Bike Lane Battle Halts Proposal for Car-Free Prospect Park

05/03/2011 4:36 PM |

Cars used to enter here.
  • Cars used to enter here.

Back in March Upper West Side Councilwoman Gail Brewer introduced a bill to the City Council that proposed to ban cars from Central Park and Prospect Park. But the Brooklyn Downtown Star reports that she’s dropped Brooklyn’s premiere park due to local opposition and the already immense controversy over a certain park-adjacent bike lane.

According to the article, Brewer’s main reason for pursuing the total car ban in Prospect Park was because of the long, expensive and ridiculous dispute still unfolding over the Prospect Park West bike lane. The Star notes:

Brewer pinned the reason for the reversal on the ongoing battle over the bike lane on Prospect Park West, which she said threw a wrench into any hopes of tackling another hot-button transportation issue.
[...]
Park advocates supported the measure, a pet project that is bandied about every few years despite what insiders say are its very low chances of approval by the City Council.

For now Brewer will focus her energy on making Central Park completely car-free—that is, except for the major east-west streets that pass through it—and Prospect Park’s Park Drive will remain open to automobile traffic every weekday at 7-9am and 5-7pm.

Competing groups feel that, on the one hand, having commuter highways passing through a public park is awful (which, yeah), but also that banning cars from the park at rush hour will cause traffic jams on adjacent side streets (which, maybe?). Perhaps between now and the next time this great idea comes up for discussion (in a few years, or whenever the bike lane lawsuit gets tossed), someone will do a study to predict the effects of removing cars from a park.

(Streetsblog; Photo: NYPL)