March 31, 2022
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NYC DOT Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez Announces Largest-Ever Car-Free Earth Day with Over 150 Participating Partners
This year, DOT will expand programming to include neighborhoods in all five boroughs -- on Saturday April 23rd
New York — New York City Department of Transportation Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez was joined in Times Square by community partners and elected officials to announce programming for the fifth annual Car-Free Earth Day – to be celebrated this year on Saturday, April 23rd. (Earth Day will be globally observed on Friday, April 22nd.)
"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 NYC DOT Commissioner Rodriguez. "Car-Free Earth Day is a growing tradition that allows New York 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."
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. At an announcement in Times Square, DOT outlined how 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 1000 miles of NYC's bike network. Each location will bring a wide range of activities from music, dance, art, bike programming, cultural activities, and educational workshops.
Originally and first envisioned by Commissioner Rodriguez when he served as Council Transportation Chair, Car-Free Earth Day brings together dozens of elected officials, advocacy groups, and private and public institutions to support a campaign that emphasizes sustainability and asks New Yorkers to leave their cars at home on Earth Day – and use other viable transportation options on that day. Since its inception, Car-Free Earth Day has partnered with a variety of artists, performers, organizations, and companies to make the event a success.
This year's Car-Free Earth Day kicks off DOT's 2022 Open Streets and Public Space Programming season. DOT is excited to work alongside community members and partners to announce the equitable expansion of the car-free programming to 8 locations throughout all the boroughs. Areas open for pedestrians and cyclists will be:
Lower East Side**
Route: Avenue B (Open Street), East 6 Street to East 14 Street
Open Street Active Hours (8:00am – 8:00pm)
Programming Highlights (11:00am – 5:00pm):
- Activities with Loisaida, FABnyc East Village Community Coalition, The Bio Bus, Materials for the Arts, The Horticultural Society of New York, Brooklyn Black Cowboys, Citizens' Climate Lobby, and DOT Safety Education
- Performances by Batala New York, Drag Queen Story Hour, Marching Cobras, and Teresa Fellion Dance
Route: Broadway, East 17 Street to West 42 Street
Programming Highlights (11:00am – 5:00pm):
- Family-friendly fitness with Zing! and Future of NYC's EV fleet display with the DCAS Office of Fleet Management in Broadway Boulevard Plaza at 40 Street and activities with the Times Square Alliance in Times Square Plaza at 42 Street
- Family-friendly games and activities at 25 - 27 Streets with the Flatiron BID, as well as a bike ride and trivia with The Brown Bike Girl, and workshops with NYC Department of City Planning, NYC Department of Environmental Protection, and DOT Safety Education
- Pop-up performances along the route with Fogo Azul
Route: St. Nicholas Avenue, 181 Street to 190 Street
Programming Highlights (11:00am – 5:00pm):
- Performances by The Jazz Power Initiative and Dance Project of Washington Heights
- Sports and fitness activities with Adeusa, The Armory Foundation and Van Cortlandt Titans Youth Football, as well as a kids learn to ride class with Bike New York
- Activities and workshops with the Washington Heights BID, Centro Civico Cultural Domicano, Citizens' Climate Lobby, Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), NYC Department of Sanitation (DSNY), DOT Safety Education, Uptown Stories, and Word Up Community Bookstore
Route: Southbound Mosholu Parkway, Van Cortlandt Avenue East to Bainbridge Avenue
Programming Highlights (11:00am – 5:00pm):
- Flatbed Follies performances by Bindlestiff Family Cirkus and King Charles Troupe unicycle basketball performances
- E-Scooter demonstrations and helmet giveaways with Bird, Lime and Veo
- Activities and workshops with DOT Pedestrian Unit, DOT Safety Education, Montefiore Medical Center, NYC Parks Williamsbridge Oval Recreation Center and the Wildlife Conservation Society
Location: Roberto Clemente Plaza and Willis Avenue Open Street at 148 Street
Programming Highlights (11:00am – 5:00pm):
- Family-friendly games, bike information and helmet giveaway with the Third Avenue BID
- Dance performances and workshops with Silver Shoes Dance Club and Mazarte Dance
- Activities and workshops with Citizens' Climate Lobby, NYC Department of City Planning, NYC Department of Environmental Protection, and DOT Safety Education
Route: Tompkins Avenue, Gates Avenue to Halsey Street
Open Street Active Hours (11:00am – 7:00pm)
Programming Highlights (11:00am – 5:00pm):
- Street Lab's Street Marker installation, featuring chalk and custom chalk tools to draw and create expansive murals, and BUILD, an interactive building station featuring Lego, Magna-Tiles, and more
- Activities and workshops with Citizens' Climate Lobby, EDSA, Mechanical Gardens, NYC Department of City Planning, NYC Department of Environmental Protection, and the The Horticulture Society of New York
Route: 34 Avenue, 69 Street to Junction Boulevard
Open Street Active Hours (7:00am – 8:00pm)
Programming Highlights (11:00am – 5:00pm):
- Performances by Green Tape Productions, Lotus Dance, Michael Rosman and Queensboro Dance
- Activities and workshops with Citizens' Climate Lobby, NYC Department of City Planning, NYC Department of Environmental Protection, DOT Safety Education, and the Horticultural Society of New York
- Pop-up learning activities with the Street Lab
Route: Minthorne Street, Bay Street to Victory Boulevard
Programming Highlights (11:00am-5:00pm):
- Performances by Hungry March Band, Mambembé NY and The Dal Segño Brass Band
- Activities and workshops with HONK NYC, Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden, The Glam Gardener, Citizens' Climate Lobby, DCAS Office of Fleet Management, NYC Department of City Planning, NYC Department of Environmental Protection and DOT Safety Education
- DJ Jen & Nutmeg of Maker Park Radio will DJ at Minthorne Street
*New CFED corridors
** Open Street/Plaza Locations, new to CFED
For a full list of the programming please make sure to check out the Car-Free Earth Day website which is constantly being updated at nyc.gov/carfreenyc
"When we open streets to pedestrians and cyclists, they become community spaces for our neighborhoods and a boon to our local small businesses," said Public Advocate Jumaane D. Williams. "I'm glad this program has already experienced so much success, and I hope that this initiative grows to include more spaces, especially in our outer boroughs."
"It's great 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. "Thank you to DOT for organizing this fun, city-wide initiative as we celebrate Earth Day."
"I commend Mayor Adams, Commissioner Rodriguez, and the entire DOT team for expanding an already highly successful program," said Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine. "I look forward to enjoying this year's Car-Free Earth Day utilizing this temporary expansion of public space, with great connections to some our borough's and city's best Open Streets. We should treat every day like it's Car-Free Earth Day by investing heavily in expansions of bus lanes, bike lanes, public space, and Open Streets, and I look forward to working with the Administration to making Manhattan a healthier and greener borough."
"I'm thrilled to celebrate Car-Free Earth Day in Queens and across the city this year. We've come such a long way since 2016 when this program first launched, and I'm encouraged that we'll continue to move ahead to not only effectively reduce our carbon footprint, but also build more reliable public transit options so that New Yorkers feel even more inclined to utilize it," said Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr. "I look forward to seeing the festivities on Jackson Heights' stellar 34th Avenue Open Street, which will undoubtedly be a great way to kick off the DOT's highly anticipated Open Streets and Public Space Programming season for our friends and families."
"With the rise in extreme weather, and the damage we have seen from storms in recent months, it is clear that we must come together and implement creative ways to tackle climate change," said Bronx Borough President Vanessa L. Gibson. "This Earth Day, I encourage Bronxites to begin implementing changes when it comes to transportation, and I applaud the New York City Department of Transportation and Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez on their fifth annual Car-Free Earth Day, which will emphasize sustainability while providing fun and educational activities in our communities."
"Car-Free Day is a fun and innovative way to reaffirm our commitment to a green future," said Congressman Adriano Espaillat (NY-13). "I commend New York City Department of Transportation Commissioner Rodriguez on his dedication to investing in green infrastructure, transportation, and the vibrancy and growth of our city through this effort to reduce carbon emissions. The time is now to act on climate change and shift our efforts toward ensuring a more sustainable energy future."
"I applaud the New York City Department of Transportation's commitment to a greener more sustainable City with Car-Free Earth Day," said Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney. "New York City must be a leader in the global fight to combat climate change, and this important event can act as a template for a more sustainable future. Open, public spaces are not only a critical part of a more environmentally friendly NYC, they have been a lifeline to New Yorkers throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. I look forward to taking advantage of Car-Free Earth Day open streets this weekend."
"This Earth Day, I encourage New Yorkers to join us in making the world a greener place by going car-free and taking alternative transportation. Our streets are one of the largest public spaces in the city. Together we can create a better future and more equitable use of this public space for all to enjoy." said State Senator Brad Hoylman.
"The coronavirus pandemic has shown us that public health and environmental health are inextricably linked. Initiatives like Car-Free Earth Day highlight the importance of changing the way we travel, reducing our reliance on cars, and increasing accessibility to equitable, sustainable transportation systems particularly in communities that are disproportionately impacted by environmental justice," said State Senator Jamaal Bailey "As we work to build a greener and more livable city, I'm excited to see this initiative continue to expand and grow in the Bronx."
"Thank you Commissioner Rodriguez for continuing to organize Car-Free Earth Day. Today's Open Streets and Public Space programming is a great way to demonstrate how our city can thrive with fewer cars on the street." said Assembly Member Manny De Los Santos
Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz said: "With the impacts of climate change being more and more apparent with each severe weather event, encouraging New Yorkers to explore ways that they can get around without cars is of the utmost importance. We have lots of work to do in order to make it easier for New Yorkers to travel by mass transit or active transportation, and Car-Free Earth Day is a good way to continue growing support for this critical effort for our City. Thank you to Commissioner Rodriguez for his leadership on Car-Free Earth Day over the years, and I am glad to see it continuing into a new administration."
"It's great news that Commissioner Rodriguez and the Transportation Department are celebrating Earth Day by turning part of the city car-free city for the fifth year in a row" said Assembly Member Richard Gottfried, Chair of the Assembly Committee on Health. "By restricting vehicular traffic on key roadways throughout the city on Saturday, April 23, including on Broadway between Union Square and Times Square in the 75th Assembly District, NYCDOT is inspiring New Yorkers to imagine a healthier and more livable city."
"I am happy to support Earth Day and lend my support to the DOT in the expansion of the program this year, providing 8 locations throughout all five boroughs. I encourage all residents of New York City to take advantage of the car free public space. Join me on April 23rd in my district on Ave B to enjoy the festivities and promote sustainability and a thriving healthy environment." said Assembly Member Harvey Epstein, District 74.
"Transportation makes up nearly half of all CO2 emissions in New York with motor vehicles accounting for almost half of those emissions. We know that Black and Brown neighborhoods are disproportionately affected by environmental racism. We must continue to divest from fossil fuels in our city," said Council Member Carmen De La Rosa. "Car Free Earth Day shows us what our city could look like if we prioritize expanding alternate forms of transportation and invest in green energy. Thank you to Commissioner Rodriguez for continuing this important initiative."
"Once again, I commend Commissioner Rodriguez for implementing this program throughout the city. Efforts to address traffic congestion, vehicle emissions and promoting alternative modes of transportation is key, especially on the North Shore of Staten Island and Lower Manhattan. I hope programs like this give rise to more accessibly for cyclist and pedestrians throughout the city." said Assembly Member Charles D. Fall
"I am thrilled to celebrate the fifth annual Car-Free Earth Day here in New York City. As we shape our city's future, it's encouraging to see more New Yorkers prioritize sustainability and rethink how they move around the five boroughs," said Council Member and Majority Leader Keith Powers "Thank you Commissioner Rodriguez for putting together this event—I'm excited to see everyone enjoy all the open space New York has to offer!"
"We have been celebrating Car-Free Earth Day since 2016. The pandemic years have revealed to New Yorkers the value of Open Streets through outdoor dining and cultural programming. These settings bring us together and give us a vision of a walkable city with an extensive transit system and a more sustainable future with less cars" said Council Member Gale A. Brewer (D-06).
"Car-Free Earth Day is a fantastic way to reclaim our public spaces for maximum public benefit. I commend then-Council Member, now-Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez for jump starting this initiative in 2016, and for spearheading its vision across our city," said Council Member Shekar Krishnan "I'm especially proud to host the Queens-based activation on 34th Avenue in Jackson Heights, the gold standard of the Open Streets Program in New York City serving the most diverse community in the nation."
"I look forward to joining our neighbors, community organizations, and local businesses for what I am sure will be a wonderful day of programming and workshops on Minthorne Street," said Council Member Kamillah Hanks. "A reminder about the steps we can all take to improve our sustainability is always welcome, and I commend Commissioner Rodriguez on expanding Car-Free Earth Day to 8 locations in all 5 boroughs."
"For over half a century Earth Day has helped to educate residents and serve as a springboard for change," said Tiffany-Ann Taylor, Vice President, Transportation, Regional Plan Association. "Now more than ever we understand the connection between our transportation choices and their impacts on pollution, public health, and our fragile environment. By supporting no or low carbon options, improvements to our transportation network and public spaces, NYC DOT continues a wonderful Earth Day legacy. RPA is pleased to join them in promoting more environmentally sound transportation options in New York City."
"Car-Free Earth Day is an important opportunity to showcase the benefits of Open Streets, and the importance of providing them with resources, support, and permanent infrastructure so they can thrive in many more New York City neighborhoods," said Juan Restrepo, Senior Organizer at Transportation Alternatives. "Not only are car-free streets good for our climate, but study after study shows that car-free streets significantly reduce traffic violence too. Car-free streets are key to our NYC 25x25 vision to reprioritize streets for people and must also be central in our approach to Vision Zero."
"Car-Free Earth Day demonstrates how much safer, cleaner, healthier and more vibrant the city is when streets are reclaimed for people," said Ken Podziba, President and CEO of Bike New York. "We at Bike New York commend Commissioner Rodriguez for not only continuing the tradition of this celebrated day but also for ensuring its expansion to all five boroughs. Car-Free Earth Day empowers New Yorkers to unite in support of needed improvements 365 days a year, such as a network of protected bike lanes and more space for pedestrians."
"Clear Channel Outdoor is proud to team with the NYC Department of Transportation in support of Car-Free Earth Day as we work together to encourage New Yorkers to give up their car for a day," said Josh Scharfberg, president, Clear Channel Outdoor- New York.
"Times Square has been part of the pedestrian improvement conversation since Broadway was first closed to traffic back in 2009, so it is appropriate to be here in Times Square to celebrate this work creating an improved pedestrian experience city-wide," said Tom Harris, President of the Times Square Alliance. "Commissioner Rodriguez has been a leader and partner as both the Chair of the Transportation Committee and now the DOT Commissioner and we look forward to working with him on more improvements to the public space experience in Times Square."
"Tackling climate change requires taking bold action," said Liam Blank, Policy & Communications Manager for Tri-State Transportation Campaign. "Car-Free Earth Day shows us what's possible when we reimagine our streets, promote sustainable mobility, and provide more community programming. We are thrilled that NYCDOT is expanding on this tradition because we must roll back our overreliance on cars in order to make our city safer, and for there to be any hope in saving the environment we all depend on."
"On Car-Free Earth Day–and every day–Street Lab is excited to support communities that are re-envisioning what's possible for city streets," said Leslie Davol, Street Lab Co-Founder and Executive Director "Today is a moment for New York City to continue championing the way towards a sustainable future."
"Third Avenue Business Improvement District is proud to unlock the potential of our streets as part of Car-Free Earth Day which launches our public program season" said Michael Brady, CEO of Third Avenue Business Improvement District. "With over 350,000 daily visitors, walking and public transit remain by far the transit mode of choice for the Bronx's busiest transportation center. Car-Free Earth Day gives us inspiration to reimagine our streets and public space. We are pleased to offer a preview of our upcoming free, fitness classes, youth activites, salsa lessons, outdoor dining and so much more! Join us."
"What a great way to celebrate Car-Free Earth Day and honor the environment by highlighting DOT's open streets program!" said Jim Burke, 34th Ave Open Street Coalition "Our open street, 34 Avenue in Jackson Heights, Queens, has become a community center, performance space, an outdoor classroom, a gym, and a micro mobility corridor all rolled into one."
"We are grateful to the Department of Transportation for including Minthorne Street in the Open Streets Program, which has been a huge win for small business in New York City," said Sam Angiuli, The Angiuli Group "We are excited to collaborate with the DOT for Earth Day and do our part to positively impact the planet."
"The Loisaida Open Streets Community Coalition (LOSCC) is pleased to partner with DOT and Loisaida United Neighborhood Gardens (LUNGS) on this year's Car-Free Earth Day!" said Laura Sewell, Loisaida Open Streets Community Coalition "Three blocks of the Ave B Open Street adjacent to Tompkins Square Park will be transformed into a fantastic car-free experience, hosting free kids' pony rides from the Black Cowboys of Brooklyn, a popup garden, seed and plant giveaways, workshops and performances from local artists. Ave B is the place to be on Saturday afternoons, starting April 23!"
"In collaboration with DOT and the Tompkins Avenue Merchants Association, Bridge Street is excited to host a Car-Free Earth Day on Tompkins Avenue that teaches the importance of shared space and the environment for the whole family," said Oma Holloway, Chief Operating Officer, Bridge Street Development Corporation "Our Open Streets in Bedford Stuyvesant will be the ideal location for the community to come out to celebrate and enjoy Earth Day festivities in Brooklyn."
"EDSA is excited to partner with the Tompkins Avenue community and local partners in Brooklyn to bring life into the streets!" said Katie Poppel, Associate, EDSA "Active public space is at the heart of landscape architecture and planning, and we can't wait to show the community fun, interactive, and sustainable uses for our streets."
"FogoAzul is extremely excited to once again participate in NYC DOT's Car-Free Earth Day. We're looking forward to bringing the beats to Broadway in support of Mother Earth." Said Stacy Kovacs, Director of Fogo Azul
"BodyStories: Teresa Fellion Dance is thrilled to be a part of Car-Free Earth Day with the NYC Department of Transportation! It's so important for us to work together with our fellow New Yorkers to work towards a healthier Earth. Having open streets and car free days is such a wonderful practice for doing just that and bringing us all together in New York City. We're so excited to be teaching dance and performing on this day full of festivities and performances and are very grateful to be involved!" said Teresa Fellion, Artistic Director, Bodystories: Teresa Fellion Dance
"We'd like to take this opportunity to advocate for the various changes we can all make to take care of the earth. Reducing car use is just one of the many ways we can improve our relationship with the earth and our environment. The Friends of Mosholu Parkway encourages everyone to get involved in any way possible. From less car use to recycling food scraps, we are located in The Bronx and can help to guide you." said Aesha Valencia, Friends of Mosholu Parkway
"Car-Free Earth Day is a great initiative that helps get cars off the road, open up our streets and reduce both emissions and pollution by promoting micro mobility options. We can't drive our way out of the climate crisis -- for New York to make a serious impact in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, we need to promote clean public transportation -- and we need to make these options accessible, affordable, and effective for commuters," said Julie Tighe, President of the New York League of Conservation Voters "The New York League of Conservation Voters is excited to support this programming as we continue to work together and educate residents on the benefits of getting cars off the road for our communities, for public health, and for the environment."
"We are excited to celebrate Car-Free Earth Day on Broadway with Flatiron & NoMad businesses, residents, and visitors. Since our founding in 2006, the Flatiron/23rd Street Partnership has worked with NYC DOT on its long-term vision of a pedestrian-focused Broadway through our district. These enhancements began with the initial rollout of the Flatiron Public Plazas in 2008 and continued with the installation of Manhattan's first Shared Street in 2017," said James Mettham, Executive Director, Flatiron 23rd Street Partnership. "New initiatives are supporting economic recovery and pedestrian safety including Open Streets, expanded outdoor dining, the Flatiron Slow Street from 21st to 23rd Street, and most recently, the NoMad Piazza Pop-Up from 25th to 27th Street that is coming back by popular demand later this week. We look forward to continued collaboration and improvements with DOT as part of their exciting Broadway Vision program in 2022."
"We're glad to see Car-Free Earth Day expanding to all five boroughs in 2022, and highlighting some of the city's most vibrant and successful Open Streets projects, like 34th Avenue in Jackson Heights and Avenue B on the Lower East Side. We look forward to working with Commissioner Rodriguez and the Department of Transportation to make car-free days an everyday reality for more and more New Yorkers." said Eric McClure, Executive Director for StreetsPAC