Summer Streets program to turn Manhattan roads over to pedestrians, cyclists

Seven miles, from the Brooklyn Bridge to Central Park, will be closed to cars on three Saturdays.

New Yorkers will once again have the opportunity to explore the streets of Manhattan without having to dodge traffic in the process.

The 12th annual Summer Streets is closing seven miles of road to cars from the Brooklyn Bridge to Central Park for the first three Saturdays of August. Selected streets will be made available exclusively to cyclists, runners and pedestrians from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. during the event.

“It’s no longer a New York City summer without Summer Streets” said Margaret Forgione, the Department of Transportation’s Chief Operations Officer.

Participants will also be free to join fitness classes, dance performances and rock climbing at stops along the route.

“It’s designed to either keep you occupied all day long or only come for specific activities that you’re interested in,” Forgione said.

The DOT also partnered with Citi Bike to offer handcycles for riders with disabilities for the third year. Handcycles will be available at the Astor Pl. stop.

“We want to provide cycling as a means of transportation, as a means of recreation and exercise to all New Yorkers, and that includes New Yorkers with disabilities,” said DOT Accessibility Specialist Quemuel Arroyo.

Lyft, which owns Citi Bike, said it is exploring ways to integrate services for people with disabilities into its current system.

However, non-bicyclists need not worry — there will be something for everyone to do at Summer Streets, said Seth Kamil, president of Big Onion Walking Tours. Kamil will guide walking groups during the event and said the route is perfect for taking it slow and exploring Manhattan.

“This is probably the greatest walking city in America,” Kamil said. “So often we’re so busy rushing from place to place, stuck on the sidewalks, only crossing at crosswalks and never really looking around.”

The DOT said nearly 300,000 people participated in Summer Streets in 2018.

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