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.