Reporting Marcia Kramer
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Environmentally minded Mayor Michael Bloomberg is refusing to banish cars from Central Park, even though the plan enjoys wide community support.
To some he’s known as “bike Mike’ for all the bike lanes he’s installed. And to others the “green giant” for his many environment initiatives, but as for Mayor Bloomberg supporting a car-free Central Park?
It’s not happening.
“Until we really can understand the traffic patterns and what effect it will have we’re just not going to go and rush to do it,” Bloomberg said. “You just can’t willy-nilly, say without doing the real scientific research.”
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Community activist Ken Coughlin, who was among those who gave the mayor a petition signed by 100,000 local residents in 2006, said he doesn’t understand the foot dragging.
“I’m, frankly, baffled. This is a mayor who has been advocating for a greener, greater New York. It seems like no initiative would fit in better than making the nation’s most famous urban space, famous urban park space car-free,” Coughlin said.
So CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer asked the mayor straight out.
Kramer: “Some people say it’s hypocritical for a mayor who calls himself ‘bike Mike’ to not ban cars from all of Central Park.”
Bloomberg: “By that argument we should ban cars from coming into the city totally. I don’t think you can do that.”
In the park on Tuesday there were many viewpoints. People were asked to shed some light on why they think the mayor is resisting the idea.
“Which is very strange with what he’s done all over the city with the bike lanes and closing Broadway,” Sutton Place resident Ken Teicher said. “Well, I think he shouldn’t. He should close it.”
“I think it’s a bad idea. I think they should let them go through. It eases traffic on the other streets,” Paramus, N.J. resident Nancy Balducci said.
“I think that the traffic would be much worse. Just for a few hours a day when the traffic is very heavy it would be right to go through,” Midtown resident Paolo Capani added.
“Outside the park. No driving inside the park. More better for everybody,” said Juan Gonzalez of Prospect Park.
This is a fight that has been going on for years and at this point there’s no end in sight in Central Park. Members of the taxi industry want the park drives open, saying that using the park during the profitable morning and evening rush hours speeds the ride and increases their fares.
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