New York, NY - Major Sections Of Central Park And Prospect Park Will Become Permanently Car-free, Dedicated Solely To Recreation
New York, NY - Mayor Bill de Blasio today announced permanent improvements to Central Park and Prospect Park that will make the majority of each park car-free, with park drives dedicated solely to recreation for the first time in more than a century.
The changes will restore major sections of two of the city’s crown jewel parks to their original vision as recreational paths, making the parks healthier, safer and more accessible to millions of New Yorkers.
Central Park’s entire loop drive above 72nd Street will be permanently car-free. Prospect Park’s West Drive between Grand Army Plaza and Park Circle, previously open to motor vehicle traffic for two hours during weekday afternoons, will likewise be permanently reserved solely for recreation.
With these changes, more of each park will be car-free than at any time since the first automobiles were introduced to them at the turn of the 20th century. Combined, more than 45 million people visit Central Park and Prospect Park each year.
“Prospect Park has always been my family’s backyard. 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,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio.
The Department of Transportation conducted extensive traffic analyses of both parks’ loop drives and surrounding streets prior to undertaking these improvements. Neither change is projected to impact travel times or congestion in nearby neighborhoods. In Central Park, this change is consistent with the seasonal car-free summer hours of the past two years, which have proven to have had no adverse impacts.
The four Central Park Transverse roads will remain open to motor vehicle traffic. Emergency and parks maintenance vehicles will continue to have access to the loop drives as necessary. To further improve mobility in Manhattan communities adjacent to Central Park, the DOT will extend the Fifth Avenue bus lane north to 110th Street from 7-11 a.m. on weekdays. Fifth Avenue is one of the heaviest travelled bus routes in the City, with over 74,000 local and express bus riders each day.
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