open streets

Barricade Burglar? Battle Brewing Over ‘Open Streets' Program in Brooklyn

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What to Know

  • For 12 hours a day a section of Driggs Avenue at Russell Street is supposed to be closed to through traffic as part of the city's Open Streets program --  but the barricades have disappeared.
  • A video from a neighbor captured a man in a truck with an Amazon logo taking the barricades and driving off.
  • The barricades stolen were part of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Open Streets program -- an initiative developed at the height of the pandemic to create more open space adjacent to parks which were being flooded with people eager to get out of their apartments.

There is a battle brewing in a section of Brooklyn over extending the city's popular Open Streets program.

For 12 hours a day a section of Driggs Avenue at Russell Street is supposed to be closed to through traffic as part of the city's Open Streets program --  but the barricades have disappeared.

A video from a neighbor captured a man in a truck with an Amazon logo taking the barricades and driving off.

"We have tons of trucks coming off, speeding through our neighborhoods endangering pedestrians, cyclists, and other car drivers and it’s very important that we create infrastructure that just slows people down," Clara Smith of North Brooklyn Open Streets Coalition said.

The barricades stolen were part of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Open Streets program -- an initiative developed at the height of the pandemic to create more open space adjacent to parks which were being flooded with people eager to get out of their apartments

"It’s a very high need area that really needs better infrastructure for pedestrians and cyclists and kids who are learning to ride a bike around here," Konstancja Maleszyńska, of North Brooklyn Open Streets Coalition, said.

However, not everyone in Greenpoint is supportive of the efforts. A group on Instagram called Greenpoint Natives wants to end the program.

News 4 sought to get comments from the group, but they did not respond to our request.

On Berry Street in Williamsburg part of the North Brooklyn Open Streets program, the barricades were up despite the rain and people were out cycling. Drivers found no issue getting around the barricades to access the streets

"Last summer when the weather was great it really opened up a new community space for a lot of people to enjoy and I’m sure there’s still a lot of people in cars who get angry when I try to drive through," Mitchell Loring, a Williamsburg resident, said.

Both the city's Department of Transportation and City Hall didn’t respond to questions about if they would re-install the missing barricades. However, the city's DOT canceled a meeting and survey this week because of the vandalism to the barricades in Greenpoint.

Meanwhile, in a statement, Amazon told News 4 New York: “The vehicle in the video is a counterfeit vehicle and we’re actively working with the NYPD as they investigate the incident.”

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