Part of West End Avenue Will Be Opened Up for Pedestrians and Cyclists Starting Thursday

The city has been gradually closing a few streets off to cars so that people can walk outside without worrying about traffic. But the first installment of these “open streets” left off all of the Upper West Side. That will change on Thursday, when two streets will be closed to traffic.

West End Avenue will be closed from 87th to 96th Streets. And 75th Street will be closed from Broadway to Riverside Drive. The streets are only closed from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. and people are expected to continue to keep at least six feet of distance between them.

Some vehicles are still allowed, according to the city.

“No through traffic permitted while Open Streets are in effect. Vehicle traffic is limited to local deliveries, pick-ups/drop-offs, necessary city service vehicles, utility vehicles and emergency vehicles only. These drivers are advised to be extremely cautious and to drive 5 MPH or slower.

Members of the public and organizations wishing to have other New York City streets considered for the Open Streets program may fill out an online survey. NYC DOT, NYPD and others will evaluate all suggestions for viability. If you have questions, please contact your NYC DOT Borough Commissioner’s office.”

NEWS | 110 comments | permalink
    1. Deri says:

      Just nine blocks? Hardly seems worth it… C’mon NYC, we can do better than this.

    2. NYC streets says:

      Sorry but this is insane. We have Riverside Park and Central Park.

      • Josh says:

        Have you seen how packed these two parks are right now?

        • Paul says:

          I walked Riverside Park, between 59th to 83rd, between 1 and 2 both yesterday and today. It’s not crowded at all, and anyone interested in social distancing can do it simply by keeping alert while walking (or riding).

          • Alfonse says:

            Try going back out there anytime after 4pm. Some of us are still working and can’t go out between 1-2pm…

    3. G says:

      they’re closing off local streets AND bringing back alternate side parking at the same time? smart.

      • Catherine Holmes says:

        ASP is only coming back from 18-23, then suspended again

      • Dana Reimer says:

        Alternative side of the street parking is being enforced for ONE WEEK so that the streets can be cleaned.

    4. Jay says:

      This is great. Should have happened weeks ago.

    5. Heidi says:

      And where are we supposed to park our cars?

      • NotImpressed says:

        In a garage.
        Why should taxpayers subsidize your parking?

        • Elyse says:

          Why should taxpayers subsidize your walking, or public schools or hospitals, or your sidewalks, or so many things that we all pay taxes for!. That is so selfish that you think only your wishes count! Many of us on the UWS own cars. We use them for many reasons: large failies, disabilities, work, commutation, pleasure. Last I heard, none of these actiities, including owning a car, are prohibited by law. Why should you or anyone determine this is not allowed?

          • mkmuws says:

            I don’t begrudge a car owner needing a spot, but these are terrible examples for your cause. These are all things that serve the public masses, and not entitled individuals.

            • Gentle correction says:

              That seems to me a fallacy – Parking serves the public masses too. The portion of it using cars To commute to jobs or whatever and who can’t afford luxury of a lot. Much like public schools serve only the portion of the public who have kids, and at that, in many schools, only those who have no choice but to tolerate low standards and poor teaching. Just because only a subsection of one’s neighbors use a service does not transmogrify it into other than a public one.

        • Nevets K says:

          Interesting point about “subsidizing” – another “Transportation Alternatives” propaganda term.
          But then why should I, as a taxpayer, subsidize the walking of dogs on our sidewalks?
          Dogs are for the private use and pleasure of dog owners.
          When they are being walked, they take up much needed space on our sidewalks, as any pedestrian can attest.
          They often foul the sidewalks, as any pedestrian can attest.
          They are often walked by hired dog walkers, who, with five or six dogs straining on their leashes, take up even more valuable sidewalk space.

          It’s not for nothing that our neighborhood is often called “The Upper Dog Side” and our park “Riverdog Park.”

          If you plan to charge for private cars in Manhattan, or ban them outright, because you believe it is wrong to “subsidize” them, then you must do the same for dogs.

      • Dana Reimer says:

        Where did you park before?

    6. stuart blankman says:

      if driving is not permitted on West End Avenue, what do you do when your car has to be moved for alternate side parking

      • robert says:

        Driving will be permitted during this time for local reasons. Trash pick up, deliveries will still be allowed.
        For the mayor to say he can do this without wasting sparse NYPD resources is just BS
        He is being forced into this by bike lobby

        • Boris says:

          So these ‘closings’ are going to require NYPD manpower to enforce and monitor all the entry points? It’s going to look like Riverside Drive and 79th St with about a dozen School Safety officers manning their posts and doing essentially nothing for our tax dollars.

    7. Christine says:

      Ohhhhhhhhh! So great! Wish WEA would extend its “no cars” band to where it intersects at the north with Broadway!!!

      • jhminnyc says:

        Will the “no cars band” be appearing anywhere else? I’d like to hear their new songs.

    8. Gin says:

      Is there a reason why they wouldn’t make the crosstown street be in the section of West End that is closed?

    9. MF says:

      This is lovely, but severely curtails my route when looking for a parking spot on the right side of the street, which will be necessary next week. It would have been nice had the street closing not coincided with the alternate side rules coming back into effect next week, albeit only for one week. Oy!

    10. rufus says:

      will wea be closed everyday?? knuckleheads!!

    11. Barry says:

      Great! Maybe should extend on WEA going South to 75th Street.

    12. Woody says:

      they are so stupid and they show off their stupidity. Don’t we pay taxes to drive anywhere there streets built from our money? Isn’t it enough that Bill D. closed half of the lanes and cyclists are dying at a highest rate ever?

      • Cheryl says:

        Yes about cyclists, but they are a big part of the problem. I’m a pedestrian and I fear getting hit by a cyclist more than I fear getting hit by a car.

    13. UWS Neighbor says:

      This cluster-blank waiting to happen, a moving obstacle course of alternate side parking, deliveries, drop-offs, pedestrians and bicycles will be worth the price of admission. Videos please!

      Seriously?

      • Incredulous says:

        You forgot emergency vehicles! In the middle of a pandemic. This is nutty. How can it possibly work safely?

        Close a bike lane to make room for outside dining on Amsterdam and Columbus! That at least makes re-opening businesses sense.

    14. jenna babin says:

      I fear this will only increase traffic for Columbus, CPW and Amsterdam in these areas:(

    15. Boris says:

      CLosing 75th street from Broadway to Riverside is like peeing in the ocean.

    16. EMD says:

      This is a plan that only someone who has never taken the 95th Street exit off of the Henry Hudson could come up with.

    17. Medical Student says:

      This was just posted and a bunch of ungrateful complainers in the comments already starting, “9 bocks, hardly seems worth it,” and “We have Riverside and Central Park.”

      Riverside is narrow and gets super crowded with runners, cyclists, baby strollers, etc… WEA adds additional space, it certainly doesn’t HURT matters!

      As for it “being hardly worth it,” it’s a half-mile long, so if you jog up and down, one cycle = 1 mile of a wide area. That’s a start.

      I wish people didn’t kvetch so much and be a little thankful that some progress is being made. Isn’t it annoying to be Negative Nancy all the time? People always concerned about their cars, if you are so concerned, then get in your car and LEAVE.

      • Julie says:

        THAT!!!

        Also not everyone can go talk walks between 1-2pm in the middle of the week!

        Thank you for being a med student!

      • mkmuws says:

        It’s almost as if people don’t know there’s a pandemic.. and that there will continue to be far less traffic for a long time, making these adjustments very doable.

    18. Bonnie says:

      Terrific!

    19. Reed says:

      Several years ago when the vehicle bridge connecting the Upper West Side to Harlem opened up the residents of West End Avenue wanted this avenue to be closed.

      They were ‘concerned’ that crime within the West End community would increase if people from Harlem had access to their ‘neck of the woods’. Closing West End Avenue further isolates this part of the Upper West Side, thus creating a protected and segregated community.

      Why not close off Manhattan Avenue….a small residential street that trucks have been using for years. An avenue that consists of a series of stop signs rather than traffic lights….an avenue that has several blocks of small brownstones and low-level structures.

      I see the closing of West End Avenue as bias that protects people of means. Again, a policy that demonstrates the 2 worlds of the Upper West Side; the haves and the have nots.

      • Steve says:

        As a car owner and resident of the UWS, I’d love it if the city closed Manhattan and West End Avenues. How about adding the wide cross streets like 72 79, 86, 96, 106, and 110 from park to park? That’d be huge for our quality of life!

      • EBuzz says:

        Manhattan Avenue is a bus route for 3 lines. where would the buses be diverted to?

    20. carol says:

      OH GOD!!!! THIS IS GREAT NEWS!!!!!

    21. Craig S says:

      What is the purpose of closing West 75th Street?

    22. LesleyB says:

      Once NYC starts to open up again, they should close Amsterdam, or at least decrease lanes, so all those narrow dark restaurants can expand outdoor service! How pleasant that would be! Like the Seaport or Stone St but with way better food.

      • Cynthia says:

        I agree! Love this idea. Turn Amsterdam in to an outdoor cafe.

      • Ari Socolow says:

        +1 Great idea!

      • Boris says:

        You assume that every restaurant wants to have outdoor service. You’re also overweighting the importance of restaurants compared to other businesses that need vehicular access. you can’t just eliminate a major northbound truck route without serious consequences.

      • Darina says:

        Amsterdam Avenue has two bus routes and it’s the most direct route to Mt Sinai Morningside hospital. Police and fire stations are between Amsterdam and Columbus. It makes more sense to close off streets that are not essential traffic routes. The crowds for the restaurants on Amsterdam will take over the streets and not leave any room for people who want to walk while social distancing.

    23. Paul says:

      Nicely aspirational, but what of the fact that the sidewalks along West End Ave are pretty wide (20 feet each side) and largely empty?

    24. Ellie Steinman says:

      This is ridiculous!! There’s no one around. Riverside Drive and Riverside Park are almost empty!!

    25. R says:

      What about parking on WEA between 87 and 96? Allowed or not allowed? The City’s Open Streets announcements don’t seem to address this.

    26. robert says:

      Lonney tunes.
      One day notice????
      Would be nice if they told the precincts about this in advance.
      This is ridiculous 95/95 is a major highway on/off access 24/7, even in this time.
      People will not social distance, groups of parents will gather around and swap C19 “war stories” while there kids all run around playing together. That’s what has happened in all the streets they have done this to already around the city. The mayor said in his original announcement that NYPD would not be needed at these sites. Guess what, the local precincts have had to detail officers to them. How many cops is this going to waste 24/7 and for how long. If anything this should be done on RSD as the mayor promised. Oh that’s right he doesn’t remember what he said yesterday out of the other side of his mouth.

      This is a waste of sparse NYPD and/or other city depts. that will be needed to keep this absurdity in place.
      I would love to know who came up with this bright idea.

      • Boris says:

        This really is an absurd effort to make people believe that something is being done that will help them deal with their neurotic distancing anxieties. It’s going to be a disorganized mess with necessary NYPD supervision.

    27. Cynthia says:

      This is a great start! For those of us who were popping in to the street and dodging cars to leave the sidewalks for families with young kids and the elderly, we thank you. I’m looking forward to a new walking route.

    28. Josh says:

      really sad that the opposition to this will be painted by the loudest of us, shouting about how we will have to park a block further.

      this is not enough and dumb; west end ave is a great thoroughfare, for cars. frankly we could afford to close down columbus AND CPW if we re-focused auto traffic to broadway and west end.

      but honestly my answer here is to straight up CLOSE BROADWAY, dyckman to bowling green, and let people use the path that people have always used to get around, that is so winding because it was designed to get around, to get around.

    29. Dave says:

      Umm…WHY?

      • Elenor Radzivilover says:

        It’s so shocking that my neighbors, hear on the UWS are so narrowminded, that they can’t think beyond their own needs. Just like some have said drivers should abandon their homes and leave our beloved city, the same goes for those who think that they just get their way to close streets for their own pleasure. If we can’t work together to devise solutions in a pandemic, what are we? Barbarians? Cars can be. People can walk. That’s it!!

    30. Parker says:

      This is great! And needed!

    31. Barbara B says:

      Another cockamamie idea! There is no purpose to this,o than to create traffic nightmares all around the closed zone.
      Going west on 96th Street. No left turn permitted on Broadway. Next left turn to go south is at West End Ave. If you can’t make that left you are destined for the west side highway or you are making a u-turn on the block between WEA and the highway. If you exit the highway at 95th and need to go south your option is RSD or Broadway. I can see the trafffic on 95th going East already. Why don’t the people who make these ridiculous proposals actually look at traffic patterns? Oh, because they don’t live here.
      And really, why did they do this the week before street cleaning rules return for a week. Wouldn’t one change at a time be sufficient. And all those loading zones!!! Hah!
      Dumb and dumber.

    32. Johnny says:

      Hooray, this is great news! The comments here are largely hilarious as always.

    33. UWisder says:

      Frankly its a bizarre choice as WEA is a block away from Riverside Park which is absolutely not crowded if you had a couple of police enforce social distance mask rules on the bikers and joggers. I live right on this route and while I’m not put out by it I just don’t see who says “I need to get outside but I’d rather stand in the middle of the street rather than walk a block to beautiful Riverside Park”

    34. cma says:

      Unfortunately I envision cyclists taking over the street and pedestrians struggling to social distance on the sidewalks. This space should just be for non cyclists, and for baby carriages, strollers, etc. Not for runners, as most of them tend to not wear masks, which is why park paths work for runners and bikers.

      • Jay says:

        You think there will be a horde of cyclists attracted to nine short blocks? Cyclists can go that far on any avenue without stopping.

        I think we need to call this a case of bike derangement syndrome. There’s a lot of it on the UWS.

    35. Marilyn says:

      I see no reason for bikes there. They already have miles and miles of bike lanes, are a danger to pedestrians and most don’t wear masks!

    36. Phil says:

      Can’t wait to see how many cyclists mow down pedestrians. Great idea but deblasio should find a way to get the bike riders to obey they law before rewarding them with open roads.

      • Boris says:

        Can’t wait to see how many pedestrians knock down cyclists. Great idea but DeBlasio should find a way to get the pedestrians to obey the law before rewarding them with open streets.

    37. Sherman says:

      This is a small step in the right direction.

      The city should open up the Lincoln Center Plaza as well. People need open space to walk around.

      On nice days CP and Riverside/Hudson Park are crowded.

    38. Louisa poster says:

      Will the cyclists be made to follow traffic rules?

      • Phil says:

        Have they ever?

      • Jeff says:

        Oh please! At least the pedestrians on the stretch will no longer have to dodge douchebags in SUVs with Jersey plates who can’t be bothered to look up from their phones long enough to make it through an intersection.

      • Boris says:

        Will the pedestrians be made to follow traffic rules?

        Phil: Have they ever?

    39. JS says:

      75tb Street by Citarella and Fairway will be closed?
      Why close a street by busy food markets?

      • mkmuws says:

        Um, to give pedestrians more space? Should be especially helpful to those shoppers.

        • JS says:

          Personally everyone in my family walks to shop for food.

          But lots of delivery trucks and Instacart etc type vehicles need access in that area.
          Closing a street will impact Broadway traffic, make things harder for Fairway, Citarella workers.

          BTW the instacart and other gig shoppers work really hard, get little pay – they deserve vehicle accommodation space at the very least.

    40. oldtimeUWSer says:

      Is anyone going to protect pedestrians from the cyclists? The cyclists are extremely arrogant around here and know there’s no penalty for intimidating seniors, people with kids or anyone just out for a walk. We spent millions on bike lanes that go largely unutilized because they think (and the cty encourages them to think) they can bike where they want at any speed they want. I’m talking Lance Armstrong types not Pee Wee Herman.

      • lynn says:

        If we had more Pee Wee Herman types cycling around the city I would consider buying a bike. ; )

    41. EMD says:

      Why aren’t they closing Riverside Drive instead of West End Avenue. I thought the idea was to keep the parks from overcrowding.

    42. MikeDNYC says:

      So 75th street will be open to pedestrians and the spacious playground a block away in Riverside Park will remain closed.
      Open the playground.
      Think before you act.

    43. West Ender says:

      As someone who lives on WEA between 87th and 96th, I’m not sure I like this idea. I’m concerned about more people loitering by my building and more crowds (was fairly easy to social distance before because of the wide sidewalks); not to mention more bicyclists who don’t follow traffic rules and often ride on the sidewalk.

    44. Mark Lake says:

      Cannot close Amsterdam as it is the only north bound Commercial vehicle route with timed lights moving trucks and buses quickly through the neighborhood. They would all have to bump to Broadway which would be a nightmare.

    45. Beverly Druck says:

      Great! More space to walk- the less crowded other spaces will be.

    46. Valerie says:

      Thanks for the start of a good effort.

    47. Albert says:

      This is truly an “only in NYC exchange” : scores of people complaining about opening up some space for pedestrians to enjoy in the middle of a pandemic. You folks are adhering to the “Every silver lining has a cloud around it” theory. Stop with the kvetching!!

      • Jay says:

        Most of the kvetching is being done by two or three people trying to make it seem like they are more than a few angry people.

    48. John Keynes says:

      This is kind of a bonus, but I still hope the vaccine and drugs can be developed soon so that I can go out as I want without any masks. We’ve bought some disposable masks from epidemiology.amotx.c
      om and almost used them up. The newly ordered ones are still on their way. I think living with the senior, we have to pay more attention to protect ourselves from the coronavirus.

    49. joeyb says:

      Is it possible our NYC traffic engineers are exhibiting some foresight here and thinking about this awful pandemic as an opportunity? For us to combat the NEXT great international crisis of climate change that is already upon us, we will simply have to drive less and use more mass transit, bikes and our own feet. Some of you might not like that, for understandable reasons, but it’s indisputable. While it is true that residential NYC is not the epicenter of the climate change problem, since we’re so densely populated compared to the relatively wasteful suburbs and exurbs, we can certainly do our part by, among other things, weaning ourselves off cars. In that context, why not re-imagine Manhattan streets in a way that emphasizes non-car alternatives? We all have to have skin in the climate change game, unless of course you prefer that the lower portion of Riverside Park be under water in a few decades.

    50. JS says:

      Although I am not in favor of opening streets for several reasons, seems to me that if the purpose was truly to help people, give extra space – then it seems like the right thing to do would be to open streets by homeless (especially family shelters) shelters so residents have some space.

      For example, 99th near Broadway, 104th near Broadway and other locations….

      Why focus this initiative on the affluent?

      • Johnny says:

        3 blocks and essentially half an avenue away from the 99th/Bway location you mentioned is too far??? The comments section on this site has become unreadable.

        • JS says:

          Johnny
          If the aim is to really help people, then yes IMO the streets should be open right by the shelters.
          Homeless families particularly are in cramped shelter space.

          In contrast, many big apartments in West End Ave buildings, with affluent residents.

      • West Ender says:

        There are shelters on both 94th and 95th between WEA and Riverside. It’s been well-document on this blog and elsewhere how that negatively impacts the quality of life in the neighborhood. Additionally, not everyone who lives on WEA is affluent and not all apartments are large.

    51. Michael Singer says:

      There is almost zero vehicle traffic on WEA throughout it’s length. The sidewalks are increasingly crowded. All of WEA should be closed to through traffic.

    52. Sheree says:

      Super. The tour de France participants who usually run me over on the cycle paths will now mow down pedestrians too!

      • Common Sense says:

        If you are upset about cyclists running you down on cycle paths, can I suggest not walking or running on cycle paths? You aren’t even supposed to be. That would be like complaining about a car whizzing by you as you walked in the middle of the street!

    53. Yana Mateja Schammel says:

      What about older folks who need a car to travel and be picked up in front of our homes, dumb idea

    54. DD says:

      What are ambulances supposed to do between 8 and 8? Turn off west end to Broadway? I thought we are still in the middle of a pandemic where access for emergency vehicles is paramount! Why not close Riverside drive and make it an extension of the Park? Closing West End Avenue is a dangerous move! If its ok to compromise emergency vehicles then maybe its actually time to get back to our lives!

      • Jay says:

        This was explained in the article.

        Vehicles are not banned from the road. There will be a barrier that vehicles can get around and they will need to proceed slowly. People will get out of the way for ambulances; this is a non-issue.

    55. Kevin S says:

      This program to open streets is so great! The City should expand it more quickly and I hope the UWS gets more streets to open for us to walk! The sidewalks and parks are too crowded for safe distancing. There seems to be a lot of misinformation out there about people who live on the block not being able to drive, or emergency vehicles not being able to get through- that stuff just isn’t correct. In a time of pandemic outbreak, we have to help our residents safely social distance. Allowing pedestrians some of the street space is a vital safety measure! More please!

    56. say-what says:

      I’m SO fed up with this ‘AGING in place’ … Open more streets! More space so we can get some exercise. Walking around without worrying about having someone’s germs hit us !
      Make Amsterdam, Columbus & Riverside Drive free from cars and open to all of us… The buses, 11, 7, 5 can go in both directions on Broadway…. there’s almost no traffic on Broadway now and it can easily accommodate additional buses. Stay well neighbors! CHEERS!

    57. Pamela says:

      Woody Allen can use your comments for his next film.
      Classic UWS.

    58. Steven B says:

      According to the city website on these street closures, if there is ASP in effect, cars must be moved, but can then return after ASP has ended. This would lead me to believe parking will still be permitted on WEA.