DOT encourages all types of partners to apply for the Open Streets program. On December 9, 2021, the Department of Transportation (DOT) announced the opening of applications for the 2022 Open Streets and Public Spaces Programming.
The Open Streets program allows for the temporary closure of streets to vehicular traffic to provide pedestrians and cyclists with more public space. The Open Streets program was started in 2020 as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic, as a way to provide New Yorkers with more access to outdoor spaces. Community-based organizations, schools and groups of restaurants can apply to participate. DOT will provide partners with tools like traffic signs, metal barriers, and movable furniture. Non-profit organizations interested in participating in the Open Streets program can apply for funding to cover certain costs like operations and materials to run those programs.
Public Space Programming provides car-free public space for events and activities through partnerships with organizations that host activities. Activities can range from fitness, arts, culture, education, and are free and available to New Yorkers. Past public space programming participants include the New York Chinese Cultural Center, the Brooklyn Botanical Garden, the Public Theater, Street Lan and Bindlestiff Family Cirkus. Funding for providers may be available, and is based on their proposed fees.
Returning providers for both programs only need to fill out a short-form application. DOT will work with new applicants to identify resources needed to safely execute an Open Street. For new applicants to public space programming, new providers can apply to host activities on Open Streets, pedestrian plazas and other DOT-managed public spaces.
DOT Commissioner Hank Gutman stated, “During the pain of the pandemic, New Yorkers helped us reimagine miles of our streets as lively spaces where we can dine out, meet with friends and neighbors, or just enjoy our neighborhoods. This fantastic program is getting better and better as we work hard to ensure people around the city can access these vibrant public spaces right in front of their doorsteps.”
By: Veronica Rose (Veronica is the CityLaw fellow and a New York Law School graduate, Class of 2018.)