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Earth Day will find parts of Manhattan shut down to car traffic

Parts of Manhattan will be shut down to car traffic on Earth Day to help lower New York’s carbon foot print and a city councilman wants the Big Apple drivers to ditch their rides to join in the effort.

Councilman Yndanis Rodriguez said the #carfreeNY initiative would go a long way for reducing New York’s carbon footprint and lowering the number road accidents.

Too many people are riding in cars by themselves instead of taking advantage of the various mass transits options available, according to the councilman who chairs the transportation committee.

“We have a responsibility to our environment, to our residents and to ourselves to have a frank conversation about the inefficiencies of car use,” he said at a news conference at NYU’s Kimmel Center Wednesday.

As part of the initiative, Broadway between the Flatiron Building and Union Square, Wadsworth Avenue from 173rd to 177th streets and the roads surrounding Washington Square Park will all be shut down April 22. Rodriguez hopes New York drivers will take up the pledge and find alternative ways of traveling, including carpooling, subways and buses.

He acknowledged that some communities, like southeast Queens, Staten Island and the Rockaways are “transit deserts” but said that the initiative will help highlight their plight and push the city to take more action.

“It clearly speaks to the need for investment in mass transit in these communities as imperative to social mobility, especially for the many New Yorkers who are unable to afford a car in this expensive city,” he said.

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