NYC's Coronavirus Street Closure Plan Is A Joke

Looking down Park Ave. Can you name that car, though?
Looking down Park Ave. Can you name that car, though?
Photo: Raphael Orlove

Finally, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration announced that the city will be shutting down streets to car traffic to help with social distancing in these days of coronavirus. All of 1.5 miles across the entire city. A few blocks each in four boroughs. For four days only. This is a joke.

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Here are the specifics, via StreetsBlog NYC:

So it’s not even two streets per borough — and it’s only from Friday through Monday for now — but the de Blasio administration has revealed the four streets where cars will be banned so that New Yorkers have a little more breaking space.

The envelope please:

  • Manhattan: Park Avenue between 28th and 34th streets
  • Brooklyn: Bushwick Avenue between Johnson and Flushing avenues
  • Queens: 34th Avenue between 73rd and 80th streets
  • The Bronx: Grand Concourse between E. Burnside Avenue and 184th St. (the service road will remain open)

Staten Island does not get one. Taken together, the closures amount to roughly 1.5 miles of city roadway. Total.

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Our old coworker Aaron Gordon summed things up:

For everyone in the city (and I’m sure this is a feeling shared in other lockdown towns), getting out of your apartment for even the most essential, solitary, or brief trips is a pain. Even walking on nearly-deserted streets, you’re still going to end up passing some other person on a narrow sidewalk as streets themselves are still all open to car traffic.

We need significantly greater shutdowns, and we need them for longer.

Then we need to not give them back to cars, but that’s a different story.

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Raphael Orlove is features editor for Jalopnik.

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DISCUSSION

Wow, look at Orlove, generally a good writer with good takes, suddenly becoming a civil engineer and saying that closing down all streets for several weeks will be undoubtedly good.

No. I understand this is Jalopnik, so nothing logical is allowed here, but let’s keep that to cars. Although the plan given is nowhere near perfect, it’s much better than yours.

If you were the NY mayor, you’d have probably slit your wrist by now with these stressful decisions that come down to what you value more - the economy or peoples’ lives.