Open Streets comes to six new Bronx locations in first wave of latest approvals

people dancing in the street
Salsa Stories, an event series pictured in Manhattan, is one of DOT’s Open Streets partners in the Bronx.
Photo courtesy Closed Frame Productions

Six new Open Streets locations are coming to the Bronx this year.

The New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) Open Streets program closes off streets to cars to instead allow for public uses like biking, walking and dining outside, as well as public programming. The city agency partners with community-based organizations, educational institutions and businesses for the effort.

Community members and organizations operate the locations after being approved by DOT, with set hours that depend on the location.

Programming has begun at new locations on Beaumont Avenue, East 148th Street, Harrod Place and Home Street, and Open Streets at Beck Street and Evelyn Place will begin by June 30, according to DOT.

Already existing Open Streets on Alexander Avenue, Jennings Street, Longfellow and Willis avenues have also been approved for this year, according to the city agency.

The agency is still going through a second round of applications for Open Streets that will launch on or after July 1 and will announce the remaining locations at a later point.

The end date for each location is decided on a case-by-case basis, a DOT spokesperson told the Bronx Times. Some Open Streets operate continuously while others only function seasonally.

Open Streets, which first launched in 2020, had a rocky start in the Bronx. In a 2021 report, advocacy group Transportation Alternatives found that 84% of Open Streets in the borough were non-operational.

But the DOT spokesperson said the agency has made adjustments since the program’s launch and the “mid-pandemic-era report.” Applicants now have to submit at least three letters of support from community stakeholders such as neighboring property owners and businesses, nearby churches and schools, elected officials, other organizations or local residents, the spokesperson said.

“We’ve made huge strides since then,” the spokesperson added.

Juan Restrepo, director of organizing for Transportation Alternatives — the group that published the 2021 report — said the organization looks forward to working with the city agency to expand Open Streets in the outer boroughs.

There are three types of Open Streets: Limited Local Access, in which vehicles are allowed for limited use, such as parking or picking up and dropping off; Full Closure, in which no vehicles are allowed to park or drive in the area; and Full Closure: Schools, which are full closures specifically for school needs like drop off/pick up, recess and outdoor learning.

Aside from the school closures, Open Streets are open to the public, the DOT spokesperson confirmed.

Along with launching new Open Streets sites, DOT is undergoing permanent redesigns “to better prioritize pedestrians and cyclists” and help areas “evolve beyond the need for metal barriers” at five locations in Brooklyn, three in Manhattan and one in Queens, but none in the Bronx.

In future years, the agency plans to bring capital upgrades to two more locations in Queens and another in Manhattan, as well as one in Staten Island and one on Willis Avenue in the Bronx.

“Spring has sprung – and I invite New Yorkers to celebrate the warm weather on our collective front yard: our streets,” said NYC DOT Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez. “We’re thrilled to continue building on the success of the Open Streets program, both with the launch of new sites across the City and through the permanent upgrades to existing locations.”

Bronx Open Streets Full Closures:

  • Alexander Avenue from East 134 Street to Bruckner Boulevard on Fridays 2 p.m.-8 p.m. and Saturday and Sundays from 11 a.m.-8 p.m., hosted by Third Avenue BID
  • Beck Street from Leggett Avenue to Avenue St. John on Wednesdays 6 p.m.-9:30 p.m., hosted by Salsa Stories (Has not started yet)
  • Evelyn Place from Aqueduct Avenue East to Grand Avenue on Mondays-Saturdays from 11 a.m.-7 p.m., hosted by I AM MY COMMUNITY INC. (Has not started yet)
  • Harrod Place from Westchester Avenue to Morrison Avenue on Saturdays from 8 a.m.- 7 p.m., hosted by Youth Ministries for Peace and Justice
  • Jennings Street from Prospect Avenue to Chisholm Street on Mondays-Saturdays from 11 a.m.-7 p.m., hosted by Caldwell Enrichment Program Inc.
  • Willis Avenue from East 147 Street to East 148 Street every day from 8:30 a.m.-6 p.m., hosted by the Third Avenue BID

Bronx Open Streets Full Closures for schools:

  • Beaumont Avenue from Grote Street to East 183 Street on Tuesdays 1:30 p.m.-4:30 p.m. for PS 32 The Belmont School
  • East 148th Street from Morris Avenue to College Avenue on Saturdays 10 a.m.-4 p.m. for PS 18X
  • Home Street from Tinton Avenue to Union Avenue from Mondays-Fridays 9 a.m.-2 p.m. for the Dr. Richard Izquierdo Health and Science Charter School
  • Longfellow Avenue from Jennings Street to Freeman Street Mondays-Fridays 7:30 a.m.-3 p.m. for PS X811

See the Open Streets locations citywide here.

Reach Aliya Schneider at [email protected] or (718) 260-4597. For more coverage, follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @bronxtimes