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Transit and the Most Used U.S. Parks

Houstons Hermann Park before and after light rail and other improvements.

Houston's Hermann Park before and after light rail and other improvements.

A brief look at the connection of parks and transit. Turns out most of the most visited parks in the United States have mass transit access. (See table below.) And with the exception of Mission Bay, most of the parks below are probably reached by transit in high numbers. Central Park and Prospect Park have no parking really at all, so your choices are limited as to how to get to the park: walk, bike, take transit or find a parking spot around the perimeter of the park somewhere.

Some cities have strategically placed transit in popular parks where parking cannot be additionally provided — most notably the light rail stations at Minneapolis’ popular Minnehaha Park, Houston’s noted Hermann Park and the planned stop at Atlanta’s Piedmont Park on the Beltline transit loop. As cities look to expand or even begin mass transit projects — light rail, bus rapid transit, trolleys and upgraded bus services — park officials and advocates may want to insert themselves into the debate on where perspective stops and lines go. Giving residents transit access to parks reduces dependence on cars, provides access to needed amentities and releaves the need to provide parking.

The Ten Most Visited Parks in the United States & Access by Transit
Park City Users Transit Access
Central Park New York City 25,000,000 Subway (B,C lines) & Bus
Lincoln Park Chicago 20,000,000 Nearby “El” (Brown, Red Lines) & Bus
Golden Gate Park San Francisco 13,000,000 Nearby Light Rail (N Juda LRT) & Bus
Mission Bay Park San Diego 12,000,000 Bus
Forest Park St. Louis 12,000,000 Light Rail & Bus
Balboa Park San Diego 12,000,000 Nearby Light Rail (Am. Plaza stat. & Bus
Coney Island Beach & Boardwalk New York City 10,600,000 Subway
Fairmount Park Philadelphia 10,000,000 R6 Regional Rail, Bus
The National Mall Washington, D.C. 10,000,000 Subway (Blue,Orange lines) & Bus
Prospect Park New York City 8,000,000 Subway (F, Q, B, 2, 3 lines)

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