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Tonight! Is a car-promise possible in Prospect Park?

Democracy in action: Brooklynites vote to stop Prospect Park puddle
The Brooklyn Paper / Tom Callan

The angry fight for control of Prospect Park’s roadway has entered the compromise phase.

Biking advocacy group Transportation Alternatives — which until recently has called for a complete ban on cars on the park’s drives — has now backed off and is calling for the roadway to merely be squeezed from two lanes to one.

The result, the group said, would be more room for bikers and other park users — and slower-moving cars.

The compromise plan will be presented to Community Board 7 tonight in what is sure to be the biggest meeting since October’s clash between Prospect Park cyclists and motorists.

The changes are far less extreme than the earlier call for Olmsted and Vaux’s masterpiece to be entirely car-free, but they would benefit bikers and walkers all the same, said Transportation Alternatives spokesman Wiley Norvell.

“We like the idea because there is a huge speeding problem on the loop drive and when you reduce the width, you eliminate a lot of the reckless turning movements and speeding,” he said.

The possible compromise between motorists and cyclists comes only two months after community boards 7 and 14 banded together to reject the notion of a car-free park.

But cycling activists say they aren’t abandoning their dreams of a vehicular ban — the Holy Grail for some two-wheelers.

“The entire campaign for a car-free Prospect Park has been incremental,” Norvell said. “Our vision is for a completely car-free Prospect Park, but anything that inches it towards being less car-centric and more people-centric is for the good. We would recognize this as a pretty big victory.”

Cycling advocates argue that reducing the width of car lanes would protect walkers and cyclists along the leafy drive, where Park Slope resident Rachel Fruchter was killed in 1997 after colliding with a van in a section of the loop that was supposed to be car free.

Transportation Alternatives will present its proposals for Prospect Park to Community Board 7’s Transportation Committee tonight — Tuesday, Dec. 2 — at the board office (4201 Fourth Ave., between 42nd and 43rd streets in Sunset Park), 6:30 pm. For info, call (718) 854-0003.

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