We Support a Car-Free
In addition to the 60,000 New
Yorkers who have signed the car-free Central Park petition, a host of notables
and prominent civic groups have raised their voices in support of T.A.'s
car-free park campaigns. Here are some of our favorite voices.
"Do we really have to
say again, and yet again, that automobiles deteriorate and degrade not only
the park but our lives and larger landscape? In this period of evolving
environmental consciousness, in an era in which cities become more and more
attractive as recreation centers, and an epoch when sprawl and global
warming require us to enhance our greenery and livability, it is worse than
myopic of city officials to allow New York's great public space to become a
brutalized race track."
-Jane Holtz Kay, author of Asphalt Nation and Architecture Critic
for The Nation.
endorse the campaign to close Central Park's loop drive to regular
automobile traffic. We had the same sort of fight in Washington Square Park
in the late 1950s and in my neighborhood here in Toronto a couple of years
ago: same prediction of traffic chaos, same result of no chaos, diminished
traffic counts and no counts increased elsewhere in consequence. A trial,
with traffic counts on the Central Park perimeter streets, will be more
persuasive than any amount of talk,
letter-writing, resolutions, and other endless wheel-spinning."
-Jane Jacobs, author of the classic The Death and Life of Great
American Cities, which the New York Times has described as
"perhaps the most influential single work in the history of town
"Central Park was
intended to be a landscape of tranquility set apart from the dynamism of the
great city around it. Introducing motor cars to its original carriage
drives, and then altering the road geometries to suit them, was one of the
great blunders of civic design in the 20th century. The good news is that
the 20th century is now over, and we no longer have to feel any undue
proprietary investment in the stupid decisions of previous generations. We
could hardly make a better statement of purpose in this new century than to
ban cars from Central Park."
-James Howard Kunstler, noted author of Home From Nowhere, The
Geography of Nowhere, and The City in Mind.
"Olmsted and Vaux went
to great lengths to ensure that commercial traffic could cross the park with
the least visual impact, by sinking the four transverse roads. Today, the
presence of cars on what were intended to be leisurely carriage drives
within the park seriously compromises their vision of a place to escape the
bustle of the city. Cars are simply too large, too noisy, and too fast.
-Witold Rybczynski, author of A Clearing in the Distance: Frederick
Law Olmsted and America in the Nineteenth Century.
Statement of the American
Lung Association of the City of New York
Each day, thousands of New
Yorkers exercise along Central Park's Loop Drive.
Unfortunately, vehicles are still permitted on the Loop Drive during the
workweek, forcing park users to exercise within dangerous proximity to cars
emitting harmful pollutants that include ozone, carbon monoxide, fine
particles, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide.
These pollutants are
particularly dangerous when people are exercising, because more air is being
breathed and the air is drawn deeper into the lungs. Furthermore, during heavy
exercise, people breathe more through their mouths and therefore bypass the
body's first line of defense against pollution - the nose. As a result of
these increased dangers, the American Lung Association has long recommended
that people avoid congested streets and rush hour traffic when exercising, as
pollution levels can be elevated a significant distance from the roadway.
For these reasons, the
American Lung Association of the City of New York supports Transportation
Alternatives in their effort to eliminate car traffic from the Central Park
Loop Drive. Doing so will return the drive to its original purpose: a
healthier, cleaner place where New Yorkers can exercise and enjoy the city.
CAR FREE CENTRAL PARK
Give us a Car-Free Central Park!
American Lung Association
Audubon Society/New York City Chapter
Central Park Track Club
City Club of New York
Moving Comfort Running Club
Municipal Arts Society
Natural Resources Defense Council
NYC Environmental Justice Alliance
New York Cycle Club
New York Flyers Running Club
New York League of Conservation Voters
New York Public Interest Research Group
Regional Plan Association
Sierra Club/New York City Chapter
Tri-State Transportation Campaign
West Harlem Environmental Action
Three-month trial car-free period for
Gifford Miller, Speaker, New York City Council*
Eva Moskowitz, City Councilmember
Gale Brewer, City Councilmember
Betsy Gotbaum, Public Advocate
*Strongly supports completely car-free park.
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