Car-Free Hours Extended in Prospect Park

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Thanks to Streetsblog tipsters who've written in about the evening rush closure of Prospect Park's East Drive. This sign went up Friday at the corner of Parkside and Ocean Avenues.

This just in from DOT:

City transportation and parks commissioners today announced the extension of weekday recreational hours in Prospect Park as part of a citywide effort to encourage outdoor activity and cleaner air. Beginning on Monday August 27, 2007, motor vehicles will only be allowed to use the park’s East Drive from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. and its West Drive from 5:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. The announced change discontinues evening vehicle access to the East Drive (currently permitted from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m.).

“These traffic changes will create new opportunities for children and families to enjoy the Prospect Park drive on weekday afternoons. In his sustainability plan, Mayor Bloomberg urged us to ‘re-imagine the public realm.’ What better place to start than our greatest and most-visited parks?” said DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan. “Our goal is to let the park be a park as much of the time as possible.”

“The increase of recreation-only hours on the drive in Prospect Park mirrors a similar increase enabled in Central Park a few weeks ago. Now there will be even more hours devoted to car-free bicycling, running, blading, and simply sauntering. Both parks will be cleaner and greener, and their users happier and healthier” said Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe. “I want to thank Mayor Bloomberg for his leadership in making New York a more livable and sustainable city, and Commissioner Sadik-Khan and the Department of Transportation for continuing their work to balance the needs of all New Yorkers.”

Currently, vehicular traffic is allowed on the West Drive of Prospect Park between the hours of 5:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. and on the East Drive from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. and from 5:00 p.m. to 7 p.m. The park will continue to be closed to motor vehicles mid-day, overnight and during weekends.

Mayor Bloomberg’s PlaNYC 2030 calls for making the City’s parks more accessible by expanding usable hours and increasing available athletic options. These reductions will further improve the parks’ overall traffic flow, minimize potential pedestrian/vehicle conflicts, and make available additional space for non-vehicular uses.

Guess the fix wasn't in after all.

Photo: Michael Hansen