TA Rally Tuesday Morning for Car Free Central Park

[UPDATE: Councilmembers Brewer, DeBlasio, Liu, and Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer all spoke strongly in favor of a Car-Free Central Park today on the steps of City Hall. The hearing is ongoing. I'll keep this page updated as I hear new information]

A truly car free Central Park is severely in doubt after a last minute manuever by the Bloomberg Administration to completely water down the idea and preserve Central Park as what the City DOT calls "A vital transportation link" in Manhattan.

Transportation Alternatives has responded in kind:

Tomorrow, Tuesday May 9th, at 9:30 am T.A. and Elected Officials will hold a press conference on the steps of City Hall. We need you to be there to help win a car-free summer in Central Park and car-free summer afternoons in Prospect Park.

This afternoon, Mayor Bloomberg announced a reduction in car hours in Central and Prospect Parks. As of Monday June 5, 2006, vehicles will no longer be allowed to use Central Park's East Drive north of 72nd Street in the morning or the West Drive in the afternoon, or Prospect Park's West Drive in the morning.

Any reduction of car hours in these two parks is a step in the right direction. But this plan is a bit like a smoking ban that would only be in effect from nine am to noon. It improves the parks for relatively few users.

It is unclear whether the Council will even vote on the true car free central park proposal or not. But TA is going to make the effort tomorrow to make sure the 100,000 people who signed the petition have their voices heard...

Intro.276, which will be heard by the City Council Transportation Committee at 10am on Tuesday after our press conference, is a much more commonsense measure to reduce traffic and open the park to walkers, joggers, strollers, bikers and skaters. It would make Central Park car-free all summer long and Prospect Park car-free every summer evening when demand is highest in both parks, and traffic is lowest.

We need you to come out, show your strong support for car-free Central and Prospect Parks, embolden the Councilmembers who already support Intro. 276 and let City Hall, City Council and New York City know that this summer should be a car-free summer in our crown jewel parks.

The whole shebang won't take more than half an hour.

You can help make history on your way to work.

As always, you'll have to go through a metal detector to get to the steps and bikes will not be allowed inside of the fence, but there's plenty of bike parking across the street from City Hall, under the archway at the Municipal Building, 1 Centre Street. (Please note that valet bike parking will not be provided.)

Please come if you can to show your support.