One of the world's most iconic parks is going vehicle-free this summer; New York City is banning all cars and trucks from Central Park.
"This park was not built for automobiles," Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Friday in Central Park. "It was built for people."
Central Park will reach its full potential by going car free. They didn't design it for cars in 1857, and it's not… https://t.co/C8S1ctco5y— Mayor Bill de Blasio (@Mayor Bill de Blasio)1524254847.0
Starting June 27, the day after public schools close, drives will be closed below 72nd Street. Cars are already banned on park drives north of 72nd Street at all times.
There are roughly 42 million visits to Central Park every year. Its 843 acres of green space is a welcome respite for tourists and residents of the bustling, crowded metropolis. However, a number of motorists drive through the park's various roads to get to their destinations.
"Now all of those people will have a safe, beautiful experience because this park will be car-free," de Blasio said.
Mayor de Blasio has prioritized environmental concerns since taking office. Earlier this year, the city government said it will divest its pension funds from fossil fuel investments and announced that it filed suit against five oil giants for contributing to climate change. In Sept. 2014, the year he was sworn in, de Blasio announced New York City's plan to reduce carbon emissions by 80 percent from 2005 levels by 2050.
"This announcement is very much connected to understanding what we have to do to protect our Earth and to fight against climate change," he said Friday, just days before Earth Day.
The world’s most famous park is going car free! Join me in Central Park for more. https://t.co/lrpbyyHmC2— Mayor Bill de Blasio (@Mayor Bill de Blasio)1524238390.0
"Parks in this city are sacred because, probably more than any place, our parks are our refuge, they are where we do everything—little league, and kids learning on the playground how to play for the beginning of their lives," de Blasio said. "For some of us, even more important things. My wife Chirlane and I got married under a tree in Prospect Park."
"They are an oasis," he added. "For some people, they are literally where they take their summer vacation, because that's what they can afford, to be in a park and that's even more important for those families."
According to the New York Times, the new rule will not affect the crucial traverses between 65th, 79th, 86th and 97th Streets, which are built below park level. Parks Department vehicles and emergency and police vehicles will be allowed access to the park.
Naomi Klein: 'New York City Is Taking a Game-Changing First Step in Turning the World Right Side Up'… https://t.co/OzIRam3gTD— EcoWatch (@EcoWatch)1515888031.0
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Four years ago, Jacob Abel cast his first presidential vote for Donald Trump. As a young conservative from Concord, North Carolina, the choice felt natural.
But this November, he plans to cast a "protest vote" for a write-in candidate or abstain from casting a ballot for president. A determining factor in his 180-degree turn? Climate change.
Fractures Among Young Climate Conservatives<p>While young conservatives have united around the urgency of climate change, they remain divided over how to bring their concerns to the ballot box. Some embrace right-wing <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/biden-attacks-republican-convention/2020/08/24/434e5b46-e66d-11ea-970a-64c73a1c2392_story.html" target="_blank">attacks</a> painting Biden as a "tool of the left" and find his climate agenda "radical." Others can't find a way to justify voting for Trump, even if it means breaking with their party.</p><p>Patrick Mann from Orange County, California, voted for Trump in 2016. But today, he's leading Aggies for Joe at Texas A&M University and is co-founder of Texas Students for Biden. </p><p>Mann grew up watching wildfires ravage his home state, nearly forcing his family to evacuate in 2017. The GOP is failing to "meet the moment" for climate action, Mann said. He's hoping Biden will deliver on a promise to "<a href="https://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/opinion/columnists/caucus/2020/01/06/joe-biden-democrat-president-iowa-caucus-restore-soul-our-nation/2806422001/" target="_blank">restore the soul of our nation</a>." </p><p>Taylor Walker from Pensacola, Florida, is also determined to make her voice heard on climate, including by casting her first-ever vote for president—but not for Biden.</p>
A False Equivalency<p>Young climate conservatives may fear climate denial and delayed climate action, but more than that, they fear the growing political momentum around the Green New Deal, the massive spending it entails and <a href="https://joebiden.com/climate-plan/" target="_blank">Biden's citing of it</a> as a "crucial framing for meeting the climate challenges we face."</p><p>Many don't want to split with their party to support a Democrat whose <a href="https://www.npr.org/2019/09/03/757220130/joe-biden-on-bipartisanship-gun-control-and-regrets-over-inaction-after-a-traged" target="_blank">allegedly bipartisan intentions</a> they doubt. If stymieing what they consider a radical green agenda means re-electing a climate change denying president, so be it. </p><p>"I'm scared of climate change, but I'm also scared of the Green New Deal and what it means for America," said Ben Mutolo, a republicEN spokesperson and junior at SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry. </p><p>Mutolo felt encouraged by former Ohio Governor John Kasich's <a href="https://www.rollcall.com/2020/08/17/kasich-speech-to-democratic-convention-follows-years-of-building-conservative-credentials/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">appearance</a> at the Democratic National Convention, but he still struggles to see himself voting for Biden. Though the candidate paints himself as a <a href="https://www.latimes.com/politics/story/2020-08-12/harris-biden-different-generation-similar-political-instinct" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">centrist,</a> Mutolo believes he's "cozying up to the ultra-progressive left." </p><p>Mutolo, who wants to see market-based climate solutions like a carbon tax, feels torn between a candidate whose climate plan relies on taking an "<a href="https://joebiden.com/environmental-justice-plan/#" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">All-of-Government approach</a>," and one with no efforts to reign in global warming at all. <span></span></p><p>Leiserowitz said he appreciated how a conservative might feel Biden's climate plan "doesn't jive with their limited government, free-market approach."</p><p>But he sees a strong distinction between voting for a presidential candidate with a <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/14/us/politics/biden-climate-plan.html" target="_blank">$2 trillion climate plan</a> that includes large renewable energy investments, which have <a href="https://climatecommunication.yale.edu/publications/politics-global-warming-april-2020/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">bipartisan support</a>, and a candidate trying "to take the country in the opposite direction, towards more fossil fuels."</p>
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