Following the lead of innovative cities such as Bogota, El Paso, Ottowa, Guadalajara and Paris, New York City is shifting its focus from cars to people on its streets.  Through its Summer Streets program, the city will close down a 6.9-mile stretch of road to cars on three consecutive Saturdays between the Brooklyn Bridge and East 72nd Street, creating an opportunity for safe cycling, walking and exploring.

The program is modeled off of Ciclovia, a similar initiative in Bogota, Colombia, that provides 70 miles worth of car-free streets each weekend to pedestrians and cyclists.  Now in its 32nd year, Ciclovia is considered to be an enormous success.

The road closure isn’t favored by all.  Taxi drivers and business owners alike are concerned about the financial impact of their livelihoods.

The Summer Streets route will include stretches of Centre Street, Lafayette, Fourth Avenue and Park Avenue and will take place on August 9, 16 and 23 from 7am until 1pm.

Further Reading:

  • Car-Free Streets, a Colombian Import, Inspire Debate [NY Times]
  • City to Experiment with Car-Free Streets [CityRoom