City Hall: Prospect Park To Become Permanently Car-Free
The war for Prospect Park’s loop drive – east and west – between motorists utilizing the roadway to get between Manhattan and neighborhoods south of the park, and bicyclists and joggers ended on Monday with Mayor Bill de Blasio announcing that the entire loop will become permanently car-free.
The change follows the park’s fi st car-free summer, which was done on a trial basis, and will go into full effect on Janu- ary 2, 2018.
“Prospect Park is Brooklyn’s backyard. I married Chirlane here. This is where my kids played little league. And I have always wanted it to be the safe, quiet refuge for Brooklyn’s families that it was intended to be. Restoring Prospect Park as a car-free oasis will improve the lives of the millions who use this park today and of generations to come,” said de Blasio.
During the car-free summer — from July 17 until September 11th — the park’s new arrangement was popular with the park’s walkers, joggers, and cyclists who use the loop drive. The Department of Transportation (DOT) estimates those recreational users outnumber cars during morning rush hours 1,000 to just 300. After Labor Day weekend, New York City received petitions with more than 1,100 signatures calling for the return of full-time car-free hours for the entire park.
While the analysis of the carfree trial is still being fi alized, its preliminary results clearly indicate no alternative driving route experienced more than a minimal delay, with most experiencing no change in travel times whatsoever. Based on that data, official are now confide t a fully car-free park can be implemented without adverse impact.
“I am excited to enjoy a carfree Prospect Park, alongside the millions of Brooklynites and visitors who enjoy the recreation and relaxation that our borough’s crown jewel provides every day. This decision will signific ntly enhance the experience of cyclists, runners, and walkers in this premiere open space. My administration has worked hard with community advocates to make Brooklyn a safer place to raise healthy children and families, and we can now add a car-free Prospect Park to our growing list of success stories,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams.
In 2015, Mayor de Blasio announced that the West Drive of Prospect Park would be permanently car-free for the fi st time since the inception of the automobile. In July of this year, DOT
announced it would for the fi st time coordinate summer carfree hours with NYC Parks and the Prospect Park Alliance.
On September 17th, the East Drive from Park Circle to Grand Army Plaza was reopened to vehicular traffi during weekday morning rush hours (7-9 a.m.); starting on January 2, 2018, the first workday of the New Year, the entire park will be permanently carfree. In the weeks before the permanent car-free hours, the City will once again publicize the change to drivers using social media as well as VMS boards posted at the Park Circle entrance of the park.
After the January car-free hours take effect, DOT expects to closely monitor traffic around the park for changes in traffi patterns, and expects to adjust traffic-signal timing and make other changes as needed.
During the car-free summer — from July 17 until September
11th — the park’s new arrangement was popular with the park’s walkers, joggers, and cyclists who use the loop drive.