Cars Will Be Banned From Central Park Loop Starting in Late June


Photo via Mayor’s Deputy Press Secretary.

Cars will be banned from interior Central Park roads starting June 27, Mayor de Blasio said on Friday.

De Blasio closed the park above 72nd street to cars starting in 2015, but this new move will close the rest of the park too with the exception of the transverse roadways at 97th, 86th, 79th and 65th Streets.

“FINALLY,” Upper West Sider Mirjam Lablans wrote to us after the announcement. “No more breathing in exhaust or dodging cars that veer into the run and bike lanes — strolling, running, blading or biking through a car-free park is going to be a wonderful experience. It’s about time!”

Elected officials, some of whom have pushed for this change for years, also weighed in.

“This is a victory for every New Yorker and our environment,” said City Council Member Helen Rosenthal in a statement.

“New York City’s precious green spaces should be a refuge,” said Council Member Mark Levine, who previously chaired the Parks Committee and represents the Manhattan Valley neighborhood adjacent to Central Park’s northern border.

The city will monitor streets near the park to see if they start to get an influx of cars once vehicles are banned from driving through the park.

DOT analysis shows that traffic increases on surrounding areas will be minimal. To help enforce this change, the NYPD will make additional Traffic Enforcement Agents available at local intersections. As the car-free hours take effect, DOT will closely monitor traffic to better accommodate traffic pattern changes, as well as implement additional changes if necessary.”

NEWS, OUTDOORS | 55 comments | permalink
    1. Jason says:

      Bravo Bravo Bravo – Now bring in congestion pricing and let’s make this city habitable again to pedestrians.

      • dannyboy says:

        Do you feel that pricing should determine citizen’s access to public spaces (eg “Congestion” Pricing?

        How about paying for entrance to Central Park?

        • UWS_lifer says:

          Now this is a GREAT idea. Why didn’t anyone ever think of that before?

          How much do you think the price should be? Nothing too prohibitive and maybe a special rate for tourists. They should probably have to leave a deposit though just to insure against any damage or shenanigans.:)

          • dannyboy says:

            Why do you want public spaces eliminated:

            To prevent the mingling of your neighbors to reduce community?

            To eliminate the public space to ensure that no group can discuss any changes to the status quo?

            To keep it all to yourself and your ilk?

            To segregate?

            This is beyond reactionary thought.

        • Sid says:

          Congestion pricing isn’t charging you, or limiting you, to access public spaces.

          The goal is to incentivize you to re-think how you enter the public space, and to do so in ways other than with a personal automobile.

          • dannyboy says:

            Of course it is not limiting me, Sid.

            Have you spoken with your fellow NY-ers living in the OTHER boroughs?

    2. Old Judge says:

      “car-free hours” — Will there be times that cars are permitted on the Seventy-second Street transverse or elsewhere in the park at certain hours?

      • stu says:

        No. Car free means car free (except for the plethora of city cars and tracks that have free reign over the city streets).

    3. Brian says:

      Wonderful!

    4. 9d8b7988045e4953a882 says:

      This is good news! Central Park should be a refuge from traffic not a shortcut for cabs.

    5. Jay says:

      Will this allow them to redesign the bike lanes so that bikes can go both ways around the loop? There is pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeenty of room for that now.

      Getting around by bike in CP is insanely complicated by this one way loop design and the fact that you are not allowed to ride on all but one obscure and poorly maintained path.

      This is important because the park separates two vital sides of the city for miles, and yet trying to get from one side of the park to another on bicycle still often forces you to choose between a safe and illegal way (using trhe pathways) and an unsafe but legal way (using the transepts and risking getting creamed by a mail-truck). The other alternatives, for commuters, are not realistic—-walking your bike, or going miles out of your way In order to stay within the counter-clockwise rule of the loop.

      • dannyboy says:

        I think this must have been considered with runners and walkers in mind too. Not just as a cycling track.

      • Jack says:

        Two way bike traffic with the load of tourists riding with their selfie sticks will be deadly. Keep it one way for safety’s sake.

      • Zulu says:

        I would agree. There is plenty of space to have two way bike traffic now. As you mentioned it would greatly help going to points east and west.

        The running/walking lane should be expanded as well.

    6. Felicia says:

      See the lovely trees.
      Get that car out of here now!
      Parks are for people.

      A haiku.

    7. BillyNYC says:

      They should ban all the cars completely from Central Park. Central Park is a Peoples Park. Central park was never meant or designed to have cars by the original architects.

      • Mark says:

        Billy – you do realize that Central Park was created before the invention of cars, right?

        I’m happy that cars aren’t permitted although it would be rather foolish to get rid of the transverse roads. They were built to be on a different grade from the pedestrian area so as to not impede on the flow of the park.

    8. Zulu says:

      Finally!

    9. Sue says:

      Just hope bikes will stop at red lights so pedestrians can safely cross the street.

      • young man says:

        I just hope that pedestrians will stop at red lights so that bikers can safely cross the intersections.

        Ban the NJ/CT spandex boys and most of the speeding biker problems will be gone.

        • Rako says:

          @young man – sounds like you have a crush or bias or penchant for “NJ/CT spandex boys”

          i question where your data and information comes from

          a) people outside the city don’t come in to ride in the city unless they are racing

          b) there are sanctioned races put on by a well-established club (CRCA) during Mar – Aug in CP early mornings on the weekend

          c) many clubs and race teams do train early mornings in the park

          d) many more independent individuals also ride bikes in the park. these are as diverse as people walking down the street – tourist, commuters, fitness people, racers

          e) blunt classifications and stereotypes don’t advance dialogue – especially when it’s based on uninformed data and bias

          f) we wouldn’t have a massive problem in etiquette in the park if everyone respected rules (like dog owners who are required to have dogs on leash at all hours when crossing) and used common sense (slow down if you’re a cyclist passing an intersection outside of a race, look before you cross if you are a runner/pedestrian)

          its simple really – just use your brain

        • FedUpWithPedestrains says:

          Totally agree that pedestrians need to be held to the same standard. Yesterday, I was entering the park on my bike at 77/CPW where two ladies were walking their dogs in the roadway- one with a >12ft leash and another without a leash. I commented that she should have her dog on a leash so that I don’t run it over and she said I should stop being an asshole.

          Further down the road, I was cycling in the bike lane where a runner was heading in my direction in the same lane while yelling at me that I should cycle in the vehicular lane. After I told him that I was in the bike lane, he said that’s not the bike lane on the weekends. And proceeded to call me an asshole, too.

          What is with people that they have such venomous attitudes toward cyclists even when they’re doing the right thing?

    10. Joan Loykovich says:

      Does that mean we will also now see cars on Columbus Avenue once again be able legally to merge onto Broadway at 65th Street??? For the last 1-2 years, DOT has limited this traditional traffic merge to buses only, requiring car traffic on Columbus to turn right at 69th or earlier in order to drive down Broadway past 65th Street. This required maneuvering has been totally ridiculous, and should be changed back to what we have traditionally done.

    11. Johnny UWS says:

      As an UWS park visitor have not been impacted by cars in the park for years, speeding racing bikes is the only wheeled adversary to pedestrians. But its good they are out completely for sure.

      • young man says:

        Mostly the NJ/CT/Westchester spandex boys speeding through the park on weekends.

        • stu says:

          Most of the “spandex boys (and girls)” do laps in the very early mornings and evenings, and sometimes weekday afternoons when the park is empty. Very very few waste their time when the park has people (e.g. weekends) as you can’t properly train when the park is full of people.

        • Rako says:

          @Young Man

          Do you typically stereotype broad segments of the population?

          Seems VERY progressive and researched and reasoned.

    12. yourneighbor says:

      Great. No reason for cars to be on those roads anyway – there are more than enough regular streets for cars to get from one side of the park to another already.

    13. Bill Williams says:

      Lunatics. Let’s create more and more traffic with cars idling and horns honking to make sure that we shorten the lives of all New Yorkers do to the exhaust and added stress. West ENd Avenue has been ruined. What once was a quiet avenue is now a congested horn honking mess thanks ot this exact type of lunacy.

    14. Filatura says:

      “The city will monitor streets near the park to see if they start to get an influx of cars once vehicles are banned from driving through the park.”

      Pffft. Does the city expect cars that currently use the park loop to just sort of disappear when the loop is closed to automobile traffic? Of course streets near the park will be more crowded. (CPW and Fifth Ave. are already jammed during rush hours.) But it would be a small price to pay if banning cars actually made it safer and more pleasant for people on foot to use the roads. Maybe some of those “monitors” could be empowered to ticket bicyclists who run the lights and force pedestrians off the walking lanes.

      • dannyboy says:

        “Pffft.”

        I think that pretty well summarizes that last quoted paragraph.

      • Sarah says:

        There is some evidence that reducing traffic capacity actually reduces traffic. That is, the more “expensive” it is to travel by car, the more people will divert to other modes. Obviously, this principle is not of infinite applicability; there is some threshold of car traffic that will never go away in this city (short of banning). But this really is a phenomenon. If we get congestion pricing, we’ll see it in action.

        • dannyboy says:

          “There is some evidence that reducing traffic capacity actually reduces traffic.”

          Sarah, evidently Bill Williams can’t believe his eyes WHICH CLEARLY SEE “West ENd Avenue has been ruined. What once was a quiet avenue is now a congested horn honking mess”.

          so much for theory.

          • Zulu says:

            Anecdotal evidence is not enough to debunk a theory. And to be fair, it’s not a theory anymore as it’s been proven countless times in many cities around the world including our own.

            • dannyboy says:

              Why is it so hard to accept the first-hand experience of the PEOPLE WHO LIVE HERE? OK, it’s anecdotal. It’s also documented by hundreds of photographs.

              Better not to believe my lyin’ eyes. Let’s go with neat theories. Roads are worse but live with your myth that they are better.

        • Jay says:

          There’s a lot of evidence for this. It’s been shown to be a fact, time and time again. Unfortunately, there is a number of people who ignore facts and logic.

          • dannyboy says:

            I’m guessing that there must be a public relations machine propagating this.

            • Jay says:

              Nope. Just people who like facts. We know you’re not a fan of facts, dan.

            • dannyboy says:

              Jay, Your whole theory is based on: “Well if we don’t feed them there will be fewer to deal with”.

              Of course if you eliminate roads there will be fewer cars. But first you will have caused more traffic and ruined the lifestyle of those living in the neighborhood.

              Then the drivers will have to surrender, but who cares about disabled or elderly, anyway?

              Not you Jay, who just hurl insults as your best argument. It’s not convincing.

            • Margaret says:

              Here is a thought, though. Take a city bus with 30 people on it. Take 30% of those passengers (9 people), and put them each in a car instead (Uber, taxi, their own car, whatever). Now you have one bus and nine cars moving the exact same number of people, taking approximately 5 times as much street space. What happens to congestion? It rises.

    15. Ethan says:

      Yay! Now, Ban the Bikes!

    16. robert says:

      This is absurd. The Drives thru the park where designed for vehicles, carriages and electric cars which came soon after the northern half of the park was built in the 1870’s.
      Its just short time in the parks history that people started biking and running on the roadway. Every stated going on and on about safety, gee don’t jog in the road. Use the paths already set out and marked with signs for that. I
      Before you all start yelling, no I do not have a car and agree so peoples driving leaves a lot to be desired. That said it does excuse the joggers and bikers that we all see every day with their headphones in. You know it has to be loud if you can ID the song as they go by. Not mention the speed at which people bike on the west drive, They com off the hill at aprox 102 and then put their heads down and speed up headed downhill into the low 90’s upper 80’s.They don’t look out for people, go through crosswalks, are against red lights etc. At least a car u can see and/or hear coming., Before you say it, the reason you don’t see the numbers is bikes are not lisc after they run into you they are gone in a flash with no way to ID them. If you think they stop when the hit someone, or brush by them at a high rate of speed, got stand by one of the crosswalks in the park.
      The biggest BS of all of this is the environmental reason for. Cars moving at a set pace burn much less gas and pollute less than stop and go traffic. Guess where the cars from the park with go, especially during rush hour – 5TH Ave & CPW By the end of the summer the same “self appointed community activists” and their political allies in city will be calling for a traffic study as to why suddenly traffic on 5TH and CPW has gotten suddenly worse.

      • Zulu says:

        Robert,

        Do you realize that there hasn’t been any cars north of 72nd street in CP since 2015? And before that cars were only allowed for certain hours during the day. There hasn’t been a carpocalypse like many of your ilk forecasted nor will there be one after June 27th when the little stretch of road left open to cars Is finally closed.

        You’re free to panic and gripe all you want but you’ll be better off jumping on a bike or dusting off your sneakers and doing a lap around the park. You’ll feel better after.

        • robert says:

          I guess my “liK” and I must just be seeing things then, when it come to rush hours on CPW and 5th. Then why are the consist complaints on traffic to the 20 and 24 on CPW as well as sharp increases of requests for traffic enforcement on WEA and RSD, since the DOT enhancements were put in on B’way and WEA. DOT always seems shocked when they are shown to be wrong be the facts. Ex anyone coming south on B’way no longer allowed to make a left turn to go east. This was done in the name of ped and bike safety, after one person was killed walking diagonally across the 96/B’way intersection in the middle of a rainy winter night. Make the left, get a ticket and get points on your lisc. Drive your truck down WEA and make the left at 96/WEA you get a violation and no points. If you drive for a living which do you risk. Before anyone says it the 20 & 24 actively go after this problem but they have real crime to deal with and can’t have someone posted there 24/7. Though if they did have some at 96/WEA 24/7 someone who complain that it was “intimidating” and “scary” to the PS 75. Ops they have already done that with the school safety officers being attached to the NYPD

          • Margaret says:

            Robert:

            1. Every time you whine about “self-appointed community advocates” I wonder what you think community advocates ARE.

            2. If you would like to see less congestion, you may want to support congestion pricing and more efficient ways of using street space. If you don’t know what those are, there are lots of resources to start with. Here’s a big hint. They aren’t single-occupant cars! If you think they are, you are flat wrong. Google is your resource.

            3. If as you said, what you want in a park is to hear the sounds of car traffic, and not to have to be in earshot of joggers listening to headphones, you can still find that in many parks around the city! For the most car traffic I would suggest you start with Riverside Park or try Flushing Meadows. Sorry that hundreds of thousands of people will be enjoying Central Park without it. It sounds like it infuriates you.

            4. Thanks for stating your opinion that environmental considerations are BS in your view.

            5. I remain highly alarmed at the idea that you are influencing police department policy in any way. I have not once seen you express consideration for neighborhood safety. I fully believe that your views, if implemented, make the neighborhood far less safe for families and other residents. You’re of course entitled to your opinions, obviously, but I don’t want to live in a neighborhood where they carry weight at any meaningful level. This is very concerning to me.

          • Zulu says:

            I think I need some dressing with this word salad.

    17. UWS Craig says:

      This is going to be an inconvenience, lengthening my commute to my finance job in midtown.

      • Smithe says:

        So take the subway then…

      • Sarah says:

        Oh no, you might have to take the subway!!!

        (I like how you shared the nature of your job, so that we can know how important you are…)

      • Jay says:

        Maybe you should take the subway and shorten your commute.

      • Zulu says:

        May I suggest you take a CitiBike to work. It will get you there in less time than you think with the added benefit of getting a bit of exercise too.

        Ding ding!

    18. Felicia says:

      Spandex-clad bikers
      Buns so round and hard as steel.
      Yummy men ride bikes.

      A haiku