The Moment is Now for an
Auto-Free Prospect Park
Two years late and after much prodding from T.A.'s Brooklyn committee, the Department of Transportation finally released its "Prospect Park Drives Alternative Use Study." The crude traffic study examined several traffic-reduction options for Prospect Park, including closing the park drives to motorized traffic. The happy surprise is that the DOT concluded that a car-free park would generate unsolvable traffic problems at only one intersection. T.A. commissioned a traffic engineer to conduct an independent analysis of the DOT traffic data, which shows no unsolvable traffic problem at all!
Moreover, when T.A. factored into the analysis a 15% shrinkage of the traffic heading towards a hypothetical car-free park, as was done with a 1992 traffic study of Central Park, we found that a car-free Prospect Park would not generate any traffic problems, large or small.
It should be obvious from T.A.'s extensive work on traffic reduction in west Brooklyn neighborhoods that we care very deeply about traffic diversions onto neighborhood streets - be they from the Gowanus Expressway or from a park closed to traffic. T.A. would not endorse a car-free Prospect Park if we determined that surrounding neighborhoods would be adversely impacted. The fact is, there will be no major traffic diversions from a car-free prospect Park!
Ultimately, to determine the fate of Prospect Park based on a crude traffic study which has no analysis of safety or other benefits is plain silly. The park is for people and it should be car-free because it's the right thing to do. In upcoming months, city agencies, community boards and the Brooklyn Borough President's office will make recommendations to the Mayor regarding Prospect Park. We need you to send this message - car-free Prospect Park now. Please write to local Brooklyn papers such as the Eagle or the Courier. Keep an eye out for community board meetings on this topic, and attend or write to your board. Or come to the next meeting of the Brooklyn Committee, January 12 at 464 E 19th St, 6:30. You can also contact committee co-chairs Alan Mukamal [firstname.lastname@example.org] or Carl Biers [email@example.com]. There's also a new Brooklyn e-mail list; to join, send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org asking to be added to the Brooklyn list.
And please write to the
following public officials:
Brooklyn Borough President