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Over 100 NYC streets will be car-free for Earth Day

By Zoe Sottile, CNN

More than 100 streets in New York City’s five boroughs will go car-free to celebrate Earth Day.

For the fifth year in a row, the city will mark the occasion by closing streets to vehicles, according to a news release from the NYC Department of Transportation.

The closings will take place from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, April 23; the day after Earth Day is observed around the world.

“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 Department of Transportation Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez, according to the release.

“Car-Free Earth Day is a growing tradition that allows New York City’s car-free streets to come alive,” said Rodriguez.

During the celebration, usually hectic streets will be used for a variety of public programs incorporating music, dance, art, biking and education, according to the transportation department. Twenty-two public plazas and over 1,000 miles of bike network will be accessible.

In New York City, motor vehicles release 28% of the total emissions of nitrogen oxide, which can cause acid rain and contribute to pollution, according to the city’s Department of Environmental Protection.

Steps have been taken to limit the environmental impact of motor vehicles. In 2021, Gov. Kathy Hochul signed legislation setting a goal for all new passenger cars and trucks sold in New York to be zero-emissions by 2035.

“When we open streets to pedestrians and cyclists, they become community spaces for our neighborhoods and a boon to our local small businesses,” said New York City Public Advocate Jumaane D. Williams, according to the new release.

“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.”

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