Eyes on the Street: A Death-Defying Walk to Prospect Park


The bloggers at Hawthorne Street put together this dandy little short — you could even call it a Streetfilm — to illustrate the dangers of crossing Ocean Avenue at the southeast entrance to Brooklyn’s Prospect Park. Cars turning onto Ocean from Parkside Avenue pose a constant threat to people in the crosswalk, even while pedestrians have a walk signal.

With the adjacent area of the park slated for a major re-design, the Hawthorne Street folks are urging the inclusion of pedestrian and bike improvements in the plan. You can help them get the message across next Monday, May 19th at 6:30 p.m., when a public hearing on the re-design will be held at Wollman Rink.

A simulation of how the Ocean and Parkside intersection could better serve pedestrians comes after the jump.

Image courtesy of Hawthorne Street

  • Marty Barfowitz

    1. Outstanding grassroots livable streets advocacy! Kudos to the Prospect Lefferts Gardeners.

    2. We need complete streets because Brooklyn drivers are complete a$sholes.

    3. Here’s another way to simplify that intersection: Stop letting cars drive in to the Park via that entrance.

    4. Go forth new-and-improved DOT and fix this. Don’t let Primeggia stop you from doing what’s necessary. This intersection is an outrage and an embarrassment. This is NYC as designed by traffic engineers for automobiles. This is not what a humane city looks like.

  • md

    It’s much scarier than the video shows, especially crossing Parkside where the danger comes from two directions. This would be a good project for Streetfilms.

    I was involved in a petitioning effort there a few years ago. My recollection is that DOT dragged its feet and that Yvette Clarke was not much help.

    Thanks to the Hawthorne people for taking this up.

  • This is true of pretty much any heavy turn intersection. Leading pedestrian interval for the crosswalk light just 10 seconds ahead of the autombile light can make a huge difference. They recently did this at Columbus and 97th Street and the intersection feel much, much safer. The bump outs and protected pedestrian island would help on two way streets, but just changing the light timing would be a great step forward .

  • That is where I enter the park daily on my commute. That intersection is a disaster. A pedestrian cross only light would also help the situation.

  • Charlie D.

    A leading pedestrian signal would do a lot. What’s disgusting is that most of the vehicle/ped conflicts are motorists cutting in front of oncoming traffic making that left turn as soon as the light turns green.

  • That’s bad, but i think trying to cross Atlantic Avenue on the west side of Vanderbilt Avenue is worse.


    Although traffic making a left from northbound Vanderbilt onto westbound Atlantic has a dedicated left turn signal/arrow, drivers still try to beat the oncoming/southbound Vanderbilt traffic once their dedicated turn signal ends. That’s when it gets very ugly and dangerous for pedestrians and cyclists in the western crosswalk of Vanderbilt as it crosses Atlantic. I was almost hit in the crosswalk yesterday, and probably would have been, had I not been aware how dangerous drivers can be at this intersection.

    Sorry if this description is so cryptic. A map/diagram/video would be much easier to understand. When the weather clears up, I may go out and make a similar video for this deathtrap intersection.

  • Clarence

    This is a well presented short Hawthorne Street. Congratulations. It really conveys a sense of terror.

    We need everyone in NYC to begin recording their street conditions!

  • ddartley

    Wow, she stays a lot cooler than I would be. I’d be cussin’ and kickin’ grilles.

  • Geck

    Leading pedestrian signal are great, except when traffic officer use the time to wave vehicles ahead and directly into the pedestrians in the crosswalk at the Manhattan side of the Manhattan Bridge. I find that so infuriating.

  • steve

    brooklyn drivers are assh*les
    another reason why they should not be allowed anywear near prospect park

    is they are this bad in this intersection, imgaine the hell when dealing with them inside the park at 5:01 pm

    each day that cars are allowed in the park is an utter disgrace

  • d

    Closing the park to traffic altogether would eliminate some of the cars in this area.

  • DebK

    According to CrashStat, the corner of Ocean Avenue and Parkside is one of the most dangerous in Brooklyn – 18 bicycle crashes between 1995 and 2005.

  • Eyes of a seeker of wisdom + truth

    This intersection has a broken yellow line that spells manslaughter when drivers make left turns from Parkside Ave (EB) onto Ocean Ave (NB). Who was the genius civil engineer at THAT meeting.

    Brooklyn drivers flirt heavily with manslaughter. Since moving here I no longer wonder how a traffic incident can spur riots.

    Lose that broken yellow line and put in a left turn signal.

  • Timothy

    I enter this part every morning while commuting to school and can say that this spot is much more dangerous than the video makes it out to be, especially if on a bicycle. Traveling north on Ocean avenue, one must cut across two lanes of cars to get into the turning lane, then out accelerate the two lanes of cars that are turning and proceeding in the opposite direction of you to turn into the park. Needless to say things get very hairy, very often.

  • dporpentine

    I agree: the video does not do justice to what a rotten intersection this really is, especially for a cyclist coming out of the park.


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