Reminder: Cars Have No Place in Central Park

It’s been two years since the city expanded car-free zones in Central Park. Motorized carnage in the park remains a threat.

Image: WABC
Image: WABC

It’s been two years since the city expanded car-free zones in Central Park. A fatal crash over the weekend is a reminder that cars in the park remain a problem.

A motorist got around barricades and sped along the park’s West Drive before hitting a tree near 60th Street at around midnight Friday, when cars aren’t allowed. The driver, a 29-year-old man, had to be cut out of the wreck. He died at Mount Sinai West Hospital.

Thankfully, no one else was hurt. But there’s nothing to stop crashes like this from happening when cars are permitted on the Central Park loop, when park-goers still have to look out for drivers using the park as a short cut.

A completely car-free park would also enable all entrances to be reconfigured to make unauthorized vehicle access more difficult.

Community boards representing districts that touch the park have all endorsed removing cars. The most recent advance in the decades-long public campaign to return the park to the people came in 2015, when Mayor de Blasio made Central Park north of 72nd Street a car-free zone.

Friday’s deadly crash is a stark indicator that motorized carnage in Central Park is still a threat.

  • Maggie

    Last time I crossed the 102nd Street transverse in the park was Friday, and NYPD had a sickening number of cars parked along it. 10? 12? cars in a “car-free” section of the car-free park Central Park has way too many cars parked in it and heavy, pollution-spewing trucks using it, all the time. Ironically, the opressive police presence did nothing to deter or detect a speeding driver at a time when the road is closed to all drivers. Very discouraging.

    If Gale Brewer or the CPC has made a statement, I missed it. Hope we see some leadership and responsibility for making the park better for all of us.

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