Car-free in NYC.

For all my New York City friends and those that may be visiting the city in August here is some great news from the Gotham Gazette:

Car-Free Summer Streets
On three Saturdays in August, the city will create a car-free zone stretching 6.9 miles from the Brooklyn Bridge to 72nd Street on the Upper East Side. Motor vehicles will be banned along much of Lafayette Street and Park Avenue from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. on August 9, 16, and 23. Fitness classes, bike rental and repair, and outdoor meeting places will be set up along the route. Download a map of the route (in pdf format).

The idea of a car-free city used to be my dream…and then somewhere along the lines that idea got lost, maybe some cynical practicality seeped in. But recently the idea returned to where it belonged, at the forefront of my urban dreams. I was biking home, dodging cars and death, and it dawned on me: DC should just be car-free! Everyone can park in garages outside of the city and then take trains or buses in. The city could be one of pedestrians, cyclists, streetcars, and other short distance circulatory mass transit. I know this is unlikely to say the least, but steps could be taken to get us in that direction by cutting driving within the city. For instance, I’ve heard something about turning Bedford Ave in Brooklyn into a pedestrian street with some green space in the center. There may not be any truth to that but it’s definitely an attractive idea.

In any case the step that NYC is taking to promote car-free streets is fantastic, even if it’s just for a short time.

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One Response to “Car-free in NYC.”

  1. Adam Pieniazek Says:

    That’s a really cool idea. I’ve had similar thoughts for bike highways in cities where certain streets are simply designated bike-only. I live in Boston and the city is so small that cars are simply more of a hinderance than convenience here. The city is small enough that most people can walk around it rather quickly, especially since the cramped streets cause many a traffic jam.

    I’ve also thought/am thinking about running for mayor of Boston and then declaring that cars (other than emergency vehicles) are illegal within city limits, or at least within the downtown areas.

    I think one of the major deterrents to more people biking around is that they’re fearful for getting hit by cars, if there were streets that ran across the city for cyclists only I’m sure the cycling population here would skyrocket. It’s already quicker than driving around the city so such a plan would only make it quicker and more convenient and safer.

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