Mayor Bill de Blasio on Monday, October 23 kicked off the Brooklyn iteration of City Hall in Your Borough by announcing that Prospect Park’s entire loop drive – east and west – will soon become permanently car-free.
The change will go into effect on January 2 of 2018, following the park’s first car-free summer. From July through September, cars had not been allowed on the park’s East Drive, now open to cars during morning rush hours.
“Prospect Park is Brooklyn’s backyard. I married Chirlane here. This is where my kids played little league. And I have always wanted it to be the safe, quiet refuge for Brooklyn’s families that it was intended to be,” said the mayor. “Restoring Prospect Park as a car-free oasis will improve the lives of the millions who use this park today and of generations to come.”
Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams shared similar sentiments.
“I am excited to enjoy a car-free Prospect Park, alongside the millions of Brooklynites and visitors who enjoy the recreation and relaxation that our borough’s crown jewel provides every day,” said Adams. “This decision will significantly enhance the experience of cyclists, runners and walkers in this premiere open space. My administration has worked hard with community advocates to make Brooklyn a safer place to raise healthy children and families, and we can now add a car-free Prospect Park to our growing list of success stories.”
The car-free hours were applauded by local park-goers, the number of whom, the Department of Transportation (DOT) claims, outnumber vehicles more than three to one during the early morning hours.
After the January car-free hours take effect, DOT promises to monitor traffic closely around the park for changes in patterns, and to adjust traffic-signal timing and make other changes accordingly.