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2-way safety push - New effort to alter traffic

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There’s a two-way approach to protect bicyclists rolling through Park Slope.

It’s called two-way streets, residents say.

Bolstered by the tragic death of a neighborhood bicyclist last month, residents have started a renewed push to turn both Prospect Park West and Eighth Avenue from one-way streets into two-way streets.

Attendees at a recent neighborhood forum at the Park Slope Community Book Store on Seventh Avenue near Carroll Street floated the idea.

Those in attendance at the forum, which focused on traffic issues in Park Slope, said that traffic on Prospect Park West and Eighth Avenue would slow considerably if the streets were made two-way.

Slower traffic would create safer conditions for both bicyclists and pedestrians, they said.

Currently, neither Prospect Park West nor Eighth Avenue are one way – Prospect Park West heading southbound and Eighth Avenue heading northbound. Neither streets have bike lanes, officials said.

Last month, Sackett Street resident Jonathan Milstein was struck down by a bus when he pedaled past the corner of Eighth Avenue and President Street.

It was unclear if speeding played a role in his death – which someone memorialized last week by placing a body outline near the corner where the accident took place.

Next to the outline was Milstein’s name, the date of his death, and the epitaph, “killed by bus.”

Roughly a week earlier, an eight-year-old boy was also killed while riding a bike, this time in Boerum Hill.

If the push for a two-way Prospect Park West and Eighth Avenue gains momentum, it will have the blessing of the bicycle advocacy group Transportation Alternatives, who recently demanded that the city conduct a three month study to determine the traffic impacts if Prospect Park was closed to all vehicular traffic.

Last year, Transportation Alternatives held a study that determined that cars and trucks on Eighth Avenue generally travel about 40 miles an hour – much higher than the 30 mile per hour speed limit.

The group then studied traffic conditions on Seventh Avenue, determining that cars and trucks on the two-way thoroughfare travel about 25 miles an hour.

DOT officials said that there is no need for changing the streets, since they have already reduced traffic by staggering the signal lights.

According to their studies, the signal changes have reduced traffic to 20 miles per hour.

Last week’s forum was not sponsored by Community Board 6, but rather a concerned group of residents connected with the neighborhood book shop.

The book store holds meetings to address neighborhood issues on the third Wednesday of every month.

“We take the word ‘community’ in our name very seriously,” said one employee.

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