Prospect Park just got quieter, healthier and safer
Monday marked the first day of Prospect Park’s car-free summer, announced by Mayor de Blasio last week. Previously open to northbound traffic during the morning rush hour, Prospect Park’s entire loop is now car-free 24/7 from Monday, July 17 until Monday, September 11.
“A key part of our mission is engaging the community and enhancing the park experience, and we look forward to seeing how this works for all park users,” said Sue Donoghue, president of the Prospect Park Alliance.
In 2015, de Blasio announced that the West Drive of Prospect Park would be permanently car-free. Since then, the NYC Department of Transportation (DOT) has received a number of requests from the community to expand car-free hours to all of Prospect Park.
Particularly in the summer, the park sees increased recreational use, including several summer day camps. According to DOT data, fewer than 300 vehicles use the East Drive while the drive is utilized by nearly 1,000 pedestrians, joggers and cyclists during peak morning hours in the summer.
The summertime car-free hours are expected to have little effect with regards to traffic on alternative southbound routes surrounding the park. After the closure of the West Drive in June 2015, DOT studies showed that the most affected streets saw an increased travel time of less than a minute, where other afternoon drivers actually saw travel times improve. During the period of this summer’s East Drive closure, DOT will similarly collect data to evaluate the effect on traffic during the morning rush hour.
“Parks are for people, and people from all across Brooklyn and beyond will enjoy a safer and more serene Prospect Park as a result of this initiative,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams.