The traffic circle at the southeast corner of Prospect Park is such a mess that the neighborhood group most known for its disapproval of the Department of Transportation has joined forces with the hated agency in support of a plan to lessen traffic, ease pedestrian crossing, and improve safety for bicyclists and horses.
Windsor Terrace’s Community Board 7 voted unanimously in June to support a short-term redesign of Park Circle, the large rotary where Prospect Park Southwest, Fort Hamilton Parkway, Coney Island Avenue and Parkside Avenue all come together.
“We were quite pleased that they came to the community and solicited people’s thoughts and experiences,” said the board’s district manager, Jeremy Laufer, evoking an April kerfuffle over the city’s unilateral decision to close vehicular entrances and exits in Prospect Park.
The Park Circle plan — which could turn into a reality as early as this fall — calls for shrinking the roadway from four lanes of traffic to three, and replacing unused stretches of asphalt with landscaping.
New signage would make the traffic circle easier for drivers to navigate, while narrowing the roadway would keep cars from speeding, according to a Department of Transportation spokesman.
The city also intends to merge Prospect Park’s vehicular entrance and exit into a single roadway, while using the former automotive exit as an entrance to the park for cyclists and horseback riders.
Bikers and equestrians would also benefit from a pair of buffered cycling and horsing lanes that will loop around the traffic circle.
For walkers, the city will install shorter and more direct crosswalks between the circle itself and Parkside Avenue, and on Prospect Park Southwest and Ocean Parkway — a drag that would also receive a makeover intended to remedy its expressway-like look.
Park Circle pedestrians, bikers, drivers, and horseback riders told The Brooklyn Paper that something needs to be done to make the roundabout safer.
“It’s so dangerous. The road definitely needs to be changed,” said driver Yvette Castro. “Some drivers just don’t care — and with the setup here that’s not a good thing.”
Pedestrian Catherine Quamina agreed.
“Park Circle needs to be changed,” she said. “The crosswalks are so confusing, so many different directions to go — it’s not clear at all.”
— with Thomas Nocera