Will Two CB 9 Members Be Enough to Derail Car-Free Central Park Trial?

In 2006, car-free Central Park advocates delivered a petition with an unprecedented 100,000 signatures to City Hall. Image ##http://www.streetfilms.org/car-free-central-park-rally/##via Streetfilms##

Despite the impressive shows of support from three Manhattan community boards over the last two weeks, the effort to take cars off of the Central Park loop for a summer-long trial hit a major snag last night. In a resounding vote of two to one with two abstentions, the transportation committee of CB 9 voted against the car-free trial.

Before last night, the car-free Central Park trial won the endorsement of five committees in three different community boards, with only one no vote between them all. Those committees were far larger than the CB 9 committee. Wednesday night’s vote at CB 8 was something along the lines of twenty to one. In contrast, it’s hard to say that the two opponents of the car-free trial last night have a much stronger claim to speak for the residents of Morningside Heights and West Harlem than the one supporter.

According to Ken Coughlin, a long-time leader in the effort to get cars out of Central Park, the two people who voted against the trial appeared dead set against it from the start. He also noted that the NYPD representative in attendance at the meeting made his opposition to the car-free park trial no secret.

Taking cars out of Central Park doesn’t require community board support; this is a decision that will be made at the mayoral level. So last night’s CB 9 vote isn’t an insuperable obstacle for car-free park advocates. Given the mayor’s current opposition to taking cars out of Central Park, however, building as strong a grassroots coalition of support as possible is critical.

To that end, it’s possible that advocates could bring the issue back before the full board meeting of CB 9 in two weeks with the goal of having the larger body overturn the committee’s decision.


CB 10 Committee Latest Unanimous Vote For Car-Free Central Park Trial

Another day, another unanimous show of support for a summertime trial of a car-free Central Park. Last night, the transportation committee of Manhattan Community Board 10, representing central Harlem, voted seven to zero in favor of the car-free trial, with one abstention. The list of Manhattan community board votes supporting the trial period has grown […]

Upper East Side Joins Chorus of Car-Free Central Park Supporters

The momentum is growing for a summer-long trial of a car-free Central Park. Two weeks ago, the transportation and parks committees of Manhattan Community Board 7, representing the Upper West Side, voted unanimously to support such a trial. Last week, the proposal passed the transportation committee of Midtown’s CB 5, again unanimously. And last night, […]