Few details were made available this morning when the Mayor announced that the city is open to considering turning streets into open dining areas and closing them to traffic. Does this mean Sheepshead Bay Road may become a Dining street? Or will it be – like the open streets – concentrated in North Brooklyn? We don’t know – yet.
Mayor de Blasio announced a new program aimed to expand seating options for restaurants on select restaurant corridors throughout the five boroughs. The city plans to open between 10 and 20 of such Dining Streets by July 4th, and another 10-20 by Friday, July 17th. The first dining corridors will be on streets that are already participating in the Open Streets program and/or corridors with organizations that have worked with DOT on street closures in the past – like Summer Strolls.
Restaurants on these corridors will go farther away from the curb than other Open Restaurants participants, and the rest of the streets will be open to pedestrian traffic – see the rendering provided by DOT above. The hours of operation for this new expanded seating option for restaurants will be from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Friday nights, and noon to 11 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. Expanded seating will last until Labor Day.
BIDs and community-based organizations can apply on DOT’s website starting Monday, June 29th.
“The reason we want to work through bids or community-based organizations, if you have a block that has 20 restaurants on it, we just thought it’s not going to work for 20 different restaurants to all be applying separately. We need to have some cohesion within a given block, a restaurant area, and it could be a different type of organization, but it’s just, I think we’ll get overwhelmed if those groups of restaurants don’t come together, agree on how they want to set up, hours, handle sanitation, security, et cetera,” DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg explained.”So we will try and do this as expeditiously as possible, but it’s a little more complicated than, you know, our initial program which is just your piece of the sidewalk or curb.”
Streets that are not eligible are those with dedicated bus lanes, and the city said more details will be available on Monday about what happens if there is a bus route on the commercial street and whether that renders the stretch ineligible. They will consider streets with bike lanes on them, as there is enough space in the middle of the road for both pedestrians and bicycles.