These Streets Stayed Open for Business
On October 25, 2022, Department of Transportation (DOT) Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez announced the release of a report on the success of “Outdoor Dining on Open Streets.”
That initiative limited certain streets to pedestrians and cyclists during certain hours to facilitate public access to outdoor spaces during the pandemic. In May 2021, the NYC Council and DOT voted to make Open Streets a permanent fixture.
The review period ran for 18 months -- March 1,2020 to August 31, 2021 – and data from the Department of Finance reinforced the program’s benefits. Open Street restaurants significantly outperformed nearby “control streets” in sales growth, increasing the number of restaurants and bars, and ensuring businesses remained open, particularly during the pandemic.
Commissioner Rodriguez noted, “Open Streets has been a life preserver for struggling businesses during the pandemic and the program’s success confirms we can both sustain and grow economic vitality by reimagining the use for our public spaces.”