Car-Free Hours in Prospect Park? Fuhgeddaboutit!


Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz

The Daily News reported yesterday that, along with the recent extension of car-free hours in Central Park, Dept. of Transportation officials proposed closing Prospect Park's Manhattan-bound East Drive to cars during evening rush hour this month but the plan was squashed by Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz:

Sources said city officials were poised to cut Prospect Park's hours last week as well - but that the plans were scuttled at the last minute by Brooklyn's own cheerleader, Borough President Marty Markowitz, who has long opposed banning cars from Prospect Park due to traffic concerns.

"It was a done deal. It was supposed to be both parks," said a source. "But Marty Markowitz blocked it."

Sources said city officials had been planning to ban cars on Prospect Park's East Drive in the evening so that, like Central Park, there would be morning hours on one drive, evening hours on the other.

"Everyone signed off on it, and then, boom," said the source.

Transportation Department officials declined to comment on Markowitz's role.

Markowitz spokeswoman Laura Sinagra said the borough president was never given a formal proposal to sign off on but that his long-standing position remains unchanged.

"Our historical position has been that further limiting hours would result in unacceptable traffic backup," Markowitz said in a statement. "The current hours are appropriate to the needs of the many in our borough who must rely on these roads to get to work and school.

This news is disappointing. Markowitz and his staff have been increasingly vocal and helpful on "Livable Streets" issues in recent months. Granted, they still use the public plaza around Brooklyn Borough Hall as their staff parking lot, so perhaps the Prospect Park stance should not be seen as a surprise.

Photo: jcn/Flickr