April 20, 2018 / 6:22 PM / a month ago

New York banning cars from Central Park starting this summer

NEW YORK (Reuters) - New York City’s Central Park will kick out cars this summer after more than a century, returning its roads to walkers, runners and cyclists, Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Friday.

The move, which aims to cut down on traffic accidents and air pollution in the most-visited urban park in the United States, takes effect on June 27, the mayor told reporters.

“This was not the purpose of this park, to be built for automobiles. Literally, it was built before there were automobiles. It was built for people,” de Blasio said.

More than 42 million visitors a year are drawn to Central Park, which encompasses more than 800 acres (325 hectares) in the borough of Manhattan. The park, which includes a zoo, reservoir, boating lakes and event spaces, has been designated as a National Historic Landmark since 1962.

Motorists have been banned since 2015 from the loop drives in the northern part of the park, de Blasio said. The new ban will cover the whole park, except for four transverse roadways that were built into the park’s original design to accommodate traffic.

“There’s gonna be a kind of peace and sense of security that wasn’t there before,” de Blasio said.

Reporting by Gina Cherelus; Editing by Will Dunham

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