CB6 To Mayor: Get The Cars Out Of Prospect Park

CB6 To Mayor: Get The Cars Out Of Prospect Park
bikes in prospect park

When a neighbor recently launched a petition asking that cars be banned from Prospect Park, it renewed interest in the proposal, which has been floated many times in the past. And today our local Community Board is making another push.

The petition, which now (at post time) has nearly 1,200 signatures, voices concern that the cars in the park may, at some point, cause a death. In a poll on our site, more than 230 of you agreed that a ban on cars — which only have access to the park during certain rush hour times on weekdays — is the way to go.

And local Community Board 6 supports that position as well, as it has in the past. Today they sent a letter to Mayor Bill de Blasio reaffirming their support of a test ban on cars, which they initially requested 17 years ago. In the letter, they thank the Parks Department for agreeing to and implementing their request for fewer hours that cars have access to the park, and note that streets around the park haven’t been worse for congestion because of it.

Here’s the letter in its entirety:

Dear Mayor de Blasio:
One of our residents has recently begun circulating a petition calling for the wholesale removal of motor vehicles from Prospect Park. And while this concept may be new to some people, for us it is a piece of lingering, unfinished business.
Brooklyn Community Board 6 adopted a resolution on July 7, 1998 calling for the City to implement a test ban on motor vehicles in Prospect Park. We supported this notion then, as we do now, because we think it’s a good idea. To be fair to both proponents and opponents of the concept, as well as the agencies that would be responsible for evaluating such a test ban, we also asked that we discuss and develop realistic criteria under which such a test ban would be measured and ultimately evaluated. We hoped to avoid the possibility of going through this exercise only to have different stakeholders draw wildly different conclusions at the end of such a test ban.
We had also, at the time, called upon both the Department of Transportation and the Department of Parks & Recreation to extend the hours that the park would be closed to vehicular traffic. To their credit we have seen not only a substantial decrease in the number of hours, but also the number of vehicular access points and lane miles that are available to motor vehicles. Since the agencies implemented those changes our streets have not become overburdened or congested from displaced traffic. We believed back in 1998 that our local streets could absorb this traffic without harm. Effectively, this has now been successfully demonstrated.
Lastly, we had also called for the City to adopt a “zero tolerance” policy with regard to intruder vehicles and speeders. We asked that all privately-owned and City-owned vehicles not on Prospect Park-related business found in the park be subject to summonsing and escalating enforcement actions. We have repeated[ly] requested the use of red light cameras in the park, especially at the 9th Street signal on the West Drive, where motorists consistently flout the law.
We know there’s bound to be some residual resistance to the idea of closing the park to motor vehicles. We commend the City for taking the giant steps it has to bring us closer to that goal. It would appear that we are in a “fourth and inches” situation and that you have a chance to score a big win for pedestrian safety.
We would appreciate having the chance to discuss this more with you or your representatives at your earliest convenience and look forward to hearing from you. Let’s put this one over the goal line, together.
Gary G. Reilly

Currently, drivers are allowed to access the loop inside Prospect Park northbound along East Drive Monday to Friday from 7-9am and then southbound along West Drive Monday to Friday from 5-7pm.


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