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1:16 PM EDT on July 19, 2017

DOT crews at Prospect Park last week informing drivers of the 24/7 car-free schedule this summer. Photo: Flickr/DOT

On Monday, DOT's two-month test run of a car-free Prospect Park took effect. For the first time, people walking, biking, and running on the park loop can go weeks without getting caught off guard by private car traffic.

DOT says it will evaluate traffic and safety impacts of the car-free trial and make a decision about whether to make it permanent. That could mean traffic will be back on the east side of the loop during the morning weekday rush starting on September 11. But as park users told NY1, the sudden presence of car traffic on weekday mornings made what should be an escape from the noise and threat of traffic a more stressful experience.

Now that the traffic is gone, it's hard to imagine letting motor vehicles back in. As car-free park hours have gradually expanded over the years, the city has never reversed course. Every time, the feared carmageddon on surrounding streets never materialized.

If you want to make sure the park loop doesn't go back to being a rush-hour traffic shortcut, you can sign this Transportation Alternatives petition launched by Michael Drinkard, which calls on Mayor de Blasio to make Prospect Park car-free for good.

The letter notes that this month marks the twentieth anniversary of the death of Rachel Fruchter, who was struck and killed by a van driver while biking in Prospect Park, and that making the park permanently car-free would be a fitting memorial.

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