About 40 Brooklynites turned out last night for a CB7-sponsored meeting to discuss the future of Park Circle, the asphalt expanse where Prospect Park meets traffic headed to and from the Prospect Expressway, Ocean Parkway, and the Fort Hamilton Parkway. There are two projects in the works here: the Department of City Planning is studying how to improve bicycle connections between the Ocean Parkway Greenway and Prospect Park [PDF], and DOT is looking to make some quick, low-cost safety improvements to Park Circle that can be implemented this year [PDF].
The community input portion of the evening focused on the DOT project, culminating with an exercise in which small teams marked up maps of Park Circle with their ideas and reported back to the whole group. Participants were working from a blank slate — DOT hasn’t put forward any plans yet.
There was widespread agreement that traffic entering and exiting the circle moves dangerously fast, and that the west side, where cars rush to and from the nearby urban speedways, is crying out for at-grade pedestrian crossings and safer cycling conditions. I hesitate to read too much into the specific ideas that surfaced, which were all over the map, but several participants supported demarcating more pedestrian space, and a few advanced the notion of a protected bike path around the perimeter of the circle. One older woman I spoke to wasn’t into bike lanes so much, but she thought that DOT really nailed the new Madison Square and wanted to see a similar treatment that "works for everybody" at Park Circle. Regrettably, woonerven did not come up.
DOT and DCP plan to use the results of the workshop to inform short-term improvements and longer-term plans for the area.