Less than a week after the city council began considering a bill that would ban cars from Prospect and Central parks at all times, Brooklyn’s borough president has come out against the proposal.
“In many respects, the goal of having a car-free Prospect Park is a laudable one. However, as the borough president I must represent all Brooklyn residents, including those who drive through Prospect Park as well as those who reside near the park that may be negatively impacted by additional restrictions,” he said in a written statement today, adding that cars are allowed in the park only during rush hour.
“… [T]he existing limited access for automobiles in Prospect Park sufficiently balances the needs of all users,” he added.
When Upper West Side Councilwoman Gail Brewer, , many area residents interviewed said they supported the ban but many politicians remained cautious until a traffic study could be completed.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg came out against the proposal on a radio show Saturday, saying it would cause too much traffic on the surrounding streets.
Brewer’s proposal is a re-introduction of a 2006 bill, which made it as far as a Transportation Committee hearing. But it was withdrawn after Mayor Michael Bloomberg instituted a compromise of banning cars all times but rush hour: 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. in Prospect Park, and a longer rush hour period in Central Park.
A 2007 study of the program revealed that while the project was deemed “successful,” reduced car traffic in the park resulted in increased traffic on Prospect Park West and Prospect Park Southwest (but decreased traffic on other roadways surrounding the park).
Under the bill, cars would still be able to enter on Ocean Avenue and drive to the Wollman Rink parking lot under the legislation, a spokesman for Brewer's office said.
Park Slope Patch editor Kristen V. Brown contributed to this report.