Pedestrian traffic only: Mayor permanently exiles cars from Prospect Park

Last ride: Mayor DeBlasio announced today that vehicles will be permanently banned from Prospect Park starting in January, when the East Drive, which currently allows commuters to cruise it from 7 to 9 am on weekdays, will permanently close to traffic.
Brooklyn Paper
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This ban is a walk in the park!

Mayor DeBlasio on Monday permanently banned cars inside Brooklyn’s Backyard beginning in January, claiming bikers, joggers, and nature-lovers deserve a sanctuary from the hazards and racket of the morning rush.

“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,” Hizzoner said.

Downtown-bound motorists are currently allowed on the meadow’s East Drive from 7 to 9 am on weekdays, and drivers who rely on the route have until Jan. 2 to suss out a detour. The indefinite exile follows a summer-long ban on traffic from the road, during which the city’s transportation department studied the embargo’s effects on surrounding streets.

Analysts are still reviewing data from the park’s completely-car-free trial, but DeBlasio moved forward with the prohibition claiming the temporary ban’s effect on traffic was negligible and that enough people supported it to give drivers the boot.

The mayor axed Coney Island–bound vehicles from the park’s West Drive in 2015, and his transit experts said the fallout from that closure — a roughly 1-minute delay on alternate routes — is comparable to what East-Drive commuters can expect when the thoroughfare shutters.

Transportation department honchos estimate that the park’s early-bird bikers and pedestrians outnumber its motorists by roughly three to one, and more than 1,000 park-lovers signed a petition demanding a permanent vehicle ban following the summer-long embargo.

And once cars are gone for good, park-users who shied away from the East Drive during the morning rush will flock to the meadow, according to a local bike advocate and mom.

“I know a lot of kids who bike to school, but they don’t typically go through the park because of the cars,” said Hilda Cohen, a member of pro-cyclist group Kidical Mass who lives in Fort Greene with her 15 and 12-year-old. “It will have an impact on so many people.”

Popular support for exiling vehicles from Prospect Park was not always in such high demand and, as recently as 2008, ardent pro-bike groups struggled to advocate for a prohibition. But the city has become friendlier to cyclists, and this summer’s ban on cars from the East Drive — the first time since the invention of the automobile that motorists couldn’t cruise the park — in addition to children-led anti-car rallies and efforts by radar-gun-toting bicycle advocates showed the time was right to evict drivers once and for all, according to Cohen.

“Ten years ago this was a small campaign. Now, there’s really no opposition,” she said.

And even some car-users welcomed the ban, according to one driver, who said she often frequents the park without her vehicle and welcomed the mayor’s announcement.

“I’m a driver and I also ride my bike in the park,” said Kate U., who lives in Ditmas Park. “I’m happy to hear the news.”

Reach reporter Colin Mixson at or by calling (718) 260-4505.
Updated 5:53 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Tyler from pps says:
Well, should I get out my popcorn? The indignant "outrage" should be fun to watch...

A little reminder -- You are not stuck in traffic, you ARE the traffic.
Oct. 23, 2017, 1:59 pm
Sean F from Bensonhurst says:
For all values of "permanent" that expire with the next administration.
Oct. 23, 2017, 2:23 pm
Florence Weintraub from Windsor Terrace says:
Now how about some protection for pedestrians from the many dangerous bikers? And bikers on pedestrian walkways?
Oct. 23, 2017, 3:23 pm
K. from ArKady says:
Now start tearing out the asphalt and replant trees.
Oct. 23, 2017, 3:25 pm
Henry Ford from Bay Ridge says:
Yes, K. Tear up the pavement, get the damn bikes out of the park, and return the park for people to unwind and relax in. Go pay to use a velodrome and stop terrorizing people leisurely strolling in the park if you wanna do 50mph on your bike.
Oct. 23, 2017, 4:07 pm
Tyler from pps says:
Early topic pivot and whine technique submitted by Florence and Henry... nice technique.
Oct. 23, 2017, 4:14 pm
Rufus Leaking from BH says:
Tear up the roads now so this can't be reversed. Let the bikes use the streets. There won't be that many in January and February anyway.
Oct. 23, 2017, 7:17 pm
HONEY Pooter from Williamsburg says:
I think that cars belong on the roads where we live! Why have them in the park where literally dozens of people will bicycle during commuter hours?!? I mean, I'm sure there's hundreds of children who go to school on opposite sides of the park from where they live, and they'll all just suddenly start biking there in the winter.
Much better to have the cars right in front of our houses! In the park, the exhaust is just absorbed by the trees, we never get to use it. On the streets it wafts into our homes before it can reach the trees.
I think that whenever parents use their children as a tool to get sympathy for their desires, we should always listen immediately!
Oct. 24, 2017, 4:17 am
Outrage!!!!!!!!1111! Blah blah blah blah! ME!!!! My parking spot!!! Arrrrrrrgggggghhhhhrrgrgrgrgrggr! Frothing at the mouth! Complain complain complain!!! But what about the bikersZ!!!!!?????!!111??!! Traffic!

I think that about covers it, except that fat retard from Pleasantville. "Well, I feel that Hamas and Palestine.....
Oct. 24, 2017, 9:55 am
Mike from Slope says:
Excellent. Now, can we please ban cars from most side streets as well. I'd like my block to be for the people who live there, not for the people who drive past.
Oct. 24, 2017, 10:02 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
When traffic becomes backed up on the streets, who can be blamed for this? I would say place it on those anti-car fanatics who made that possible. Then again, they are probably just using Bloomberg's way to promote congestion pricing just by creating the very congestion itself hence the Bloomberg Way. Meanwhile, cyclists treat the parks as a race for them all the time and even ride where they're not supposed to. As a matter of fact, many pedestrians in the parks have said that cyclists are the bigger threat due to being so unpredictable in how they ride yet there is no action to prevent such. Even if there is, you can bet that the bike zealots over on Streetsblog and Transportation Alternatives will be crying foul to this and acting like victims to the rules.
Oct. 24, 2017, 4:48 pm
Tyler from pps says:
Hey Tal -- Stop Hamassing Us!

They should put a road through your mom's basement. That would ease up traffic congestion in Pleasantville.
Oct. 24, 2017, 5:09 pm
I'm From Brooklyn from Park Slope says:
Tal, who can be blamed? Certainly not you. You will not be causing traffic from all the way up there in Pleasantville. Why don't you leave Brooklyn to us. We can choose what we want. We don't need your two cents. I want to discuss with my neighbors, not some putz who has no connection or bearing on my neighborhood, where I live and work. You getting involved in Brooklyn issues is like Russia getting involved in our elections. They have no business being here, and neither do you.
Oct. 24, 2017, 10:07 pm
Old time Brooklyn from Slope says:
Oct. 25, 2017, 7:29 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Can I please ask why do some of you anti-car fanatics need to have multiple names to make your statement when it's most likely just coming from the same person?
Oct. 25, 2017, 2:47 pm
I'm From Brooklyn from Park Slope says:
I have one name and I am not anti-car. However I am against cars in Prospect Park whee I walk with my kids. I don't have a problem with bicycles, skateboards, roller skates, or horses in the park, but I don't want cars in the park. I have refused to drive in the park for the 20 years I've lived in Park Slope. And we are a two car family. Nothing anti-car about us. But parks are for recreation. Olmsted did not design the park for transportation. In fact, he designed it to be inefficient for transportation but rather for recreation.
Oct. 26, 2017, 8:40 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Ignore all that stuff above, someone is again impersonating me! I for one welcome this new ruling. Cars suck in general, and in the park particularly.
Oct. 27, 2017, 11:15 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
First of all, knock it off with the impersonations especially since I wasn't here this morning. For the record, I'm not against those who don't drive, and I do believe that everybody is entitled to their choices. However, I don't like it when they attack me or even make impersonations of me just for disagreeing with them. That is why I refer to them as either zealots or fanatics due to having such a nature. The truth is that the park drives to provide short cuts for some trying to get around and even helps ease traffic on the streets especially during rush hours. If there is anything park goers fear the most, it's actually bicycles due to their nature of never following the rules. The same goes with pedestrians who constantly jaywalk. Just because I ask them to follow the rules doesn't mean that I'm anti-bicycle and/or anti-pedestrian. Also, whatever they say about reckless drivers, I can easily state about rogue cyclists and jaywalkers, plus I find them to be in double standards whenever they tell us motorists to follow the rules when they believe that they should be exempt from most of them. Sometimes, to make them understand, they need to be kicked off of their high horses. Meanwhile, I feel that some of them may use multiple names because of the names that they use along with similar comments along with the fact that some of them look like they are minutes apart making them feel as if they are the same person. As for the design of the park, maybe it wasn't designed to have motor vehicles, but times have changed and the same implies for roads. Speaking of Prospect Park, there was a letter in the Daily News addressing the behavior of cyclists in showing who those in the park really do fear, and it's under the title of Stop Already.
Oct. 27, 2017, 4:31 pm
Old time Brooklyn from Slope says:
Well said as always tal
Oct. 29, 2017, 11:50 am
I'm From Brooklyn from Park Slope says:
Tal, for me, what I don't like, is hearing you involved in my neighborhood, where I live, work, and grew up, as if you are some authority and making out to seem like you speak for all of us. I am glad Prospect Park is going car free. I actually use Prospect Park for my family, and we are in the park on a daily basis. You are from Westchester and have no business pretending that you speak for any of us. So talk about a high horse. I am willing to engage with cyclists in my neighborhood, even if I am not one of them. As a parent in Park Slope, I care about the safety of myself, and more importantly, my family. My wife drives every day for work. I drive a few times a week when I have meetings upstate or out on the island. When we drive, we understand that driving is a privilege and that our vehicles can do a lot more damage than a jaywalker or a cyclist can. So I join anyone who calls out bad drivers. We were hit the other day by a driver who was speeding and ran a red light. He then kept on going. The police told us they were very unlikely to catch the guy. Our insurance didn't even care and just said we'd be covered. Had I been a couple more feet into the intersection, it would have been a very different story. We drivers have the greatest responsibility on the road because the slightest slip up we make can have the gravest consequences. So the fact that you want to use my park as a shortcut when you are in my neighborhood once or twice a year, and you don't want to admit that you need to take the greatest care while you are here, makes me feel one thing: your two cents are worth nothing. But have a good day.
Oct. 29, 2017, 6:12 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
First of all, it doesn't take a special insider to know what's going on here. Also, I see your mentioning of that as nothing more than just another fanatics who just wants to silence me when they can't find anything about the issue for a rebuttal. The reason why I see that car free areas such as Prospect Park feels like a bad idea is because what it really does is just relocate traffic from that particular and forces other areas to have that burden, which has been the case when other roads have been closed off to vehicular traffic. As for the mention of reckless drivers, I won't argue against your statement and I do call them out as well, but that still doesn't excuse pedestrians and cyclists from flouting the laws either even if they don't kill or injure that many, plus I'm tired of those over on Streetsblog who are always crying foul whenever there is a call to crackdown on them while continuing to act like victims to the rules. More importantly, Paul Steely White has a long history of having a personal bias against motorists and his latest guest column on the Daily News just shows more of his selective outrage towards while ignoring jaywalkers and rouge cyclists. Once again, unless anyone can prove that he has called them out on a regular basis, my statement on him of an anti-car bias upholds by default. BTW, I can talk about the times I was almost hit by a cyclist who just continued on in the street even though I had the walk signal and continued to blow the red light while all other vehicles stopped for it. Fortunately, I took a few steps on dodged a big bullet. However, those who had been hit by bicycles, the cyclist just sped away and due to not having any registration on those said bicycles, they were never able to track down the person who did it, plus the victims had to pay for their own medical bills despite being the ones that got hit. The reason why those on Streetsblog and Transportation Alternatives don't want to have bicycles licensed, insured, and registered just like all other vehicles isn't because of costs, but because it will mean that they can now be tracked down and held for their actions. Why doesn't White ever call out such a group? It could be that they are his brothers in arms just like how the BDS and other anti-Israel groups hardly ever condemn Hamas for attacking innocent Israeli civilians yet condemning Israel just for fighting back at them.
Oct. 30, 2017, 4:29 pm

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