Eyes on the Street: A Smorgasburg of Traffic in Prospect Park [Updated]

Gridlock at Ocean Avenue and Lincoln Road as Smorgasburg drivers snake through Prospect Park. Photo: Stanley Greenberg
Smorgasburg traffic snaked out from the interior of the park across the loop road yesterday. Photo copyright Stanley Greenberg

Yesterday, popular food market Smorgasburg launched its first outpost in Prospect Park — and brought a traffic mess into what’s ostensibly a car-free park.

The food market, which features 100 vendors at Breeze Hill, used the park entrance at Lincoln Road for vehicle access. Event staff were on hand to direct motorists but were quickly overmatched, says reader Stanley Greenberg, who said there was actually a traffic jam in the park as the event wound down at around 6 p.m. yesterday.

A van driver attempts to turn around, using a Prospect Park sidewalk. Photo: Stanley Greenberg
A van driver attempts to turn around, using a Prospect Park sidewalk. Photo copyright Stanley Greenberg

A line of vans and cars snaked out of the park from Breeze Hill and clogged the crossing where Lincoln Road intersects with the park loop. Some drivers turned around after sitting in line, performing three-point turns and backing up onto sidewalks to exit the park, Greenberg said.

Looks like a relaxing spot for recreation. Photo: Stanley Greenberg
The late-afternoon scene. Photo copyright Stanley Greenberg

Smorgasburg moved to Prospect Park this month after three years in a fenced lot at Pier 5 in Brooklyn Bridge Park. That space, which has nearby street access to Furman Street, will soon become parkland.

Update 2:50 p.m.: Only vendors were allowed to drive into the park, said Prospect Park Alliance spokesperson Deborah Kirschner. Drivers were allowed between 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. to set up before the market opened at 11 a.m., and then had to find their own parking outside the park. They were allowed to drive back into the park between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m., after the market closed, to clean up and break down their tents.

“A majority of vendors arrived with a vehicle, although some arrived on bike and a few wheeled their goods into the park by foot,” Kirschner said in an email. “Overall, vendor load in and load out on our first day went smoothly, particularly given that it was the first event and vendors were familiarizing themselves with the route, although we understand there were congestion issues on Ocean Avenue, and this is something we will work to address for future Smorgasburg events.”

Smorgasburg estimates 5,000 people attended yesterday’s market, Kirschner said.

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