What started as a reprieve from pandemic living is now a permanent fixture.

The city’s Open Streets program began last year, opening about 60 miles to pedestrians across the city and allowing New Yorkers a little more breathing room.

In Jackson Heights, 26 blocks have been closed down to traffic 12 hours a day.

"You’ll see every shape of human in New York City using this open street for every reason they can come up with," said Juan Retrespo, the Queens organizer with Transportation Alternatives.

While advocates say making the open street permanent is a good start, they want to take it a step further.

"What we are looking for in infrastructural change, the fundamental design of the avenue. So it is one that is very much for pedestrians and pedestrians first," said Henry Mei, an organizer with Friends of 34th Avenue Linear Park.

Friends of 34th Avenue Linear Park is a group proposing to transform the open street into a permanent park. They said they’ve received more than 1,000 signatures in support of their proposal.

"What we see now is asphalt. We want to convert it into green space in the way that ensures the safety of all residents," said Myrna Tinoco, an organizer with Friends of 34th Avenue Linear Park.

But not everyone in the neighborhood is in support of 34th Avenue becoming a permanent park. One group is hoping for a compromise with the Open Streets plan.

"A lot of people saw this as a temporary measure," said Caroline Flores-Oyola, an organizer with 34th Avenue Compromise. "Because they’re like, 'We were told this was done for just the pandemic. We’re expecting everything to go back to normal.'"

Seniors like Judy Grubin said because so much of the decision making process during the pandemic was held virtually, their voices were not heard. She said she supports the open streets for walking, but wants to see the hours limited and the mileage shortened.

“We do not want vendors. There’s no one to clean up. The pandemic will be over. Everybody will be going to work. DOT and the sanitation is not going to come and clean 34th Avenue,” said Grubin, a Jackson Heights resident.

A Department of Transportation spokesperson called the 34th Avenue project a great success and inspiration for the whole city. He said the agency will continue to gather feedback as they develop design proposals for the future of the corridor. Those findings will be presented to the community next month.