Bushwick is changing. What was once an industrial hub is now a community of artists, musicians, and young professionals. And at the center of it all is Knickerbocker Avenue. The street has become the beating heart of the neighborhood, where new businesses pop up left and right. 

But there’s one problem: the cars. They’re everywhere. And they’re starting to choke the life out of Knickerbocker Avenue. 

A car-free avenue would be great for business. Businesses thrive when there are large numbers of pedestrians around — just think of the city’s pedestrian-only zones like Times Square. If we get rid of the cars on Knickerbocker, it will become a more inviting place for people to shop, eat, and socialize. It will be good for businesses and good for the local economy.

It’s what the people want! A recent study conducted by the New York City Department of Small Business Services claims that 96% of shoppers on Knickerbocker and the surrounding neighborhood get to the neighborhood by walking, biking, or public transit.

That’s a clear mandate from the community, and we need to listen to what their needs are.

Cars are dangerous. Every year, there are accidents on Knickerbocker Ave and throughout Bushwick. These range from fender-benders to serious injuries and deaths. Making just one street car free would make it a street that much safer for everyone.

Above: an AI-generated image of a car-free Knickerbocker Avenue. Below: an image of the street today.

Cars are also a nuisance. Cars add to pollution and climate change. They honk their horns, they block sidewalks, and they belch exhaust fumes into the air. Nobody wants to deal with that when they’re trying to enjoy a meal or do some shopping. We all know that climate change is a serious problem that needs to be addressed and one of the best ways to do that is by reducing our reliance on cars. 

Knickerbocker is a perfect place to start—if we can make this street car-free, it will send a larger message to the city and the world that Bushwick is serious about going green.

Making Knickerbocker Avenue car free is not just a good idea—it’s vital if we want to keep the street alive and thriving. The benefits are clear: it would reduce pollution and noise levels, make the street safer, and be great for businesses in the area. Most importantly, it’s what the people who live and work here want, so let’s make it happen

Zach Katz has lived in Bushwick for the past four years and has been behind businesses like Framed Tweets and Hipster Bullshit. He is also the founder of Transform Your City, a group with a “mission is to transform every city into a pedestrian city.” Bushwick Daily is committed to publishing a diversity of local voices. Do you have something you’d like to say? Email: [email protected].

Top image taken by Andrew Karpan.

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