Car-Free Central Park Campaign Mobilizes
Central Park's once-bucolic loop drive is being used as a traffic artery - not only destroying the pastoral experience of the park for thousands of park users, but funneling thousands of additional cars into the Central Business District. Ironically, Central Park's loop drives are creating one of the very urban problems the Park was designed to help New Yorkers escape.
The Car-Free Central Park Campaign is gearing up for the spring-summer 2000 season, renewing its call for a three-month trial closing of the park's loop drive. Last summer we collected nearly 1,000 signed post cards at the park's north end, addressed to City Councilmembers Philip Reed and Bill Perkins, whom we met with earlier in the year. This year we will be delivering these cards, as well as launching a new card-signing campaign. We also are embarking on an ambitious "next mayor" strategy. A key part of this strategy will be to persuade notable or influential people to go on record in support of a car-free park. Already, we have the wholehearted support of Central Park designer Frederick Law Olmsted's biographer (see box). We also will focus on winning the support of at least one of the Community Boards surrounding the park and on gaining advocates within the Central Park Conservancy, which runs the park. We understand that some members of the Conservancy's Board of Directors already support a car-free park.
Help Save Central Park!
-Witold Rybczynski, September 1999.
Rybczynski is author of "A Clearing in the Distance: Frederick Law Olmsted and America in the Nineteenth Century" (Scribner; 1999). Rybczynski's book was on President Clinton's summer reading list in 1999.