The City of New York began its revolt against the automobile back in 2009, when it closed off the iconic Times Square, Broadway, and Herald Square to cars. That move has been a great success, and now the city is looking to ban cars in other regions- starting with Central Park Loop.
You can read more about NYC’s plan to ban cars in Central Park below.
NYC’s Next Car Free Zone: Central Park Loop
In the coming weeks, there will be a vote on a bill that will see the city of New York close the Central Park Loop to all automotive traffic for three months in a bid to determine the impact a car-free Central Park would have on NYC’s car, bike, and foot traffic.
“Currently, the Central Park loop is packed with cars, cyclists, and runners all vying for limited space; removing cars from the loop will dramatically reduce the risk of dangerous collisions,” said NYC council members Helen Rosenthal and Mark Levine in a joint statement.
If the bill passes, the city would close the Central Park Loop to motor vehicles between June 24 and September 25, 2015. Afterwards, the Parks Department would be required to present a report on the closure to the City Council no later than December 31, 2015. The study would examine motor vehicle traffic patterns on nearby roads, pedestrian traffic flow, environmental impact, and other criteria deemed relevant by the Parks Commissioner. The results of the study, by the way, could be significant, as the 2009 closing of Times Square showed traffic driving west on 34th Street was 32 percent faster at evening rush hour, while it took twice as long to get from Fifth Avenue to Columbus Circle on Central Park South according to GPS data cited by New York magazine.
If the results are positive (or, at least, not too disruptive) the experiment would be the first step towards a totally car-free Central Park, and another step to a more pedestrian and bike-friendly NYC. And, as more and more areas of NYC ban cars, the city will become more like Helsinki, Madrid, and London in limiting the use of private cars.
You can check out the bill’s official press release from the Office of Helen Rosenthal, which outlines the scope of the project, at Ecolocalizer.