Car free hours extended

  • Home
  • Car free hours extended
11 replies [Last post]
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous's picture
Paul Racine (not verified)
Car-free Hours Extended ...Not

The car-free hours have not really been extended. They have merely closed the park to traffic on the side opposite the flow of rush hour traffic. This might be good for someone who wants to ride 1/2 loop on the East Drive in the morning, and 1/2 loop on the West Drive in the evening. A full loop from 7-10 or 4-7 will still put us in traffic for 1/2 loop. We will still have limos veering into the bike lane in the morning as they round the bend on Harlem Hill and elsewhere at more than 25 mph.

Well, it's a start.

Anonymous's picture
Ivy (not verified)

Below is the text from the City's press release. This isn't quite the car-free summer pilot that TA and others were pushing for...

PR- 142-06
May 8, 2006


Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Parks & Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe and Department of Transportation Commissioner Iris Weinshall today announced the launch of a six-month pilot traffic plan that would expand the number of hours that New Yorkers could enjoy both Prospect Park and Central Park free of vehicular traffic. As of Monday June 5, 2006, vehicles will no longer be allowed to use Central Park’s East Drive north of 72nd Street in the morning or the West Drive in the afternoon, or Prospect Park’s West Drive in the morning. These reductions will minimize potential conflicts between pedestrians and vehicles in the park, and make available additional space for non-vehicular uses. The new closures will remain in effect through mid-November 2006 when the Department of Transportation will conduct an analysis of the closure impacts to determine whether they should be made permanent. Joining the Mayor at today’s announcement was Council Member Gale Brewer.

“With summer quickly approaching, more New Yorkers are heading to our City parks for fun and recreation,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “Expanding the number of hours that our City residents can enjoy both Central and Prospect Park free of vehicular traffic will help keep park-goers safe. We work hard to keep our parks clean and even harder to keep park-goers safe, and these new rules will ensure that we accomplish just that.”

“Thanks to a partnership between the City and the Central Park Conservancy and Prospect Park Alliance, these two parks have improved tremendously over the last 25 years, and Park visitation is up dramatically. These new traffic hours will improve quality of life and safety for all park visitors,” said Commissioner Benepe.

“People come to New York City’s parks to get away from the hustle and bustle of urban life,” said Transportation Commissioner Iris Weinshall. “We’re excited to be able to provide New Yorkers with more car-free hours in Central and Prospect Parks.”

“I am delighted that New Yorkers will be able to enjoy healthier, cleaner and safer Prospect and Central Parks this summer,” said Council member Brewer. “Fewer cars is another step toward improving our quality of life, and I thank the Mayor for this initiative.”

In Central Park, the West Drive runs between the Lenox Avenue entrance at 110th Street and the Central Park South exit at 59th street and Seventh Avenue. Central Park’s East Drive runs in two main parts: from the Lenox Avenue entrance at 110th Street to 72nd Street and from 72nd Street to the Central Park South exit at 59th street and Fifth Avenue. In Prospect Park, the East Drive runs from Park Circle to Grand Army Plaza on the east side of the Park, and the West Drive runs between the same locations on the West side of the Park.

Currently, vehicular traffic is allowed on both the East and West drives of Central Park between the hours of 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m., and 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Vehicular traffic is also allowed on the East and West drives of Prospect Park between the hours of 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m., and 5:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.

Under the new traffic plan, only Central Park’s West Drive will be open to motor vehicles only from 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m., while Central Park’s East Drive north of 72nd Street will be open only from 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. The East Drive from 57th Street and Sixth Avenue to 72nd Street will continue to be open from 7:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.

In Prospect Park the only East Drive will be open to motor vehicles from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. and both the East and West Drives will be open during the afternoon between the hours of 5:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.


Anonymous's picture
Evan Marks (not verified)
Laugh? Cry?

Dunno which.

A totally political move - accomplishes nothing, pleases no one. Congratulations Boss Bloomy, you've done it again.

Anonymous's picture
hannah (not verified)
72nd Street Transverse

Will cars be allowed to cross the park on the 72nd Street Transverse? The intersection of Loop Road and 72nd Street Transverse on the east side of the park is the most dangerous area of the park in my opinion.

Hopefully this proposal won't displace the more stringent City Council proposal.


Anonymous's picture
Maggie Clarke (not verified)

"From: Car-Free Central Park Campaign
Subject: A Car-Free Summer: We're Almost There

We are getting very, very close to winning a car-free summer in Central Park this summer. Here's what's been happening, along with actions you can take to help assure victory:

1. City Council members Gale Brewer and John Liu have introduced a bill, Intro 276, mandating a car-free summer in Central Park, June 24 to Sept. 25, 2006, as well as car-free afternoons in Prospect Park during that period. (To read the text of the bill, click on:

This Tuesday, May 9th, at 10 am, the City Council Transportation Committee will hold a hearing on Intro. 276.

ACTION: We need as many supporters as possible to attend this hearing, which is at New York City's City Hall. (City Hall is located in downtown Manhattan, just south of the intersection of Broadway and Chambers Street. The following subway stops are nearby: #6 line, Brooklyn Bridge; R or W lines, City Hall; 1 line, Chambers Street; 2 or 3 lines, Chambers Street or Park Place; A or C lines, Chambers Street.)

2. The support of Council Speaker Christine Quinn is crucial for this bill to pass. Her position on car-free Central Park is unknown at this time.

ACTION: Please write or call Speaker Quinn encouraging her to support Intro. 276. Hon. Christine C. Quinn, Speaker of the New York City Council, City Hall, New York, New York 10007; (212) 788-7210. If you call, say ""thank you"" and mention that you will ""be calling back early next week"" (and please do in fact call again early next week).

ACTION: Write or call your Council member and let them know that you support Intro. 276, encourage them to do the same, and follow up your phone call with more calls. You can look up your City Councilmember's contact info at:

3. Last week, the Transportation Committees of Community Boards 5 and 8 endorsed the concept of a car-free summer in Central Park.

4. We are told that an op-ed piece on a car-free Central Park by yours truly will run in The City section of this Sunday's New York Times.

ACTION: Buy and read Sunday's Times! Then, if you are so inclined, write a letter to the editor in support. (You can be sure a few dismayed drivers will be writing.)

5. While all this was happening, we lost a great friend to cities and to the Car-Free Central Park Campaign, writer and urbanist Jane Jacobs. In 2002, Ms. Jacobs wrote, ""I enthusiastically endorse the campaign to close Central Park’s loop drive to regular automobile traffic. We had the same sort of fight in Washington Square Park in the late 1950s and in my neighborhood here in Toronto a couple of years ago: same prediction of traffic chaos, same result of no chaos… Isn’t it curious that traffic engineers are so loath to learn something new even after repeated demonstrations?""

ACTION: Let's win this one for Jane.

Ken Coughlin, Chair
Transportation Alternatives' Car-Free Central Park Committee

To learn more about this campaign, please visit:"

Anonymous's picture
Maggie Clarke (not verified)

Tomorrow, Tuesday May 9th, at 9:30 am T.A. and Elected Officials will hold a press conference on the steps of City Hall. We need you to be there to help win a car-free summer in Central Park and car-free summer afternoons in Prospect Park.

This afternoon, Mayor Bloomberg announced a reduction in car hours in Central and Prospect Parks. As of Monday June 5, 2006, vehicles will no longer be allowed to use Central Park's East Drive north of 72nd Street in the morning or the West Drive in the afternoon, or Prospect Park's West Drive in the morning.

Any reduction of car hours in these two parks is a step in the right direction. But this plan is a bit like a smoking ban that would only be in effect from nine am to noon. It improves the parks for relatively few users.

Intro.276, which will be heard by the City Council Transportation Committee at 10am on Tuesday after our press conference, is a much more commonsense measure to reduce traffic and open the park to walkers, joggers, strollers, bikers and skaters. It would make Central Park car-free all summer long and Prospect Park car-free every summer evening when demand is highest in both parks, and traffic is lowest.

We need you to come out, show your strong support for car-free Central and Prospect Parks, embolden the Councilmembers who already support Intro. 276 and let City Hall, City Council and New York City know that this summer should be a car-free summer in our crown jewel parks.

The whole shebang won't take more than half an hour.

You can help make history on your way to work.

As always, you'll have to go through a metal detector to get to the steps and bikes will not be allowed inside of the fence, but there's plenty of bike parking across the street from City Hall, under the archway at the Municipal Building, 1 Centre Street. (Please note that valet bike parking will *not* be provided.)

E-mail [email protected] with questions or for more information.

To learn more about this campaign, please visit:

Sign up for T.A.'s E-Bulletin:

Anonymous's picture
Karol (not verified)
Central Park essay -- Our Backyard

Here's an essay from a student in one of my writing workshops. It was a homework assignment, and she got it published. Not too shabby.

I think it captures the spirit of what this park is to us. It's our backyard.


www. • NEW YORK RESIDENT The Week of July 14, 2003 • 13
By Jacki B. Hamilton
Special to New York Resident

Central Park was born 150 years
ago. It was created to keep the
poor out of the saloons and to give the
rich somewhere to ride their carriages.

Now it is an essential escape that
keeps New Yorkers sane. It is our
haven from the perma-noise and the
constant movement of the city. It is a
refuge, a quiet valley surrounded by
the mountain peaks of high-rises. It is
our backyard.

I once read an estimate of land cost
in Manhattan to be $827,000 per acre.
That would put the value of Central
Park’s 843 acres at just under $700 million.
It’s a highly speculative number
that appears to be closer to a guess than
an estimate. Whatever the real number
is, it’s a developer’s dream, and that
it’s never been realized is one of those
great New York City miracles that
makes you shake your head and say, “I
love this town.”

Central Park is the local park on a
scale that dwarfs all other local parks.
Like most things in New York City, it’s
bigger than its counterparts elsewhere.
I have flown over Manhattan at
night and seen the enormous expanse
of Central Park, a looming black rectangle
surrounded on all sides by a
margin of bright lights. It occupies only
six percent of Manhattan’s total
acreage, but from high above it looks
like more, looming larger perhaps in
the psyche than its physical space
would imply.

The Central Park Conservancy is
celebrating the 150th birthday of
Central Park with a series of events
scheduled throughout the summer,
including a full-day celebration on
July 19, with activities ranging from
bike riding and road races to archery
and a dog parade.

The day will culminate with a concert
on the Great Lawn at 8 p.m.,
where visitors and residents, and
maybe the odd canine, can gather on
some of the most expensive undeveloped
real estate in the world and enjoy
the sounds of the park.

A lot of my time in Central Park is
spent running through it — the six-mile
loop that skirts the perimeter from 59th
Street to 110th, or the middle fourmiler
that lops off the top and bottom
of the big loop.

But I think the times I really
appreciate it as sanctuary
are the times when I
move more slowly: When I
hear the leaves crunch underfoot
as I wander
through the Ramble, or on
a cold winter day as I walk
head down along the
straight cobblestones of the
Mall and listen to the wind
whistle between the wall of
trees on each side.
Sheep Meadow on a hot
summer Saturday sounds
like the beach.

It’s the lighthearted
sound of a thousand disparate
conversations punctuated
with laughter. It’s the discreet
murmur of the beer guys plying their
trade: “Ice-cold beer,” with the occasional
“Boo” if the cops show up for a
token bust.

The meadow looks like the beach
too: hundreds of bodies stretched out
on towels, and lots of Frisbees and
footballs flying. The only things missing
are the sand and the water.
Sounds in the park are simpler,
clearer. The noise of traffic and construction
that floods the city streets is
filtered out. The clop of a horse and
carriage traveling through the park
echoes in a way that you don’t hear
outside it.

I once saw a man play the saxophone
under Greywacke Arch, just off
a quiet path behind the Metropolitan
Museum of Art. He stood alone in the
dark under the arch and had no audience.
The acoustics were just right. The
notes moa

Anonymous's picture
Sonny (not verified)
$827,000 an Acre?

All depends on how it is zoned.

Anonymous's picture
Karol (not verified)
good point

"the land value is dated. last year, forbes said it's now $16 million an acre, which would bring the price of central park to 13.5 billion.

""On the famed Vegas Strip land values have soared from $600000 an acre in 1999 to $16 million today, just shy of what you'd pay for an acre in Manhattan. ...""

Anonymous's picture
Jonathan Shannon (not verified)
Very nice essay nonetheless (nm)
Anonymous's picture
don montalvo (not verified)
yeah, that caught my eye too...

"...a city block amounts to more than 5 acres. you can't buy a one bedroom condo/coop (700ft?) in the central park area for less than a million.


cycling trips