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‘Bye, cars!’ Celebratory cyclists escort last driver through Prospect Park

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Last out: Windsor Terrace resident Frank Noll was the last motorist to drive through Prospect Park in his 2001 Subaru Forester before Mayor DeBlasio’s edict banning cars from the green space took effect.
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Leader of the pack: Cyclist Eden Weiss led the pack as riders escorted the last driver out of Prospect Park.
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See ya: The cyclists waved and shouted “bye, cars” as the last driver pulled out of Prospect Park into Grand Army Plaza.

It was a ride in the park — and history in the making!

Dozens of bikers rode escort to the last car allowed on Prospect Park’s East Drive on Friday morning, celebrating the unofficial start of Mayor DeBlasio’s edict permanently banishing gas-guzzlers from the green space.

A Windsor Terrace resident claimed the distinction of being the last motorist to cruise Brooklyn’s Backyard before park staffers closed the road at 9 am, and the local said he couldn’t be happier to drive the meadow into its car-free future.

“I think this is great,” said Frank Noll, 66. “It makes the point that this is a park and it’s going back to the way it should be.”

DeBlasio’s ban officially kicks in on Jan. 2, but because vehicles are already forbidden from the park on weekends and holidays, including New Year’s Day, civilians’ last window to legally rumble through the green space was from 7 to 9 am on Friday.

Bitter-cold temperatures and biting winds did not stop anti-car advocates from Transportation Alternatives and New York Cycle Club from assembling a sizeable fleet of cyclists for the early-morning escort, a sign of how important Hizzoner’s ban is to bikers, one rider said.

“This is one of the only things that would get me out here on a day with this freezing weather,” said Park Sloper Carly Smith, 36. “Celebrating the return of the park to the community is a really fun thing.”

The swarm of cyclists followed Noll in his 2001 Subaru Forester on the roughly mile-and-a-half journey along the East Drive from Park Circle to Grand Army Plaza, where the local departed his pedal-pushing honor guard as its members waved and shouted, “Bye cars!”

DeBlasio’s permanent ban on East Drive traffic followed a summer-long prohibition on cars traveling the road, and his 2015 edict booting vehicles from Prospect’s West Drive, which Kensington-bound motorists once could cruise during the evening rush on weekdays.

But progressive legislation may not be enough to keep four-wheelers from entering the park — earlier in December, a driver illegally riding along the West Drive seriously injured a jogger when he collided with her in an early-morning hit-and-run.

Reach reporter Colin Mixson at cmixson@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4505.
Updated 5:51 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Dmitri S from Park Slope says:
They should ban bicyclists as well, so they don't terrorize pedestrians.
Dec. 29, 2017, 2:40 pm
Henry Ford from Bay Ridge says:
He should have emptied his wiper fluid on the bikers.
Dec. 29, 2017, 5:48 pm
Tyler from pps says:
Henry -- The driver who is very supportive of the motor vehicle road closure should have been abusive to the cyclists? Sure thing!
Dec. 29, 2017, 5:54 pm
Michael Ring from Park Slope says:
Bye cars!
Dec. 29, 2017, 9:50 pm
boof from brooklyn says:
It's a shame you couldn't find one crabby driver to say that the sky is falling!
Dec. 30, 2017, 9:44 am
Charles W. Nash from Kenosha WI says:
I am going to Henry's for New Years Eve!
Dec. 30, 2017, 11:55 am
Rufus Leaking from BH says:
Agenda 21 - get on the bus comrades, and if you don't fit there will be another one in a few minutes.
Dec. 30, 2017, 5:56 pm
Little Boo from Flatbush says:
Don't beat around the bush! "Escort" is just another way of saying prostitute!
They wanna walk the street, no cars in their way. Fine! You just keep treating women like pieces of meat you animals!!
Dec. 31, 2017, 1:14 am
Harriet from Brooklyn Gardens says:
When are they going to ban bicycles in the park? Bicycles ride wrecklessly through it creating a dangerous situation for pedestrians. I don't feel safe when they're around!
Dec. 31, 2017, 11:28 am
Bronckxer from Broncks says:
Pedestrians next? Walking every which way, eyes always looking at the screen. They got literally the rest of the park to wander around and trip over each other. Leave the road to someone that requires a road to move around.
Dec. 31, 2017, 3:23 pm
Rob from Park Slope says:
Woohoo! My morning bike commute through Grand Army Plaza just got a lot safer. Thanks Bill de Blasio!
Dec. 31, 2017, 4:02 pm
Henry Ford from Bay Ridge says:
I like to kcuf children in the park.
Dec. 31, 2017, 4:21 pm
Jim from Cobble Hill says:
Originally published Friday Dec 29 2017... Now under the header of Monday Jan 1.
Jan. 1, 8:14 am
Wanda from Bk says:
For all the complainers - do you even own cars? You're just jealous because you can't afford one!
Jan. 1, 1:58 pm
Jim from Greenpoint says:
btw do you realize most of the bikers are nutcases.....
Jan. 1, 3:42 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Harriet, that will never happen especially since Transportation Alternative is known for having an anti-car bias while a turning a blind eye to cyclists that flout the laws considering that they make up a good part of their group.
Jan. 1, 5:08 pm
Michael Ring from Park Slope says:
Tal, I own a car. Also, if you actually read the article you'll see that the last car that went through the park was driven by one of the advocates for a car free Prospect Park.
Jan. 1, 8 pm
Mustache Pete from Windsor Terrace says:
Tal Barzillai cannot read because he is bot. He was conjured up to come s
from Pleasantville NY to destroy the anti-car crazies on behalf of Likkud.
Jan. 1, 9:42 pm
Lisa from Cobblestone Hill says:
Ha - seems like some people (Michael Ring, Rufus Leaking) just can't stop man-splaining it to us! Like we were stupid or something! No Thank you! I don't need a man to tell me what to think! I'm an Independent woman!
Jan. 2, 12:14 am
NN from Boerum Hill says:
This is great news.
Jan. 2, 1:40 pm
Sean F from Bensonhurst says:
Cars will be back in Prospect Park again once Comrade de Blasio is out of office. The Parks Dept and DOT won't be able to justify the cost of road maintenance in the long-term unless cars are permitted to use the road.
Jan. 2, 2:27 pm
Michael Ring from Park slope says:
Hi Lisa, I don't think I did what you accuse me of doing. But now I am.
Jan. 3, 11:43 am
Tyler from pps says:
Sean -- That's a stupid comment. You know that, right?
Jan. 3, 1:38 pm
Morris from Mill Basin says:
I am taking names of the haters that need to be killed. Happy new year, worthless pieces of excrement -- you will never live to see another fortnight.
Jan. 3, 9:03 pm

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