Soon enough, there will be one less lane of (car) traffic in Central Park. In addition to the new East/West pedestrian/bike path on 96th Street the Central Park Conservancy is now getting ready to drop one of the two car lanes on the open-to-cars-at-rush hour Terrace Drive in favor of a second bike lane. Olmstead and Vaux would be proud.

According to Streetsblog the scheme was introduced at CB 7's Parks Committee meeting last night by Central Park Conservancy President Doug Blonsky. He says DOT will have the new two-way bike lane on the strip ready by June. And the Board, which has been pushing for a car-free park for ages now, was all for it. "This is a significant step both toward making crossing the park on a bicycle less perilous and toward a car-free park in general," board member and car-free Central Park advocate Ken Coughlin said. "For the first time, cyclists will legally be able to traverse the entire park without walking their bikes at any point or risking their lives on the sunken transverses."

If this is the start of a beautiful car-free future, however, remains to be seen. The Conservancy wants to give the 72nd and 96th Street paths some time to find their footing before committing to additional cross-park paths (i.e. people have proposed ones on 86th and 102nd). Parks advocate Geoffrey Croft is all for the new lanes but has one safety concern: "This is very positive," he tells us. " But as it is going to accommodate two-way ridership we strongly recommend installing at least a small physical barrier to separate motor vehicles from bikes— excluding the park's loops of course—not just paint."