New York City is making around 20 miles of its streets car-free on various Saturdays this summer as part of its “Summer Streets” initiative expansion, Mayor Eric Adams announced in Queens on Monday.
The initiative, which was first launched in 2008, will see large sections of roadways in each borough blocked off from vehicular traffic on five Saturdays over the course of July and August.
The program seeks to create more open space for New Yorkers to safely enjoy the warm weather in the densely populated city.
Mayor Adams and Department of Transportation (DOT) Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez made the announcement at a press conference on June 12 on the corner of Vernon Boulevard and 21st Avenue in Long Island City. They were joined by elected officials, local leaders as well as bicycle and pedestrian advocacy groups.
Adams said this year’s Summer Streets program will more than double the amount of space made available in 2022. It will also be the first year where the initiative takes place in every borough with various events and activities expected to be scheduled along the routes.
“Something special happens when we open our streets to New Yorkers,” Adams said.
“This is a bold new vision for public space in New York City — a bold new way of empowering residents, supporting local businesses, and creating open spaces. Every single New Yorker deserves access to safe, free, open space, and this administration is making it happen.”
He encouraged residents to make use of the program and to go out and meet their fellow New Yorkers along the dedicated routes either by walking or using bikes. Summer Streets is a separate program from the Open Streets initiative where smaller sections of roads are blocked off to vehicular traffic.
The Summer Streets program will start on July 29 in Queens and Staten Island. In Queens, a stretch of Vernon Boulevard – from 30th Drive to 44th Drive — will be closed off to traffic while in Staten Island, Richmond Terrace between York Avenue and Bard Avenue will be shuttered.
Summer Streets will come to Manhattan then for the next three consecutive Saturdays – on Aug. 5, 12 and 19 – with the traditional route from Brooklyn Bridge extended all the way into Harlem. The route will encompass Lafayette Street and Park Avenue up to 109th Street; on Central Park North from Fifth Avenue to Adam Clayton Powell Boulevard; and along Adam Clayton Powell Boulevard from 110th to 125th Streets.
The final day of the program will take place on Aug. 26, when the program goes into force in the Bronx and in Brooklyn. In the Bronx, Summer Streets will run along Grand Concourse from East Tremont Avenue to Mosholu Parkway, while in Brooklyn the program will be in operation along Eastern Parkway from Grand Army Plaza to Buffalo Avenue.
Rodriguez said that the program has proven to be one of the city’s great summer initiatives and he is excited to see it expand.
“Under the leadership of Mayor Adams, the DOT is reimagining the use of public space on a level that we never thought was possible in the past,” Rodriquez said.
“In New York City, our streets are our collective front yard, and they are public spaces for all New Yorkers. Summer Streets also helps serve as a way to provide art, wellness, educational and entertainment programming.”