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A Car-free Street Grows in Queens

Back in 2008, Jackson Heights residents banded together to win car-free Sundays on 78th Street, creating a new, temporary public space for children and families in one of NYC’s most park-starved neighborhoods. This year neighborhood activists aimed much higher: They wanted to make the street car-free 24-7 for the entire months of July and August.

As you’ll see, thanks to committed volunteers and strong leadership from District 25 Council Member Daniel Dromm, they overcame initial hesitation from the local community board’s transportation committee — which voted the idea down — to make it happen.

The fight was worth it, Dromm told us. “It was recognized just about two weeks ago in The Queens Tribune as being one of the best things about Queens – this play street,” he said. “So imagine if we hadn’t done it?” Indeed. We hope other electeds are in tune with their neighborhoods as much as Council Member Dromm.

All summer long, 78th Street was filled with a warm, family atmosphere, sometimes well after sundown. As for next year, there’s talk of possibly giving this car-free street even greater permanence.  Stay tuned.

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  • http://thegreenagenda.webs.com Len Maniace

    Thanks Clarence. Great job.

  • Noah Ginsburg

    What an amazing initiative! As a new Queens resident, I'm inspired to see that there is such an active movement by local residents to take back our streets for public use.

  • Helen Ho

    I love seeing these local case studies at Streetfilms and thanks for doing interviews in Spanish!  

  • http://blog.seattlepi.com/buschick/ Bus Chick

    Love this film! I will use it for inspiration as I try to make similar changes in my own community.

    P.S. - Isn't it fun to play in the street?

  • http://www.twitter.com/linnaf Linna

    This is an excellent initiative, I hope momentum continues to grow and that the playstreet becomes a permanent part of our vibrant neighborhood!

  • Chris G

    Very nice. I esp liked the end comment by the little girl. I want no cars.

  • lyqwyd

    Wow, that is awesome! Congratulations, and I am very jealous out here on the west coast, you folks are years ahead of us!

  • http://www.newburghrestoration.com Cher@NewburghRestoration

    that's pretty awesome

  • edwin o’keefe westley

    This was truly a team effort led by the JH Green Alliance, a grant from the NYC Dept of Health with a matching grant from the JH Beautification Group. Other team members included Queens Community House, Garden school student volunteers and Mario the parkee from Travers park. Plus all our volunteers too numerous to mention.

  • Dan Bianco

    I walk past this every day and it was heartening to see that usage had visibly increased this year over last and that there had been some additional investment in toys and programming. The closed street is definitely needed to take some pressure off of Travers.

  • Beatrice

    Thanks so much for having successful local case studies here on Streetfilms!

    Urban Planner

  • Beatrice

    Thanks so much for having successful local case studies here on Streetfilms! Keep up the great work :)

    Urban Planner

  • Miriam

    So cool! I wish we could do this in our fuddy duddy neighborhood in Queens.

  • Todd

    well done on two regards...great film and great idea to close the street.

  • Donovan Finn

    Miriam -- You can!! Contact us via jhgreen.org and we'll be happy to share all of our lessons learned, tips, contacts, etc.

  • Barak

    I really like seeing these local case studies videos on Streetfilms.  It is encouraging to know that people like Prof. Finn, and others shown in this video, are out there using their knowledge and time to organize such efforts for the community.  

  • Hilda

    Wonderful work! It definitely is great to see local case studies videos on Streetfilms. Without doubt, whenever the community and great leaders work together for the benefit of all, amazing things, such as this initiative, result!

  • Lydia

    Proof that power does lie in communities and that persistence does pay off. Also very sad that such a dense neighborhood is so sparse on park space. Hopefully this grows into something much larger... such as the street being permanently closed. 

  • Jessica Hecker

    Really inspiring - nice to see that the community can push these things through!

  • https://twitter.com/PlayfulCityUSA Ben Duda

    Congrats from your friends and admirers at KaBOOM! - Play Streets is truly an innovative best practice in play that challenges the way communities should think about public space and the importance of play

  • Mike chiafulio

    What do we want? Play street! When do we want it?

  • Ed Pino

    I want no cars. The little girl said it all!

  • http://http//www.playingout.net Alice

    You people are so inspiring! We started this project http//www.playingout.net in the UK a couple of years ago and it is wonderful to know that we are part of an international movement. Keep going!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/jeff.putterman Jeff Putterman

    This is what proper landscape architecture is all about.  Bravo!!

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