NEW YORK – Here’s something you won't be seeing much in New York City on Saturday -- traffic.
The Big Apple is going mostly car-free from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. EDT for a day in honor of Earth Week.
Sections of the city are celebrating the fifth annual Car-Free Earth Day, and people are encouraged to hit the pavement, hop on a bike or take mass transit.
"Earth Day is when we can all commit to protecting our Earth – and one way we can do that is by repurposing our roadways," said New York City Department of Transportation Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez who feels the annual tradition allows the city’s car-free streets to come alive.
"The last two years – of Open Streets, Open Restaurants, the surge in cycling and so much more -- have only made us appreciate even more how much better we must treat Mother Earth -- and a day without cars allows us to envision a more sustainable world for more than just one day," Rodriguez said.
First launched in 2016, Car-Free Earth Day originally had converted select Manhattan streets into public plazas and car-free streets for pedestrians, cyclists, and local businesses.
This year's event – the first since 2019 -- would expand the original model, with programming in all five boroughs, connecting over 100 open streets, 22 plazas, and accessing over 1,000 miles of the city’s bike network.
Emissions from transportation, primarily cars, buses, and trucks, contribute a significant amount of pollution to our air on a daily basis, according to the New York City Department of Environmental Protection.
Motor vehicles contribute approximately 11% of the local fine particulate matter and 28% of the nitrogen oxide emissions each year, the city reports. New York officials have been actively finding ways to reduce motor vehicles emissions by passing and enforcing rules to use cleaner fuels across the city and to reduce unnecessary emissions like idling.
On Saturday, Citi Bike will be offering free day passes. Use the code CARFREE22 in the Citi Bike app to receive unlimited 30-minute rides on a classic Citi Bike for 24 hours.
Areas open for pedestrians, cyclists
- Lower East SideRoute: Avenue B (Open Street), East 6 Street to East 14 Street
- MidtownRoute: Broadway, East 17 Street to West 42 Street
- Washington HeightsRoute: St. Nicholas Avenue, 181 Street to 190 Street
- Mosholu ParkwayRoute: Southbound Mosholu Parkway, Van Cortlandt Avenue East to Bainbridge Avenue
- South BronxLocation: Roberto Clemente Plaza and Willis Avenue Open Street at 148 Street
- Bed StuyRoute: Tompkins Avenue, Gates Avenue to Halsey Street
- Jackson HeightsRoute: 34 Avenue, 69 Street to Junction Boulevard
- North ShoreRoute: Minthorne Street, Bay Street to Victory Boulevard