DOT Proposes Park Circle Improvements; CB 7 Approves


Last week, DOT presented plans for short-term changes that should make Brooklyn’s Park Circle more welcoming to those on foot, on bikes and on horseback. The proposal [PDF] comes after a February public workshop on the gateway to Prospect Park raised speeding drivers and inadequate facilities for other users as major concerns.

Among other improvements, here’s a breakdown of what’s in store: 

  • For pedestrians: new, direct and shorter crosswalks;
  • For cyclists: Class 1 bike path around the circle; connection to the Ocean Parkway Greenway; Class 1 bike path on Ft. Hamilton Parkway;
  • For equestrians: Protected bridle path within the circle;
  • For motorists: Park through-traffic will be consolidated to one access point.

DOT further plans to revamp the Ocean/Ft. Hamilton Parkway ramp as a "city street," and to appropriate unused asphalt for new markings and plantings, reducing the size of the circle. The new design is intended to cut down on speeding and congestion.

According to Stable Brooklyn, Community Board 7 passed a resolution in support of the project on June 17. Work is scheduled to be implemented this fall.

  • Looks like a wonderful project! It’s hard to truly appreciate it without seeing the “before”, which is truly abysmal.

    I don’t understand the bit about the “Class 1 bike path on Ft. Hamilton Parkway,” though. From this diagram, that bike lane on the Ft. Hamilton overpass just looks like a green Class 2 buffered lane to me.

  • It’s remarkable to see equestrian needs being addressed in NYC, dontchya think?

    Whoda thunk it? Nicely done…

  • Brooklyn

    The class 1 on Ft. Hamilton Parkway looks like it will be a reclaimed traffic lane on the ramp — I’m also curious as to what will separate cars from bikes there.

    I ride this ramp every day — yelled at once a week that “it’s a highway!” I get the weirdest looks when I bear left and zoom down to the Prospect Expressway service road — fastest way to Church Avenue.

    I’m most interested to see the bike path connection finally made to Ocean Parkway — personally, I’ve never taken the broken-down east side sidewalk that passes for a bike lane from the intersection of Caton Avenue, preferring to ride the one way street northbound and the Fort Hamilton Pkwy ramp southbound. If they smooth the pavement there, that makes for very smooth route to the park.

  • Brooklyn, it sounds like you’re taking the left ramp, which merges into the Prospect Expressway itself, and then the exit to the service road. Is that really what you do? That seems unsafe to me.

    What I do is take the right ramp, which becomes Fort Hamilton, then make either the first or second left onto East 4th or East 5th, then get over to Church.

  • pete

    i like that there will be only 1 entrance/exit for cars to the park

    looking forward to the day when that is further lowered to zero

  • I like how the Cl I cycle path around the circle goes in both directions, and I think restoring the original park entrance is a fantastic idea. Great plan!

  • lee

    These look like good changes, but damn is that presentation hard to read.

    I didn’t see any mention of changing the bank entrance/exit. A quick-curb on ppsw to prevent a left turn into the bank would be a big improvement. They should then modify the bank exit to allow both entrance and exits.

  • Brooklyn


    I’m usually a right-hand ramper to go home, only occasionally taking the left-hander to Church Avenue when I want the express route to a slice of pizza or a bagel.

    I would say riding a bike on the left-hander is unconventional but not necessarily unsafe or illegal — the descent is gradual and controlled, and you have excellent sightlines to judge traffic. You’re never merging into the expressway itself — the lane becomes an exit to the Ocean Parkway service road. You’re technically never riding on the Expressway itself.

    Ironically, this route is the most direct, turn-free way to get on the Ocean Parkway bike path.

  • i agree lee….drivers can be real jerks making a sharp left into the bank from PPSW and expecting all to part way.. .i say get switch the direction of the drive-thru – enter on the circle and exit onto ppsw

    anyone know where to get a more legible copy of the plan?

  • lee, a QuikCurb to prevent left-turns into the bank is already part of the design. You can sort of see it at the top of the image. I can’t quite read the label in the PDF, but one of the words appears to be “Flexible”.

    Whose bright idea was it to put a drive-through bank on a formal circle next to a park?!

    oscarfrye, the PDF is somewhat more legible than the image here.

  • kevin

    I often take the “Ocean Parkway” ramp from Park Circle as well – depending on when I hit the light cycle. The first time I tried it I thought it would be very frightening. But it is probably the least scary part of my ride home to Ocean Parkway. Less scary than the Ocean Parkway bike path at any intersection.
    The entrance ramp is wide, and immediately turns into the Ocean parkway service road lane.

    I’m not 100% sure of the legality…. However, the sign says “Ocean Parkway” not “Prospect Expressway” which always made me think I could pretend to be confused if law enforcement took issue with the short cut. And there aren’t any of those “Pedestrians and Bicycles Prohibited” signs like you see at the on ramps to highways.

  • Matt

    My idea isnt about the circle. Rather its about the end of the Prospect/Beginning of Ocean Parkway at Church Ave. There are so many accidents by drivers who do not expect a traffic light at Church as the Prospect ends. I live overlooking that intersection.

    What we need is a road warning track, like what can be found near toll booths, so that tires shake on approach and drivers wake up. Also, the crossing lights are too short.


  • Bugg

    One thing that backs up traffic there and should be addressed; motorists blocking the PPW roadway northbound trying to enter the bank parking lot making a left. It’s a total disaster. If there is going to be auto entrance and exit, it should have been on the northwest corner of the circle just before the ramp to the Prospect. Suspect they should just leave accident reports filled out beforehand. And yet DOT allowed this bank to be built with this parking lot configuraton.Whether you drive, bike, walk or ride a horse it was a huge mistake and dangerous.


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