Despite Mayor Bloomberg’s resistance to banning cars from Central Park, the Community Boards surrounding the park are all in favor of implementing a trial ban this summer. Just yesterday, Community Board 11 voted unanimously in favor of a car-free park. Park advocate Ken Coughlin told Streetsblog, “We have the agreement of all the boards surrounding the park and are now waiting for a response from DOT on whether they will move ahead with a July 4 weekend to Labor Day closing.”
Manhattan Community Boards 1, 5, 7, 8, 9, and 10 have all endorsed the plan. All that is between New Yorkers and a car-free Central Park is Bloomberg and the DOT. The car ban, which would eliminate cars from the Central Park Loop, was proposed by councilwoman Gale Brewer in March, and has since received overwhelming support from the surrounding Community Boards, as well as many NYC residents in general. However, by the end of April, Mayor Bloomberg announced through a spokesperson that he did not support the bill, and effectively stopped the implementation of a trial period.
Community Boards have continued to push for the ban, despite Bloomberg’s resistance. Streetsblog reports that the next step is a campaign by Councilwoman Brewer and others. Plus, the Community Boards all need to cast official votes.
Given Bloomberg’s advocacy for bike lanes and a greener New York, it’s somewhat confusing as to why he’s against a car-free Central Park. The two-month trial ban allow us to see how beneficial a ban would be, plus it would create less exhaust pollution and traffic in New York’s most famous green space. Like Streetsblog says, “it’s hard to imagine what constituency the mayor would be playing to by refusing to close the Loop Drive for two months.”