An initiative to increase safety and mobility of Central Park’s drives through a community-informed study, was recently announced by Central Park Conservancy, NYC Department of Transportation, and NYC Parks. 

The roads that loop through Central Park have been used by multitudes of New Yorkers, including pedestrians, joggers, cyclists, caregivers, bird enthusiasts, and school groups, since the banning of cars in 2018. The study will be headed through research by Sam Schwartz Engineering, and a survey that will request the public’s feedback on how they use Central Park’s drives. 

The community feedback will lead to solutions, and design interventions that will be curated to make Central Park’s drives more peaceful. It will also include community-driven presentations, discussions with local community boards, and groups who use the park.

“The Central Park Conservancy wants to hear from everyone who loves and uses Central Park to help inform the recommendations for this in-depth study. As stewards of the Park, this work is a key part of our mission to ensure it serves as a respite from city life for all New Yorkers,” said Betsy Smith, President & CEO, Central Park Conservancy. “The Conservancy is prioritizing this study because the drives affect the Park experience for nearly every visitor, and with the expanded use since the pandemic, the time is now to work together as New York City charts its path forward. We look forward to working alongside city agency partners and the public to enhance the drives’ safety and accessibility and share those learnings with other parks.”

“We look forward to working with our partners at the Central Park Conservancy and NYC DOT on this new study of the Central Park Drives,” said NYC Parks Commissioner Sue Donoghue. “All of our parks serve as places to rest, play, learn, connect, and more – and this study, along with the Prospect Park Alliance’s study of their Park Drives, will help inform best practices for bringing these iconic Olmsted parks into the 21st century.”

“We are excited to work with Parks Department and the Central Park Conservancy to deliver safety, mobility, and public space improvements that meet needs of the growing pedestrian, cyclist, and micro mobility users,” said New York City Department of Transportation Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez. “Creating car-free drives has greatly improved the experience of visiting this world-renowned public space and this study will build on those successes with new considerations for cycling connections across the park.”

“Whether on foot or wheels, for play or work, more and more people are relying on Central Park’s loop road,” said Ya-Ting Liu, New York City’s Chief Public Realm Officer. “This study could not have come at a better time as the City comes back stronger than ever from the pandemic, and we take the opportunity to reimagine how Central Park serves all New Yorkers and visitors.”

“Central Park, the first landscaped public park in America, is a space that provides all who visit a chance to escape the grit and grind of the City. We all learned how critical our open spaces are during the pandemic, but improving them requires constant effort. I commend the Central Park Conservancy for undertaking this important new study aimed at enhancing safety and mobility for all users of the Park. Making sure our parks are safe for everyone who runs, bikes, or enjoys a stroll is a top concern. I am confident that the strategies developed for Central Park will help to make all of our parks safer and more accessible,” said Council Member Shekar Krishnan, Chair of the City Council Committee on Parks and Recreation.

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