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Cyclists and pedestrians — and horseback riders — are already hailing the still-unfinished transformation of the perilous traffic circle at the southwest corner of Prospect Park, but some drivers are still getting a hang of the overhauled traffic pattern.
The 72nd Precinct reported this week that there’s been a surge in “minor accidents” in Park Circle as baffled Brooklyn drivers struggle to understand the new maze of narrower roadways, bike lanes, pedestrian islands and crosswalks.
But the months-long renovations — which are reminiscent of those done last year in equally confusing Grand Army Plaza — are a welcome change for the roundabout, which was more of a pedestrian nightmare than an entrance into Prospect Park.
“I bike to work everyday and dealt with this mess,” said Michael Konstalid, a member of Community Board 7. “I feel so much safer now.”
The work began as an offshoot of complaints about traffic by Stable Brooklyn, a community group that suggested improvements in the circle. The city actually listened.
“The city came to us and said, ‘What do you want?’ ” said Shalom Brody, who often bikes into the park. “It’s really gone well. I would say they’ve done a great job.”
Still, there are a few kinks to be ironed out, including the finishing touches on bike lanes and the addition of more street signs explaining the new pattern.
Also, a left turn lane into TD Bank on Prospect Park Southwest appears to exacerbate traffic congestion.
But for the vast majority of park-goers who visit on foot, the entrance is a tremendous improvement. Prior to the renovations, walking across the roadway that led out of the circle onto Fort Hamilton Parkway and Ocean Parkway was a near-death experience. Now the circle is so well organized that a pedestrian bridge spanning the ramp may be obsolete.
And for those arriving on two wheels, the new bike paths in and out of the park make the journey to Ocean Parkway much easier, and the previously neglected green space in the center of the circle has been put to better use as a through way for horses from the nearby Kensington Stables.
©2009 Community Newspaper Group
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