Proceed without Caution

Many city park agencies are closing park roads to cars, either permanently or periodically. This article describes some of the benefits and pitfalls of closing park roads, and discusses why closures can often be a controversial decision. A recent survey of large cities showed that at least 22 park drives, totaling more than 40 miles, have been closed to cars either all or part of the time. These closures often are made to improve the park's environment and to help citizens enhance their health. Road closures can also save money and increase safety. Studies have also shown that an automobile ban increases rather than decreases the number of persons using a park. Despite these benefits, many users do not want park roads closed. In some cases, park roads are used by daily commuters and people who park their cars there. Other users, including some disabled or elderly people, prefer to enjoy the park while remaining in their car. The argument over park road closure is often contentious, with few facts and many personal opinions, individual anecdotes and unsubstantiated assumptions. Agencies considering park road closures should first target roads that have little traffic to begin with. Closing only a portion of the road can also win over opposition. Whenever a road is considered for closure, planners must address the underlying issue of access. If private automobiles are banned, other modes such as walking, bicycling and transit need to be provided so that all people can still enjoy the park.

  • Availability:
  • Authors:
    • Harnik, Peter
    • Welle, Ben
  • Publication Date: 2008-7


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Print
  • Features: Photos; Tables;
  • Pagination: pp 24-27
  • Serial:

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01105286
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Jul 30 2008 8:10AM