\u2022 New York is proposing to shut down perimeter roads of
Central Park and Brooklyn's Prospect Park all summer long.
\u2022 Atlanta plans to transform 53 acres of blighted, unused
land into new bike-friendly green space.
\u2022 Philadelphia, Cleveland, Chicago, and El Paso, Texas,
are planning events to promote car-free days in public parks,
most in the hope that the idea will become permanent or extend
"Cities across America are increasingly declaring that parks
are for people, not cars, ... and closing roads within parks is
one result of that," says Ben Welle with The Trust for Public
Land's Center for City Park Excellence, in Washington.
Resistance can be fierce at first, he and others say, because
of worries about traffic congestion, parking problems, and loss
of visitors for businesses and museums. But studies are showing
that traffic problems can be minimized, shops and museums get
more visitors, and residents begin to cherish their where-the-
The model city for road closure is Bogot�, Colombia, which in
1983 embarked on a program called ciclovia (bike path), in
which designated streets were closed to cars every Sunday but
open for jogging, biking, dancing, playing ball, walking pets,
strolling with babies \u2013 anything but driving. One-and-a-
half million people now turn out each week for ciclovia. Other
cities in Latin America followed suit, closing parts of parks
or whole urban districts to cars \u2013 some intermittently,
some permanently. A result: revitalized neighborhoods and an
influx of people.
Smaller US cities, from Davenport, Iowa, to Huntington Beach,
Calif., are also starting to create car-free zones, according
to Mr. Welle's studies.
Beginning this month, El Paso will detour cars from seven roads
every Sunday from 7 to 11 a.m. so that cyclists, joggers, and
pedestrians can use them instead.
interesting that S America is leading the way and innovating
while N America timidly follows.
:De Clarke, Software Engineer UCO/Lick Observatory, UCSC:
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