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No ‘Prospect’ for more car-free hours in park

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Mayor Bloomberg’s quest for a “greater and greener New York” apparently excludes Brooklyn, some activists were howling last week after the city reduced the number of hours that cars can drive through Central Park, yet maintained the same vehicular hours in Prospect Park.

The new hours eliminate car traffic in Central Park by a full hour, restricting traffic to only 8-10 am, and 3-7 pm.

By comparison, cars can still use the East Drive in Prospect Park from 7–9 am and 5–7 pm on weekdays and can use the West Drive from 5-7 pm.

Although Prospect Park’s car-free hours are greater, critics wanted the additional hour that Central Park got last week.

“It’s really clear-cut,” said Aaron Naparstek, co- founder of the Park Slope Neighbors. “We need to take the next step to reduce or eliminate traffic in Prospect Park. Bottom line, [we need] a policy that resembles Central Park’s new plan.”

In 2002, Naparstek collected 10,000 signatures in support of a three-month summer trial car ban in part of the park. The city rejected such a ban, but added some car-free hours at that time.

Some, including Borough President Markowitz, believe that further expanding car-free hours in Prospect Park would only push more traffic onto surrounding roads. The Daily News reported this week that an expansion in car-free hours in Prospect Park was about to be approved, but Markowitz put the kibosh on it.

That made sense to one of the park’s users this week, given Markowitz’s support of Bruce Ratner’s Atlantic Yards project, which is expected to increase traffic along the Flatbush Avenue corridor.

“If Marty is so concerned with traffic, he should reconsider [his support for] the Ratner project,” said Park Sloper Tricia Goodman. “This is a park, not an overflow valve” for cars zipping to and from Atlantic Yards.

Markowitz told the News in a statement that “further limiting hours would result in unacceptable traffic backup.”

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Reader Feedback

Ace from New Utrecht says:
[Ratner pawn]Markowitz told the News in a statement that “further limiting hours would result in unacceptable traffic backup.”

Unacceptable to whom? We live in Brooklyn. We walk. We take the bus. We take the subway.

Marty drives his SUV to Borough Hall and illegally parks it in a public park. I guess it is unacceptable to him.
April 25, 2008, 2:06 pm

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