Sick and tired of having to dodge cars on your morning jog? Mayor de Blasio recently announced that major portions of Central and Prospect Parks will be closed to all types of vehicle traffic starting in June and July, respectively. The mayor said that the car ban will take the parks back to their original intended purpose as recreational green spaces. Though motorists may not love having to drive around the parks going forward, the new legislation spells healthier, safer and more accessible park space for New Yorkers.
According to the mayor’s plan, Central Park Drives north of 72nd street will be permanently car-free beginning on June 29th and Prospect Park West Drive will follow suit starting on July 6th. De Blasio explained that the decision to ban cars in both popular NYC parks was personal as well as practical for the city’s overall health. “Prospect Park has always been my family’s backyard,” the mayor said. “That’s a sentiment New Yorkers in every borough feel about their parks. 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 car ban has been in the works for a long time, with various organizations such as the Central Park Conservancy and Prospect Park Alliance fully backing the decision. “Central Park Conservancy has supported a car free park for many years and we think this is a fantastic step forward,” said Doug Blonsky, President and CEO of Central Park Conservancy. “Fewer cars in Central Park will not only make it safer for recreational use, it will also make it more of a natural retreat from hectic the pace of city life which was the original intent of its creators Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux. They would be very happy today as are all of us at Central Park Conservancy.”