streets made it through the winter.
This bill helps address the second most important part of open streets, self-enforcing open streets. While it has been great to meet our neighbors and reinforce existing coalitions of open space and safe streets advocates, every single open street should be self-enforcing via proper design.
The single most important part of this bill is equity. Every single New York neighborhood deserves safe, clean, and well maintained low-traffic or car-free spaces. As we continue to battle the trifecta crises of climate, health, and justice, it is an imperative that every New Yorker is given the freedom to roam and breath freely.
The volunteers of the North Brooklyn Open Streets Community Coalition thanks CM Rivera, the Council, the Department of Transportation staff, their Agency partners, and the thousands of open streets volunteers (and our partners) who have carried us to this day.
We look forward to this bill bringing about concrete change — we look forward to open streets becoming a connected, interlaced open space network for neighbors, pedestrians, and cyclists to move about the city freely and safely.
Link to Int 1933-2020