Prospect Park is out of control—at least according to a new petition that calls for better-defined road rules on the park’s main thoroughfare.
After a cyclist-pedestrian accident in the park last month left the pedestrian hospitalized with broken bones and a brain injury, Kensington resident Mark Simpson, 44, decided to draft a petition calling for roadway safety in the park.
“Since park use seems to be growing, more and more incidents seem to be happening,” said Simpson, a lighting designer and avid cyclist. “A few accidents seem to have put more of a burden on cyclists breaking the rules, but going around the park I’ve also dodged so many pedestrian who didn’t look before crossing.”
Simpson’s petition calls for several measures that he says would help improve park traffic safety, including painting lanes on the main drive to more accurately reflect which lanes are for cyclists and which are for runners and pedestrians (the current painted bicycle lane is meant to be used only when the park is open to car traffic). He would also like to add more signage clearly displaying intended lane usage, move fast bikes to the center lanes, double the number of crosswalks and place yellow flashing lights into the crosswalk lines at the traffic signal crosswalks, where cyclists would be required to stop and wait for any pedestrians to cross before moving onward.
“The current signage is confusing,” he said. “The bike lane isn’t where bikes are supposed to be. Right now it’s every man for himself. There seems to be one school of pedestrians who think they have the right of way and its up to cyclist to avoid them. Others are scared to cross even when they have the light.”
Simpson hopes that his petition will provide a more moderate plan for improving park safety than that some of the ideas that have been proposed on the local Kensington-Windsor Terrace Yahoo! group, which include banning all fast cycle riders from the park.
“There were people calling to ban fast riders from the park,” he said. “I was looking for a more rational approach to how to make the park safer.
Simpson plans to present the petition to the Prospect Park Alliance and Councilmember Brad Lander once enough signatures have been gathered.
Prospect Park did not respond to a request for comment before our deadline.