Petition to Mitchell J. Silver, Bill de Blasio, Melissa Mark-Viverito, Douglas Blonsky, MARK LEVINE
Create safe pathways for Central Park's visitors by using arches to separate pedestrian and cyclist traffic flows
Every year, Central Park has over 42 million visitors. This beloved park offers city residents and tourists alike great expanses and intimate spaces of peace and tranquility, seemingly far away from the hustle and bustle of the New York yet right in its center. Despite this tranquility, the park's crosswalks and pathways are bustling with life: a moving patchwork of pedestrians, vendors, emergency vehicles and bicyclists all precariously close to one another. These crossing, where little separation exists between vehicular and pedestrian traffic, are too often the scene of accidents and ‘close calls.' During the second half of 2014 we even lost the lives of two pedestrians in Central Park bicycle collisions. Absent further action, accidents such as these are bound to become more and more common with the continued adoption of bicycle transportation within New York City. It is our responsibility as citizens and legislators alike to create safer pathways for both pedestrians and cyclists. Fortunately, this can be done in a way that can allow ease of travel while maintaining original charm and function of the park. Central Park's arches were originally intended to serve both an aesthetic purpose in maintaining the park’s beauty as well as a functional purpose in separating pedestrians from carriage traffic. In modern times, roadways were simplified and crosswalks were favored to the infallible and more elegant arch. We ask the government of New York City to restore arches created then later destroyed by the park’s original architects, Frederic Law Olmstead and Calvert Vaux and to amend pathways that were simplified nullifying the intention of arches which still exist. Placing these arches at the park's most dangerous intersections will not only create safer crossings but allow us to pay respect to the original and groundbreaking design of the park; maintaining the timeless and seamless beauty of a space beloved by millions while allowing for both the casual stroll and faster bicycle ride without fear of danger or injury effectively siphoning bicycle and pedestrian traffic into two uninterrupted corridors. Caught at a crossroads where ‘looking back’ can actually enhance the future, reclaiming and utilizing original park arch designs allow us to maintain the significance, scope and beauty of the park while averting traffic congestion and disasters which, if not addressed, can and will lead to frustration and unfortunate injury. Let’s keep Central Park beautiful and safe.