New York City

‘Parks Are for People, Not Cars': Central Park Goes Car-Free as Final Vehicle Chugs Through Greenspace

Mayor de Blasio said 'parks are for people not cars'

What to Know

  • Central Park is now car-free, with the exception of park's department and emergency vehicles
  • The last car drove through the park Tuesday evening; the ban doesn't apply to the cross-town transverses bus and cars use to get across town
  • The ban comes months after Prospect Park permanently went car-free at the start of the year

It's the end of an era. 

Drivers will need to find another way to travel around Central Park now that New York City has put a stop to cars traveling through certain roads within the iconic greenspace.

Mayor de Blasio announced in April via social media of the plans to make Central Park car-free all year round "because parks are for people not cars."

“Our parks are for people, not cars. For more than a century, cars have turned parts of the world’s most iconic park into a highway. Today we take it back. We are prioritizing the safety and the health of the millions of parents, children and visitors who flock to Central Park,” de Blasio said in a statement.

The remaining sections of the park’s loop drives that were open to cars are now permanently closed to them, city officials said. The last car drove through the park Tuesday evening.

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The ban targets a number of roads below 72nd Street where motorists were allowed to drive alongside pedestrians and cyclists during certain hours of the day.

The ban does not apply to the cross-town transverses that drivers and buses use to get across town. Only park's department and emergency vehicles are allowed. 

Cars have used Central Park’s scenic loop drive for more than a century. Reductions in the hours during which cars are permitted began in the 1960s. In 2015, de Blasio announced that all park drives north of 72nd Street would be car-free.

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The ban comes months after Prospect Park permanently went car-free at the start of the year.

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