These two guy were not pleased that I took their photo, but then I told them that their work was the result of the thoughtful and hard work of a giant committee and they are going to make it safer for all sorts of pedestrians, many types of self propelled wheeled vehicles , and even motor cars. They said, whatever, they will have us paint it over soon anyway. Maybe..... Hopefully not.
The Prospect Park Road Sharing Task Force was convened late last year after there were two exceptionally bad pedestrian/cyclists accidents. The issues of "sharing the road" were in fact being discussed for years if not decades both officially within Prospect Park's Community Committee and in the rest of the world. The Task Force came up with this plan
The more I look at the plan the more I like it. First, that 10 foot traffic lane becomes a lane for service vehicles during 158 out of 168 hours in a week that commuter traffic is not allowed in the park. When I have to drive a truck when I help with a race, the plan clearly shows me where to be. It also show the park users where they can expect me.
The one narrower lane will also calm the traffic down a little when cars are allowed in there during rush hour. It also separates the racing cyclists from the recreational riders and moves them even further from the walkers and runners.
The plan also includes "Encouraging pedestrians to cross at crosswalks....High Visibility Crosswalks, Signage, and Educational Outreach". Basically, tying to get people to cross the drive in the crosswalks. That is where I disagree with this plan. The crosswalks are not always where people cross. Some of the major pedestrian entrances to the Park, do not have crosswalks. I am talking about Grand Army Plaza, Garfield Place and Bartel Prichard Square. No amount of Education Outreach is going to get people who enter Prospect Park at Grand Army Plaza is going to get them to walk out of their way to find a crosswalk. Anyway, this is New York, nobody who is walking stops a red lights, why should they do it when there isn't supposed to be any cars.
UPDATE ON THE ROAD SHARING TASKFORCE: (4-5-12)
The NYC Department of Parks and Recreation and the NYC Department of
Transportation (DOT) have reviewed the comments from the Prospect Park Road Sharing Taskforce’s public meeting on February 28, 2012 and made the following two additions to the plan to further increase pedestrian safety: 1. The crosswalk at Wellhouse Drive and West Drive (near the Vanderbilt Playground) will be widened from about 12 feet to 25 feet. 2. There will be two new crosswalks added to the Park Drive at Grand Army Plaza.
Also the Task Force decided to ask the police to "Foster stop on “red“ for everyone" with "Ongoing Enforcement". I believe this is terribly dangerous. It is dangerous because cyclists do not stop a lights in NYC. I do not think it is the role of the Prospect Park Road Sharing Task Force to attempt to change this (unsafe but real) cycling culture. At best some cyclists will stop, bot most will not.
About 10 years ago I was running against the flow of traffic. As I was coming around the lake, auto traffic was stopped at the red light that is at the bottom of the hill. Three racing cyclist were on a training ride and were zooming down the hill. They approached the intersection at full speed and only I knew that there was the classic little old lady (with a walker!) crossing with the light. They could not see here because of the stopped traffic. They did not hit her, they hit each other, avoiding her.
My point is that the traffic that was stopped at the light obstructed their view of the little old lady. If some bikes stop at a light, the rest will weave around them, causing more accidents.I have been to other parks in NYC and they treat their pedestrian / bike lane interactions differently.
From the other side the sign informs cyclists they are going the wrong way.
Maybe we can add a crosswalk at Grand Army Plaza. That is where people cross the roadway.
No traffic light. No "Ongoing Enforcement".
What I am trying to say is that no amount of enforcement is going to stop people form walking or riding through the red traffic signals. This is a park. This is New York City. People can not assume that just because they have a green light they can just go. We need to install signs that remind people that they should be aware that they about to enter a busy area..
The traffic lights in Prospect Park were installed for automobile traffic. When there are no cars in the park they should be blinking red for the pedestrians and blinking yellow on the roadway. This will alert people crossing the roadway to STOP AND LOOK. It will also alert cyclists to YIELD TO PEDESTRIANS.