A Brooklyn runner is gaining traction with an online petition to ban traffic from Prospect and Central Parks.
“There’s no one opposing, no one stepping up to sayI like cars in Prospect Park, I want more cars in Prospect Park,” Michael Ring, who started the petition, told Metro.
In the petition, Ring calls on Mayor Bill de Blasio to “completely close Prospect and Central Parks to traffic.”
“Mayor de Blasio, stop this unneeded rush hour traffic in the parks now and we will remember your name as the person who saved lives,” Ring said in the petition.
The petition, started three weeks ago, was fewer than 200 signatures shy of the 1,500 goal on Tuesday afternoon.
Both Prospect and Central parks are only open to cars during select hours of the day.
Ring said he could envision a family deciding to go to the park and walking across the road. “An hour and a half later when they’re ready to come back, they don’t know that road is a highway. The rush hour only hours are confusing to drivers and pedestrians,” Ring said.
Ring, who describes himself as a marathoner who is temporarily disabled and recovering from Guillain-Barre syndrome, said he took up the cause after spending several months in the hospital and having extra time while he recuperates.
“I’m going to by the guy who is polite and vociferous and not give up until this changes,” Ring said.
Councilmember Brad Lander is supporting Ring’s petition, and said in a statement sent to Metro: “In light of strong and growing support from my constituents -- as reflected in the Change.org petition created by our good friend Michael Ring -- of the long-term success of the Prospect Park Drive reconfiguration in 2011 that significantly reduced traffic in the park, and of our continued work together toward Vision Zero, I agree: the time has come to get rush-hour traffic out of Prospect Park. I look forward to working on this effort."
Last year several high profile bike accidents, including a bicycle accident that killed Jill Tarlov, a Connecticut pedestrian, led to an increase in tickets for cyclists found speeding on the paths.
According to advocacy group Transportation Alternatives, a woman riding a bicycle was killed by a speeding van back in 1997.
Both Ring and Transportation Alternatives told Metro that reliable numbers on car-pedestrian incidents are not kept.