The Department of Transportation wants to make crossing Bartel-Pritchard Square safer. With a plan they revealed to Community Boards 6 and 7 on Thursday night, they might do exactly that.
The biggest change to Bartel-Pritchard Square is almost complete: the installation of a traffic light at 15th Street inside the circle. It will be fully complete by the end of this weekend, a DOT spokesman said during the meeting.
The rest of the changes, which can be found below, will most likely be implemented in 2013, due to DOT’s full schedule of projects through the end of the year.
The rest of the changes are as follows:
- Three lanes will remain between Prospect Park West and 15th Street, the inside lane to go around the circle and two outside lanes to make a right onto 15th Street.
- However, after 15th Street the number of lanes will be reduced to two. One lane will run all the way around the circle and the other lane is to make right turns only.
The DOT said that the reason for the lane reduction is because with three lanes, usually there are two lanes that turn right at the same time and cause a pedestrian hazard. With at least one pedestrian injured in the circle a year, they believe reducing two turning lanes to one will make it safer for all users.
More changes to the circle:
- They will move the B61 bus stop from inside the circle between Ninth Avenue (Prospect Park West in Windsor Terrace) and Prospect Park Southwest to the corner of Ninth Avenue and the traffic circle.
- The four spaces on Ninth Avenue where the new B61 stop will be located will be moved to the where the B61 bus stop is now inside the circle.
- One parking space, between 15th Street and Ninth Avenue in the circle, will disappear and be made a space for pedestrian refuge.
- A new crosswalk from 15th Street to Bartel-Pritchard Square will be installed after the light goes in and then the DOT will repaint all the other crosswalks connecting the square to the street surrounding the circle.
- The distance from the circle to the street will also be reduced a little because of the reduction of one lane all the way around.
- They will make the turn onto 15th Street sharper by installing a curb extension to be used as a pedestrian’s space. This will act as a traffic calming technique because cars will have to slow down to make the turn on to 15th Street.
- They will also adjust light timings with new signal at 15th Street to make traffic flow smoother.
Community Board 7 did not vote on the plan. Jeremy Laufer, CB7 District Manager, said that they have more questions that need to be answered before they vote.
However, Community Board 6 unanimously approved the plan.
Tom Miskel, the chair of CB6’s Transportation Committee, said the plan sounds great.
“This one is way overdue. It’s a real bottleneck and people speed on Prospect Park West to make the turn on 15th Street,” Miskel said, explaining that 15th Street is a conduit for the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway and the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel. “But now, the drivers will have to wait at the red light at 15th Street and pedestrians will be able to cross safely.”
Doug Gordon, the founder of the website Brooklyn Spoke, said he also likes the plan.
“I think it is a great proposal and takes everyone’s safety — bikers, cars and pedestrians — into consideration,” Gordon said. “I think it will bring a little more order and make traffic flow more predictable.”
Miskel added that the biggest change to the circle is the traffic light at 15th Street.
“People have been complaining about this for 10 years now,” Miskel said. “Now, they will have what they want.”