Almost three weeks after the , the Department of Transportation introduced a pilot program on West Drive to help slow down cyclists at the crosswalk at the intersection of Wellhouse Drive.
The DOT and Prospect Park Administration, both of which are in the Prospect Park Road Sharing Taskforce to examine how park users (runners, walkers, competitive cyclists, recreational bikers) can safely share the park drives, narrowed the two traffic lanes on West Drive, which is a long downhill stretch, with orange traffic barrels.
This is expected to help slow drivers and bicyclists and alert them to the upcoming crosswalk. The crosswalk was also changed so that it is “highly visible.” The striping in the crosswalk now runs parallel to traffic as opposed to most intersections, where crosswalks are typically marked perpendicular to traffic.
“The changes on West Drive were made to simplify traffic movements and ease pedestrian crossing at Wellhouse Drive,” a DOT representative said. “We will monitor these enhancements to see if any adjustments are needed and will continue to meet with the task force to discuss other possible changes.”
The DOT also installed signs alerting drivers and bikers (motorists are allowed on West Drive Monday through Friday 5 to 7 p.m.) that there is a pedestrian crosswalk ahead, near Vanderbilt Playground where the November 3 accident occurred.
Eric McClure, co-founder of Park Slope Neighbors and an avid bicyclist, was happy to hear the changes have been made.
“I think it's a step in the right direction, and I'm glad that they're taking action, since the safety of all park users is paramount,” McClure said. “However, there's another step that would further improve safety— eliminating the two hours a day when motor vehicle traffic is permitted in the park.”
McClure said there is a lot of confusion during the hours motorist are allowed to be on West Drive, for bikers, pedestrians and cars are all on the same road at one time. McClure thinks that making the park car-free would solve that problem. He suggests that DOT implement a car-free pilot program in the park.
He also reminded drivers and bikers, that, “children and the elderly are the park's most vulnerable users."
“People on bikes and in cars need to treat them with respect and special care,” McClure explained. “We should all ride and drive as if that pedestrian crossing the drive might be our grandparent, or our child.”
There will be a Prospect Park Road Sharing Taskforce in .