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Mayor Bill de Blasio on Tuesday defended his administration’s move to convert 8,550 parking spots into outdoor seating for restaurants amid COVID-19, insisting the “open restaurants” program has saved businesses and jobs.
“My message is we saved 100,000 jobs,” Hizzoner said during a press briefing broadcast from City Hall when asked about the lost parking spots.
“And we need to keep saving those jobs, we’re doing great on our recovery but we’ve still got a ways to go.”
“Outdoor dining is the way we save our restaurant industry going forward, a lot of restaurants have a lot of catching up to do,” de Blasio continued.
“We want those jobs, we want that vibrancy.”
The mayor was asked to speak directly to drivers upset over the removal of parking spots for outdoor dining, which began last summer when New Yorkers were unable to eat inside amid high COVID-19 case rates.
As The Post first reported Sunday, around 5,700 eateries participating in the “open restaurants” program have so far taken over about 8,550 curbside spots across the five boroughs. New York City has over 3 million total curbside spots, according to City Hall.
The city says the program will become permanent after the pandemic
That tradeoff has been a boon for many eateries during the virus crisis, even as some of their competitors and customers pine for the lost parking.
Pressed on whether “we need to break car culture in this city,” the mayor replied: “Yeah, we do.”
“We’ve expanded bus service, including the busways, which are getting a great response. Obviously, we created NYC Ferry, which I think is going to be a bigger and bigger part of our future. Biking is being expanded, bike lanes — protected bike lanes, all over the city,” de Blasio said.
“These are things we need and we’re finally going to have congestion pricing to help us really make our subways strong for the future.”
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