Contact: Aaron Naparstek
August 8, 2007
aaron [at] naparstek [dot] com
Did City Hall Fugeddabout Prospect Park?
As car-free hours are expanded in Central Park,
Brooklyn groups question why Prospect Park was ignored.
Brooklyn, NY (July 31, 2007) – Today, after New York City’s
Dept. of Transportation announced an expansion of car-free hours in
Manhattan’s Central Park, Brooklyn community groups are questioning
why similar improvements were not offered for Prospect Park. Community
groups and elected officials surrounding the park have long advocated
for a reduction in car traffic on the Loop Drives in Prospect Park.
They contend that City Hall overlooked several clear and easy options
to make Prospect Park safer, healthier and more enjoyable for Brooklynites,
- Closure of the northbound East Drive during the evening rush hours, when traffic is minimal.
- Closing Prospect Park’s 3rd Street entrance to cars to eliminate dangerous conflicts between motor vehicles and the many children and parents who use two popular, nearby playgrounds.
- Expanding the crowded pedestrian and cyclist lanes on the park
drive by eliminating one of the motor vehicle lanes.
“It’s great that the Bloomberg Administration is following
through on its Long-Term Planning and Sustainability initiative by reducing
motor vehicle traffic in Central Park,” said Aaron Naparstek,
campaign coordinator and co-founder of Park Slope Neighbors. “But
it’s a shame that the Mayor has left Prospect Park behind. Brooklyn
residents also want and deserve a 'Greener, Greater New York.'"
“Prospect Park is Brooklyn’s great natural resource and refuge, said
Ken Freeman, president of the Park Slope Civic Council. “Five
years ago, the Park Slope Civic Council asked the City to undertake
and study a 3-month car-free trial in Prospect Park. We would still
like to see that happen.”
"The increase in car-free hours in Central Park is great news.
The news would have been better if Prospect Park had been included too,"
said Robert Witherwax, coordinator of the Grand Army Plaza Coalition
(GAPCo). "GAPCo supports creating a more livable, balanced, pedestrian-friendly
Grand Army Plaza, and reducing traffic on the Park Drives would help
us to achieve that."
“Given the extraordinary amount of development taking place in the
neighborhoods surrounding Prospect Park,” said Gib Veconi, president
of the Prospect Heights Neighborhood Development Corporation, “the
City should work harder to find ways to preserve and enhance the value
of the park's open space as a necessary refuge for current and future
“Brooklyn has less park space per acre than any borough, a fact
that has made many in our community realize that we need to maximize
the park space we do have,” said Mike Dowd, a member of the
Prospect Heights Parents Association. “Making Prospect Park
car-free is the simplest way to make Prospect Park safe, healthy and
the best for Brooklynites.”
Recommendations made by these neighborhood groups are based on park
user surveys that show car traffic is both discouraging and dangerous
for users. A recent study found that more than 75% of respondents have
had a “close” call with vehicular traffic while walking
or bicycling in or to the park, and 60% of respondents felt that accessing
Prospect Park during hours in which cars are allowed into the park was
“dangerous.” Survey respondents overwhelmingly (4 out of
5) stated that they would use the park more if cars were restricted
on the park drive.