NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Mayor Bill de Blasio says he’s returning the parks to the people.

Major sections of Central and Prospect parks will soon be permanently closed to traffic, de Blasio announced Thursday.

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Starting June 29, Central Park’s entire loop drive above 72nd Street will be permanently car free.

Prospect Park’s West Drive between Grand Army Plaza and Park Circle, which had been open to vehicles for two hours during weekday afternoons, will be permanently car free starting July 6.

Cars were already banned in both parks on weekends.

“Making the loop drives in Central and Prospect Parks permanently car free for the first time in more than a century will make these great spaces safer, healthier and more accessible to the millions who flock to them,” de Blasio said in a statement.

The mayor said this is something that hasn’t been done since 1899 when cars were first allowed in the parks, 1010 WINS’ Juliet Papa reported.

Some runners in Prospect Park Thursday morning welcomed the plan.

“We think it’s a really good idea,” runner Marc Feldman told CBS2’s Andrea Grymes. “Cars go way too fast and endanger everyone and they can go on the rest of the roads.”

“The cars go too fast and there’s children in the park,” said Leslee Feldman.

“This park is fantastic for people, for dogs, for bike riders, for exercisers – and there’s a lot of other places the cars can be,” said pedestrian Linda Gaal.

But some drivers were concerned about how the plan could impact traffic in the surrounding areas.

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“It’s a great to drive through here every day,” said one driver on East Drive in Prospect Park. “The best way to go.”

“It’s so much easier to cross through the park. I would say, ‘Hey you know what mayor, leave it alone, leave it as it is. It’s not broken,'” said driver Edwin Badia.

Currently in Prospect Park, East Drive is open to morning rush hour traffic, while West Drive is open in the evening.

When asked about how traffic would be impacted, de Blasio said “I think this has been very well calibrated based on a lot of study to ensure there will be minimal traffic impact.”

The four Central Park Transverse roads will remain open to cars and emergency and parks maintenance vehicles will still have access to the loop drives as necessary.

“We’re creating safe zones for kids to play in, bikers, joggers, for everyone to know they will be safer and they can enjoy the park in peace,” the mayor said.

In addition, the Department of Transportation will extend the Fifth Avenue bus lane north to 110th Street from 7 a.m to 11 a.m. on weekdays.

Mayor de Blasio said there is no reason to worry about more traffic in surrounding neighborhoods as a result of the change.

“I think this has been very well calibrated based on a lot of study to ensure there will be minimal traffic impact,” he said.

Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg also said her department believes surrounding local streets will be able to handle the diverted traffic, but noted they will be monitoring it, WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb reported.

This is the de Blasio’s latest traffic safety initiative in the city.

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He has made his “Vision Zero” plan a big part of his mayoralty, including reducing the speed limit, cracking down on careless drivers and redesigning dangerous intersections in an effort to reduce traffic injuries and deaths.