City Hall: Prospect Park To Be­come Per­ma­nently Car-Free

The Jewish Voice - - NEW YORK - By: KCP Staff

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.

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