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De Blasio's got no street smarts: The mayor's coronavirus distancing plan is all wrong

Added 03-28-20 10:13:02am EST - “Mayor de Blasio, several days late to a deadline imposed by Gov. Cuomo to open up streets to pedestrians for enhanced "social distancing," has finally announced plans to open up an underwhelming two streets per borough to pedestrians.…” - Nydailynews.com

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Posted By TheNewsCommenter: From Nydailynews.com: “De Blasio’s got no street smarts: The mayor’s coronavirus distancing plan is all wrong”. Below is an excerpt from the article.

Mayor de Blasio, several days late to a deadline imposed by Gov. Cuomo to open up streets to pedestrians for enhanced “social distancing,” has finally announced plans to open up an underwhelming two streets per borough to pedestrians. He’s balancing important priorities — providing space for residents to get outside while maintaining safe distance — but the half measures he’s chosen are mystifying. Either public space is so dangerous that we need a total lockdown, or public space is necessary to sustain morale and get us through this crisis. We don’t have the data to refute either extreme, but they can’t both be true.

Viewed charitably, de Blasio doesn’t face an easy choice. Past street closures in “normal” times have proven tremendously successful, drawing massive crowds to those limited spaces. If we literally copy and paste Summer Streets and its success in drawing massive crowds of happy neighbors, that would indeed be worrisome right now.

The mayor has to weigh the balance of relieving existing crowded sidewalks, parks and playgrounds by providing a larger supply of open space, versus the risk of inducing even more residents desperate for sunshine to venture out into the newly pleasant open street space.

But de Blasio isn’t making this decision in a vacuum. The governor has already weighed the risks and ordered the mayor to begin opening streets to pedestrians. Essential workers are still out and about in force, and the mayor himself has resisted shutting parks and playgrounds on the grounds that they are our only opportunity for exercise and sheer sanity during this difficult time, especially for cooped-up families.

The mayor and governor have already judged the tradeoff to be worth allowing public space, instead of imposing a total mandatory curfew like we’ve seen in parts of Italy and elsewhere.

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