Central Park’s loop drives will be permanently closed to all cars starting this summer, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Friday.
The closure applies only to the loop drives, on which cars share the roads with cyclists and joggers. The transverse roadways, which run east-west at 65th, 79th, 86th and 97th Streets, will not be affected.
This is the latest of de Blasio’s efforts to prioritize people over cars in New York’s parks and other public places.
In January of this year, a permanent ban took effect on all cars in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park.
In Central Park, cars have already been banned on all park drives north of 72nd Street since 2015. But northbound car traffic has been allowed on Center Drive from 7am-7pm on weekdays, and southbound traffic has been allowed on West Drive, Terrace Drive and Center Drive from 8am-10am on weekdays. That will end on June 27, the day after public-school classes finish for the year.
“Our parks are for people, not cars,” said de Blasio. “For more than a century, cars have turned parts of the world’s most iconic park into a highway. Today we take it back. We are prioritizing the safety and the health of the millions of parents, children and visitors who flock to Central Park.”
De Blasio’s office said that the New York City Department of Transportation has determined that “traffic increases on surrounding areas is expected to be minimal,” and that as the car ban begins, “DOT will closely monitor conditions to better accommodate traffic changes, as well as implement additional changes if necessary.”