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Car-Free Parks

Confirmed: DOT Studying More Car-Free Time in Central Park

3:43 PM EDT on July 26, 2011

Last week, automated traffic counters were seen popping up on the loop drive in Central Park. That led many to believe that the Department of Transportation was gathering data to set a baseline for future changes to the hours cars are allowed into the park, a fact which has now been confirmed.

Wrote Manhattan DOT Commissioner Margaret Forgione in a letter to Community Board 7 Chair Mel Wymore [PDF], whose board led the push for a car-free trial:

"We recently received and reviewed your resolution to implement a pilot program to establish a car-free summer on Central Park's Drives. While there are no changes planned at this time, we will be collecting data this summer on the volume and speeds of vehicles using both the Park Drives and the surrounding streets. This data can inform any future plans for reducing the amount of time that the Park Drives are open to vehicular traffic."

A summertime trial of a car-free Central Park has earned the support of every community board in Manhattan but one, several City Council members, and Borough President Scott Stringer. Even so, that proposal was rejected for this summer by Mayor Bloomberg, who preferred to study traffic patterns more before even testing out a car-free park. Those studies are now officially underway.

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