Reduction of 'open streets' in Morris Park neighborhood leaves some disappointed

After residents in one Bronx neighborhood pushed back against the Open Streets program, closures were reduced, but not everyone is satisfied.

News 12 Staff

May 26, 2020, 1:44 AM

Updated 1,460 days ago

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After residents in one Bronx neighborhood pushed back against the Open Streets program, closures were reduced, but not everyone is satisfied.
The program is meant to allow for greater social distancing by closing down certain New York City streets. But some Morris Park residents say it's not needed on Rhinelander Avenue.
"I live right up the block, I come down here every day. I look up and down the street, no one is using it," says Community Board 11 chair Al D'Angelo. "Look at the homes. They're all private homes. They have backyards."
A few weeks ago, Councilman Mark Gjonaj said in a Twitter video that he was gathering input from the community to see if it was wanted. D'Angelo says 186 people were against it, while 12 were for it, so the closure was scaled back from 10 blocks to four.
But others like Michael Kaess have been utilizing the open space. He comes with his family to the area and hopes the move can be reversed.
"It's really disappointing. Some of the issues with the other open streets is they're too short," says Kaess. "They're one or two blocks. That's not really effective."
Police say they received many complaints from the elderly population not being able to move the barriers when moving their cars to leave.
News 12 reached out to the city and received back a statement reading in part, "Every new program offers opportunities to evaluate progress and listen to feedback. We adjusted this open street to reflect our consultation with the community and local elected officials, and Bronxites across the borough can look forward to enjoying more open streets in the coming weeks and months."
The city still hopes to eventually reach 100 miles of open streets across all five boroughs.
 


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