Central Park goes car-free as traffic ban takes effect

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- Central Park officially went car-free beginning Tuesday evening..

Mayor Bill de Blasio made the announcement in April that traffic would be banned on all roads south of 72nd Street, which was previously shared by cars, pedestrians and cyclists.

Wednesday marks the first day of summer vacation for New York City public school students, and it's also the first day that public pools are open in parks throughout the city.

The car ban impacts West, Center, East and Terrace drives, but it excludes the park traverses.

"Central Park is not just one of New York's favorite parks, it's one of the most-beloved, most-recognized parks in the entire world," Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver said. "Now, we're making history by demonstrating just how clean, accessible and safe an urban park can be."

Prospect Park in Brooklyn went car-free for several months last summer, and now, that car ban is permanent.

The city says returning the park's loop road to walkers, joggers and cyclists will reduce air pollution in the park and improve safety.

Officials joined parks and cycling advocates on 72nd Street Tuesday evening for a bike ride behind the last car driving through Central Park.

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