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Recent plans to improve Park Circle have driven some Windsor Terrace residents to wonder if the Department of Transportation (DOT) will also fix Bartel-Pritchard Square, the other circle that is notoriously known for traffic problems.
At a recent community meeting held by Councilmember Bill de Blasio, Windsor Terrace residents voiced their concerns about the flow of traffic around the circle (located on the west end of Prospect Park, at the 15th Street exit), the illegal turns many cars make going down Prospect Park South West, and general pedestrian safety when crossing the circle.
Many complained that when park exits are closed, the area is backed up from “light to light.”
“We are seeing traffic in places we have never seen traffic before,” said one resident at the meeting.
Residents also expressed their outrage over the recent expansion of the bollards at the 16th Street and Prospect Park SW intersection, citing how they prevent residents from removing groceries from their vehicles, and that trucks and ambulances have a hard time passing through.
The DOT said the bollards were added to normalize the intersection, marking space that accommodates one parking and one travel lane.
The roadway around the curve is designed for 20 feet, which is supposed to be wide enough for the roadway to accommodate these two uses, but residents aren’t buying it.
Community Board 7 District Manager Jeremy Laufer said that there has been an increase in complaints ever since the DOT announced their plans for Park Circle.
“We have had an issue with them for a number of years, for doing things without community knowledge.” Laufer said. “The community has had an issue with the DOT since 2001.”
Many of the recent complaints stem from the closing of the 3rd Street and 16th Street park exits.
The DOT says that they have no plans currently for a car-free Prospect Park, though Community Board 6 District Manager Craig Hammerman supports a traffic-free proposal.
“Vehicular traffic should be minimized to maximize recreational opportunities,” said Hammerman. ”[But] the DOT should fix the problems outside the park first.”
Hammerman does not share the same view as Laufer on the DOT’s handling of the issues, saying the department has been pretty good with handling the traffic around the area, and that they have been able to take into consideration the many different issues around the circle.
“We work very well with them, and they have been doing a good job,” he added.
The DOT works closely with Community Boards 6 and 7 to gather feedback on projects and initiatives in order to enhance the safety and mobility of the Bartel-Pritchard square area.
“These issues are brought to our attention. We have no plans currently to make any changes to the area,” said DOT representative Keith Bray.
For more information vist visit www.nyc.gov/dot, and Windsor Terrace residents can contact their local community board representatives at 718-854-0003.
©2009 Community Newspaper Group
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