City’s open streets initiative starting in three Queens parks

Forest Park is among three locations in Queens that will be part of the city's open streets initiative.

Flushing Meadows Corona Park, Forest Park in Woodhaven, and Court Square Long Island City are the three locations in Queens that will have open streets closed to motor vehicles beginning Saturday, May 2, when spring temperatures are forecasted to arrive.

Mayor Bill de Blasio and Council Speaker Corey Johnson announced seven miles of open streets in all five boroughs that are designed to provide greater social distancing among New Yorkers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“New Yorkers deserve safe ways to enjoy warm weather while we fight through this crisis,” de Blasio said. “Our parks have played a critical role in maintaining public health during this crisis. But we cannot afford to have a high demand for open space to create unhealthy situations. That’s why we’re opening streets and offering more options for New Yorkers to get outside safely.”

The mayor warned that large crowds would not be tolerated. An original pilot program was canceled after just two weeks but after the City Council announced a plan to open up to 75 miles of streets, the de Blasio administration reversed course.

“Today is a great first step and an exciting day for an entire city starved of adequate open space,” Johnson said. “The Council is glad our efforts on this initiative have brought us this far, and we are eager to work with our colleagues in government, community groups, and our neighbors to keep expanding this program in a safe, effective, and enjoyable way. While we continue our fight against this awful virus, we need to give people the space they need to maintain proper social distancing, and I’m glad we’re making progress towards that goal.”

In Flushing Meadows Corona Park, Meadow Lake Drive will be open to pedestrians and cyclists only and in Long Island City Court Square West will be closed to vehicular traffic. In Forest Park Freedom Drive, East Main Drive and West Main Drive will all be designated open streets.

“The Department of Transportation informed me of its decision to close three streets in Forest Park as part of the Mayor and City Council’s initiative to allow greater social distancing,” Councilman Robert Holden said. “I’d like to thank Commissioner Trottenberg for calling me personally to discuss the plan, and I believe it will have a minimal impact on the community while providing more space for safe recreation during the pandemic.”

No through traffic will be permitted, with remaining vehicle traffic limited to local deliveries, pick-ups and drop-offs, necessary city service vehicles, and emergency vehicles only.

Organizations and community boards wishing to have other New York City streets considered for the open streets program should reach out to openstreets@dot.nyc.gov or fill out an online survey.

More from Around New York