Car-Free Saturdays Will Open Path For Peds and Bikes From City Hall to 72nd


With several cities in addition to New York exploring the idea of car-free events modeled after Bogotá's Ciclovía, Streetfilms produced this "express version" of their popular full-length video.

Last month we reported that DOT was planning a major car-free event this summer in the mold of Bogotá, Colombia's weekly Ciclovía. Details emerged on Friday in the Downtown Express:

On three Saturday mornings in August, the Department of Transportation will ban cars from nearly 5 miles of city streets to make way for cyclists, joggers and walkers. Starting at the beginning of Centre St. in Lower Manhattan, then moving north onto Lafayette St., Fourth Ave. and Park Ave., people will be able to travel all the way to 72nd St. and then to Central Park by walking down the middle of a street.

The streets will be closed to cars on August 9, 16 and 23 from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. On 15 major east-west streets, like Canal, 14th St. and 42nd St., cars will be allowed to cross the car-free zone.

While much of the coverage in the Express and New York Sun focused on objections to "closing" or "shutting down" routes for cars, the virtues of opening streets for pedestrians and cyclists were not lost on everyone:

The chairman of the City Council's committee on transportation, John Liu, said a project like this has been discussed for several years, and would reinforce a trend, rather than posing an inconvenience.

"This is not likely to create a huge ripple in the fabric of Manhattan," he said. "It may even begin to wean people off dependence on personal automobiles."

Later today, DOT and Mayor Bloomberg are holding an official announcement and going public with the name and branding of the event. Cyclist celebs Lance Armstrong and David Byrne will be on-hand, and Streetsblog will have more as the story develops.