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Car-Free Hours in Central Park Listed Incorrectly on City Bike Map

By Emily Frost | March 28, 2016 6:09pm
 Ken Coughlin (far left in white) was part of the car-free Central Park announcement as a tribute to his advocacy.
Ken Coughlin (far left in white) was part of the car-free Central Park announcement as a tribute to his advocacy.
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UPPER WEST SIDE — Nearly a year after making the upper half of Central Park car-free, the Department of Transportation released a 2016 bike map Monday omitting that fact completely. 

Last June, advocates, elected officials and the Department of Transportation celebrated a decision by Mayor Bill de Blasio to make Central Park permanently car-free at all times above West 72nd Street. Many cyclists and street-safety proponents had fought for car restrictions in the park for years. 

The change, which a DOT spokeswoman described at the time as "the biggest move for car-free Central Park the city has ever taken," went into effect immediately on June 29, 2015. 

But residents and visitors to the city wouldn't know that by looking at a new 2016 bike lane map released Monday that's available online and will be printed and distributed to libraries, schools and bike shops.

The map incorrectly lists the times when cars are allowed along West Drive as 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. on weekdays, despite the fact that the rule was changed. Cars are no longer allowed north of West 72nd Street on West Drive at any time. 

The map also incorrectly lists the times when cars are permitted along the park's East Drive, stating that they're allowed between 3 and 7 p.m. No cars are allowed north of East 72nd Street at any time along the East Drive under the now nine-month-old rule. 

The blunder bothered bike advocates, who are pushing for even more of the park to become car free. 

"I'm disappointed that the DOT's mapmakers would get such an important fact wrong, effectively reversing at least on paper a hard-won victory," local resident and cycling advocate Ken Coughlin wrote in an email. 

"However, given the complicated car-free rules depending on where you are in the park and at what time, one can understand how even the experts might get confused. Wouldn't it be easier (not to mention safer) just to make the entire loop car-free, as it was always intended to be?"

A Department of Transportation spokesperson said the agency was aware of the issue and looking into it.

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