Sharing the Prospect Park Loop
The street will remain cone-free until the city gets more feedback on how to fix the treacherous slope — which has played host to several near-fatal bike-pedestrian collisions — at a public meeting on Tuesday.
It’s interesting to note that there were two collisions in the park prior to the installation of the traffic cones, one accident after they were installed, and none since they were removed, so it’s hard to say with much confidence whether or not the traffic barrels had much of an effect on safety. I’ve long felt that without year-over-year data on accidents in the park it’s difficult to make any sound judgments about potential solutions. Were last year’s accidents part of a growing trend or were they unfortunate statistical blips? That information was not mentioned at the last public forum and I do not know if it will be discussed tomorrow night.
One thing is certain, however. Unless and until cars are banned from the park, one source of confusion and potential conflict in the park will remain:
Some park advocates suggested banning cars from the park, then correcting a series of confusing bike symbols on the street, which are only supposed to apply during limited weekday hours when the park is open to automobiles.
I was in the park last weekend, riding my bike in the middle lane, when I noticed a jogger coming straight at me, running against the flow of traffic. She pointed to the inner lane and the bike symbol painted on the pavement. “Bike lane’s over there!” she screamed. What could I say? “Just so you know, those markings only apply to evening rush hours between 5 and 7 PM when the West Drive is open to automobile traffic,” doesn’t quite roll off the tongue as a quick retort.