WASHINGTON HEIGHTS — Car Free Day is back, and this time it will be accompanied by more street closings and events throughout the community, officials said.
The #CarFreeNYC initiative, which launched last year as part of Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez’s initiative to reduce car use on Earth Day, will take place this Earth Day, Saturday, April 22.
While last year's event took place on Wadsworth Avenue between 173rd and 177th streets, this year's will be held along the busy corridor of St. Nicholas Avenue between 181st and 190th streets, Rodriguez spokesman Russell Murphy said.
“It’s a main, busy corridor, where people are more naturally walking throughout the day,” Murphy said, adding that there will more organizations participating in the event as well.
So far, the initiative is set to include more than a dozen activities from groups like the People’s Theater Project and the Northern Manhattan Improvement Corporation, which will lead a Zumba class.
Citibike will again offer free rides, as well as bike demonstrations and giveaways, according to a spokesman. The Department of Transportation will be doing helmet fittings for residents, hosting a children's bike swap and conducting bicycling classes for all ages. The New York Restoration Project will also host a morning tour of Sherman Creek Park in Inwood.
Other organizations, like Uptown Basketball Alliance, Dance Washington Heights and the Washington Heights Improvement District, will offer sports and dance clinics for the community throughout the day.
Murphy said a study conducted by Cubic Transportation showed there was an increase in the use of public transportation during Car Free Day, with more than “30,000 riders [higher] than the season’s daily average on the MTA subway,” according to the report. The data also showed a “significant” increase in usage of bike-sharing programs.
The councilman will host a press conference Wednesday at noon on 181st street and St. Nicholas Avenue — along with 20 executive directors of many of the participating organizations — to highlight issues around climate change and why it’s important to hold a car-free day.
“They will discuss programming planned throughout the day and what Uptown residents can look forward to for Saturday,” Murphy said.