Spring 2002, p.10

Car-Free Prospect Park Campaign Springs Toward Three Month Car-Free Trial

Read the latest news on this issue.

It is spring in Prospect Park and Brooklyn has a new mayor, parks commissioner, city council members and borough president. Spring has also brought new energy to T.A.'s Car-Free Prospect Park Campaign, which is striving for a three month car-free trial period later this year. Led by Mike Dowd and Andrew McConnell, volunteer campaigners are gathering postcards, prodding elected officials and enlisting neighborhood groups. The spring phase of the campaign will culminate in June with a giant town hall meeting and rally. Optimism is high because support for a car-free neighborhood remains very strong.

The last time T.A. made a big push for car-free Prospect Park, supporters wrote 20,000 letters and postcards to city officials. The car-free campaign's previous high-water mark was in 1998, when 500 people appeared at a Borough Hall hearing. Time permitted only 78 people to speak-75 for a car-free park and three against! This go around, T.A. is mounting an even bigger campaign and has the advantage of being able to build upon our previous work.

New Councilmembers Support Car-Free Summer

The three month trial period is already supported by two of the three new councilmembers with districts adjacent to the park, David Yassky (33) and Bill DeBlasio (39). Incumbent Councilmember Angel Rodriguez continues to back a completely car-free park and T.A. has yet to meet with Yvette Clarke, who inherited the seat of her mother Una, a car-free park supporter. Councilmember DeBlasio is considering a resolution that calls for a three month trial period.

Growing Civic Support for Car-Free Park

In the fall, five former NYC Department of Transportation Commissioners and the Empire State Transportation Alliance, a coalition of business, civic, labor, academic and environmental groups released "Unclogging New York: A Blueprint for Better City Transportation," which recommends making Prospect Park car-free.

It is tough to understand why the park ever had in cars in it. Who can reasonably argue that Prospect Park should be a dumping ground for menacing, polluting traffic? Indeed, DOT's own traffic study shows a car-free Prospect Park would cause insignificant traffic problems.

Get Active. Show your support for Car-Free Prospect Park. Visit the Car-Free Prospect Park website at www.carfreeprospectpark.org to get the latest information on who to write to, post carding dates, actions, volunteer advocacy meetings and more.