Award–winning journalist Andrea Bernstein is the Metro Editor for WNYC News. She has previously served as Political Director, Director of Transportation Nation, and Senior Reporter.
A new plan for Prospect Park's loop drive will have more room for bikes and pedestrians and less room for cars. It will be unveiled tonight at a meeting of the Prospect Park Alliance.
The park's current markings have long caused confusion. While private cars are only allowed in the park during morning and evening rush hours -- a minority of the time -- the painted markings indicate where bikes and pedestrians are to go only when private cars are in the park.
As a result, the rest of the time -- most of the day, and on weekends and evenings, bike and pedestrian markings are unclear, and conflicts abound. Cyclists wander into pedestrian lanes, fast cyclists overtake slower ones, and children, who tend to frequent the park during off-hours, have been known to wander into car lanes during the time when cars are in the park.
Last fall, two serious crashes left women with brain injuries.
Under the new plan, pedestrians and cyclists will get more room, and cars will have just one lane, down from two. But that lane will be for cars 24/7 -- for parks and emergency vehicles during all hours.
Pedestrians -- and child cyclists, will use the lanes closest to the park interior, and cyclists will use the middle lanes. There will be lanes designated for slower and faster cyclists. The outer lane will be for cars all the time.
The city DOT says reducing the number of car lanes will add, at most, about 7 seconds to a through trip.