VIDEO: Goodbye to the last private car in Prospect Park
Defying Friday morning’s freezing temperatures, more than 20 cyclists gathered at the Park Circle entrance of Prospect Park to say goodbye to a silver Subaru Forester, officially the last private car to cross the park forever.
At 9 a.m. when the city put the barriers after rush hour, bike enthusiasts and advocates followed the car while dinging their bike bells for a 1 1/2 mile to Grand Army Plaza, where they waved goodbye.
“People have been trying to get this to happen for decades,” said Eden Weiss, vice president of programs for the New York Cycle Club. “Now there will be no more private cars in Prospect Park, so we’re thrilled.”
In October, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that the park would go car-free permanently, starting Jan. 2, 2018. Before Friday, cars could still drive in the park between 7 a.m. to 9 a.m., with weekends prohibited.
“On behalf of the cycling community, on the running community, on the pedestrians who use the park, this is a wonderful day for all of us.” Weiss said. “We wouldn’t be out here in 14-degree weather if it wasn’t.”
Attendees of the event said they were delighted with the action and now they don’t have to worry about getting hit by a car.
A regular rider said without speed limits, drivers created a scary environment for cyclists.
“It’s time that we got them out of here and made the park safer for people who really want to use it as a park,” she said.
With the new permanent barricades, cars will be barred from entering the park indefinitely, a contrast to cars previously driving through during off-limits hours, another attendee explained.
“You see a few cars come through because they’re just being aggressive or they just don’t know, and it does put people who are cycling and walking through here at risk when they’re doing so at a time when they’re not expecting cars at all,” he said.
Arguing that cars don’t belong in city parks, Weiss said with enthusiasm before the ride that he hoped the city could take the same actions in Central Park.
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