Photo: The Bronx River Alliance.

Report: NYC’s Open Streets program largely fails to benefit Bronx

New York City’s Open Streets program started during the pandemic to give residents relief from the confines of their apartments. Mayor Bill de Blasio used this initiative to turn certain streets into pedestrian-only spaces.  Pedestrians in The Bronx weren’t so lucky.

A new survey by Transportation Alternatives details that the most successful Open Streets programs are found in the wealthiest areas of the city. The benefits of the program are lost in the Bronx due to “subpar infrastructure” that allows cars to dominate designated areas, the survey report said.

“In the Bronx, 84% of listed Open Streets were non-operational,” the report stated. Open Streets were deemed non-operational by surveyors if there were no barricades in place at any visit during operating hours.

The Bronx, at only 2.2% of its streets actually being opened up, has the fewest miles of active Open Streets in comparison to Manhattan which at 33.7% had the most.

Transportation Alternatives also found inequalities in the planning and operation of the initiative. They reported “significant disparities” between blocks listed by the city as Open Streets and actively operating streets, “as well as major borough-to-borough, racial, and economic inequalities in the quality and quantity of Open Streets.”

Transportation Alternatives’ full report can be found here.