File: With a car behind them, cyclists ride on East Drive in the southern portion of Central Park.
NEW YORK - New York will soon ban cars from its beloved Central Park, the city&39;s mayor announced on Friday, citing a commitment to reducing pollution and "prioritising people over cars."
Automobile traffic was already prohibited in the north of Manhattan&39;s iconic green space, which will celebrate its 160th birthday next year. Vehicles could still circulate, however, on three concrete lanes in the south: West Drive, Terrace Drive and Center Drive.
The traffic ban on those thruways will go into effect on 27 June, the day after the city&39;s public schools close for the summer.
The measure does not concern, however, four dedicated below-grade roads that cross the park&39;s width and are separated from the rest of the park by walls.
"Our parks are for people, not cars. For more than a century, cars have turned parts of the world’s most iconic park into a highway," Mayor Bill de Blasio said in announcing the move. "Today we take it back."
Central Park will reach its full potential by going car free. They didn&39;t design it for cars in 1857, and it&39;s not meant for cars today. Parks are for people. pic.twitter.com/nVWLsO7ZP1— Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) April 20, 2018
"We are prioritising the safety and the health of the millions of parents, children and visitors who flock to Central Park."
The mayor&39;s decision follows his January decision to designate the loop drive in Brooklyn&39;s sprawling Prospect Park car-free.
"Central Park is one of New York City&39;s most iconic open spaces and is used by millions of New Yorkers and visitors," said Daniel Zarrilli, the city&39;s Senior Director of Climate Policy and Programs.
"Making Central Park car-free will ensure that everyone who enjoys the park will enjoy cleaner air and improved safety in support of the City’s sustainability and climate goals."