Transportation Alternatives' City Hall Rally for a Car-Free Summer 2006 in Central Park

March 24, 2006
Paul Steely White 212-629-8080

IN THE WAKE OF THE EPA'S RECENT NYC AIR QUALITY WARNINGS, ELECTED OFFICIALS AND ADVOCATES PRESS FOR A CAR-FREE SUMMER IN CENTRAL PARK AT A CITY HALL RALLY ON SUNDAY, MARCH 26 AT NOON

The American Lung Association of the City of New York says: "Each day, thousands of New Yorkers exercise along Central Park's Loop Drive. Unfortunately, vehicles are still permitted on the Loop drive during the workweek, forcing park users to exercise within dangerous proximity to cars emitting harmful pollutants…. These pollutants are particularly dangerous when people are exercising, because more air is being breathed and the air is drawn deeper into the lungs."

Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum agrees as does Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, EVERY CITY COUNCILMEMBER WHOSE DISTRICT BORDERS CENTRAL PARK and the City Council Transportation Committee Chair John C. Liu.

Public Advocate Gotbaum, Borough President Stringer, Councilmember Liu and Councilmember Brewer will all speak at the City Hall Rally on Sunday at Noon.

Councilmember Brewer will announce a resolution calling for a Car-Free Summer in Central Park.

New York, NY -- At noon on Sunday, March 26th, hundreds of Car-Free Central Park supporters will crowd the City Hall steps and unfurl several long green banners with the names of 100,000 car-free Central Park petition signers. They will listen as leading elected officials urge the Bloomberg Administration to give New York a healthy summer in a car-free park.

One-hundred thousand New Yorkers, dozens of health, transportation, civic and environmental advocates as well as an ever-growing roster of elected officials now see removing the cars from Central Park's loop drive as a practical improvement that puts public health and safety first.

The campaign for a car-free Central Park is the grandfather of New York City's traffic and air pollution battles. These new EPA findings have made it more than a campaign about clean air and cars on the loop drive. It is now a fight for the rights of New Yorkers to breathe better air and walk, bike and play in safer, healthier places.

Councilmember Brewer stated, "With this resolution, I stand with thousands of New Yorkers seeking the opportunity to enjoy together a healthier, safer, calmer, and cleaner Central Park this summer."

"We're here to say if you're in a car and you want to get around Manhattan, you're better off going around Central Park. It's clear, to ensure that those of all ages who choose to run, walk, bike and play in the park can enjoy themselves in a healthy and safe environment, we have to say no to cars and yes to quality recreation. Parks are for people, not cars," says Manhattan Borough President Stringer.

Council Member John C. Liu, Chairperson of the Transportation Committee, stated: "As the Capital of the World, New York City should be leading the way with innovative practices that balance our environmental and economic needs. While our transportation policies must be closely aligned with jobs and commerce, they must also reflect the changes in our urban ecology. As our City grows and diversifies, we must make better use of our resources so that all New Yorkers, including pedestrians and bicyclists, can utilize and enjoy our streets and parkways. What better way to start this revolution than initiate Car-Free Summer in Central Park."

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