New York City will ban traffic from nearly a dozen more miles of streets starting on Thursday, Mayor Bill de Blasio said, as residents look to venture outside during the coronavirus pandemic shutdown.
The city will open 7.6 miles of streets in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan and Queens, and 2.8 miles of streets adjacent to parks in Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens and Staten Island, de Blasio said during a daily news briefing.
An additional 1.3 miles will be opened in Queens, Brooklyn and Manhattan, in partnership with community groups.
Throughout May, 9.2 miles of additional protected bike lanes will be created in Brooklyn, Manhattan and Queens, de Blasio said. The first lane is scheduled to open on Thursday, on Broadway in Manhattan.
“This is important,” he said. “Many, many New Yorkers are choosing to use bicycles to get around more than ever as part of their everyday life.”
New Yorkers have been flocking to city parks, despite social distancing orders, running the risk of spreading the highly contagious respiratory disease. Playgrounds remained closed.
The police have been criticized for enforcing social distancing requirements more aggressively in minority neighborhoods.
The city has been the epicenter of the crisis and while data indicates the city is reducing the spread of the virus the numbers are still “not what we’re looking for,” the mayor said.
Meanwhile, de Blasio said that 72 children in the city have become ill with a dangerous inflammatory syndrome that appears to be linked to the coronavirus, up from 30 cases from the previous day
The mayor said the city was planning a public awareness campaign to alert parents to the rare syndrome, which resembles toxic shock.