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New NYC initiative to combine Open Streets with Open Restaurants

La Ruana Paisa restaurant on 92-03 37th Ave. in Jackson Heights. (Angelica Acevedo/AMNY)

The city is combining two popular programs for the summer — Open Streets and Open Restaurants.

Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the initiative on New York City’s first weekend in phase two, which already allowed restaurants to set up outdoor dining.

The new program will expand seating options for restaurants on select restaurant corridors throughout the five boroughs. By the July 4 holiday weekend, 10 to 20 corridors citywide will be open to pedestrians and approved for expanded street dining. An additional 10 to 20 corridors will be approved starting Friday, July 17.

The first round of restaurant corridors that will open starting on July 4 holiday weekend will focus on streets that are already participating in the Open Streets program and corridors with organizations that have worked with the Department of Transportation on street closures in the past. The second round will include additional applicants such as ad hoc groups of restaurants that coordinate through a single entity acting as a partner organization.

Hours of operation for this new expanded seating option 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 (Monday, Sept. 7).

Before phase two began on June 22, the city gave restaurants guidelines for street dinning, which allowed qualifying restaurants to use sidewalks, roadways, and other outdoor space to use for socially distant service.

Part of the city’s new initiative will give restaurants in approved corridors to go farther away from the curb than other Open Restaurants participants with the rest of the street to open for pedestrian traffic.

BIDs and community-based organizations can apply to Open Streets and Open Restaurants on the DOT’s website starting Monday, June 29.

The city will quickly review applications and consult with elected officials as well as Community Boards to ensure optimal safety and appropriate design.

“With more than 5,000 Open Restaurants now signed up, some BIDs and neighborhood organizations have made a compelling case about the need to grow outdoor dining to even more of the street,” DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg said. “But make no mistake, devoting entire streets to open-air dining is a big change — and we will make sure that these streets remain safe and passable for emergency vehicles.”

Courtesy of NYC Mayor’s Office

This story first appeared on QNS.com

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