Streetfilms: The Glory Days of Car-Free Park Rallies

If you’ve ever wondered how Aaron Naparstek and Clarence Eckerson whiled away the hours before the advent of Streetsblog and Streetfilms, here’s your answer. They donned cheeseheads and Hummer suits while role-playing in support of a car-free Prospect Park. Clarence has been hanging on to this proto-Streetfilm for some time (it was shot in 2002), waiting for the right moment to spring it on us. With the push for a car-free Central Park and Prospect Park gaining steam as summer approaches, not to mention the launch of the Livable Streets Network two days ago, that time is now.

It may look silly, but this little demonstration — together with a 10,000 signature petition drive and a 500-person town hall meeting — helped win a significant expansion of car-free hours in Prospect Park. Before the campaign, cars had been allowed through the park 24 hours a day during the work week, from the end of October to the beginning of April. Afterward, cars were only allowed into the park during the morning and evening rush.

So, who says the glory days of car-free park rallies are over? A few more events like this could provide just the push advocates need to get a car-free trial for both parks this summer.

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Mayor de Blasio speaking at Grand Army Plaza this morning. Photo: David Meyer

Prospect Park Goes Car-Free Forever on January 2

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Over the course of many years and several thousand volunteer hours - including massive petition campaigns in 2002 and 2008 - advocates were able to get DOT to gradually whittle down the times and places where cars were allowed in the park. The mayor's announcement today is the culmination of that steady advocacy and the incremental progress toward a car-free park.

Celebrating a Car-Free Afternoon In Prospect Park

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Yesterday was the first day of a car-free evening rush hour on Prospect Park’s East Drive. Car-Free Park advocates and Transportation Alternatives members manned the barricades at the Park Circle entrance, reminiscing over more than a dozen years of activism and organizing. That’s StreetFilms’ Clarence Eckerson holding the "Thank you DOT" sign above. Below, T.A.’s […]

De Blasio Gets More Cars Out of Central Park and Prospect Park

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Starting in a few weeks, people will be able to enjoy the Central Park loop north of 72nd Street and the west side of Prospect Park year-round without having to worry about motor vehicle traffic, Mayor de Blasio and Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg announced this morning. The changes will significantly reduce motor vehicle traffic in both parks while stopping short of […]