Today’s news:

Park Circle looks better than ever — except for drivers!

The Brooklyn Paper

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.

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Reader Feedback

Bayof from Biscay says:
Kill the circle and restore a grid for easier access. In fact, kill all the circles, here and in Washington DC. World cities have squares; Trafalger, the Zocolo, St. Marks, Tienemen, etc.
Nov. 30, 2009, 11:09 am
Mike from Ft Greene says:
It's still not great, but it's a whole lot better and safer than the deathtrap that was there before. Thanks, DOT!
Nov. 30, 2009, 11:42 am
Josh from BK says:
Was just cycling through there yesterday, and it's almost complete... Really nice job. The painted street cycleways separated from vehicular traffic is awesome!

But cars definitely get confused when they come around and circle and have to squeeze into the once wide-open and now narrow lanes that go to either Ocean Parkway or Ft. Hamilton Pkwy. And two cars stopped short when they saw me on one of the new pedestrian islands because they didn't know what I was going to do (make a sharp right for the colored pavement path that goes to Ocean Pkwy bikeway), but that's a refreshing change from the usual not stopping at all ;)
Nov. 30, 2009, 2:02 pm
Howard from Park Slope says:
Whoever designed this circle is out of their mind. It is poorly designed and creates huge traffic backups along Prospect Park Southwest. Another example of the imperial mayorality of Bloomberg!
Nov. 30, 2009, 3:31 pm
Mazz from Bay Ridge says:
Considering this traffic circle is More than One Hundred years old, this Is a great Improvement. It forces the Cars to Slow Down and Pay Attention, Horses Bicycles and Pedestrians have More time to Cross. All Hail Mayor Bloomburg and the DOT. Let's turn all of Fourth Avenue from 101 Street to Atlantic Avenue into a Bike Lane!!
Nov. 30, 2009, 6:44 pm
f from jk says:
The circle should be a square.
Dec. 1, 2009, 11:20 am
Mike from GP says:
@Howard,
You know what causes traffic backups?

Drivers.

Like yourself.
Dec. 1, 2009, 11:47 am
Glenda from Sunset Park says:
Typical Liberals, this is just another step in their quest for universal (socialist) health care. Some of us don't want the government making death panels or rearranging our traffic circles, thank you very much! Can you please just keep it in your pants?

The day the government tells me what to do will be a cold day in heck, let me tell you. Cars or not, I think we all should just respect each other's religious beliefs and live in harmony, without the government deciding every little detail.
Dec. 3, 2009, 3:44 am
Bruce from South Slope says:
Drivers may think that ring is tight, but once they drive around in it a little bit it should loosen up and just feel wonderful.
I can understand that the car people want the ring all to themselves, but they will see that sharing it with others opens up whole new worlds of possibility for different kinds of new and fun experiences that they couldn't have all by themselves.
Dec. 3, 2009, 9:35 am
mark from park slope says:
still a mess and wont get better anytime soon. cause there's to many cars on the road. OH well i guess deal or walk
Jan. 27, 2010, 7:32 am
Andrew from Windsor Terrace says:
The only thing I think they missed out on is an opportunity to provide some retail space in the area which desperately needs it. Theres so much wasted space in these traffic islands where you could fit a newsstand or a small grocery store, a coffee shop, something.

With all the soccer people coming to the fields all weekend long theres really no place for them to go except thae scary Dunkin Donuts on Caton.
Dec. 3, 2012, 1:22 pm

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