— Scott Stringer
This summer is going to be about finally gathering outside with friends and family — and our City should do all we can to ensure that New Yorkers are able to find that open space in their communities.
New York, NY – As part of his expansive vision to deliver a Comeback Summer for New Yorkers, Comptroller and mayoral candidate Scott Stringer today unveiled the final piece of his three-part “Summer in the City” agenda, with proposals to create car-free “Bike Boulevards” in every borough, expand “Open Streets,” streamline the process for hosting block parties, provide more fire hydrant spray caps to more New Yorkers, and offer bike education classes in parks across the city.
The final piece of Stringer’s three-part “Summer in the City” Agenda redefines and reimagines street space to create more car-free zones for cyclists, pedestrians, communities and small businesses. Stringer’s vision reclaims NYC streets for New Yorkers by creating a five-borough network of “Bike Boulevards” that are closed off to through-traffic, expanding “Open Streets” into more neighborhoods, waiving fees for block parties and providing barricades at no cost, and offering bike classes for more New Yorkers to expand opportunities for moving through the City.
“Let’s reclaim our street for the summer and make sure that communities around the city can come together, safely, as we set our sights on bringing this pandemic to a close,” Comptroller Scott Stringer said. “Open Streets have been an indispensable outlet for New Yorkers to get outside, exercise, dine and enjoy recreational activities, and they’ve been a lifeline to countless restaurants as small businesses. We need to keep them for good. And we need to think bigger about how streets bring people closer together with bike boulevards in every borough, bike lessons for our kids, and making block parties easier to host. This summer is going to be about finally gathering outside with friends and family — and our City should do all we can to ensure that New Yorkers are able to find that open space in their communities.”
Stringer released Parts 1 and 2 of his “Summer in the City” agenda earlier this week. Stringer’s proposals unveiled today include:
In his State of the City speech in January, Mayor de Blasio promised to introduce new bike lanes on the Queensboro and Brooklyn Bridges and car-free “Bike Boulevards,” but none are expected to materialize by this summer. Scott believes that we must cultivate and prepare for the continued “bike boom” and that these glacial implementation timelines are wholly unacceptable. By the start of this summer, bike lanes should be in place on the East River bridges and every borough should have significant car-free arteries reserved exclusively for bikes — with allowances for delivery vehicles traveling at 5 miles per hour — designed in ways to link to each other or to other protected bike lanes in every neighborhood.
The recent influx of outdoor dining has transformed commercial corridors and offered a vision of street spaces that serve a wider variety of needs and uses beyond driving and parking. Moving forward, these “open restaurant” permits should be automatically renewed each spring to remove any unnecessary bureaucratic barriers. The City should work to expand into neighborhoods with low participation and, following the roadmap of the Open Streets Coalition, dedicate resources to volunteer groups that manage open streets; provide amenities, such as signage, benches, bathrooms, chairs, planters, and improved barriers, to ensure a safer and more inviting experience; and allow businesses in the Open Storefronts program to utilize the roadway on non-Open Streets. The DOT should also develop a firm timeline for permanent design and capital investments so that Open Streets locations can be safer and more community-oriented in the longer-term.
Established neighborhood groups or community gardens that want to apply for block party permits from the NYPD and close off residential side streets should be encouraged to do so, with all fees waived by the city through November 1, 2021. Barricades should be provided by the NYPD at no cost, and groups should be required to help with limiting crowds.
Opening a hydrant improperly can be dangerous and lead to massive water waste — which is bad for the environmental and can prevent firefighters from being able to do their jobs and put out fires. But with a city-provided spray cap, fire hydrants can bring water fun to New York City streets. The Fire Department typically opens over 300 fire hydrants with spray caps during the summer. To ensure that New Yorkers are able to cool off in our streets, safely, the City should expand the number of sprinkler caps available for use, and ensure they are available at Firehouses in neighborhoods that are most vulnerable to extreme heat.
The Cityshouldhelptoacceleratetheexpansionofbikeeducationclasseslikethosenowbeingofferedby Bike New York. Bikes are good exercise and can be a great way to get around the city, but riders of all ages and abilities should have access to bike education classes that teach the rules of the road and help to get people rolling.
Parts 1 and 2 of the Stringer “Summer in the City” agenda focus on free activities for kids as well as expanding access to pools, beaches, and swimming lessons. Stringer’s full vision for the City to provide relief, fun, and support for young New Yorkers and their families this summer includes: