Climate Action

New York City’s Central Park will soon become entirely car-free

In a historic decision, the Mayor of New York City, Bill de Blasio, has ruled that Central Park will become permanently out of bounds for vehicles.

  • 25 April 2018
  • Adam Wentworth

In a historic decision, the Mayor of New York City, Bill de Blasio, has ruled that Central Park will become permanently out of bounds for vehicles.

The decision will come into force on 27 June this year, the day after public schools close for the summer and outdoor swimming pools open.

In 2015, the Mayor first created restrictions on where cars could drive within the park. This latest announcement means the 19th century Olmstead and Vaux areas are now closed as well, closing off all main areas of the park to vehicles.

“Our parks are for people, not cars,” said the Mayor.

“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.”

The parks four transverse roadways which cut through the park are unaffected by the change. This is because they were built as fully separate and below park level.

Central Park is an iconic feature of the city, providing New Yorkers with 843 acres of much-needed clean air and green space. It is used by an estimated 42 million visitors each year, but its various drives which loop around the park have been traditionally used as a highway by busy motorists.

Senator Brad Hoylman, a Democrat in New York State, said the announcement “will protect the crown jewel of New York City parks as a true refuge from the bustle of the city streets, not to mention help reduce carbon emissions.”

Earlier this year, Mayor de Blasio permanently closed off Brooklyn’s Prospect Park to cars as well. Since taking office in 2014, de Blasio has prioritised environmental concerns within the city, including the decision to sue fossil fuel companies for their part in causing climate change.