Central Park Turns 150
Time Right for Move Towards Car-Free
|The Mayor should celebrate
Central Park's 150th birthday by converting select street entrances to grassy
areas and instituting a three-month car-free summer.
This year marks central park's
150th anniversary. What better way to celebrate than to reclaim the Central Park
drive from the automobile and return it to its intended use as a recreational
thoroughfare? The Car-Free Central Park Campaign will be doing all it can to
make this a reality in 2003, armed with 44,000 petition signatures (and
counting), dozens of key endorsements and high hopes.
Lung Association Joins Car-Free
Concerned about the lungs of cyclists, skaters and joggers immersed in
traffic-caused carbon monoxide and ozone on Central Park's loop drive, the
American Lung Association-hardly a radical group-is urging Mayor Bloomberg to
keep cars out of Central Park. Ideally, the Lung Association's call will
resonate with Mayor Bloomberg, who has already shown great concern for the lungs
of restaurant workers.
Towards Car-Free 2003
Over the last year, the Car-Free Central Park Campaign has met with many of the
people in and out of government who hold Central Park's future in their hands.
They agree that the City should reclaim street entrances as park land, reduce
car hours in the park to only 7 to 9 am on weekdays and try a car-free month or
three in the summer. In the early 1990s, the City landscaped the Columbus Circle
and Frederick Douglas Circle entrances back into park space. Now, the City
should expand upon its improvements of the past decade by converting the asphalt
at the street entrances at East 102nd Street, West 90th Street and West 85th
Street into grassy lawns and play spaces. In addition, it should honor Central
Park's 150th birthday by declaring a three-month car-free summer in the park.
If you want cars out, we can put you to work. Our petition drive has collected
44,000 signatures-on the way to 100,000-calling for a car-free park. Gathering
petition signatures is a great way to convert that anger and frustration about
cars in the park into a bigger voice for change. At a minimum, we need you to
write a letter or call your city councilmember. See Committee News (p. 24) for
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Car-Free Central Park