Traffic barrels removed from Prospect Park bike lane

The Brooklyn Paper
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City transportation officials removed dozens orange traffic barrels intended to slow cyclists on a crash-prone hill in Prospect Park — and now they want your advice on what to do next.

The Department of Transportation yanked out the drum-sized cones from West Lake Drive late last month due to “anticipated snow removal” needs, an agency spokesman said.

The street will remain cone-free until the city gets more feedback on how to fix the treacherous slope — which has played host to several near-fatal bike-pedestrian collisions — at a public meeting on Tuesday.

“It’s a very tricky situation,” said Nancy Moccaldi, whose friend Linda Cohen suffered brain damage after a collision on the hill.

The cones appeared on the roadway as part of a pilot program in November at the request of park officials after cyclists struck Cohen and another pedestrian in separate incidents, leaving them both with head injuries.

Several more crashes occurred at the site, near the Vanderbilt Playground, prompting cyclists to fire back that the traffic cones unnecessarily narrowed the lane, giving them less room to avoid obstacles, and obstructed vision, making it harder to see pedestrians before it’s too late.

Some park advocates suggested banning cars from the park, then correcting a series of confusing bike symbols on the street, which are only supposed to apply during limited weekday hours when the park is open to automobiles. Traffic engineers also suggested installing rumble strips — essentially speed bumps for cyclists — near the top of the hill or making the bike path curve before the descent.

There’s no lack of possible solutions — but some park users say there’s also no simple quick-fix.

“There’s no easy solution,” Moccaldi said. “We’re back to square one.”

The Prospect Park Road Sharing Task Force will take up the issue at 6 pm on Feb. 28. [Meet at the Prospect Park picnic house, just south of the Third Street entrance, (646) 393-9031]

Reach reporter Natalie O'Neill at or by calling her at (718) 260-4505.
Updated 5:30 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Doug from Park Slope says:
How about more signage as to what is actually a bike a lane and what's not. It's kind of a free for all on weekends and not 100% clear.
Feb. 27, 2012, 7:42 am
Or from Yellow Hook says:
Simple: Enforce the rules with a ticket book.

Problem will resolve itself.

Gassing them like the geese is too extreme.
Feb. 27, 2012, 8:21 am
Doug G. from Bklyn says:
First and foremost, cars must be eliminated from the park, at least on a trial basis this summer. That will clear up a lot of the confusion since right now the pavement markings only apply for the few hours each day when cars are allowed in.

Get cars out of the park and very distinct symbols can be painted on the pavement: bikes on the right, mixed ped/bike/rollerblade traffic in the middle and peds on the left.

I hope the taskforce considers this in their recommendations tomorrow night.
Feb. 27, 2012, 8:31 am
Other Michael from Park Slope says:
Or said "Simple: Enforce the rules with a ticket book."


What are the rules?
Feb. 27, 2012, 9:53 am
ty from pps says:
AT LEAST reduce automobile traffic to ONE lane. There is never never never enough volume to justify squishing the MUCH LARGER quantity of park users into just 1/3 of the roadway.

The inner (full) lane is for pedestrians. Middle lane for bicycles and rollerbladers. Outer lane for cars *and* fast bicycles. The fast bicycles are going plenty fast... just because the cars *want* to go 40 mph, doesn't mean their supposed to.

Enforce the lights during the two rush hour periods. Tickets galore if you want. But there had better be speed monitoring and ticketing of cars *as well as* issuing summonses to cyclists rolling through red lights.

Mark the road PROPERLY. Including pedestrian crossings... where the pedestrians ACTUALLY cross. Enforce pedestrian crossing too. If you don't think darting out into the road without looking isn't a major contributing factor, you haven't left your cat-filled house in a long time.

Shut the lights off the rest of the time and observe REASONABLE HUMAN BEHAVIOR. There is absolutely no reason to have red lights during PARK time.

I'm really tired of hearing "I can't get across the street with my stroller... the bicycles and rollerbladers are terrorising me... " or whatever other hyperbole folks like to use. Your in the park. Folks are exercising on the road. God forbid you have to wait 18 secs and let a bicycle or two pass.
Feb. 27, 2012, 9:57 am
Or from Yellow Hook says:
Other Michael:

in Chinese:

or Spanish:
Feb. 27, 2012, 10:03 am
Eric McClure from Park Slope says:
The first step to making the park safer for everyone is to get the cars out of it. Only a few hundred cars use the park drive, and those that do speed.
Feb. 27, 2012, 10:10 am
Stu from PPW says:
You're right, Or. Everyone checks the Internet before they step out of their house to go to a park.
Feb. 27, 2012, 10:21 am
ty from pps says:
Or -- you douchebag -- How do those rule SPECIFICALLY apply to Prospect Park, ya know, when the lanes are constantly shifting use depending on the time of day, day of week. Is the road "open" or "closed"? Which lane is for cars? Which lane is for bikes? Oh, wait, it's 7:15 -- so I can ride here. But why are there cars? And you do know that joggers and pedestrians fill BOTH the "official" pedestrian and bike lane. So, cyclists are well within their rights of the rules to leave the bike lane for safety reasons.... Again, what are the rules for Prospect Park that are so clear?

§ 4-12 (p) – Bicycles
• Bicycle riders must use bike path/lane, if provided, except for access, safety, turns, etc.
• Other vehicles shall not drive on or across bike lanes except for access, safety, turns,
• Bicyclists may use either side of a 40-foot wide one-way roadway.
Feb. 27, 2012, 10:29 am
o3 from w'burg says:
what's this got to do w banning birth control?
Feb. 27, 2012, 10:33 am
dporptentine from Flatbush says:
I'd be happy if cops enforced pedestrian behaviors in the park with a ticket book too. Very happy. By far the greatest number of dangerous lawbreakers in the park are walkers and joggers.
Feb. 27, 2012, 10:35 am
Station44025 from Park Slope says:
Writing tickets isn't going to keep pedestrians from wandering into the road without looking, and police aren't the solution for everything.

People have been seriously injured on the ball fields by baseballs, so I think we should ban baseball. People have been bitten by dogs, so we should ban dogs. People have fallen through the ice, so we should pave over the pond. People have been assaulted in the park, so we should probably ban people. Branches from trees have killed people in Central Park, so we should probably cut down all the trees too. Actually, let's just bulldoze the entire park and put a ring of police officers around it--for safety's sake.
Feb. 27, 2012, 10:42 am
Station44025 from Park Slope says:
The one thing that actually has no place in the park is cars.
Feb. 27, 2012, 10:44 am
Or from Yellow Hook says:
Ignorance of the law is not a defense.

Why is it that no one EVER addresses the issue of disregard for the rules by bicycles, but changes the subject?
Feb. 27, 2012, 10:49 am
Station44025 from Park Slope says:
Because the so called "rules for bicycles" A) are completely unclear B) change 4 times each day, and C) are absurd. That's why. Stop wishing for something you'll never have. I'm sure you jaywalk every single day, lawbreaker. Some people just hate bikes and cyclists and want to figure out ways to punish them for existing.
Feb. 27, 2012, 11:03 am
wkgreen from Park Slope says:
As someone who frequently does laps in the park I was glad to see the orange barrels gone, but have to admit that they served one good purpose- they defined the roadway by user at a critical location and helped to separate pedestrians and cyclists.

DOT could make it work by accomplishing that separation without bulky barrels that take up too much of the road giving no room to maneuver and blocking the view.
Feb. 27, 2012, 11:16 am
zach from kensington says:
Agreed with most here. It's madness to label the road with stripes that only apply two hours a day, and leave confusion the rest of the time.

If all the crosswalks were push-button, we could have more crosswalks, and then the lights would be meaningful. Bicycles will slow down and even stop if they think the light means someone is crossing.
Feb. 27, 2012, 11:27 am
prillis says:
well marked speed HUMPS (not bumps or rumble strips). they make EVERYONE slow down and do not damage cars or bikes unless traveling at an unsafe speed.
Feb. 27, 2012, 11:45 am
Other Michael from Park Slope says:

The definition of a sidewalk can be very confusing in Prospect Park. If I follow a garbage truck down a path I can get a ticket.


the traffic lights were installed for the cars that use the park. Do they apply to bikes when the cars are banned? Should they?


Should jay walkers get tickets too?
Feb. 27, 2012, 1:08 pm
Other Michael from Park Slope says:

Speed humps would become and attraction / hazard skateboarders and rollerbladers.

Kids will go there to play some will not follow the rest of the rules of the road.
Feb. 27, 2012, 1:13 pm
scott from park slope says:
The only way the bike lane is a hazard to anyone on foot is if they're walking & texting or blabbing on their phones, expecting the rest of the world to shape itself around them. Bikes don't travel fast enough to occlude safe stopping distances or avoidance.

NBBL, stop crying wolf. You're not concerned with anyone's safety, only with the minor inconvenience to the limousines waiting to whisk you away to high tea with other members of the 1%.
Feb. 27, 2012, 4:30 pm
Joe R. from Flushing says:
Good suggestion on the push buttons, zach. And you actually alluded to a major problem citiwide-the fact that lights go red when no cars or pedestrians are crossing. They shouldn't. We have the technology to make it so. More cyclists would obey red lights if, like you said, the lights actually meant something was crossing. Stopping and staring at empty space is ludicrous even for cars, never mind bicycles and pedestrians.

As for fixing the so-called "problem", how about fencing off that entire downhill section so pedestrians can't cross there? If this means the distance between pedestrian crossings is inconveniently large, then install grade-separated pedestrian crossings. And this need not mean elevated overpasses which force pedestrians to climb steps or ramps. Rather, you can have the road dip down so the pedestrian crossing will be at grade level. It's far easier for cyclists to change elevation than pedestrians. Fact is cyclists WILL go fast on downgrades. Often they need to in order to build momentum to get up the next hill, same as large heavy trucks with a similarly low power-to-weight ratio. It's best to get pedestrians out of the mix entirely in the places where cyclists are likely to be traveling the fastest.

Next thing to do elsewhere in the park is to ban cars entirely, mark the road clearly as to which users should be where, and get rid of the traffic lights altogether. Without lights, pedestrians and cyclists will have to learn to look out for each other, and perhaps establish some sort of informal rule, such as if a bike is ten seconds or less from a crosswalk, the pedestrian will wait until it passes, if it's further away, the cyclist will slow down enough to let the pedestrian(s) cross. This basically works on the oldest principle governing intersections-whoever gets there first has right-of-way, except here the informal rules I mentioned account for the differing speeds of cyclists and pedestrians.
Feb. 27, 2012, 4:40 pm
ty from pps says:
I'm waiting with baited breath the find out how Tal from Pleasantville should think we, in Brooklyn, should use out park.
Feb. 27, 2012, 5:49 pm
Steve from Boerum Hill says:
There aren't nearly enough of the green rectangular signs stating the rules. The road markings by themselves are confusing. Perhaps some (solar) powered signage that states which rules are in effect at the moment would help.
Feb. 27, 2012, 7:51 pm
Brooklynite from Brooklyn says:
But what does Tal Barzilai think?
Feb. 27, 2012, 8:34 pm
ty from pps says:
I'm really disappointed that we didn't get a chance to hear another installment of Tal Barzilai's musings of how we are all ruining the world for him and his car.... and how closing the park drives would make it harder for people that don't live near public transportation... or something! Anything! With the exception of Or from Yellowhook, the above comments are faaaaaar too rational.
Feb. 27, 2012, 11:03 pm
Other Michael from Park Slope says:
Facebook page anyone....
Feb. 28, 2012, 5:28 am
mike from GP says:
I suppose this is a good step forward. It further marginalizes cars in the park, which is good. But the scheme sounds a bit complicated. People will not follow it. But if this gets us closer to a car free park, I'm for it.
Feb. 28, 2012, 7:45 am
Gus from Windsor Terrace says:
I'm a walker and biker who also takes my dog to offleash. What's obvious is that we need to get cars out of the park first--the downhill by PPSW can be difficult to navigate as a pedestrian, but the worst part of the morning loop is the other side of the park. Has anyone else noticed how cars run through the red lights there in the morning (and some motorists honk at others who actually stop)? And we walkers and runners are all choked down to a single tiny lane, which fills with leaves and water most days. We are pushed into the bike path, and the bikers are pushed out on to the road--just so people in cars can have a short cut.

Pedestrians and joggers can be a real pain (writing as a cyclist), and they are often oblivious and clueless. But they are simply slower than bikers. The bikers, especially the spandex brigades that loop the park each day, need to be more courteous and responsible--just like cars. Bikes, like cars, are speedier and have more momentum, so even if the walkers are in the wrong, you need to watch out for them. Slow down on the damn hill. I'm sorry if it hurts your loop time, but you could seriously injure someone.

One other thing about the speedier bikers. Watching out for them doesn't always work. As someone who has to take my dog across the loop to offleash areas, I always look way up the hill to make sure no bikes are coming. I've had close calls anyway, because some of the bikes are just that fast.
Feb. 28, 2012, 2:03 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
I will only agree to stop having cars in Prospect on one condition. All cyclists MUST follow the rules at all times and they cannot act like victims to the rules. Then again, I do know that you guys will play your part if my kind will play ours. Then again, I doubt you will keep your end of the bargain. This sort of reminds me of the belief if Israel doesn't want to face anymore attacks from Hamas, they must agree to a unilateral withdrawl from the Gaza Strip like what was done back in 2005. Can anyone tell me what happened shortly after that occurred? I say that because I doubt that cyclists will ever follow the rules, while websites such as Streetsblog that act of chief enablers will make sure of that.
Feb. 28, 2012, 4:50 pm
ty from pps says:
Hallelujah! I was feeling empty inside without a little dose of irrational Tal. Thank you.
Feb. 28, 2012, 5:17 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
First off, ty, I can hold you for slander on what you say to me, and these days, doing it on the internet doesn't protect you, so watch what you say. Nevertheless, I can never understand why on a topic about bicycles, you and your bike zealot friends bring up cars when they are not the issue here. Do you really think that banning all motor vehicles from the park is going to help? I would think not. You just don't like anyone who chooses to drive no matter what. Even if cars were taken off, you would still flout the laws no matter what. I agree with what Or mentioned and the rules should be enforced. BTW, the city didn't make any new rules on bicycles, they are already there. On a side note, I wouldn't be surprised if Streetsblog burries the stories about those killed or injured by bicycles, while the rest just give that cyclist nothing more than a slap on the wrist.
Feb. 28, 2012, 7:51 pm
Other Michael from Park Slope says:
Hay Tal

I thought you would have come to the Road Sharing Taskforce. Your uninformed opinions would have been ignored.
Feb. 28, 2012, 8:44 pm
ty from pps says:
Tal -- "I wouldn't be surprised if...." What do you mean?! I thought you were an expert and a close reader of Streetblog... ya know, because you so freely criticize everything about it's existence. Wait, are you suggesting that you actually have NO IDEA WHATSOEVER what your blathering on about?! That you are painfully uninformed and just spew irrational crap?

And, Tal, you should sue me for slander. Do it. I want you to.
Feb. 28, 2012, 10:31 pm
Joe R. from Flushing says:
"On a side note, I wouldn't be surprised if Streetsblog burries the stories about those killed or injured by bicycles, while the rest just give that cyclist nothing more than a slap on the wrist."

Nice bit of slandering Streetsblog right there. Perhaps someone should bring this to their attention.

"Even if cars were taken off, you would still flout the laws no matter what."

If the cars were gone, then the traffic lights could be gone as well. There's already an informal agreement, at least in Central Park, that cyclists can pass reds during car-free hours if nobody is crossing (i.e. basically a yield-to-pedestrian rule). Besides, we're talking about 700 vehicles per day here, hardly an amount which couldn't easily be absorbed by the surrounding streets without creating traffic jams.

Getting rid of cars in the park makes things more pleasant not just for cyclists, but for everyone else. Why should the tens of thousands of non-drivers using the park daily suffer for the convenience of 700 or so drivers? I can't think of a good reason here.
Feb. 29, 2012, 2:33 am
George T. from Lefferts says:
Speeding cyclists need to follow the rules. They continue to plow through like they own the joint.
Feb. 29, 2012, 10:41 am
Scott from Park Slope says:
Drivers enjoy 35mph speeds through the entirety of the Tri-State area's local roads. That's already 10mph higher than the national average, in a part of the country that has a far higher population density than the national average. So given that local drivers already have it better than the vast majority of American drivers, in a place where reason dictates they ought to go slower, not faster, why is it so controversial to give the children, families, and other residents of Brooklyn one place where they can go and not fight cars?

My family is in Prospect Park at least three times per week. I have witnessed kids almost run down chasing soccer balls across the park loop. I've seen minivans going 50mph screech to a halt inches from women pushing strollers in the crosswalk when they had the light. The short version is that mixing high speed automotive traffic in a recreational family space is a recipe for disaster. Mark my words, it's only a matter of time before someone speeding in an SUV and talking on a cell phone creams a young family of 5 while they're on their way to picnic in the park.
Feb. 29, 2012, 12:10 pm
Scott from Park Slope says:
The main claim I've heard over the years from the drivers who resist a car-free Prospect Park, screeching in registers that could shatter crystal, is that, "it's a great short cut." But when you actually take the trouble to look at a map, it's not a short cut to anywhere. If you're trying to get from downtown Brooklyn to Ditmas Park or Kensington, then take the BQE to the Prospect Expressway, and vice versa. If you're trying to get from Grand Army Plaza or Ocean Parkway or Coney Island Ave, then you're not saving any appreciable distance by using the Park Loop because it pretty much parallels PPW and PPSW the whole way in one direction, and Parkside, Ocean Ave, and Flatbush in the other direction. The only real difference is instead of looking at buildings you get to look at trees and lakes while very narrowly avoiding mowing down children, joggers, pedestrians, cyclists, and old people.

Cut the crap. Cars out of Prospect Park!
Feb. 29, 2012, 12:18 pm
Scott from Park Slope says:
BTW, strictly out of curiosity, I'd love to know why Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, who has been trolling these boards for years, gives a crap about what happens in a part of the region that has no cultural, physical, or other practical bearing on Pleasantville, NY in Westchester County. C'mon, Tal, give us some context. Is it a simple case of the time-honored practice of trolling a board just to get a reaction, or is it because you're mentally ill and need a place to focus your dysfunction? If it's the latter, we should all give you a pass and send your comments to /dev/null. If the former, or something like it, it would be good to know so we can sign you up for Sierra Club subscriptions, Transportation Alternatives, Gay Times, and all kinds of helpful publications so your neighbors know where you really stand. ;-)
Feb. 29, 2012, 12:29 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Scott, calling someone like me a troll just for not agreeing with you is a major hit below the belt. When you talk like that, I think you are actually describing yourself otherwise acting like a coward. It's so interesting how you talk about motorists flouting the law and claim that it concerns your kind so much, but ignore the fact that cyclists do similar acts, and act silent on such. Why should one group always have to be subject to laws while another is immune to them? This sort of reminds me of Animal Farm by George Orwell, and you bike zealots are those special animals who believe that the rules don't apply to them. Believe it or not, most pedestrians are more afraid of cyclists than they are of motorists, and that's because cyclists are known for flouting the laws constantly.
Feb. 29, 2012, 3:53 pm
ty from pps says:
"Believe it or not, most pedestrians are more afraid of cyclists than they are of motorists"


To be fair, you did say "Believe it or not." And I DON'T!

Do you know why, Tal? Because that is a "fact" you have pulled out of your dumb ass once again!
Feb. 29, 2012, 4:39 pm
Other Michael from Park Slope says:

Why do you keep saying thinks like "Why should one group always have to be subject to laws while another is immune to them?"

The only people getting tickets on the roadways in Prospect Park are bikers. But at the same time %90 percent of drivers are speeding.

and no, most people are not afraid of cyclists, maybe you are.
Feb. 29, 2012, 5:27 pm
Scott from Park Slope says:
Tal, I'm still not sure from your answer whether you are a troll or mentally ill. On the one hand, you've read Animal Farm, which indicates you're not illiterate and implies you're aware of what you're doing. That says "troll." On the other, you display an irrational fear of bicycles (What should we call that, 'cyclophobia?') and blind paranoia about "bike zealots" and severe cognitive dissonance that permits you to zero out the 50,000 tickets the NYPD wrote to cyclists last year to their being "immune to the laws." That says you're mentally ill. I'm having a lot of fun with that option in my mind's eye, imagining you jilted by your childhood tricycle, Rosebud, who chose to be ridden by some other kid, and you clenching your fists and shaking them at the heavens, screaming, "I will destroy all of you, you thrice-damned bike zealots!!!"

So which is it? I'm sure we're all dying to know. Because, really, these days there are many drugs and treatment options available to the mentally ill; but the first step is to ask for help. We're here for you, buddy.
March 1, 2012, 9:57 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
STop with the personal attacks, Scott, Other Michael, and Ty. At least one of you is responsable for all the imposturizations, which from my perspective is a hit way below the belt and nothing less than a form of cyberstaulking. On a side note, I read animal farm and the bike zealouts were exactly like the pigs thinking that they were more equal than the motorist majority. In this capacity, streetsbloggers are like Hamas and the pigs of Animal farm, thinking they are above the law and on the side of righteousness, when the facts proove otherwise. I have put up with enough of this hamasing over at and Streetsblog, and I suspect that some of you are the same forumers hamasing me over at these sights. Unless you want to face legal action, I advise you to apollogize for the slanderous remarks towards my person, and to acknowledge the veridicity of my arguments.
March 4, 2012, 5:49 pm
Other Michael from Park Slope says:

Please refrain from commenting in all-caps.
March 5, 2012, 6:46 am
JD123 from Prospect Heights says:
On this one I'll have to agree with Tal. As a pedestrian in Prospect Park, I do fear cyclists more than I do cars and other motor vehicles. As Tal and others have mentioned, cars and other motor vehicles are not always allowed in the Park and, even when they are, do not represent a constant, congested presence. Cyclists, on the other hand, operate as if they own the road, barreling down the pavement at high speeds, with many of them not making any serious effort to alert pedestrians in front of them that they are quickly approaching. I've definitely had some close calls with cyclists at the park. At least with a motor vehicle, you know if one is approaching. Not so with the more quiet bicycles.
July 22, 2012, 1:49 pm
Other Michael from Park Slope says:
June 1, 2015, 8:43 am

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