Last night, the transportation committee of Brooklyn Community Board 6 unanimously endorsed a plan by the Department of Transportation to calm traffic on Prospect Park West through a major street redesign.
The plan features the implementation of New York City's first on-street, two-way, physically separated bike lane, which will run alongside Prospect Park on the east side of Prospect Park West, and will be protected by a four-foot striped buffer and a parking lane. In order to accommodate the new bike lane, Prospect Park West will be reduced from three south-bound travel lanes to two, and the remaining lanes will be narrowed to ten feet each.
The planned changes address two major issues: the need for northbound bicycle access on Prospect Park West, for which there has been strong demand, according to DOT Bicycle Program Coordinator Josh Benson; and a major problem with speeding, which has been a longtime concern of residents and neighborhood activists.
Preston Johnson, DOT's project manager for the Prospect Park West redesign, highlighted the problems caused by the street's current configuration. At nearly 50 feet wide and with three travel lanes, the street encourages high speeds and reckless driving, forces pedestrians to make long crossings, and lacks dedicated cycling space, despite a high volume of bicycle traffic. Prospect Park West's existing vehicle volume, which peaks at about 1,100 cars per hour, can easily be accommodated by two lanes, Johnson said.
In field surveys last month, DOT found that more than 70 percent of the cars on Prospect Park West were exceeding the 30 mph speed limit, and at least 15 percent were traveling at 40 mph or faster. From 2005 to 2007, there were 58 reported crashes on Prospect Park West.Read more...