NYC Open Streets Program Faces Lawsuit

A group of residents is charging the city with violating accessibility requirements by blocking vehicular traffic on some blocks.

1 minute read

April 21, 2024, 5:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction


People gather on a street with no cars during the L.E.A.F. Festival of Flowers in the Meatpacking District of New York City.

Open Streets event in New York City. | rblmfr / Shutterstock

Lawyers representing New York City are asking a federal court to throw out a lawsuit that challenges the city’s Open Streets program, citing concerns about accessibility.

As Kevin Duggan notes in Streetsblog NYC, “Attorneys with the city said the program only covers a minuscule share of the city's streetscape, and that officials do not have to provide front-door access on every single street around the clock.” The city notes that it only approved vehicle restrictions on 25 miles of streets — or 0.4 percent — last year. 

The lawyers said the open streets program makes roads safer, while most city streets remain open to vehicles. “Advocates and legal experts at the time slammed the case for ignoring the endless ways in which cars have long blocked access all over the city and how drivers have long endangered seniors and the disabled.”

The article adds that “DOT’s recently finalized open streets rules allow anyone to move barriers temporarily to gain access, and the agency may provide assistance on request to people who are eligible for Access-A-Ride, or hold a valid parking permit for people with disabilities.”

Tuesday, April 16, 2024 in StreetsBlog NYC

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