Design Trust for Public Space, Regional Plan Association, and Tri-State Transportation Campaign are working together to ensure that Open Restaurants and Open Streets programs are accessible to all New Yorkers, beneficial for the local communities, and sustainable in the long term. Our groups are celebrating street life in New York City, providing information to businesses and community groups, and working to expand these programs to more neighborhoods.
We are convinced that the Open Streets and Open Restaurants programs can be the beginning of a new approach to city streets. After one year of operation, these temporary programs have shown positive results and brought new life and energy to our city. But as the programs become permanent, we are committed to helping improve the design of the dining structures and addressing operational and equity challenges.
We are committed to the following goals:
Expand the program to neighborhoods and businesses lacking the financial and human resources to benefit from the existing Open Streets and Open Restaurant programs. Remove physical and financial barriers for vulnerable groups such as people with a low income, language barriers, and/or an impairment. On-the-street dining and recreation should be accessible and affordable for all New Yorkers.
Reframe streets as socioeconomic infrastructure able to support the prosperity of local businesses and communities. Street’s design should be safe, sustainable, and equitable for both people and the environment.
Ensure that streets promote people’s mental and physical wellness through design and programming that prevent traffic fatalities and injuries, the spread of airborne diseases such as COVID-19 and the chronic conditions associated with low physical activity, such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, many types of cancer, depression, and anxiety, and dementia (CDC).
Reprioritize streets to promote local connectivity, reduce traffic congestion, and rationalize approaches to parking and curb use. Develop a network of Open Streets for walking, cycling and micro-mobility that connects to transit and main destinations.
Support the continuation of community partnerships that have emerged to assist Open Streets and Open Restaurants. Gather transferable knowledge on best practices and share knowledge citywide. Ensure information is provided in various languages and accessible in all neighborhoods with targeted outreach in underserved areas.
Find out more about this project at alfresco.nyc
As open streets and open restaurants become permanent in New York City, Alfresco NYC launched the Alfresco Awards to recognize the city’s best outdoor dining spaces and open streets, and celebrate street life across the five boroughs.
The Alfrescos awarded several $500 prizes in three different categories to NYC establishments that innovate in design, safely re-imagine our streets, and build partnerships with their communities.
The jury integrated a diverse panel
Read the press release here
We will start to offer briefings with a variety of organizations and business groups across the city who are directly engaged in Open Streets and Open Restaurants.
We will also announce and advertise a sub-grant program to support small, MWBE businesses that have been hit hardest by the pandemic and lack the resources to implement these guidelines. Priority will be given to local businesses in low-income communities of color and will be identified through research and collaboration with existing stakeholders who support local businesses throughout the City.
Advocacy, technical assistance, and sub-grantees will be announced to the public through various media platforms.
The primary product of this coalition will be the development of a set of print and online design guidelines for outdoor dining installations, taking into account safety, public health, sustainability, a holistic approach to streetscape use, aesthetics, weatherization, affordability, and modularity.
The guidelines will be publicly available, in multiple languages, and will serve as the launch of a campaign effort described in the following bullets. In developing the guidelines, we will seek input from various stakeholders identified through the previous activities.
We will continue to collaborate with the City agencies that are working to create regulations for a permanent program. In addition to the Design Guidelines, we will create useful public-facing documents supporting the work ideally by identifying the impacts Open Streets and Open Restaurants have had on its community, the quality of life, and the economy.
In this phase, we will push on certain program and policy decisions that would limit or reverse any outcomes we see as critical for success. The objective of this work is to influence the permanent program so that our values and best practices are made official policy.