City still trying to get Park Circle right

Even the city admits that it hasn’t fixed all the traffic problems at Park Circle.

The Department of Transportation made a series of changes at the circle beginning last fall, but the timing of traffic lights is still a problem, said Keith Bray, an assistant commissioner with the agency’s Brooklyn office, during an on-site meeting with neighborhood activists last week.

“The flow through is not optimal, and we acknowledge that,” Bray said, adding that the agency is specifically studying how to fix rush-hour backups that force thru traffic to swerve around motorists who are stopped at red lights within the circle.

Other problems include potholes in the bicycle paths, lane markings that are difficult to see, insufficient signage that can make it difficult to navigate the circle’s turn-offs, and a new car exit from the park onto Prospect Park Southwest, the activists said.

The condition of the bike lane means “bikes ride on the sidewalk or the street to avoid the potholes,” said Joan Botti, a member of Community Board 7, as fellow board member Fred Xuereb pointed out several cars utilizing the once-closed Prospect Park Southwest exit, rather than joining the crowd waiting to leave the park at the official Park Circle exit.

Activists agreed that the situation at the circle is better than it had been before the city added dedicated lanes for bikes and horseback riders from Kensington Stables, plus several concrete islands that are designed to calm traffic moving through the circle.

“I think there certainly needs to be some tweaking, but it’s 10 times better than it was previously,” noted resident Ryan Lynch, who said he walks, bikes and drives through the intersection.

Botti concurred. “Since the construction was completed, there’s not the back-up of bumper-to-bumper cars all the way to Prospect Park West,” she said. “That’s a great advantage.”

City officials said that they would analyze the current situation in hopes of making tweaks.