New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has announced that cars will soon be banned from Central Park.
Beginning on June 27, all roads through Central Park below 72nd Street will be a no-go zone for vehicles, with the exception of Parks Department vehicles and those used by emergency services, including the police.
The decision to ban cars from the iconic park, visited by 42 million people last year, forms part of the city’s efforts to reduce traffic accidents and air pollution in the area, The New York Times reports.
“This was not the purpose of this park, to be built for automobiles. Literally, it was built before there were automobiles. It was built for people. There’s gonna be a kind of peace and sense of security that wasn’t there before,” de Blasio said.
Mayor Wants To Improve Pedestrian Safety
New York introduced a previous limitation on vehicles in the park in 2015 which prevented drivers from accessing the northern part of the park.
De Blasio is also heading up the Vision Zero initiative which aims to improve street safety. Between 2013 and 2016, pedestrian and traffic fatalities in New York have declined by 28 per cent under the initiative.
“Vision Zero is working. The lower speed limit, increased enforcement, and safer street designs are all building on each other to keep New Yorkers safe,” de Blasio said in January.
“Now we must deepen this work. Not even a single tragedy on our streets is acceptable, and we’ll keep fighting every day to protect our people.”