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Backlash against shuttered park access

The Brooklyn Paper
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Show me where the figures came from!

That’s what Community Board 7 wants to know in the wake of the city’s closing of two exits in Prospect Park to cars.

The Department of Transportation closed the 3rd Street entrance and 16th Street exits of the West Drive in Prospect Park on April 27.

CB 7 Chair Randy Peers and District Manager Jeremy Laufer said they plan to make a FOIL (Freedom of Information Law) request to the DOT for the study that led to the move.

“We want to see the DOT data and studies that they’ve conducted around Prospect Park going back at least five or six years,” said Peers.

The move to get the data comes after about 40 people showed up to a recent CB7 Transportation Committee meeting to hear the DOT explain why they decided to close the exits.

In a response from this newspaper for this story, the DOT said 39 vehicles used the 16th Street exit an hour on average.

Previously, the DOT reported in a press release that about 45 vehicles an hour exited the park at each location.

The DOT did not respond to questions of where they got the data or when a study was done.

Laufer said while representatives showed up at the meeting, they did not give any background information on how they determined to close the exits.

“There must have been a study prior to making a determination, and we would love to see that study,” he said, adding that it seems the statistics studied are being pulled out of thin air.

Peers said the DOT has been historically uncommunicative with CB7, as well as other community boards in communicating changes that impact neighborhoods.

Particularly galling, said Peers, is that six weeks ago, the DOT and CB 7 participated in a planning session on ways to enhance safety around the Park Circle where Coney Island Avenue, Caton Avenue, Parkside Avenue and the entrance to the Prospect Park Expressway all meet up.

Now the closure of the two exits will naturally force more traffic onto Park Circle, Peers said.

Issues around traffic in Prospect Park have long been a sore point between the more gentrified community boards south of the park, and the more traditional borough neighborhoods on the northern edge of the park.

Currently, the road in Prospect Park is open to northbound traffic for two hours during the morning rush hour, and to southbound traffic for two hours during the evening rush hour,

The non‚ąíprofit organization, Transportation Alternatives, advocates closing the park to auto traffic at all times, and say they have done studies showing that the closure of the 3rd and 16th Street exits will have little effect on the surrounding neighborhoods.

While the 16th Street exit is in the confines of CB 7, the 3rd Street exit is in the CB 6 district.

Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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