New York Open Streets Shrinking Dramatically

As city funding runs out, the number of miles in open streets projects has dwindled from 83 to just 20.

1 minute read

March 14, 2024, 6:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction


Man with red bicycle walks bike down 'open street' with vendor booths in New York City.

Open Streets event on Tompkins Street, New York City. | NYC DOT / Tompkins Avenue

Two high-profile New York City open streets will end or cut back their programming, potentially signaling a decline in the pandemic-era project, reports Kim Velsey in Curbed.

Park Slope’s Fifth Avenue Open Street won’t be returning this year, and Vanderbilt Avenue will cut back its season and hours. According to Velsey, this is in part because “the city left it up to local groups to pay for and run a program it has long treated as a kind of block party, and four years in, the money has run out.”

Velsey adds, “Because this has been the model, wealthy areas that could raise funds ended up having more open streets than lower-income ones, which confused public-space improvements (which benefited pretty much anyone who wasn’t trying to drive through at that particular time) with gentrification.” By the time the program was two years old, the miles of open streets in the city dropped from 83 to 20.

Advocates say the city should fund the program in the same way that other cities around the world do. According to a DOT spokesperson, the city is spending $30 million in public spaces, including its Plaza Equity Program, which supports open streets efforts but which, according to the article, has been slow to pay out participating groups.

Tuesday, March 12, 2024 in Curbed

Three colorful, large beachfront homes, one khaki, one blue, and one yellow, with a small dune in front and flat sand in foreground.

Florida Homeowners 'Nope Out' of Beach Restoration Over Public Access

The U.S. Corps of Engineers and Redington Shores, Florida are at a standstill: The Corps won’t spend public money to restore private beaches, and homeowners are refusing to grant public access to the beaches behind their home in return for federal assistance.

June 7, 2024 - Grist

Multistory apartment building under construction.

New Tennessee Law Allows No-Cost Incentives for Affordable Housing

Local governments in the Volunteer State can now offer developers incentives like increased density, lower parking requirements, and priority permitting for affordable housing projects.

June 10, 2024 - Nooga Today

Pumping Gas

10 States Where the Gas Tax Is Highest

As the gap between gas tax revenue and transportation funding needs widen across the country, the funding mechanism is drawing increased scrutiny from both public officials and consumers.

June 9, 2024 - The Ascent

Concrete walkway with landscaping, decorative tiles, and picnic tables in a Los Angeles County park.

Wish Granted: Former Brownfield Transformed to New Park

Wishing Tree Park in West Carson, California officially opened last month, replacing a brownfield site with a much-needed green space for recreation and respite.

June 14 - Urbanize LA

"No right turn on red" and "Turning vehicles yield to pedestrians" sign.

The Tide is Turning on Right Turns on Red

The policy, which stems from the gas embargo of the 1970s, makes intersections more dangerous for pedestrians.

June 14 - NPR

Thick green forest on edge of lake in Louisville, Kentucky.

Louisville Begins Process to Clean Superfund Site

A public forest is home to dozens of barrels that have been leaking toxic materials for decades.

June 14 - Inside Climate News

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Planning for Universal Design

Learn the tools for implementing Universal Design in planning regulations.