How fast do cars travel on Prospect Park West? Criminally fast. All the time. Members of Park Slope Neighbors clocked cars routinely exceeding the 30 mph speed limit — including one sociopath racing at 65 mph — during a ten-minute stretch earlier this month. Prospect Park West and Eighth Avenue form a one-way pair funneling drivers to and from the free East River bridges and the Prospect Expressway, a configuration that makes for hazardous conditions. Last summer a school bus driver struck and killed cyclist Jonathan Millstein on Eighth Avenue. A few weeks ago a 57-year-old pedestrian was nearly killed a couple of blocks away from the Millstein incident. Parents are afraid to walk with their children across the corridor’s dysfunctional intersections. NYPD enforcement is sorely lacking.
In addition to turning these beautiful and historic neighborhood streets into mini-highways, the current design of Prospect Park West and Eighth Avenue helps to create a never-ending bottleneck on Union Street below Grand Army Plaza. Because the avenues are one-way, virtually every motorist heading from Park Slope to Grand Army Plaza gets funneled on to Union Street.
Recent adjustments to signal timing haven’t solved the speeding problem, so the Neighbors are asking DOT to improve safety by restoring the avenues to two-way traffic flow. You can sign a petition to DOT that also calls for a two-way protected bike path on Prospect Park West and full traffic-calming on both avenues. Here’s an intriguing piece of background on the campaign:
This would actually be a "restoration" project, as 8th Avenue was
changed from two-way travel to its current one-way northbound configuration on June 10th, 1930
by order of the NYPD — because they felt there was too much northbound traffic on
8th Avenue’s one northbound lane. Rather than switching Prospect Park West to
two-way travel (we believe it, too, was originally a two-way street, but have
been unable to find conclusive evidence to that effect) to accommodate that traffic,
they saddled Park Slope with nearly eight decades of bad road design, which is
why we’re asking DOT to "Reverse the Curse" and restore the original traffic pattern.