The COVID-19 pandemic quickly and significantly altered how we live our lives. Whether its purchasing food and goods, working or attending school from home or maintaining social distancing, the pandemic significantly changed how and when we travel. Many communities have taken the opportunity presented by lower traffic volumes and economic hardship for small business owners to reclaim street space for walking, biking, dining and other activities. There has never been a better time to rethink our streets!

This webpage catalogs cutting edge resources and information about open streets programs, also known as slow streets, in communities here in the Capital District and throughout the state and nation. We will continually update these resources as new information becomes avaialble and encourage you to provide us with examples from your own community if they are not already available here.   

Equity and Open Streets

A few open streets programs, also known as slow streets, faced opposition around the country from communities of color or in lower income neighborhoods as they were not consulted or included in the planning process. Review some lessons learned to ensure equity in your open streets program.

"Slow Streets" Disrupted City Planning, What Comes Next?

Design Guidance and Ideas

*NEW* Rethinking Streets During COVID-19
An evidence-based guide to 25 quick redesigns for physical distancing, public use, and spatial equity. Developed at the University of Oregon's Sustainable Cities Institute.

NACTO Streets for Pandemic Response & Recovery
Emerging practices in transportation and street design in response to the COVID-19 pandemic highlighting cities' current efforts to re-organize streets to best manage this crisis and support economic recovery. 

NACTO Open Streets Design Guide
Examines 67 on-the-ground examples of how North American open street initiatives were concieved and implemented, providing inspiring ideas for moving beyond outdoor dining to create active, healthy places.

NACTO Designing Streets for Kids
Ideas as to how create streets that put people first, with a focus on the specific needs of babies, children, and their caregivers as pedestrians, cyclists, and transit users.

NYSDOT Special Use Permit for State Highways
Communities that have state owned highways with a posted speed of 30 MPH and traffic volumes of 10,000 or less per day are eligible to apply for a special use permit for COVID-19 recovery initaitives in the state highway right-of-way such as outdoor dining. 

Albany County Department of Health Complete Streets Lending Library
Communities within Albany County may request use of materials to pilot the creation of street space for walking and biking in support of complete streets and healthy communities. 

NYC Open Streets
The NYC has implemented several types of open streets including open streets for social distancing, restaurants, cool streets and play streets. This resource provides guidance on how to implement open streets as well as a location map indicating where they have been implemented in the City.  

NYC Open Street Restaurant Siting Guidance
Specific site design guidance has been issued by NYC for outdoor dining in the public right-of-way given the high levels of pedestrian and motor vehicle traffic and the need to protect mobility access and safety. 

Oakland Slow Streets
The City of Oakland, California, was an early adopter and leader in implementing Open Streets. Visit their webpage for additional inspiration.

Main Streets - Putting People First
Navigating Main Streets as Places: A People-First Transportation Toolkit provides guidance to Main Street leaders, community advocates, local officials, transportation professionals, and everyone else in between on how to: 1) Evaluate streets and transportation through the lens of placemaking, 2) Balance the needs of mobility and other street activities, and 3) Build stronger relationships with other decision-makers and the community.

Funding Opportunities

Most county and local governments, business improvement districts and other economic development entities have provided substantial support to local businesses during the COVID-19 crisis. Check you county and local government websites for more information. Additional funding opportunities to support open streets include:

Capital Coexist Mini Grant Program
CDTC's Traffic Safety Ambassador Program, known as the mini-grant program, provides funding for small scale, short term demonstration projects including enhanced pedestrian crossings, bike lanes, cycle-tracks, parklets, etc. A solicitation for funding is typically offered on an annual basis, with the application deadline usually in January. The deadline for the 2021 season has passed. 

Open Streets in the Capital Region: Opportunities out of COVID-19 Challenges Webinar

Sponsored by CDTC and the Capital District Regional Planning Commission. Length - 1:22

Image Gallery

Troy, New York

Saratoga Springs, NY

Ballston Spa, NY

Albany, NY Play Streets