Safety Fix at Prospect Park Entrance Projected to Prevent 10 Injuries a Year

An intersection redesign at Ocean and Parkside Avenues will close a Prospect Park entrance to automobiles. DOT predicts the change will prevent ten people from being injured every year. Image: NYC DOT

After years of neighborhood activism, the Department of Transportation plans to install much-needed safety improvements at the dangerous intersection of Ocean Avenue and Parkside Avenue, at the southeast corner of Prospect Park. By closing a park entrance to automobiles, DOT will simplify the intersection and shrink the space dedicated to traffic, preventing an estimated ten injuries per year [PDF].

On average, 20 people are injured every year at the corner of Ocean and Parkside, placing it in the top two percent of the most dangerous intersections in Brooklyn, according to the Department of Transportation. The juncture of two wide avenues is complicated by the further intersection of a park drive entrance. The five-point intersection is right next to a subway station; thousands of people cross the street to get to the train every say.

Neighborhood residents have been pushing for a safety fix for years; Streetsblog first covered their campaign in 2008. Now, the redesign is set to be put in place by July, 2012, according to local activist Carrie McLaren, who attended a meeting about the project with DOT Tuesday night.

The key to the safety improvements is closing the park drive entrance to automobiles. That shift allows DOT to create some new pedestrian space and realign the heavily-traveled crosswalks. By putting the crosswalks closer to the points where drivers execute their turns, the redesign should make motorists more aware of people walking across the street. That should help reduce the incidence of dangerous failure-to-yield violations: More than half of the pedestrian crashes at the intersection took place when the pedestrian had the walk signal.

All told, the redesign will shrink the space between the crosswalks from around 6,900 square feet to 3,400 square feet. DOT is predicting big safety gains: By their estimate, the number of crashes and injuries should drop by half, preventing ten people from being injured every year.

“I’m thrilled with the plan because it closes off the park entrance to cars, shrinks the intersection, and makes it much easier for everyone involved to travel safely,” said McLaren.

The city doesn’t expect closing the park entrance to increase congestion. Currently, the entrance is only open to traffic for two hours on weekday mornings, and only 360 vehicles use the entrance on a given day. That’s just one percent of all the traffic passing through the intersection in a day; DOT doesn’t project significant traffic disruptions as a result.

To put it a different way, in the same two hours that 360 cars enter the park at that corner, 1,300 pedestrians walk across the intersection of Ocean and Parkside.

In addition to making safety improvements, DOT is also reworking curbside regulations on Parkside Avenue to make room for a larger bus stop and delivery space for a supermarket.

  • M to the I

    Only question is…isn’t this entrance used by cars all the time on weekdays and weekends to access the parking lot by the Wollman rink? The cars then have to exit at Lincoln Road when the park loop is closed to vehicles. If/When this entrance is closed, are cars then going to be allowed to enter from Park Circle to get to the parking lot? That means cars will be able to drive for a much longer stretch inside the park.

  • BkBiker

    How will closing off that intersection effect cars getting to the parking lot once the new Lakeside facility is open?  Will drivers enter and exit at Lincoln, or are they going to go all the way around from Park Circle?  Park Drive is currently only open to cars from the Parkside entrance to Lincoln Road on the weekends – it wouldn’t be a positive step to open it from Park Circle to Lincoln just to get cars into that parking lot.

  • BkBiker

    Our question seems to be answered here: 
    http://www.prospectpark.org/about/lakeside/past-future/lakeside-plan-1
    It looks like car entrance and exit will be at Lincoln.

  • SPO

    With so many turning cars, I’d like to request a dedicated green left arrow here. How do I go about making these suggestions to the powers that be?

  • zach berman

    Is it too late to change the plans for the new Lakeside project to eliminate the parking lot?

  • kevd

    This will massively improve my commute.
    I use that entrance on my bike twice a day, and that intersection is a huge mess.

    removing traffic from the loop entirely by having all cars for the Wollman rink enter and exit at Lincoln is a huge improvement as well.  Its a shame a vehicle underpass could not have been included for that as well.  But, if you want to slow down bike and make people wait at a red light, perpendicular vehicle traffic will do it!

  • Mike Hansen

    i think parking is necessary since school groups use the rink and are often bussed to the site.  Also and handicap persons will be able to use facility with limited parking. The parking will be much much smaller than the old parking lot.  It will be up on the hill that is near the rink that was underutilized. 

    The only 24 hour entrance to the park will be Lincoln Road.  It should work better than Parkside entrance since cars will not have to make a left hand turn on the park drive to enter the parking lot.  The Prospect Park Alliance has great plan

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