Bedford Avenue is a great place to shop and dine — but on four Saturdays this summer, it will become the perfect place to lounge.
The city will close Bedford Avenue to traffic, turning the thoroughfare into a pedestrian-only plaza between Metropolitan Avenue and North Ninth Street.
Cars will still be able to cross Bedford on all the side streets, but each Bedford block will be traffic-free (that includes parked cars!) from noon to 7 pm on July 19, July 26, Aug. 2 and Aug. 9.
And unlike street fairs, which also bar traffic, the closing of Bedford Avenue — a project dubbed “Williamsburg Walks” — won’t have any scheduled events or programming.
“It’s really an experiment of letting the community take over the streets,” said event coordinator Connie Colvin. “People can sit out in the street and do whatever they’d like. We expect for it to be a reflection of the area and the community — the artistic community, the Polish community, the Latino community.”
Northside business owners are optimistic about increased foot traffic, but anxious about turning cars away.
“Of course it will be great for business because it will bring more people — but it’s not the best idea,” said Jada Pleasant, a sales rep at the North Fourth Street furniture store Wonk. “Any time you close traffic, it’s really annoying for people who are using the roads. As a driver, I’m not into it. But as a business, it would be great.”
Colvin is arranging to have tables, chairs and benches brought to Bedford Avenue, but unlike a similar pedestrian plaza planned for Montague Street in Brooklyn Heights on summer Sundays, the longest street in the borough will not be covered with a carpet of artificial grass.