Prospect Park Car Lane to be Scrapped in Safety Redesign

By Leslie Albrecht on May 16, 2012 8:17am 

Lanes on Prospect Park's main roadway will be reconfigured to improve safety.
Lanes on Prospect Park's main roadway will be reconfigured to improve safety.
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Prospect Park Alliance

PARK SLOPE — Prospect Park's main roadway is getting a redesign that will eliminate a car lane, improving safety for cyclists, pedestrians and drivers, officials said.

Park Drive, the 3.35-mile loop inside the park that's a popular exercise route, will be repainted this month to create new, permanent lanes for cyclists, walkers and cars.

"It's predictable, so everyone knows where they need to be at all times," said Prospect Park Alliance spokesman Paul Nelson. "It eliminates the confusion."

The biggest change will be the elimination of one lane for vehicle traffic.

After the repainting is complete later this month, cars will only be allowed in a single 10-foot wide lane with a 3-foot shoulder. Under the old configuration cars had two lanes — one that was 11 feet wide and one that was 12 feet wide. Park Drive is only open to cars on weekdays from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. on the east side and 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on the west side.

Cyclists and pedestrians will have more options, including lanes specifically for child cyclists and slower bikers.

The new lane configurations are already in place on a half-mile stretch of Park Drive between the Park Circle and Parkside and Ocean Avenue entrances. Work on the remainder of the roadway is expected to be completed by the end of the month, Nelson said.

The Department of Transportation launched the redesign after a series of accidents involving pedestrians and cyclists, Gothamist reported.

"We have more people using the park, which is great, but everyone needs to be a little bit more conscious of each other," Nelson said.

After the new lanes are in place, park officials plan to pursue an outreach campaign to remind all park users to stop at red lights. Cyclists will be encouraged to travel in a one-way direction, and pedestrians will be asked to cross at crosswalks on green lights.

The newly painted roadway has some safety improvements aimed specifically at pedestrians. Two new crosswalks will be added to Park Drive near Grand Army Plaza, and the crosswalk at Wellhouse Drive and West Drive near the Vanderbilt Playground will be widened from 12 feet to 25 feet, according to the Prospect Park Alliance.

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