Coronavirus News: 40 miles of city streets to be opened around parks, goal of 100 miles

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- Mayor Bill de Blasio announced plans to turn at least 40 miles of city streets into public space. It's part of a plan by City Council Speaker Corey Johnson.

The streets will be closed, sidewalks widened, and additional bike lanes will be added over the course of the next month.

The eventual goal is for 100 miles of city streets to be modified.

The plan will focus on communities hardest hit by the pandemic and also areas that are in need of more social distancing, like around city parks.

The open streets will be sourced from five broad categories: up to 60 miles of streets within and adjacent to parks; up to 20 miles of streets identified in consultation with local precincts, in consultation with Community Boards and other partners; up to 10 miles of streets managed by local partners such as BIDs, block associations, or other civic groups; up to 2.5 miles of widened sidewalks; and up to 10 miles of protected bike lanes.

"This summer is going to look different from any other in our city's history - and we're ready to give New Yorkers more ways to leave home while staying safe from COVID-19," said Mayor de Blasio. "I'm proud to work with Speaker Johnson, the Department of Transportation, and the NYPD to find creative solutions that support our broader goals of ending this pandemic and rebuilding a fairer city."

"The Council is thrilled our calls for open streets have been answered and looks forward to working with the administration to give New Yorkers the space they need to socially distance properly. As the weather gets nicer and this unprecedented crisis stretches on longer, we need to do everything in our power to keep our neighbors safe and healthy. This announcement is a great starting point for the ongoing conversation about how we share our public spaces during this pandemic and in a post-coronavirus future," said Speaker Corey Johnson.

Open streets will only be in effect for the duration of "NY PAUSE," with the exception of bike lanes.

There are expected to be some opportunities for community input.

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