Central Park Road

Manhattan parks officials will temporarily close a section of Central Park Road in City Park on Thursday. The closure, which will last for a week, will test the waters for a permanent closure and eventual removal of the road, which parks officials say will improve safety.

Manhattan parks officials envision a day when there are no cars in City Park, but the first step in that master plan is to test a partial closure of Central Park Road.

From Thursday to Wednesday, the city will close the one-way section of Central Park Road from Miller Field to the Baker Field parking lot. Bollards will redirect traffic north to Fremont Street at Central Park Road’s intersection with North Park Road.

The closure comes in the middle of the park’s busy summer season with pool traffic, baseball games, Little Apple Day Camp and Arts in the Park concerts in full swing. But Alfonso Leyva, park planner, said he expects there will be minimal traffic disruption.

No parking lots should be affected, Leyva said, and parks and recreation workers will canvass people at the baseball games for feedback on the project. They will also have a booth at Arts in the Park on Friday evening. Residents can give the department feedback via phone, email and social media.

“We’ll have pledge cards for people so we can see if the community is supportive of a permanent closure,” Leyva said. “I have no idea when a permanent closure would come, but it would all depend on feedback from the community and how willing the city administration is to close down the Central Park Road completely.”

The parks department also will consider closing that same section of the park road in September to measure feedback once K-State student traffic is back.

The City Park master plan, which the city commission approved last year, aims to eliminate all park traffic, with the exception of parking lots on the park’s borders. Parks officials say removing the park’s roads will improve safety and make the park more pedestrian and biker friendly.

Education reporter for the Manhattan Mercury. Follow me on Twitter at @byRafaelGarcia.