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Central Park is permanently car-free zone

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New York City’s most popular park is now closed to vehicular traffic, except on a few crosstown thoroughfares.


It’s official: As of this morning, much of Central Park is car-free below 72nd Street. To celebrate, city officials, along with members of Transportation Alternatives—which has pushed for a vehicle-less park since the 1970s—hosted a bike ride last night that followed behind the last car to drive through the park.

“For more than a century, we had turned parts of the world’s most iconic park into a highway—and starting tonight, we have officially taken it back for good,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a statement. “We are prioritizing the safety and the health of the millions of people who flock to Central Park.”

The change applies only to the West, Center, East, and Terrace drives in the park below 72nd Street, with the transverse roads at 66th and 79th streets unaffected. Previously, the De Blasio administration banned cars north of 72nd Street, with the transverse roads at 86th and 96th streets still open to cars and buses.

“Our city is full of cars. They clog up the streets, they line practically every block. Central Park was meant to be a different kind of place—a place for people,” TransAlt’s Paul Steely White said in a statement. “We’ve worked for years gathering signatures, holding rallies and winning supporters, never knowing for sure if this day would ever come, so we’re elated to usher in a new car-free era for Central Park.”

Steely White was the last person to ever drive along the park’s roads, leading a contingent of cyclists that included city officials, TransAlt members, and Parks commissioner Mitchell Silver.



In January, the city also banned cars from Prospect Park’s East Drive. Both parks were designed by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux.


Source: Curbed

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