New year, no cars.
Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Tuesday, January 2 that Prospect Park’s entire loop drive will be totally car-free for the first time since the automobile’s invention.
The change, which was first announced in October, came as a direct response to the success of the park’s first car-free summer trial last year.
“Today, we are providing a great New Year’s gift that recognizes the special place the park holds for so many other Brooklyn families,” said the mayor. “Now as a safe refuge that has permanently removed cars, the park can expect to see even more people enjoying walking, jogging and bicycling on its beautiful loop road.”
Before the New Year, the park’s East Drive had been open to traffic during the weekday morning rush hour, between 7 and 9 a.m. However, during the summer, walkers, joggers and cyclists typically outnumbered cars by a whopping 1,000 to 300. At the end of the car-free summer, the city received petitions with more than 1,100 signatures calling for full-time car-free hours at the park.
“A new year means a new chapter for Prospect Park, a chapter that once and for all has permanently removed cars from Brooklyn’s backyard,” said Borough President Eric Adams. “I applaud all of the incredible community members whose years of advocacy have translated into action. It is a pleasure to be part of this meaningful decision that will advance safety and serenity in this signature park.”
Now that the change is in effect, the Department of Transportation will closely monitor traffic to better accommodate traffic pattern changes, as well as implement additional changes if necessary.