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No Cars Allowed In Central Park Above 72nd Street As Vehicle Ban Goes Into Effect

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) -- Cars are no longer allowed in Central Park north of 72nd Street.

The car ban officially went into effect on Monday. The four transverse roads, which link the east and west sides of Manhattan, are below park level and remain open to cars.

Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the vehicle ban earlier in June. It also applies to parts of Prospect Park in Brooklyn.

Central Park Car Ban In Effect

It's a change many visitors in the park appreciate. Before now, they had to share the roadway with cars when parts of it were open to drivers during the morning and evening rush.

"I'm so happy," Upper East Side resident Ruth Scholossberg told CBS2's Ilana Gold.

"This is an oasis and it should be kept that way," said Upper West Side resident Natalie Yates.

"I think it's a great thing," said Upper East Side resident Adam Glazer. "I think cars pose a danger to runners, walkers, kids."

"Having less cars or no cars makes it safer for runners and cyclists," said Midtown resident Elliott Arthur.

But many drivers oppose the ban.

Deyvi Franco is an Uber driver who depended on this route every day to beat traffic.

"I don't know what the mayor is thinking, but that's not a good idea," said Franco. "There's going to be more traffic in the city."

"I don't like it, it makes it harder for me to do my job," said Bronx resident Joseph Addy. "It's going to make my timing worse for my job. I don't think it's fair."

During Monday morning's commute, CBS2 did not see heavy congestion on Central Park West where cars can no longer access the park. The Department of Transportation doesn't anticipate any major problems.

"Over time as you push more cars out of the park, they find their way into the local street grid," said DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg. "We will be monitoring closely signal timing, we'll have traffic agents out there. We won't just do this and walk away."

And there could be even more changes at the park. City Council members are now saying they want to make the south side by 72nd Street car free as well.

"Cars are competing with the bikes, pedestrians, horse carriages and now pedi-cabs," said council member Helen Rosenthal.

Cars were previously banned in portions of Central Park the last two summers.

(TM and © Copyright 2015 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2015 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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