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Watch out! City’s traffic signs inside P’Park cause accidents they’re meant to prevent, locals claim

Rough ride: A bicyclist ended up eating asphalt after an unfortunate run in with a sign planted in the middle of West Drive in Prospect Park.
Brooklyn Paper
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Talk about a bad sign.

New street-safety signs the city installed on a bicycling corridor in Prospect Park are anything but, because one of the moveable placards sent a cyclist to the hospital after he crashed into it within a week of its arrival, furious locals claim.

Department of Transportation officials on May 24 installed the portable signs on poles that are anchored by heavy, gray bases along West Drive at crosswalks near Vanderbilt Playground and the Prospect Park Bandshell, advising caution around the crossings and a 10-mile-per-hour speed for two-wheelers.

But rather than putting the signs on the sides of the road, the transit gurus placed them in the middle of the pavement, creating an obstacle for cyclists who may not be expecting a weighted metal pole in their path — like a man who plowed his bike into the sign near Vanderbilt Playground on May 31, according to a local rider who witnessed the collision.

“We heard a crashing noise, and we turned around and saw a guy was down,” said Stanley Greenberg, who is also a member of the Prospect Park Community Committee, which liaises between locals and the green space’s stewards.

Greenberg said he and pal Dennis Hrehowsik were cruising West Drive on their bicycles around 6 pm when a sudden bang drew their attention to the older cyclist as he slammed into the placard.

The impact rotated the sign by 90 degrees, according to Hrehowsik, who said the pair waited with the injured rider that he described as “visibly shaken” until an ambulance arrived.

And Greenberg left the scene fuming because neither city officials nor those atop meadow conservancy the Prospect Park Alliance informed locals that the signs were put in place, he claimed.

“We could have told them in five minutes how to make what they wanted better,” he said. “But there was no warning.”

An Alliance spokeswoman, however, said it supported the rollout of the city’s signs, arguing her group informed Greenberg and his fellow community-committee members of the plan to install them back in February.

“Prospect Park Alliance supports the DOT’s efforts to enhance the safety of the West Drive,” said Deborah Kirschner.

Greenberg acknowledged that Alliance bigwigs brought up the street-safety concerns regarding those West Drive crossings at the February session, but claimed nobody specifically spelled out the Transportation Department’s solution at the time.

“We definitely had a discussion about that site and about some kind of traffic calming, but that was not it,” he said.

On June 1, a Transportation Department spokeswoman said workers moved the signs from the middle of the road following the bike accident, but pictures of the placards taken the next day showed that they remained on the pavement through at least part of the weekend.

Reach reporter Colin Mixson at cmixson@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4505.
Updated 5:43 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

ty from pps says:
they should have done a study first to see if this would work.
June 5, 6:11 am
Benny from Williamsburg says:
In before one of the local dullards makes an idiotic comment trying to disparage cyclists.
June 5, 8:06 am
Brooklynite from Fort Greene says:
We spent Memorial Day in the park and made the circuit on foot. It was a little alarming. We were in a path clearly marked for pedestrians, but it seemed also to be used by speeding cyclists. Meanwhile, the bike lane was used by families, including small children on bikes, and those on racing bikes. The two paths for pedestrians didn't appear to distinguish between runners and walkers.

I'm happy that cars are out of the park, but I came away thinking that the signage and the lanes themselves need to be studied and improved. As it stands, it feels unsafe for all concerned.
June 5, 8:35 am
CA from East Flatbush says:
If you aren't speeding, you would see and avoid these signs. The signs weren't in the bike lane. So this guy was clearly doing something wrong. The signs should stay, and there should be other traffic calming things installed at other pedestrian crossings and down hill stretches where the Spandex Heads abuse the park paths.
June 5, 9:04 am
Thinking aloud from Brooklyn says:
It may very well be that we need the signs with bollard pedestals to slow cyclists down. I doubt signs on the side will have any effect hence the reason they're in the middle.

At slower speeds they wouldn't be crashing into things.

The safety of pedestrians is far more important than that of speeding cyclists.

Perhaps cycle speed bumps as well to compliment the new signage.
June 5, 9:25 am
Florence Weintraub from Windsor Terrace says:
Biker was in wrong lane. They often are because the center is the high ground on the road and the pleasantest place to bike, even though it endangers pedestrians. It's the bikers who endanger the entire park experience for pedestrians. Very difficult to cross the road into the park without getting hit by high speed bikers. The placement of the markers is an attempt to put some control on the situation of speeding bikers, especially at that point where bikers have been speeding speeding down a long hill.

Also, there are always bikers riding illegally on pedestrian paths throughout the park.
June 5, 9:34 am
Bob Marvin from Prospect Lefferts Gardens says:
I'm not one to disparage cyclists–I was an avid one in my younger days. HOWEVER anyone who'd ride their bike into one of these large signs is clearly unfit to ride around others and is a danger to his/her self and anyone else within reach.
June 5, 9:59 am
MiKing from Gowanus says:
have a look at this solution: https://movethecurb.tumblr.com/post/174599163798/pedestrian-safety-island-on-bike-route-in-park
June 5, 10:08 am
Henry Ford from Bay Ridge says:
It’s Prospect Park, not Prospect Velodrome. It’s time to enforce speed limits on the Lance Armstrong wannabes, or just ban them from the park if they can’t behave.
June 5, 10:49 am
Benny from Williamsburg says:
⬆⬆⬆Local Dullard⬆⬆⬆
Thanks for proving my point.
June 5, 11:30 am
Jim from Cobble Hill says:
Invite local schools and community groups to decorate the bases with paintings and designs, which will most likely reduce this kind of incident by making them more visible.
June 5, 11:34 am
David from Prospect Heights says:
The signs are in the hatched out buffer between the bikeway and pedestrian space. Why was a bicyclist in the buffer? A buffer is not meant to be biked or walked in (even though many do).

Placing these signs outside the curb would diminish their visibility and effectiveness. One could even argue that the signs are located where they are to calm traffic (acting like a choker). Lastly, the signs help to raise awareness of the most vulnerable user and action (a pedestrian crossing the road). I feel for the cyclist that hit the sign, but crossing the street is very difficult on weekends and these signs help to remind cyclists (and illegal motorists) that pedestrians will be crossing.
June 5, 11:55 am
Henry Ford from Bay Ridge says:
Laws and rules are only for the little people, not the likes of Benny from Williamsburg, who feel that they can do whatever they like with no regard for anyone else. Sorry Lance, slow the f down or suffer the consequences. People are trying to walk without getting run down by self absorbed brats like you.
June 5, 12:08 pm
Claire from PPW says:
Pedestrians, cyclists, & motorists all need to be careful.
June 5, 12:36 pm
AMH says:
Installing these on streets to slow speeding motorists took months of community meetings. Why don't park users merit the same consideration?

Also, why are the bases grey instead of white or yellow? Anyone with an ounce of common sense knows that they need to contrast with the asphalt.
June 5, 12:58 pm
Brian Van Nieuwenhoven from Gramercy says:
Note that the main issue is not the one that is being discussed: it’s not that these signs are unsafe when the road is clear - rather, when there are pedestrians scurrying across the roadway without looking, or when there are mechanical issues on a bicycle, or when visibility is low, these pedestals add crash risk needlessly. Bicycles need space to operate and there should be as few obstructions in the roadway as possible. The signs would work fine if mounted roadside.

The other issue is posting a 10mph speed limit, which is far slower than normal bicycle speeds (it’s barely upright) and is inappropriate for any bicycle facility.

And it comes down to the source issue, which is that the park won’t put signals, paths, tunnels or bridges here to create an effortless crossing experience for pedestrians and cyclists alike. This is all slapdash and condescending. You can’t bike anywhere in the park except the park drive, so reason would follow that you would preserve bicycle traffic on the drive as much as possible instead of giving into the notion that pedestrians should be able to mindlessly wander along the drive in any/all spots while cyclists are coming through. The one issue that isn’t solved by fences is the fact that pedestrians must cross the drive, but a strong consideration should be given to a grade separated crossing here. (Sink a wide pedestrian path, and raise the grade of the drive a little to match the level of the approach, to create a drive bridge over the ped path)
June 5, 2:21 pm
Benny from Williamsburg says:
The local dullard always delivers. LOL, such a whiner!
June 5, 3:06 pm
Josh from Manhattan says:
These signs are the same as what they have added in Central Park a while ago. It really isn't about cyclist speed here, in terms of the rider crashing into the sign, but usually something having to do with obstacle avoidance. I stay out of Central Park when riding because the combination of joyriders lolygagging along, tourists stopping their bikes in the middle of the road, pedestrians all over the place, and aggressive riders slaloming around all of the above just makes the ride not enjoyable. But even a non-aggressive rider trying to avoid any of the above, which you find in Prospect Park as well, can cause the rider to swerve and having the metal/concrete obstacle is dangerous in that situation. The best idea, in my eyes, is to curb-separate the road users: pedestrian zones separated from bicycle lanes with a physical curb. Then two separate curb-separated cycling lanes, one for casual riders, and one for faster riders that the parks vehicles can drive in as well. At crosswalk points, if DOT/PPA won't grade separate, then have refuge islands between the two bike lanes so there is one lane of cyclists to cross at a time. And clearly sign the usage of each lane and all road users agree to abide by the separation, or face a fine.
June 5, 6:24 pm
Wilbur D. Horse from Goats Head Soup says:
In NYC, bikers are never held responsible for their actions! In this case, sadly, the usual scapegoats, motorists, are not to blame.
June 6, 6:45 am
Mustafa Khant from Atlantic Ave says:
Darwin proven again.
June 6, 7:56 am
LadyGrouch from Park Slope says:
How can a large yellow sign not be visible enough to avoid?
June 6, 9:37 am
Henry Ford from Bay Ridge says:
Because signs can be hard to see when you are doing 60mph on a bicycle.
June 6, 10:16 am
Liam from Kensington says:
DOT is sending mixed signals with both pedestrian crossing signs and stoplights. Should cyclists yield only during lights or all the time? If all the time lose the lights; if only during lights lose the crosswalks and destined-to-cause-an-accident signage (I was sure a kid was going to hit before an adult).
June 6, 11:53 am
Benny from Williamsburg says:
OMG, that dotard above who thinks bikes can get up to 60 M.P.H. in prospect park. Go back to bed grandpa.
June 6, 11:58 am
F. W. from Windsor Terrace says:
constant unnecessary insults
June 6, 12:47 pm
Adamben from The stuy says:
What a dumb, dangerous dunderheaded idea. In the middle of the road? How can you not have some daydreamer not crash into it? very anti vision zero of them. More like vision a couple.

Why not seperate the bike and pedestrian lanes. A little grass,flowered curbed median? Sounds quite pleasant, if you ask me!
June 6, 12:59 pm
Benny from Williamsburg says:
Yeah, the guy in the photo wearing the button up shirt and blue jeans sure looks like a Lance Lrmstrong wannabe.
Holy Christ the level of stupidity in this comment section is like that of the trump administration.
June 6, 2:50 pm
Benny from Williamsburg says:
*Armstrong.
June 6, 2:50 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Why exactly was that cyclist riding on the dividing line when he shouldn't have? Had he not done that, it would have been avoidable. Then again, that's what these bike zealots get for not obeying traffic laws and signs especially when it places them into harm's way.
June 6, 5:29 pm
biff from tal house says:
Yeah tal! you terr em!
June 6, 8:07 pm
Rufus Leaking from BH says:
What? No name on the dumbest biker of the week?
June 7, 7:12 am

Comments closed.

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