De Blasio announces car-free Prospect Park in pre-election Brooklyn blitz
Part of ‘City Hall in Your Borough’
Mayor Bill de Blasio kicked off his weeklong occupation of Brooklyn Borough Hall with the announcement that Prospect Park will soon be permanently car-free.
This is just the first of many Brooklyn-centric happenings expected during this week’s City Hall in Your Borough, where the mayor, along with city commissioners and members of their staff, move their operations to Borough Hall.
The decision to make the entire park car-free comes after an eight-week trial this past summer proved popular with parkgoers, who outnumber cars more than three to one during morning hours, according to the city’s Department of Transportation (DOT).
“Prospect Park is Brooklyn’s backyard. I married Chirlane here. This is where my kids played little league. And I have always wanted it to be the safe, quiet refuge for Brooklyn’s families that it was intended to be,” de Blasio said in a statement.
Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg and numerous local officials were at the mayor’s side for the announcement, which received praise from transportation organizations including StreetsPAC, Transportation Alternatives and Streetsblog — which pointed out that after the car-free pilot ended this fall, no one was clamoring to bring cars back to the park. More than 1,000 park users signed a petition requesting a permanent change after the summer experiment ended.
Councilmember Brad Lander praised years of “tireless advocacy” and the “step-by-step” implementation of the process.
“Joggers, cyclists, seniors and families who love Prospect Park will all rejoice at today’s news. Dogs, horses, squirrels — and I guess maybe even cows, too,” he said.
The actual analysis of the car-free trial is still being finalized by DOT. But its preliminary results “clearly indicate no alternative driving route experienced more than a minimal delay, with most experiencing no change in travel times whatsoever,” the city said in a statement.
City Hall in Brooklyn
As part of City Hall in Your Borough, a week’s worth of town hall meetings, resource fairs, school visits and other Brooklyn events are packed into the mayor’s schedule.
Included on Monday’s schedule was a visit to P.S. 1 in Sunset Park by Schools Chancellor Fariña, de Blasio and Adams (to make the announcement that 15 Brooklyn schools will participate in the vegetarian “Meatless Mondays”).
Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen and other officials were set to announce NYCx Co-Lab Challenges at Osborn Plaza in Brownsville. Department for the Aging Commissioner Corrado was set to relaunch the renovated Heights and Hills Park Slope Center for Successful Aging. The Parks Department was scheduled to hold a public input session for Lewis Playground in Bedford-Stuyvesant.
Small Business Commissioner Bishop participated in a business disaster recovery panel discussion hosted by U.S. Rep. Nydia Velázquez and officials were set to tour of Build It Back construction projects in Coney Island.
On Tuesday at 7:30 p.m., de Blasio will hold a town hall meeting at P.S. 327 in Brownsville.
At 11 a.m. Wednesday, de Blasio and BP Adams will host a city resource fair at the Brooklyn College Student Center.
The Cobble Hill Association is co-sponsoring a town hall with the mayor on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. at M.S. 51 – William Alexander Middle School, 350 5th Avenue (between Fourth and Fifth streets in Park Slope). For more information, visit www.nyc.gov/cd39townhall.
On Thursday, in partnership with the New York City Department of Finance, another Brooklyn Resource Fair will take place at the Brooklyn Public Library’s Flatbush Branch from 1 to 4 p.m.
More events will be announced throughout the week.
The mayor has previously held City Hall in Your Borough visits in Manhattan, Queens, Staten Island and the Bronx. The Brooklyn visit will be the final one before the election on Tuesday, Nov. 7.
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