Queens State Sen. Jessica Ramos and City Comptroller Scott Stringer are calling on the city to make its Open Streets program a year-round initiative.
The officials penned a letter to the mayor Thursday asking him to extend the program that turns specific streets over to pedestrians and restaurants beyond its Oct. 31 end date.
They also asked the mayor to expand the city’s Open Streets program to allow small businesses, like clothing stores, bodegas and nail salons to sell their products and services on sidewalks or open streets. This would be similar to the way restaurants can serve diners at tables on sidewalks and certain closed streets.
“There are simply no good reasons why small businesses across the five boroughs could not be afforded the same benefits as our restaurants when it comes to leveraging outdoor space in a way that is safe and effective for customers and business owners alike,” Stringer and Ramos wrote to Mayor Bill de Blasio.
Their main focus, however, was on the extension of the program.
“Open Streets have served as a case study in how we can add vibrancy to our neighborhoods and transform our streetscapes from throughways for cars into lively civic spaces,” the pair wrote in the letter.
“Indeed, we urge your administration to instead double down on the program by opening up larger swaths of City streets, reopening streets that have been returned to automobile use, and allowing for more kinds of small business, including retail, to participate in the program.”