City pilot will add more pedestrian space to Prospect Park’s roadway

March 8, 2023

Photo by Prabu Vasan for Prospect Park Alliance

Prospect Park’s main roadway is getting a revamp. The Prospect Park Alliance and the Department of Transportation on Tuesday released the results of a year-long study of Prospect Park Drive, a busy loop within the park for pedestrians, joggers, and cyclists. Conducted by leading traffic consultancy Sam Schwartz, the NYC Parks Department, and DOT, the study analyzed crash data, roadway grade, pedestrian count, and other metrics to determine ways to improve the roadway. As a result of the study, the city is piloting adding a second lane on the outside of the drive, which would limit the need for crossings and prevent collisions.

The Park Drive Safety Study was conducted to address safety issues on Park Drive, which in 2018 was closed to vehicular traffic. After its closure, the roadway saw a significant increase in use by pedestrians and cyclists, causing an uptick in accidents and traffic-related injuries.

Starting Monday, the city will repave Park Drive’s 3.3-mile loop inside Prospect Park, spanning from Park Circle to Grand Army Plaza. The work will be done during weeknight overnight hours, or from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., to prevent disruption for park users. This portion of the Drive has not been repaved for more than a decade and is heavily potholed.

Following the repaving work, which is expected to take five weeks, NYC Parks and DOT will pilot one of the study’s recommendations to increase space for cyclists and pedestrians on Park Drive by giving pedestrians space on both sides of the road. The road’s redesign will be evaluated over the next 18 months to determine if it should expand to the entire loop.

“Prospect Park hosts visitors of all kinds every day, and we’re excited to work with our partners at the Prospect Park Alliance and NYC DOT on reimagining the Prospect Park Drive. This park is truly Brooklyn’s backyard, and we are dedicated to creating safe and enjoyable shared spaces,” Sue Donoghue, Commissioner of NYC Parks, said.

“We thank the Prospect Park Alliance for commissioning this thoughtful study to determine how we can best address the needs of all park users.”

Other recommendations from the study include increasing crosswalk visibility, placing physical barriers at crosswalks, “slow hours” for training cyclists, and a new policy for electric vehicles, which are currently banned in the park. You can leave feedback on these proposed changes here.

Photo courtesy of the Central Park Conservancy

The city also plans to study the six-mile loop roads within Central Park. The Central Park Conservancy, along with DOT and the Parks Department, last week launched a study of the park drives to improve user experience and “investigate cross-park connections,” according to a press release.

“The Conservancy is prioritizing this study because the drives affect the Park experience for nearly every visitor, and with the expanded use since the pandemic, the time is now to work together as New York City charts its path forward,” Betsy Smith, president and CEO of the Central Park Conservancy. “We look forward to working alongside city agency partners and the public to enhance the drives’ safety and accessibility and share those learnings with other parks.”

Take the Central Park survey here.


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