Spring 2003, p.14

Celebrate Central Park's 150th B-Day with Car-Free Early Mornings

Columbus Avenue in 1993 (left) and after (right) it was reclaimed as park space. The Parks Department should celebrate Central Park's 150th by reclaiming the W 85th, W 90th and E 102nd Street entrances.

The central park conservancy and Parks Department have a summer of celebratory events planned to commemorate the park's 150th anniversary. Events include cutting cake and singing happy birthday with the mayor and the president's wife, art projects, conferences, art exhibits and sporting events. But to make the birthday a truly happy one for park users, the Parks Department should do two easy things:

1. Create a weekday early morning car-free and overnight period similar to that of Prospect Park. Car-free weekday periods should be extended to 10 am to 3 pm and 7 pm to 8 am. This would give the large number of early morning park users a respite from speeding cars. Traffic volume before 8 am in the park is light.

2. Reclaim and landscape selected motor vehicle entrances. During the 1990s, the Central Park Conservancy removed the roadway and turned blacktop into greenery at the Columbus Circle and Frederick Douglas Circle entrances. It also closed the Grand Army Plaza/5th Avenue entrance to through traffic. Similarly, the Parks Department and Conservancy should move to reclaim the West 85th Street and West 90th Street and East 102nd Street entrances as park space.

Give us a Car-Free Central Park!

American Lung Association
Audubon Society/New York City Chapter
Central Park Track Club
City Club of New York
Environmental Defense
Green Guerillas
Moving Comfort Running Club
Municipal Arts Society
Natural Resources Defense Council
New York City Environmental
Justice Alliance
New York Cycle Club
New York Flyers Running Club
New York League of Conservation Voters
New York Public Interest Research Group
Regional Plan Association
Sierra Club/New York City Chapter
Straphangers Campaign
Tri-State Transportation Campaign
West Harlem Environmental Action

Three-month trial car-free period for Central Park!

Gifford Miller, Speaker, New York City Council*
Eva Moskowitz, City Councilmember
Gale Brewer, City Councilmember
Betsy Gotbaum, Public Advocate
*Strongly supports completely car-free park.

Read the latest news about the Car-Free Central Park campaign.