As predicted yesterday, Mayor de Blasio has announced that car traffic will be significantly cut back in Central and Prospect parks.
Central Park Drive north of 72nd Street will be closed to cars starting on June 29th, and Prospect Park West Drive between Grand Army Plaza and Park Circle will follow suit on July 6.
"Prospect Park has always been my family’s backyard. That’s a sentiment New Yorkers in every borough feel about their parks," de Blasio said in a statement. "Making the loop drives in Central and Prospect Parks permanently car-free for the first time in more than a century will make these great spaces safer, healthier and more accessible to the millions who flock to them."
The DOT does not anticipate any impact on travel times or additional congestion in nearby neighborhoods. Central Park has enjoyed car-free summers for the past two years, and the agency reports that it found no adverse consequences.
Central Park's four transverse roads will remain open to cars, and emergency and parks maintenance vehicles will still be allowed to use the drives. The DOT is also extending the 5th Avenue bus lane to 110th Street from 7 to 11 a.m. on weekdays.
“After taking several small steps over many decades, New York City is now taking a giant leap toward restoring designer Frederick Law Olmsted’s original vision,” Paul Steely White, Executive Director of Transportation Alternatives, said in a statement. “Today’s historic decision will allow more New Yorkers and visitors to the city to experience two of the nation’s most famous urban refuges in the way that the parks’ creators intended.”
“As we celebrate this great milestone today, we also look forward to the day when both parks are completely car-free, and we will continue our advocacy work until that happens."