The Prospect Heights Neighborhood Development Council

Update on Open Streets on Carlton Avenue and Underhill Avenue
Posted: August 15, 2020 - 12:56pm

This weekend’s realignment of Open Streets has raised concern among community members. PHNDC would like to offer some context:

Open Streets on Carlton Avenue and Underhill Avenue has been a boon in tough times. Although the program is authorized by DOT and uses barricades supplied by NYPD, the daily management of the barricades now relies solely on volunteer labor supplied by a small number of community members donating their free time. As barricades have deteriorated, no replacements have been provided.

Open Streets: Restaurants on started last weekend on Vanderbilt Avenue, and has provided a much-needed boost for local businesses suffering badly during the pandemic. It’s also been well-attended by local residents seeking a socially-distant community experience. However, with the closure of Vanderbilt, drivers have increasingly ignored or moved the barricades on Underhill and Carlton, physically and verbally threatened people, and created a very dangerous situation.

PHNDC's Livable Streets Committee discussed the situation extensively this past week, and determined that holding Open Streets EITHER on Carlton and Underhill OR Vanderbilt—but not all three simultaneously—was the best way to keep the community safe. We simply do not have the equipment, manpower, or support to secure all three avenues at once, against the constant threat of angry drivers.

PHNDC received the Brooklyn Commissioner of Transportation’s authorization to implement this recommendation on Thursday. (That this has not filtered down to 311 and front-line DOT workers is unfortunate, but beyond our control). To inform the community, PHNDC issued a statement in its weekly newsletter, and our volunteer coordinators posted signage when we moved the barricades at 4 PM Friday.

The Open Streets programs are an experimental part of the City’s response to a continuing emergency. PHNDC will continue to work in good faith to ensure that programs like these benefit residents and businesses in Prospect Heights during this difficult time. Seeing many of the comments on social media, and seeing the Underhill Avenue barricades replaced this morning, we know this conversation has to continue: PHNDC’s door is open, and we encourage everyone to reach out with their thoughts on how best to support a robust and safe Open Streets program. Those interested in volunteering to assist in the neighborhood-wide Open Streets program are welcome to contact us at

Thank you for your support and cooperation.