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Queens Borough President Candidate Calls for Open Streets to Help Restaurants

Council Member Costa Constantinides (John McCarten for the City Council via Flickr)

May 20, 2020 By Allie Griffin

City Council Member and Queens borough president candidate Costa Constantinides is calling on the city to create 10 miles of commercial corridors — where streets are shut to traffic and local restaurants can open “European-style” sidewalk cafe space.

The proposal is part of a plan Constantinides announced today that would close more city streets to traffic for pedestrian and cyclists’ exclusive use during the pandemic.

The plan is similar to the mayor’s open streets initiative announced at the end of April in that both propose closing streets near public parks — but the council member has also called for establishing 10 miles of commercial corridors.

  • “Queens residents deserve open streets, so they may get fresh air and get back to work while keeping a safe distance from others,” Constantinides said. “But this needs to be a holistic plan that allows people to connect from one neighborhood to another as well as get restaurants back open.”

Constantinides said the the corridors would be key to helping restaurants in Queens reopen. The streets in the corridors would be closed to traffic, allowing restaurants to take over sidewalks for outdoor seating.

The sidewalk overflow would provide more space for social distancing between customers in the open air, he said.

The BP candidate is calling on the Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Department of Small Business Services to identify suitable commercial strips.

  • His plan also calls for the creation of 20 miles of protected bike lanes as well as new busways, or bus-only streets. Constantinides also wants to close the southern outer roadway along the Queensboro Bridge to car traffic, which would enable separate paths for cyclists and pedestrians.

  • The plan could create a framework for Queens even after the pandemic subsides, the council member said. If elected borough president, Constantinides promised to work with the DOT, MTA and community members to evaluate which of parts of his plan could be implemented long term.

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11 Comments

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J Murphy

Ministry of Truth….
When you get out of bed this morning…..remember to thank “Heinrich Westphal” for your good nights rest… he invented the concept of a coil spring mattress for patients in the 1800’s. When you wash up ….remember who gave us indoor plumbing and the “design” of a simple faucet ….that’s just for openers….

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Minstry of Truth

Well, if it’s “European style” it must be good.

The continent that gave us fascism, communism, naziism, two world wars and the Eurovision Song Contest…

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Do you know what article you're commenting on?

This is about open streets…I guess you’re correct that European things originate in Europe

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J Murphy

“European style?” Is Europe the only place where outdoor cafes exist? Europe has Plazas….not streets ….they were thought out….planned. But that begs the question….why not outdoor cafes similar to countries like Vietnam ? Bangladesh? Sri Lanka? Zimbabwe? They seem to work just fine…also the continous struggle for bike lanes….look at the success India and Vietnam have had with electric bikes and mopeds….whole families ride on one moped! Imagine that! DiBlasio has also made it non criminal to urinate in public…so that solves the issue of rest rooms ! Ask anyone who has traveled to Mumbai how well that works. What is so special and different about “European Style”?

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Cathy

We are not in Europe! Sure I’d love to sit in the open street style cafe while yet another homeless approaches asking money for drugs or being attacked by a no new bail happy thug, courtesy of Costa. How is he still in the office? What a horrible candidate for borough president.

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Mulberry St.

We have these streets on Little Italy and some parts of lower manhattan….

Great place for social distancing. Neighbors on the designated streets would be glad with the vibrant atmosphere on weekends and nights.

I’m pretty sure that the people with this great idea would not close their streets, and give the joy to our streets.

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Sue

The MTA has started using ultraviolet light technology to disinfect New York City’s subway stations, trains and buses amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Hopefully this will help people commute from other places throughout the city and visit our local bars and restaurants.

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Great!

Yes!

I want open streets, like in Europe.

– Health care, like in Europe.

-Rotative polititians, like in Europe.

– Immigration control, like in Europe.

– Mass transit, like in Europe.

– Gun control, like in Europe

– Restaurant workers paid minimun wage, not relying on tips, like in Europe.

Way to go! Step by step!

Next one: rotative polititians, audit and interventions.

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Gia

Once they close streets to cars, the city should provide certain neighborhoods with beds on the sidewalk to sleep outside. We need to help communities with high infection rates to spread out and not have 10 people living in a one bedroom apartment.

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