automobile is ugly, noisy and foul-smelling"
Frederick Law Olmstead,
Co-Designer of Central and Prospect Parks
"Crowded thoroughfares have nothing in common with the park proper, but
everything at variance with those agreeable sentiments which we should wish
the park to inspire."
Egbert L. Viele, Chief
Engineer of Central and Prospect Parks, 1861
"The primary objective of the park is as a rural resort where the people
of all classes, escaping from the glare, and glitter, and turmoil of the city
might find relief for the mind, and physical recreation."
Edward Abbey, Naturalist
"We have agreed not to drive our automobiles into cathedrals, concert
halls, art museums, private bedrooms and the other sanctums of our culture; we
should treat our parks with the same deference."
Jane Jacobs, Famous
"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, diminished traffic counts and no counts increased elsewhere in
James Howard Kunstler,
"Central Park was intended to be a landscape of tranquility set apart
from the dynamism of the great city around it. Introducing motor cars to its
original carriage drives, and then altering the road geometries to suit them,
was one of the great blunders of civic design in the 20th century."
Jane Holtz Kay,
Architecture and Planning Critic for The Nation
"In this period of evolving environmental consciousness, in an era in
which cities become more and more attractive as recreation centers, and an
epoch when sprawl and global warming require us to enhance our greenery and
livability, it is worse than myopic of city officials to allow New York's
great public space to become a brutalized race track."
Professor of Urbanism
"Olmstead and Vaux went to great lengths to ensure that commercial
traffic could cross the park with the least visual impact, by sinking the four
transverse roads. Today, the presence of cars on what were intended to be
leisurely carriage drives within the park seriously compromises their vision
of a place to escape the bustle of the city. Cars are simply too large, too
noisy, and too fast."
City of New York Parks and
Recreation Rules and Regulations, 1996
"Parks are special places where people can enjoy a sense of peace and
freedom difficult to find elsewhere in the city. It is the purpose of these
updated Park Rules to preserve that right for everyone. Rules were first
established for New York parks in 1850. Since then the city has changed in
many ways, making the preservation and protection of our vital green spaces
more important than ever."
NYC Parks Department, A
Guide for Sharing the Drive in Central Park, 1998
"Skating in the recreation lane is unsafe when there are cars in the
Park. Therefore, skating is not recommended. Young children should not use the
Drive when there are cars."
Central Park Conservancy,
Central Park 2000 Master Plan, 1995
"[T]he Drive is the major destination in the Park for recreational use.
When the Drive is closed to automobile traffic, recreational use mushrooms,
proving that there is a huge demand for space to bike, rollerblade and run …
The carrying capacity of the Drive is tested each rush hour when joggers,
cyclists and pedestrian commuters vie with cars for space."
Letter to the Editor of
The New York Times, 1906
"... the automobiles [in Central Park] are ugly, noisy and foul-smelling
... and have no right to interfere with the health and comfort of the public.
The Board of Health say they have no power; the park officials, while they
regret the condition, have no power to change it. Where can one look for a
"Provocateur" is intended to provoke thought and does not reflect
the official position of T.A.
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