City transit honchos are planning to build a two-way protected bike lane along a half-mile stretch of Prospect Park’s southern border — finally providing a dedicated route to pedal-pushers looking to traverse the treacherous roadway between Park Circle and Ocean Avenue.
“A lot of people were out there walking and biking and social distancing themselves,” Department of Transportation planner Preston Johnson said at a virtual September meeting of Community Board 14. “At the same time there was a need to kind of balance the mobility that was sacrificed with motor vehicles that weren’t able to use Parkside as a cut-through.”
Despite the government reps’ presence at the civic group’s meeting, the city will not be soliciting community approval while moving forward with the project — and they’ll opt to install the parking-protected cycling path despite any potential opposition.
With the city’s own data documenting the injuries of 13 bikers and 18 pedestrians along the roadway between 2014 and 2018, Johnson said the new lane will finally provide safe passage for bicyclists criss-crossing Brooklyn — just as the once hotly-contested two-way lane did on Prospect Park West, which opened along the adjacent border of Brooklyn’s Backyard in 2011.
“This idea of utilizing the border of the park as an opportunity to provide enhanced cycling facilities,” Johnson said. “The most well-known example of that is Prospect Park West.”
Some locals who spoke at the civic panel’s meeting expressed support for the project, saying the new alternative transportation method would be a boon for car-less locals looking to avoid public transit.
“I generally think this is a great idea,” said Flatbush resident Billy Reichling. “Anything that calms that street down is a big plus for me.”