As of January 2, 2018, Brooklyn’s Prospect Park will going permanently car free. The announcement made today by city officials follows a decision based on an eight-week-long car-free trial this summer. One of the city’s most beloved parks, this decision will make it more enjoyable and safe for bike riders and pedestrians.
Two years ago, the city banned cars on the West Drive of the park, but maintained the East Drive where cars were able to pass from 7 am to 9 pm. The decision to go car free was not taken lightly, which is why the test was conducted over the summer. More than just public enjoyment and safety, the NYC Department of Transportation had to see the kind of impact this closure would have on traffic.
According to the New York Post, Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg told reporters that an initial analysis on the traffic findings was complete, though the DOT wouldn’t publicly provide any numbers. These findings are important because while closing the road to cars is good for park goers, it could impact those who live and commute around the area by increasing traffic elsewhere.
At a press conference, Commissioner Torttenberg explained when pressed by reporters, “I guess I’ll put it this way: We got enough of the numbers that I think we decided we’re ready to go car-free and we saw the areas where we’re gonna . . . do some signal-timing mitigations […] The good news is we saw very minimal traffic impacts, but not no impacts.”
Despite the secrecy in the DOT’s analysis, Prospect Park is ready to go car free, giving the 8 to 10 million visitors a year more space to enjoy.