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Ban On Cars On West Drive In Prospect Park Takes Effect

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Drivers who cut through parts of Prospect Park will need to find an alternative route as a new ban on cars takes effect Monday.

West Drive between Grand Army Plaza and Park Circle, which had been open to vehicles for two hours during weekday afternoons, is now permanently car free.

The eastern side will be also be closed except for a two-hour period from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. on weekdays. Cars were already banned from the park on weekends.

Ban On Cars On West Drive In Prospect Park Takes Effect

"These will be permanent changes, and they will significantly reduce traffic in the park and make it safer, quieter and more enjoyable," Mayor Bill de Blasio said.

The mayor announced the ban last month with the support of many runners and pedestrians.

"The cars go too fast, and there's children in the park," said runner Leslee Feldman.

"This park is fantastic for people, for dogs, for bike riders, exercisers," said pedestrian Linda Gaal. "There's a  lot of other places the cars can be."

"I'm really excited about it. I think that it is a breakthrough," Susanna, who likes to skate in the park, told WCBS 880's Peter Haskell. "I think it's great. I think it was a long time coming."

The move follows a similar initiative banning cars from Central Park north of 72nd Street.

But not everyone is a fan.

"There's going to be more traffic in the city every time we can't go through here," one driver said.

Some are also wondering if there's some sort of bias. The west side of the park is upscale Park Slope. The east side is middle class Prospect/Lefferts Gardens. Cars are now banned on West Drive, but not on East Drive.

"Growing up in Brooklyn, the park was a dividing line," Diane Houslin said.

But Polly Trottenberg, commissioner of the city Department of Transportation, said that is not the case.

"This is a matter of traffic analysis and making sure that the streets on the east side of the park are safe and not wanting to put that large a volume of cars out there quite yet," she said.

Trottenberg said East Drive was found to be twice as busy as West Drive.

The car ban is part of de Blasio's traffic safety initiative in the city.

He has made his "Vision Zero" plan a big part of his mayoralty, including reducing the speed limit, cracking down on careless drivers and redesigning dangerous intersections in an effort to reduce traffic injuries and deaths.

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