City to partially close Bushwick Avenue to cars Friday

Bushwick and Flushing avenues
The city will close Bushwick Avenue from Flushing to Johnson avenues during the daytime from March 27-30.

The city will close off a stretch of Bushwick Avenue during the daytime from Friday through Monday to allow locals more space to practice social distancing and prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Officials will bar vehicle traffic on the less than half-mile stretch between Johnson and Flushing avenues from 10 am to 7 pm as part of a citywide pilot project, with closures of one street in every borough except Staten Island.

The 0.4-mile section snakes its way mostly past public housing complexes on the western side and manufacturing lots and a local public school on the eastern side. 

Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the move earlier in the week intended to lessen the crowds at parks after the city’s lawns filled up with people last weekend, despite officials warning New Yorkers against gathering in large groups amid the pandemic outbreak.

Hizzoner originally said that each borough would get up to two closed streets, but a spokeswoman for his office said that, while officials are still looking at more thoroughfares, they will also be looking at how well the first batch of closures worked out.

“Additional sites are being considered for this initial pilot and will be announced when details are finalized,” Jane Mayer told the New York Post. “These current locations will be re-evaluated for continued public access.”

The Police Department will station cops on the streets to enforce the closure and make sure people continue social distancing, the Post reported.

Traffic will still be allowed on cross streets and parked cars can remain in place, but any pick-ups and drop-offs will have to happen at the corner of the cross streets, according to the Post.

Since de Blasio’s teaser earlier this week, safe street advocates have released long lists of other streets that planners should close to cars and open to pedestrians.

Transportation Alternatives’ proposals include a series of stretches officials already close down for special events during the year, including the New York City Marathon route — which, in Brooklyn, runs from the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge up along the borough’s western flank to Greenpoint — streets routinely closed for the Summer Streets program, and the city’s street fair routes.

The organization also suggested repurposing streets not bordering commercial businesses or residences, such as Lorimer Street through McCarren Park in Williamsburg, Bay Street in Red Hook, and the Jackie Robinson Parkway, which runs from Queens through to the Evergreens Cemetery between Bushwick and Cypress Hills.

“There is a wealth of street space in the five boroughs that could be converted into social distancing-friendly places for people,” Transportation Alternatives Executive Director Danny Harris said in a statement. “Should the city require more hands to turn these proposals into a reality, Transportation Alternatives and our partners stand ready to enlist a corps of volunteers to help construct and maintain these car-free corridors. New York City bicyclists stepped up in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, and we know they will rise to the occasion again.”