The legislation- introduced in March by Councilwoman Gail Brewer- aimed to ban cars from using the loop drives in Central Park and Prospect Park. But fierce opposition from Brooklyn motorists and officials led Brewer to quietly drop the borough's prime park from the plan.
“I'm going to focus on Central Park,” said Brewer, who represents the Upper West Side.
Brewer pinned the reason for the reversal on the ongoing battle over the bike lane on Prospect Park West, which she said threw a wrench into any hopes of tackling another hot-button transportation issue.
“It's very controversial because of the bike lane,” she said.
Even so the idea of a car-free Prospect Park was just as volatile.
Park advocates supported the measure, a pet project that is bandied about every few years despite what insiders say are its very low chances of approval by the City Council.
“We don't want highways driving through our” parks said Paul Steely White, executive director of Transportation Alternatives, which gathered 100,000 signatures for a car-free park.
The park's Park Drive is open on weekdays from 7 to 9 a.m. and 5 to 7 p.m.
Critics said eliminating the short cut from Kensington and Borough Park in Community Board Seven and other areas to Grand Army Plaza would lead to traffic jams on neighborhood side streets.
“A traffic study should be done prior to any changes to see what impact it would have on surrounding communities,” said CB7 District Manager Jeremy Laufer.
“There were many board members who were not happy that someone from outside of the community was proposing the change,” he added.
The bill, which is in committee, was opposed by Councilman Brad Lander, who represents neighborhoods to the west and south of the park.
Brewer said it raised important issues.
“Just having a discussion is a good start,” she said.