March/April 1994, p.10-11

Cars Out Of Central Park After Dark

Transportation Alternatives has started a new effort to ban cars from Central Park between 10 pm and 7 am. The safer overnight hours will be a boon to late night bicycle commuters, and joggers, and the extra morning hour will provide early birds with time to exercise.

People, Not Cars
Gaining car-free overnight hours is an important step for the Auto-Free Central Park movement, because it will firmly establish the philosophy that cars, not people, must justify their presence in the Park. Perversely, the Departments of Transportation and Parks act as though the people the Park was intended to serve are a nuisance, while motorists are assumed to have the right to use the Park.

Park, Not Motorway
Echoing this misguided and motorheaded logic, a City Council member's spokesperson quipped to T.A. "Banning cars at night, what a curious idea. What for?" What for? Central Park is a park, not a motorway. why should cars be in the Park at night or any other time?

In addition to formally requesting overnight hours from the Department of Transportation, Parks Department and Manhattan Borough President T.A. has polled local elected officials about their positions on banning cars from Central Park.

Walking In A Winter Wonderland

In January, Central Park users enjoyed five car-free days of weekday, winter wonderland fun, as cars were banned from the Park by the police because of icy roads. Because of the winter conditions, many motorists discarded their cars in favor of the more reliable subway. Unscheduled closing days like these prove that the City's well-being does not depend on allowing cars in the Parks.

The Auto-Free Central Park Committee Elected Officials Poll

Supports An Auto-Free Central Park Now Or At A Future Date:
Assem. Scott Stringer (Upper W. Side) - New to issue, but very supportive of AFCP
Assem. Pete Grannis (Upper E. Side) - Get the cars out.
Assem. John Ravitz (Upper E. Side) - Supports 6 month trial closing.
Manhattan BP Ruth Messinger Early and strong supporter. Helping make it happen.

More Car-Free Hours, But Not A Total Car-Ban.
Council member Ronnie Eldridge (Upper W. Side) - Gradual reduction OK, car-free not

Uninformed or Opposed
State Senator Manfred Ohrenstein Citing CB 7 opposition, says he has no position. His district contains the Park, and most of downtown.
State Sen. Franz Leichter (Upper W. Side) Cites CB 7 and traffic rerouting.
Assembly member Richard Gottfried Worried about traffic spillover, and CB opposition (south of park).
Assembly member Ed Sullivan (Upper W. Side) Cites lack of use on a "rainy day in February."

Not Responding To Inquiries
Council members Millard and Eristoff

Cars Out!

Why let cars intrude on Central Park's Nights, and early mornings?

Write: Elliot Sander, Commissioner NYC DoT, 40 Worth St. NYC 10013
Henry Stern, Commissioner, NYC Department of Parks, The Arsenal 830 Fifth Ave., NYC 10021

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