Brooklynites Suggest Park Circle Safety Fixes

park_circle_street_view.jpgThe west side of Park Circle viewed from Coney Island Avenue.

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.

  • Sholom Brody

    I just wrote up a whole blog post on the meeting at the Transportation Alternatives Brooklyn page here:
    http://www.livablestreets.com/projects/transportation-alternatives-brooklyn/blog/2009/02/20/park-circle-cb7-workshopmeeting/

  • oscarfrye

    thanks for the writeup…i’m particularly interested in this bit:

    “The Park Circle will be absolved into the Park and redesigned. The proposed circle looked very promising. I will be posting the full presentation when I get my hands on it.”

    and will keep an eye out for it

    was there any mention of doing away with the pedestrian bridge and making that an at-grade crossing?

  • da

    Yeah… the presence of the “pedestrian bridge” alone is indicative of serious problems here.

  • J2

    I’ve never understood the hate for pedestrian bridges.

    When done right (think Vegas) they can be very pleasant. I’d rather cross on a bridge than wait at a light.

  • Mike

    Don’t you think that Vegas is, erm, a pretty unique context?

  • Larry Littlefield

    Don’t forget, that circle is the way horseback riders get from the last remaining stables near Prospect Park to the park’s horseback riding trails.

  • “The Park Circle will be absolved into the Park …”

    Absolve \Ab*solve”\ (#; 277), v. t. [imp. & p. p. Absolved; p.
    pr. & vb. n. Absolving.] [L. absolvere to set free, to
    absolve; ab + solvere to loose. See Assoil, Solve.]
    1. To set free, or release, as from some obligation, debt, or
    responsibility, or from the consequences of guilt or such
    ties as it would be sin or guilt to violate; to pronounce
    free; as, to absolve a subject from his allegiance; to
    absolve an offender, which amounts to an acquittal and
    remission of his punishment.

    2. To free from a penalty; to pardon; to remit (a sin); —
    said of the sin or guilt.

  • I thought they were being poetic, Charles. It certainly needs some absolution for the nine cyclist injuries and three pedestrian injuries that are listed on crashstat.org.

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