The city’s Department of Transportation (DOT) is rethinking traffic flow at Park Circle at the southwest corner of Prospect Park.
By adding new turn lanes, signage and other safety features, DOT hopes they can reduce the number of traffic collisions at the intersection, which links Flatbush, Windsor Terrace and Kensington and leads to the nearby Prospect Expressway.
DOT presented their plan for the intersection (also known as Machate Circle) at a meeting of Brooklyn Community Board 14’s transportation committee on Tuesday night.
DOT staffer David Xiong said the planned change was prompted by requests from the Fire Department to improve traffic flow in the area, as well as crash data showing that, between 2014-2018, there were 65 injuries caused by traffic collisions at the intersection. Xiong said the injuries were “mainly due to rear ends and sideswipes” by vehicles, many of which quickly cut across multiple lanes of traffic to reach their intended exit.
The agency hopes to fix that by more directly guiding traffic lanes toward exits, installing buffers between exit and through lanes, and adding additional signage to guide vehicles. Those interventions, DOT hopes, will reduce both lane changes and the blockage of traffic by vehicles waiting at red lights to exit the intersection.
“The inner lanes no longer go continually around the circle, so they serve more of a purpose,” Xiang said. “It also reduces lane changes, which is a major cause of crashes here.”
Xiang said the project would be completed by in-house DOT staff.
Transportation Committee members generally reacted positively to the proposal. One board member, Jo Ann Brown, suggested DOT demarcate exits by name on the asphalt of the lanes itself, as is done on Grand Army Plaza further north; agency staffers said they would take the suggestion into consideration.
The plan is the latest in an ongoing effort by DOT to improve traffic safety in the immediate area. Pedestrian islands, curb extensions and bike lanes were added to the circle in 2009, and the adjacent Prospect Park entrance was closed to vehicles in 2017.
DOT is simultaneously working on two adjacent bike lane projects on Parkside Avenue and Fort Hamilton Parkway. The agency hopes to complete those both lanes as well as the Park Circle redesign this year, likely in the spring.
Citi Bike is also coming to the area this month; a dock will be added to northeast portion of the circle, near the entrance to Prospect Park.