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Car-free Prospect Park Street Theater! (from 2002)

I've been holding on to this as a little surprise once we launched the new Livable Streets site. Get ready to time travel...

Back in 2002 there was a huge push on for a three month trial ban on cars in Prospect Park, Brooklyn (I mean really are we still fighting for this?! Come on Mayor Bloomberg it's time to do a trial!) In any event, Aaron Naparstek (with future wife Joanne) organized a fun Halloween street theater event where we all dressed up as cars and raised some eyebrows Saturday morning at the Grand Army Plaza Green Market. We were even joined by, ahem, yes that was him - Councilman Bill de Blasio!

That's me with a huge cheesehead on. And if you look very carefully you'll see Paul Steely White waving a sign in his pre-T.A. Executive Director reign. Quoth Aaron: "Driving our cars thru the park is our way of life! How can you take that away from us?!" Ah, the good ole days...

Aaron Naparstek: [00:07] Right now we’re actually closer than ever to getting results on this campaign which has been going for as long as a dozen years. And there’s a couple of things happening that people should know about. First of all, all of the city Council members from around the park, there used to be five, now there are four, they all support the Car-free Prospect Park initiative.

[Car-free Park Theater]

Speaker: [0:46] It is?

Aaron Naparstek: [00:47] Yeah, there’s too much traffic on the expressway, I need to use a shortcut through the park.

Clarence Eckerson Jr.: [00:52] You can use the subway or trains or buses. There’s no reason why you can’t do that.

Speaker: [00:56] I love my car.

Aaron Naparstek: [00:57] I bought this car and I’m going to use it.

Speaker: [01:00] My car is me, I want to go through the park.

Clarence Eckerson Jr.: [01:03] No, you’re too dangerous. You’re too dangerous.

Speaker: [01:07] There’s 1500 miles of roads in Brooklyn and you have to come through our park. No way.

Speaker: [01:14] But we want every… we want every road. We want everything because we’re in a car so we’re…

Aaron Naparstek: [01:18] Driving our cars through the park is our way of life. How could you take that away from us?

Aaron Naparstek: [01:24] This is Councilman Bill de Blasio.

Bill de Blasio: [01:30] This has been a really amazing movement. I want to thank all of you. It’s… I’m so glad I’m a student of Bradford’s organising and you’ve done a great job. There’s immense support. We keep a very close eye on the response to the issue in our office, the letters, emails, etc. We went so far as, because we knew there are a number of people in Windsor Terrace who are very, very concerned and troubled at the prospect of even a trial study. So we actually surveyed most of Windsor Terrace and even there is… we think there is a lot of concern, we still got more people in favour of a trial ban than not. The reason we’re getting such a positive response to the idea of doing the three month study is because of the organising you’ve done, it’s been very effective and very sustained, and you should be very, very proud of that.

[Car-free Park Theater]

Transcription Sponsored by: Transcript Divas Transcription Services

Clarence Eckerson Jr. has been making fantastical transportation media in NYC since the late 1990s. He's never had a driver's license and never will.

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  • brian goldner

    what about park patrons who are disabled? There are lots of amenities in the park, such as the ice skating rink, that are hard to access if you're disabled. I agree that the park should be for pedestrians and cyclists, but as long as the park trolley (and other circulators) run infrequently as they do, I think some car traffic should be allowed through. However, there's absolutely no reason that fast traffic should be allowed in the park, and I think that speed bumps and other traffic calming measures should be considered.