Eyes on the Street: Drivers Flout New Prospect Park Law

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For pedestrians, yesterday was a grand opening of sorts at the 3rd Street entrance to Prospect Park. The city officially closed off this access point to cars, giving people on foot a safe, unimpeded crossing and some additional car-free space during the p.m. rush. Before long, however, the barricades somehow shifted several feet to the right, creating an illegal traffic lane (the handiwork of a miffed motorist, the theory goes).

Half an hour after the closure took effect, reader David Alquist snapped these pics of drivers taking advantage of the opening and disregarding the posted sign. It’s a familiar sight, and one that park visitors shouldn’t have to put up with any more. We’re told the 78th Precinct will have a traffic cop stationed here at rush hour today to enforce the new rule and help motorists adjust. Something like this might also do the trick. In case you’re wondering, when the city completes the protected bike path along Prospect Park West, this entrance will be kept clear of parked cars in order to maintain access for emergency vehicles and cyclists.

Back to David’s pics. Note the parents and young children on the other side of the barrier…

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One more after the jump.

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  • Heavy duty bollards, maybe retractable bollards, that would allow Parks Department vehicles in, would seem like the minimum barrier necessary to keep these scofflaws out.

  • I say let them drive in but then leave them with no way out about halfway through the park!

  • Anon

    Get off your ass with your camera and move the barriers yourself. You really think the city can close all the barriers at EXACTLY 7 PM? Unless there’s automatic barriers, it’s not going to happen.

  • Mike

    Anon, the point here is that this entrance is now ALWAYS closed to cars. So the time of day is irrelevant.

  • Doug

    Anon, the closure is now permanent at this location, so cars are no longer allowed to use this entrance at all. And even if they were, the violations here are taking place one half hour after the entrance was closed, not a few minutes, which might be a reasonable grace period.

    It’s worth noting however, that there’s quite a big sign there, so it’s not as if these drivers aren’t aware that they shouldn’t be doing what they are doing. In what other context would we excuse someone driving around a sign that clearly says “DO NOT ENTER”? If someone entered a parking lot through the exit, most people would be incensed! But for some reason, because it’s a park with an tempting shortcut people are quick to defend drivers who flout the signage.

    It will take a few weeks, perhaps, but I’m sure this will become less and less of a problem as the summer progresses. Glad to hear the police will station an officer there to let drivers know. I say that after a few weeks of driver education, however, they should start ticketing drivers who go around the barricades. They’d make more money in an hour than they ever make from ticketing bikers at the Manhattan Bridge.

    The bigger problem is that the barriers are not the kind that are very useful for keeping cars out. These are exactly the kind of barriers that line parade routes: useful for holding back people, but flimsy and worthless when it comes to cars. Think of it this way: would you want to be standing behind one of these if a car mistakenly came straight up 3rd Street, hoping to speed into the park?

    They’re also aesthetically ugly, the result of what happens to the planned and historic beauty of a park when cars are allowed in and when infrastructure must be adapted to accommodate traffic. Perhaps it’s time for some sort of swinging gate, something that would allow easy access for emergency and service vehicles but that would clearly signal to passenger cars that this entrance — and others around the park — are closed to their use? Maybe Streetsblog could sponsor a design contest!

    Now, if only they could shut GAP and Park Circle and limit the number of people who can use the Wollman Lot, the park would be closer to the ideal of Brooklyn’s back yard!

  • SUV 718

    LOL

    Welcome to Brooklyn, little boys and girls.

  • jerks

  • Those idiots are actually driving in both a marked bike lane and a marked pedestrian path, the equivalent of driving on a sidewalk. The big sign saying “Do Not Enter” is warning enough — ticket them but good.

    And Anon, some driver got of his ass and moved them so he could drive through. How do you know the photographer didn’t move them back after documenting the lawbreaking?

  • Marty Barfowitz

    This largely illustrates why I find the discussions about cyclist behavior so tiresome. The rule-breaking exhibited by cyclists is peanuts compared to this stuff. Lawlessness and entitlement are the default setting for outer borough New York City drivers. This kind of behavior is basically considered normal.

    Lew Fidler, Richard Brodsky, Carl Kruger: You represent these miserable motorists.

  • daniel cassidy

    if we can’t toll the bridges, why can’t we exploit this situation. let the vehicles drive in. half a mile down, take a photo of their license plate and hand them a ticket. bike cops can ride down the bike lanes and ticket cars double parked in bike lanes. There are a million ways the city can generate millions of dollars ticketing drivers. scofflaws=suspension. easy cheezy. funnel the money into mta

  • Ian Turner

    In many parts of the city, there are essentially unlimited opportunities to ticket lawbreaking motorists. Every day on my walk from the subway to work, I see automobiles speeding, running red lights, blocking the sidewalk, and displaying other antisocial behaviour — and this in pedestrian-dense midtown.

    By my computations, the city should be able to draw in around $400k in ticket revenue by posting a police officer at these intersections to write tickets. Since that number is well beyond the cost of recruiting and retaining a police officer, I don’t understand why the city doesn’t take this action.

  • m to the i

    Can’t we just organize a sit in at the Grand Army Plaza entrance to Prospect Park during PM rush hour and show everyone that we don’t want cars in the park anymore. Whenever I bike or run through at that time, I am surprised at the number of cars speeding in the park. We should take action. Who’s in?

  • t

    In. Name a time and I think you’ll get a lot of people.

  • ja

    I think the next thing to do is to close Park Circle and the entrance to the Wollman lot. The Third Street closing and the others are nice, but they favor the more gentrified Park Slope and Windsor Terrace communities. The people on the other side of the park tend to be poorer and include more minorities. The PLG/Ocean Avenue/Flatbush side of the park is not maintained as nicely as the west side is and it seems somewhat unfair that the entire park can’t be maintained equally for all who wish to use it. Do only rich white people deserve a nice place to relax and enjoy the summer?

    So, close the entire park to traffic and only allow those with an absolute need, like the handicapped, to park in Wollman lot. It drives me nuts when I see people driving in, parking, and then taking their bikes out of their cars. If you can bike, you can leave your car outside of the park and walk or ride it into the park!!

    If we want to go take steps towards reducing asthma, keeping the space clean, and giving kids safe places to play, there ought to be zero cars in the park.

  • you make a good point, ja

    it really disturbs me that some parts of the park (& surroundings) get better treatment than others.

  • Hold off, Ja and Oscar.

    Transportation Alternatives has been fighting for a full closure of the park for at least fifteen years. Streetsblog has been involved from the beginning. The main opponents have been the politicians who are supposed to represent the neighborhoods to the south and east of the park.

    It’s true that some neighborhoods get better treatment, but not from car-free park advocates.

  • Mike

    The reason why the southeastern entrances have to remain open (for now) is access to the Wollman Rink parking lot.

  • ja

    Mike, they could keep the Wollman Lot access open, but limit it to those with permits or handicap plates. There’s simply no reason why able-bodied people need to drive into the park! The left-turn into the lot is a bad spot in terms of accidents with bikes, peds, runners, and cars. Plus you have cars that have to make that left hand turn from the right lane. It’s an accident waiting to happen every day.

    Maybe the compromise should be to allow car access to the lot when the rink is open, but to severely limit it during the spring, summer, and fall. Plus, if you’re going to allow parking, why not make people pay for the privilege? Five or ten bucks to park all day in that lot seems like a fair price.

    Cap’n, I agree with you one hundred percent. I’ve seen TA fight for this for a long time, and I know that the people involved in the organization and with this site believe in full equality when it comes to livable streets and usable parks. The true blame lies at the feet of politicians who favor one neighborhood over another, actively or not.

  • J. Mork

    Wollman Rink is supposedly being replaced (see http://www.prospectpark.org/about/lakeside ).

    I don’t see anything about a grade-seperated entrance for motor vehicles, though. That would be a very, very good idea.

  • Why have any entrance for motor vehicles at all – other than zambonis? There’s no private parking for cars at either of the rinks in Central Park.

  • da

    The new rink (Lakeside Center) will occupy the current parking lot. According to presentations that I’ve seen, parking will actually be moved further into the park, to the large open space atop “Breeze Hill”. So it seems the vehicular entrance/exit on that side of the park will be with us for the forseeable future.

  • Cap’n Transit, the criticism wasn’t directed towards TA or this site, but just observing what actually happens in the Park

  • SUV 718

    LOL LOL

    Methinks Brooklyn is telling the DOT and TA and this blog how things go down in the real world.

    Go ahead and fantasize behind your little computer screens about all the fictional demonstrations you will do.

    I bet not one of you will lift a finger to do anything about this except continuing to type in more comments.

    LOL

  • t

    Don’t feed the trolls.

  • Can someone point me to a link with authoritative statitistics on the number of pedestrians, bicyclists, and motor vehicle occupants killed each year in new York city due to collions involving motor vehicles? Or even just total number of deaths in NYC caused by motor vehicle collisions, for a recent year or years?

    thanks.

  • finally, here’s your chance to put your 2 cents & good sense in: http://www.parkslopeciviccouncil.org/prospect-park-gateway
    design it!

  • GregD

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  • I don’t get why did they do it in this way…

  • Can’t we just organize a sit in at the Grand Army Plaza entrance to
    Prospect Park during PM rush hour and show everyone that we don’t want
    cars in the park anymore. Whenever I bike or run through at that time, I
    am surprised at the number of cars speeding in the park. We should
    take action. Who’s in?

  • Can’t we just organize a sit in at the Grand Army Plaza entrance to
    Prospect Park during PM rush hour and show everyone that we don’t want
    cars in the park anymore. Whenever I bike or run through at that time, I
    am surprised at the number of cars speeding in the park. We should
    take action. Who’s in?

  • I really enjoy reding your posts as I learn a lot from them.
    I also broaden my thinking as far as what I can use and do with things
     

    http://www.safegenericmeds.com/

  • How about a scarecrow type police officer?

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