The City Opens An Already Shared Street As Part Of Open Streets To Promote Distancing

The City Opens An Already Shared Street As Part Of Open Streets To Promote Distancing
Pearl Street between Willoughby & Fulton in 2019 (Photo by Pamela Wong/BKLYNER)

Mayor Bill de Blasio announced this morning that “two more miles of streets will be opened to pedestrians and cyclists, adding to the seven miles of car-free streets opened ahead of schedule last weekend.” That’s across the entire city, and part of the 40 miles of streets citywide that the Mayor agreed to open during May to allow greater social distancing.

In Brooklyn the Mayor was pleased to announced that starting tomorrow, in Downtown Brooklyn Willoughby Street between Pearl and Lawrence – 0.10 miles long – as well as Lawrence between Fulton and Willoughby – 0.07 miles long – will be open to pedestrians to keep their distance.

That’s right, 0.17 miles of roadway, and yes, it is the same stretch, a few blocks, that was unveiled as a shared street last fall. So in reality, Brooklyn got zero additional open streets this week, despite being home to a 1/3 of the city’s residents.

Pearl Street looking toward Willoughby Street in October of 2019. Ben Brachfeld/Bklyner

“We want to thank so many of our City’s great BIDs from Manhattan to Downtown Brooklyn to the Bronx, for their leadership as we unveil this next group of Open Streets for pedestrians and cyclists,” said DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg in a statement. “The BIDs have stepped up in this crisis, and we are so grateful for their partnership. But we now ask other BIDs, community boards, and local organizations to also identify more miles of streets and help us make them a successful part of this growing initiative.”

The other open streets in the borough? As of now, Parkside Ave along Prospect park is open 8 am-8 pm, as is a small stretch of Prospect Park West between Garfield and 3rd Street, and a tiny stretch of Sackman Street. In Southern Brooklyn – absolutely nothing.

Well, we think it’s time we let the city know what streets should be open to sharing. You can email your nominations for the Open Streets to or fill out DOT’s online survey here.


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