‘Play Streets’ to Return While City Gives Some ‘Open Streets’ Back to Traffic

Prospect Park West, Park Slope. Photo by Susan De Vries

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    The city will remove 1.5 miles of Open Streets from Brooklyn at or near Prospect Park and fully reopen them to cars, Mayor de Blasio said Friday, claiming that those shared roadways have been underused by pedestrians and cyclists.

    The streets with limited access to cars — Prospect Park West and Parkside Avenue, both bordering Prospect Park, and East 7th Street in nearby Kensington — will once again allow regular car traffic, as part of a total 2.77-mile cutback of the shared street program citywide, de Blasio said.

    The two park-adjacent streets were among the first officials closed off to most car traffic back in May.

    However, the borough will also get two new open streets — or, more aptly, open blocks in this case — in Red Hook, on Wolcott Street between Conover and Van Brunt streets, and in Bedford Stuyvesant on Jefferson Avenue between Patchen Avenue and Malcom X Boulevard. Both are part of a 1.72-mile expansion of the program across the five boroughs.

    park slope share the road

    Photo by Susan De Vries

    De Blasio said he hopes to open a total of 100 miles of Open Streets during the course of the pandemic, which also includes the temporary bike lanes the Department of Transportation has installed and demarcated with orange barrels.

    In addition to the shuffling around of the shared streets, which started back in April to give New Yorkers more space amid the COVID-19 pandemic, de Blasio announced the return of the city’s “Play Streets” program on some of the Open Streets, where the city and nonprofits will offer games and activities for kids and families in the coming weeks.

    “Young people deserve the chance to play freely in their neighborhoods while staying safe from COVID-19, and Play Streets will go a long way toward easing the burden of a summer unlike any other,” said the mayor in a statement on July 24.

    The initiative will offer arts and crafts, giant games of Connect 4 and Jenga, sports and reading corners, along with yoga and dance classes — all while adhering to social distancing guidelines, officials said.

    The program will launch on various dates in the coming weeks, starting with Brownsville and Bushwick on July 27, followed by Crown Heights on August 3 and Sunset Park on August 5. They will wrap on September 4, according to the mayor’s office.

    Here is the full list of Play Streets along with their opening dates and times:

    open streets chart

    The list and schedule of Brooklyn’s Play Streets. Image via Mayor’s Office

    To give Brooklynites more space to eat and chill outside amid the coronavirus pandemic, the city previously expanded outdoor dining into some of the Brooklyn thoroughfares, along with adding more cooling elements like street showers and fire hydrant caps under a program called “Cool Streets.”

    Editor’s note: A version of this story originally ran on Brownstoner sister pub Brooklyn Paper. Click here to see the original story.

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