Thank You for the Extra Car-Free Hour, And…


DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan celebrates the extra Car-Free hour in Central Park with members of Upper Green Side and Transportation Alternatives

Last week the Dept. of Transportation extended the car-free time on the West Drive of the Central Park loop one extra hour, from 7am to 8am. While this is far short of the goal of a totally Car-Free Central Park, and DOT’s failure to make similar improvements in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park is inexcusable, the additional car-free hour represents a step in the right direction.

Members of Upper Green Side and Transportation Alternatives woke up early to celebrate the new car-free hours and monitor the situation. DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan stopped by to join the celebration where we thanked her for the extra hour and lobbied her for a total traffic ban in both Central and Prospect Parks. She complimented us on our positive attitude, saying, "I love how with TA folks it’s always ‘Thank you, and…’"

There were many park users on-hand to celebrate as joggers, cyclists, parents, children and dog owners enjoyed the park uninterrupted by the typical armored column of motor vehicles rumbling down the West Drive. But we did have to turn around a few motorists trying to enter before 8am, telling them they were risking a ticket.

We also kindly asked some motorists that somehow did get into the park to "Slow Down"

A tipster points us to a few good pictures on Flickr from the morning.

In Brooklyn, where over 10,000 Prospect Park have sent postcards to DOT in support of a three-month car-free trial, a coalition of local organizations issued a press release suggesting that "City Hall overlooked several clear and easy options to make Prospect Park safer, healthier and more enjoyable for Brooklynites." These incremental improvements include:

  • Closure of the northbound East Drive during the evening rush hours, when traffic is minimal.
  • Closing Prospect Park’s 3rd Street entrance to cars to eliminate dangerous conflicts between motor vehicles and the many children and parents who use two popular, nearby playgrounds.
  • Expanding the crowded pedestrian and cyclist lanes on the Park Drives by eliminating one of the motor vehicle lanes.

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