Rally in the Park
Car-Free Prospect Park Supporters Renew Call for Three-month trial ban.
The momentum and support for a
Car-Free Prospect Park continues to build. Tomorrow evening Transportation
Alternatives volunteers are staging a rally at the Grand Army Plaza entrance to
Prospect Park. "Rally in the Park" comes less than two weeks after the
overwhelming success of the Car-Free Prospect Park Town Hall meeting at which
more than 500 people turned out to hear a dozen elected representatives, Parks
and Transportation officials and traffic engineering experts express their
support for a three-month trial period banning cars from the park.
The Rally is the latest event in an ongoing twelve year struggle to rid Brooklyn's biggest green space of dangerous traffic. "Brooklyn wants a car-free Prospect Park," said Aaron Naparstek, Project Coordinator at Transportation Alternatives. "In just two months we collected more than 10,000 signatures. And official support is unprecedented."
Councilmembers Bill DeBlasio, David Yassky, James Davis, Yvette Clark and Angel Rodriguez whose five districts surround the park, have all spoken out in favor for the three-month trial ban.
Former DOT Commissioners Lou Riccio and Elliot Sander and former First Deputy Commissioner Sam "Gridlock Sam" Schwartz have also joined the call for a car-free park beginning with a three month car-free trial period. Their support further dispels exaggerated claims about the impact of the closure upon traffic. Using traffic counts conducted by the DOT, the commissioners and other traffic experts have conclusively determined that potential traffic diversions caused by a car-free park will be so small as to not be noticeable in neighborhoods surrounding the park. The DOT commissioners join a long list of local and national environmental and civic groups calling for a car-free park.
Traffic safety, noise and pollution have long been a concern for Prospect Park's neighbors who have to share the historic park with speeding weekday commuter traffic. Accidents occur inside the park regularly. Galvanizing the car-free park movement, Park Slope resident Rachel Fruchter was killed by a motorist while riding her bicycle through the park four years ago.
Currently, summer mid-day hours are car-free, but cars use the loop 24 hours a day, 5 days a week from October to April. Those who can't make it to the park in the middle of a weekday day are always out of luck - cars are on the loop year round from 10pm - 9am and from 5pm to 7pm. If this is confusing to you, you're not alone.