NYC Car-Free Earth Day returns after a two-year hiatus – The Ticker

Jim Griffin | Wikimedia Commons

This year marks the return of the fifth annual Car-Free Earth Day, where 100 streets in New York City were without vehicles on April 23. These streets are closed to vehicles from 11:00 to 17:00 and in lieu of vehicles, there is space for pedestrians. and cyclists to enjoy community programs and shows.

Car freeways are spread over the five boroughs. Some of these walks include St. Nicholas Avenue between 181st Street and 190th Street in Manhattan and Minthorne Street between Bay Street and Victory Boulevard on Staten Island, according to an article from Thrillist.

Usually, car-less days take place the weekend before or after Earth Day.

“We encourage all New Yorkers to embrace the streets and imagine what might happen if we opened our roads to more than just moving private vehicles,” said New York City Department of Transportation Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez.

The closed streets give people the opportunity to take advantage of free activities such as fitness classes, musical performances, games and prizes. Citi Bike offers people unlimited 30-minute rides on a classic Citi Bike for the day if they use the code CARFREE22 in the Citi Bike app.

Some of the other activities include events with Botanical Life/Black Girls Sew or Drag Queen Story Hour. Drag Queen Story Hour is a program for children where local waria read stories to children in libraries, bookstores and schools.

“Earth Day is when we can all commit to protecting our Earth — and one way we can do that is by changing the direction of our highways,” Rodriguez said in a DOT press release.

Rodriguez started Car-Free Earth Day in 2016. At the time, he was a board member who chairs the council’s transportation committee, according to Gothamist.

When Car Free Earth Day launched, it only covered the streets of Manhattan, but has now expanded to streets in every region.

MPs and politicians have shown support for the event. Many of them see it as a step towards a greener New York City.

“It’s exciting to celebrate another ‘Car-Free Earth Day,’ encouraging New Yorkers to use alternative and more environmentally conscious modes of transportation,” said Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso in a DOT press release.

In addition, some also saw the day as a boon for small businesses and a way for people to connect with one another.

“When we open the way for pedestrians and cyclists, it becomes a community space for our neighborhood and a boon to our local small business,” said Public Advocate Jumaane Williams in a DOT press release.

Car Free Earth Day helps New Yorkers reduce their carbon footprint and climate impact. A report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said that climate change has caused substantial damage in such areas as ecosystem damage and has reduced food and water security.

According to EcoWatch, the IPCC says that quitting gas-powered cars is the most important thing individuals can do to help the environment.

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