Park Circle slated for improvement

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For years, Park Circle at the mouth of Prospect Park has been more akin to the seven circles of hell.

The confusing, often unsafe area, where Prospect Park abruptly meets traffic headed to and from the Prospect Expressway, Ocean Parkway, and Fort Hamilton Parkway, has long vexed man, woman, and beast alike.Pedestrians, commuters, cyclists — and even equestrians from the nearby Kensington Stables have all been caught in this less than perfect circle.

The city’s Department of Transportation (DOT) has vowed to bring clarity to the troubling circle, and has been working to address the traffic snarls that have characterized the area, a confluence of Parkside Avenue, Ocean Avenue, Coney Island Avenue, and Prospect Park Southwest.

As previously reported in this paper, transportation officials said that the biggest challenge in the redesign was integrating vehicular, bicycle, pedestrian, and equestrian traffic throughout the busy site. To do that, the DOT added several new and direct crosswalks around the traffic circle, with shorter crossings, as well as new signals and signage to order vehicles properly.The plan also features a bicycle path and a protected bridle path for horses.

The construction and signal work on the project is complete. The agency is currently completing the striping and signage components, and said itwill continue to review the project and solicit community input through next fall. On Nov. 24, agency officials led a walk through the circle, hearing feedback about what else might need improvement.

Local resident Joan Botti, a member of Community Board 7, said she has already noticed positive changes, particularly for pedestrians who are now able to cross safely without having to trudge up a pedestrian bridge.“People are able to cross because of the concrete barrier installed on the south side to the north side of the circle,” she said, adding that traffic lights also are a big help.

During the walk through Botti did notice room for improvement, as a section of concrete in a section close to the north side of the circle is in need of repair. “It’s not some thing new, so if they are here and fixing things, they should have fixed it immediately,” he said. A letter about the matter will soon be dispatched by Board 7 to the DOT, Botti noted.

Updated 3:42 pm, October 19, 2011
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