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Broadway To Close For 3rd Annual Car Free Day In NYC

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- A major stretch of Broadway in Manhattan will go car free for one day this spring in honor of Earth Day.

City leaders announced the 3rd Annual Car Free Day will be April 21.

Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez, chair of the transportation committee, had to apologize to the waiting crowd as he arrived for the kick-off event Tuesday.

He was half an hour late to his own news conference because he got stuck on an A train because of a smoke condition at 125th Street, WCBS 880' Ethan Harp reported.

Still, he believes it's worth the commitment for commuters to take either a subway, bus or ferry on the Saturday before Earth Day.

Council Speaker Corey Johnson thinks it will help move the conversation toward mass transit investment.

"To have more people take the subway, if it's working, to have more people use Citi Bike, which I know will work," Johnson said.

Brooklyn Councilman Carlos Menchaca is the proud non-owner of a car and hopes the event and others like it will help sell people on the idea of finding another way around.

"Imagine a day in New York City where we do not have any cars on the streets that are owned by private citizens, where we can walk to work and breathe," Menchaca said.

Johnson pointed to last year's results saying there were "30,000 more people on the subway that day."

"We saw 15 more Citi Bike trips per Citi Biki docking station," said Johnson, who supports the controversial congestion pricing plan. "The motto goes, 'Pedestrians first, cyclists second, vehicles last.'

In Manhattan, Broadway will be closed to vehicles from Times Square to Union Square.

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