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    26 / Aug / 2020

    OPEN STREETS COULD SAVE NEW YORK

    Small business owners, restaurateurs, healthcare professionals, direct service providers, transportation professionals, and other essential workers know firsthand the consequences of COVID-19 and the road to recovery ahead. As leaders in these communities, we believe that it is our duty to speak out: car-filled streets, crowded sidewalks, and packed subway cars pose a public health risk and impede our city’s recovery. We have reviewed the data and wholeheartedly endorse expanding the size and scope of Open Streets as a proven solution.

    OPEN STREETS COULD SAVE NEW YORK
    News

    Dear Mayor Bill de Blasio,

    We urge you to expand the size and scope of the Open Streets program, which is vital to New York City’s recovery.

    Small business owners, restaurateurs, healthcare professionals, direct service providers, transportation professionals, and other essential workers know firsthand the consequences of COVID-19 and the road to recovery ahead. As leaders in these communities, we believe that it is our duty to speak out: car-filled streets, crowded sidewalks, and packed subway cars pose a public health risk and impede our city’s recovery. We have reviewed the data and wholeheartedly endorse expanding the size and scope of Open Streets as a proven solution.

    The Open Streets plan you initiated is commendable. We urge you to think bigger. New York City needs Open Streets that serve more purposes and more people. In addition to allowing physical distancing outside of parks, Open Streets must also be networks for alternative transportation — allowing New Yorkers to safely reach essential destinations, provide space for our restaurants and stores to reopen, and introduce cleaner air in neighborhoods plagued by pollution and disproportionately affected by COVID-19.

    Closing or reducing access to streets by cars and opening them to people walking and biking, as well as small businesses, has been shown to reduce traffic crashes and injuries, pollution, and congestion, and increase economic activity. Open Streets should also be an equity tool where health outcomes are most disparate and public space needs are most apparent.

    New York City’s economic recovery can not be achieved without Open Streets. Our restaurant and retail industries need Open Streets to be able to reopen their doors. The very functionality of our transportation network requires Open Streets. Without Open Streets, we will fail to meet the challenges of climate change, and we will not correct the inequities in health that made COVID-19 so deadly for low-income communities and communities of color. The expansion of Open Streets must include:

    • Open Streets for Business, where streets allow restaurants and retail storefronts to safely expand their footprint
    • Open Streets for Equity, where streets provide relief to the neighborhoods and communities most affected by pollution, asthma, lack of green space, and COVID-19
    • Open Streets for Resiliency, where streets support our climate change goals
    • Open Streets for Transportation, where streets encourage biking and walking as alternative transportation and support public transit.
    • Open Streets for Health, where streets provide safe space for physical distancing and reduce the spread of the virus while promoting mental health and wellness.

    The challenges ahead of our city cannot be ignored. Restaurant and retail industries need a lifeline and a new mode of operation. Disproportionately impacted communities remain at greater health risk. Our climate goals are all the more urgent knowing that COVID-19 death rates are correlated with air pollution. Public transportation feels unsafe to many and if even a small percentage choose to drive instead, already congested streets will come to a standstill.

    The solution can be found in reimagining the streets and sidewalks that make up 80 percent of our public space. Open Streets work. In cities from Oakland to London to Milan to Bogota, streets are being adapted to the aftermath of COVID-19 and leading these cities toward recovery.

    Right now, you have the opportunity to prepare our city for a near-future of recurrent outbreaks and seed the ground of New York’s long-term recovery by expanding the scope of Open Streets. We call on you to think big and take necessary action on this transformative idea now.

    Signed,

    510 W. 134 Tenant Association
    5 Boro Bike Club
    6th Street Community Coalition
    89th Street Tenants Unidos Association
    Acupuncture Mobile Services
    ALIGN
    Art of Cycling
    Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation
    Bike Houston
    Bike New York
    BRAKES
    Brompton Bicycle Inc
    Brompton Junction NYC
    Bronx Health REACH
    Brooklyn Crepe
    Brooklyn Greenway Initiative
    Ciclistas Latinoamericanos de Nueva York
    Court Square Civic
    COVID Care Neighbor Network
    CRREW: Community Relief & Rebuilding through Education & Wellness
    Downtown Brooklyn Partnership
    DUMBO Improvement District
    East Village Vintage Collective
    East Village Wellness Circle
    El Puente
    Families for Safe Streets
    Financial District Neighborhood Association
    Five Boro Pizza Challenge
    Flatbush Development Corporation
    Flower Power
    Greater Flushing Chamber of Commerce
    Green Map System
    Hell’s Kitchen Neighborhood Association
    Historic Tappen Park Community Partnership
    Hollaback!
    @howtobebrokeinnewyork
    Hudson Clearwater
    Jackson Heights Beautification Group
    La Colmena
    League of American Bicyclists
    LES Ecology Center
    Make Brooklyn Safer
    Make Queens Safer
    Millennium Development
    Mos Collective
    New York League of Conservation Voters
    New Yorkers for Parks
    Newtown Creek Alliance
    North Brooklyn Neighbors
    North Brooklyn Parks Alliance
    NY Cycle Club
    Oonee Pod
    Open Plans
    Out Cycling Inc.
    OUT Rockaway
    Ovenly
    Pakistani American Youth Society
    Park Slope Neighbors
    Pride Center of Staten Island
    Queens Bike Initiative
    Rachel Kaplan Acupuncture
    Regional Plan Association
    Reimagine NYC
    Riders Alliance
    Right of Way
    Rocking the Boat
    Seemore Meats & Veggies
    Staten Island Partnership for Community Wellness
    Staten Island Therapeutic Gardens
    Straphangers Campaign
    Street Plans
    Street Vendor Project (Urban Justice Center)
    StreetsPac
    Think Zero LLC
    Transportation Alternatives
    The Trust for Public Land
    Together We Can
    Tri-State Transportation Campaign
    UP-STAND Movement
    West 45th / 46th Street Block Association
    West 134th St Block Association
    Workers Justice Project
    Youth BUILD

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