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Car-Free Parks

CB 10 Committee Latest Unanimous Vote For Car-Free Central Park Trial

12:36 PM EDT on June 9, 2011

Another day, another unanimous show of support for a summertime trial of a car-free Central Park. Last night, the transportation committee of Manhattan Community Board 10, representing central Harlem, voted seven to zero in favor of the car-free trial, with one abstention.

The list of Manhattan community board votes supporting the trial period has grown to be pretty hefty at this point. Transportation, parks, or planning committees from boards 1, 5, 7, 8, 10, and 11 have all overwhelmingly supported the trial, as has the full body of Community Board 7. Only the transportation committee of Community Board 9 has opposed the plan, and then only by a vote of two to one; their full board is expected to readdress the issue when it meets with a larger and more representative set of people.

In all of those votes, only four people have voted against the car-free park trial, compared to nearly one hundred voting for it. As anyone who attends community board meetings knows, achieving that level of unanimity on any topic at all is practically unheard of. Even free ice cream cones would raise the hackles of more than four people distraught over the sidewalk-blocking lines or the excess litter.

As the district bordering the entire northern face of Central Park, CB 10's vote is significant. "The argument for a trial closing that the committee members appeared to find particularly compelling," reported car-free park advocate Ken Coughlin, "was that their neighborhood likely has the most to gain based on the overwhelming evidence that the loop is drawing traffic into their district that otherwise would stay on peripheral highways."

This is what a grassroots groundswell of support looks like. Is Michael Bloomberg watching?

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