Central Park-loving bicyclists, walkers and skaters celebrate! Starting today, we can all enjoy a car free Central Park on the loop above 72nd Street in Manhattan – and not just for the summer, as in the past few years, but permanently.
The expansion of car-free zones in both Central Park and Brooklyn’s Prospect Park is part of what New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio termed “returning our parks to the people,” in an announcement earlier this month. Prospect Park West Drive goes car-free on July 6.
The changes aim to reduce congestion and noise, improve safety and enhance New Yorkers’ enjoyment of what many city-dwellers consider a big communal backyard. While falling short of entirely excluding cars (let’s keep that movement going, though!) this new phase represents a victory for advocates and makes the majority of both urban expanses auto-free for the first time since vehicular traffic was permitted in 1899.
Here are the rules and regs that you need to know, plus a map of the new car-free zone of Central Park.
“As of June 29, 2015, Central Park Drives north of 72nd Street are permanently car-free. The four Central Park transverse roads remain open to motor vehicles.
The Park drives are open to vehicular traffic only during certain hours:
West Drive (from 72nd Street south to Central Park South & 7th Avenue) High Occupancy Vehicles only
Weekdays: 8:00 am – 10:00 am
Center Drive/East Drive (from the 6th Avenue entrance on Central Park South to the East 72nd Street & 5th Avenue exit)
Weekdays: 7:00 am – 7:00 pm
Terrace Drive (72nd Street Cross) Drive (from 72nd Street/Fifth Avenue to West Drive South)
Weekdays: 8:00 am – 10:00 am”
Top photo: velojoy, map NYC DOT