Designing Play Streets for Social Distancing
Elissaveta M. Brandon writes for Next City:
It is a hot and humid Tuesday in Red Hook, Brooklyn, but a few brave children have come out to play. Stretching along a segment of 9th Street, between Hicks and Henry, a colorful obstacle course welcomes its first guests for the day. A little girl hops over the hurdles, hand in hand with her mother. A young boy follows suit, surgical mask strapped around his face and wet Crocs squeaking from the open fire hydrant across the street. It is 1p.m, and the Red Hook Open Street is open for play.
Play streets — an intervention that helps increase outdoor play by temporarily closing designated public streets to traffic — are a long-standing tradition in New York City, but the pandemic has put them at risk. Last month, Mayor Bill de Blasio brought a little bit of them back with a new initiative aimed at providing families with safe, structured activities in the wake of COVID-19. The revamped Play Streets initiative builds on Open Streets — a program that allows pedestrians and cyclists to use the roadbed of the street to allow for greater social distancing — and includes programs like giant board games, reading corners and sports for children. As a part of Play Streets, New York City-based organization Street Lab has even re-invented the obstacle course to allow for social play in a time of social distancing.
The article continues at the link below.