Prospect Park is Brooklyn’s backyard — and nobody wants drivers cutting through their backyard.
With 1,600 miles of roads and less than 7 square miles of parkland, Brooklyn has the lowest percentage of green space of any borough, making Prospect Park a vital urban oasis.
In the park’s current configuration, cars speed along the 3.35 mile loop drive, leaving everyone else unable to use this public space safely and freely.
For years, Brooklyn residents have worked to keep Prospect Park safe from the hazards of motor vehicle traffic. Those local efforts took a big step forward recently with a proposal from the Prospect Park Road Sharing Task Force to redesign the park’s loop drive to devote a fairer share of the space to non-drivers.
The new design will more than double the space dedicated to bicycling and walking.
Bicycling and walking are the two most popular uses for the park and the Task Force’s proposal recognizes that. Rededicating one lane on the loop drive to pedestrians and bicyclists will make the park safer for everyone. After all, separate spaces for pedestrians, bicyclists and drivers keep everyone out of each other’s way and out of harm’s way.
The common sense proposal put forth by the Prospect Park Road Sharing Task Force is a fitting response to the community’s demand for safer open space for everyone. The reconfiguration of the loop drive makes good on the promise that a public park holds for families across the borough and is an important step towards a healthier, safer Prospect Park.
But, ultimately, the solution is to make the park car-free and give it back to the community, restoring it to its intended purpose — a safe space for locals to walk, bike, jog and play.
After all, Prospect Park should be as safe and accessible for local families as any backyard!
Paul Steely White is the executive director of Transportation Alternatives.