Survey: More Two-Way Traffic Needed Around GAP

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A recently released results of survey by the Park Slope Civic Council call for converting two main arteries off the Grand Army Plaza traffic circle from one-way streets to two-way. Despite the addition of traffic lights at previously unsignaled intersections, residents voiced strong opinions about the danger of speeding cars on both Eighth Avenue and Prospect Park West. The consensus from the workshop [pdf] is that much more needs to be done, said Michael Cairl, chair of the Civic Council’s Livable Streets Committee. We know that these proposed changes won’t satisfy everyone, but we’re convinced that restoring two-way traffic flow to Eighth Avenue and Prospect Park West is the best way to … make these streets safer for all users, said Eric McClure of Park Slope Neighbors. Reactions?
Eighth Ave and PPW Should Go Both Ways [Brooklyn Paper]

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  • please dont hate on me for possibly saying this as a first post in a thread, but everytime ive seen the grand army plaza written as GAP in print i SERIOUSLY thought they meant the GAP (like the clothing store) :-/ hA!

    *rob*

  • Wait… because New Yorkers don’t know how to use a traffic circle, they are going to make the circle two-way?

    I guess making it a simple cross intersection at the north end of the plaza will work. Maybe.

  • Worked fine before the bubble.

    ***Bid half off peak comps***

  • First off – I totally agree with Rob. Whenever I read that (GAP), a little voice in my head always sings the “Fall into the GAP” jingle from the 80′s.

    Also, I drive and walk on 8th ave all the time. I find it hard to believe that there a speeding cars that make it unlivable. It’s always felt like a relatively quiet neighborhood street to me. I can’t really comment on PPW as I don’t use it as much.

    Finally, I love this idea for connecting the plaza to the park. It’s always bothered me how difficult it is to get from one to the other. Also, this will allow the greenmarket to expand a bit, no?

  • This seems to fly in the face of the work that has been down by GAPco et. al. and downright Park Slope centered. To have two way traffic around GAP would not only make it MORE dangerous for both pedestrians, cylclists and motorists but would make access to the Park from GAP less accessible.

  • Wouldn’t the effect of making 8th two way be to back up westbound traffic on Flatbush more as people try to turn left onto 8th from the left lane? The right lane already backs up with buses etc.
    Think making PPW two way would work well.

  • Hopefully the plan includes making Union Street ONE-way… probably east-bound would be best. That street is way too narrow and is always ridiculous clogged.

  • Please explain how CONNECTING GAP to the Park would make access to the Park from GAP less accesible. That doesn’t make ANY sense. Really – I’m not being snarky. I really have absolutely no idea what you mean.

    THis plan would defintely not be more dangerous for anyone. Traffic circles are the most dangerous and confusing of all road configurations. This set up is actually much more rational easy to understand. Clearly you don’t really understand very much about traffic planning.

    FInally, I fail to see why this is is Park Slope centric. I live in Prospect Heights, and I think it’s a good thing for me.

  • It would increase traffic congestion and back-ups and lead to more collisions, since there would be more left turns across opposing traffic.

    If the goal is to piss off motorists, this will probably do the trick. But it won’t have any beneficial effects.

  • I think it’s a terrific idea. I wonder what pull the Civic Council has with the DOT.

  • denton

    2 way streets? What a honking disaster.

  • Terrible idea about 2 way traffic on PPw. with so many kids and adults crossing PPw to get to the park, this plan will result in pedestrian injuries as they get blindsided by cars coming from both directions.

  • GAP always seems to me like a deathtrap for pedestrians. I went to the exhibit last summer that showcased entries in a redesign contest. There were some interesting suggestions. Although I wonder if anything will get done with all the budget cuts… I doubt it. The exhibit also pointed out that GAP was conceived and built before there were autos on the road.

  • Doldrums – most “livable streets” advocates and transportation planners would tel you that exactly the opposite is true. Two way streets are better for pedestrians because they encourage drivers to drive more slowly. It’s a proven fact that drivers drive more slowly on 2-way street than one way streets. Also, people (especially kids) should only cross streets at intersections when they have the light. It doesn’t matter which way traffic is going if it’s stopped at a light.

  • Brooklynishome: This meshes perfectly with what GAPCo aims to do.

    Like bkre says, 2 way traffic is calmer traffic, more controlled traffic, more aware traffic. And traffic circles are confusing. GAPCo is for improving and simplifying traffic flow around and thru GAP.

    For peds, joining GAP to Prospect Park is a no brainer. And tightly controlled crossings in three places – Union and PPW, Eastern Pkway and Flatbush, and Flatbush and Vanderbilt – would allow peds better access to the ‘interior’ of the plaza in a safe, controlled manner.

  • Bkre,
    You are definitely right about two-way streets. They are much safer than one-way speedways.
    The suggestion for Grand Army PLaza would definitely make it and the park more accessible and pedestrian friendly.
    The main thing preventing people from crossing streets now is the zoom round the circle set up in effect now.
    Plus, this map shows no traffic dividing the plaza thingie where the arch and fountain is and the entrance to the park, which are now divided by the racing cars headed from Flatbush to either Eastern Parkway or continuing on Flatbush.
    IMHO, that would lead to far more folks using the plaza space, which is now cut off from everywhere.

  • dittoburg

    Americans and roundabouts…..

  • denton et al: One way streets are the “honking disaster” (nice turn of phrase, that), not 2-way. 1-way streets invite speeding (compare 8th Av to 7th)

    The plan above does NOT conflict with GAPco’s plans, which also suggest 2-way around the plaza.

    doldrums: “as they get blindsided…” what, these are very special kids and adults who NEVER cross a 2-way street? They map out special routes to only traverse 1-ways?

  • .

    “doldrums: “as they get blindsided…” what, these are very special kids and adults who NEVER cross a 2-way street? They map out special routes to only traverse 1-ways?”

    you should see how they cross the street now, in their rush to get to the park. Wait until it’s 2 way. I live near the Park and all my neighbors are against the idea.

  • Plus PPw will have much more traffic and when combined with the u-turns , the results won’t be pretty.

  • You act like 2-way streets are so rare that people won’t know how to deal with them. Why will there be more u-turns here than on any other 2-way street?

    And, as stated before – 2-way streets have LESS traffic not more. That statement is based on scientific research.

  • doldrums you are making no sense. how will making ppw 2-way result in more traffic?

  • “doldrums you are making no sense. how will making ppw 2-way result in more traffic?”

    Easy, more access from aouth via windsor Terrace. So now you can access PPW from Eastern Parkway/GAP or the circle off of PPW SW. Now double the cars can directly access it.

  • Central Park South is a two way street and somehow people manage to cross it to get to that park without getting killed. Are you implying that Brooklynites are that much dumber than Manhattanites?

  • doldrums: “double the cars/more traffic”

    But the roadway has not been widened, if anything a 2-way street creates “friction” which reduces traffic. Suggest getting your physics and traffic psychology in order.

  • come on, many more people access it from 5th Ave(one way last I looked) than CPS. Central Park is much longer than it is wider and its users live more uptown where the residential housing is. I’m sure if you proposed making 5th Ave 2 way, there will be a public outcry.

    “Central Park South is a two way street and somehow people manage to cross it to get to that park without getting killed. Are you implying that Brooklynites are that much dumber than Manhattanites?”

  • Don’t you think the “new” traffic will be spread between PPW and 8th Ave, as they will BOTH be one-way

  • eek, i meant two-ways

  • first of all, with tourists alone, tons of people access the park form the south. your argument about 5th ave also makes no sense because CENTRAL PARK WEST is a two-way street

  • doldrum should take comfort with that traffic commissioner (forget his name) who presented the tone-deaf plan to convert 6th/7th to one-way; he actually claimed 1) the traffic is as slow on 1 way streets as 2-; and 2) that there are fewer vehicle-ped accidents when turning left as the ped only has to check out one side. My reaction is that if a ped does not look both ways before crossing a 2-way street, it’s better he’s out of the gene pool.

  • “doldrum should take comfort with that traffic commissioner (forget his name) who presented the tone-deaf plan to convert 6th/7th to one-way; he actually claimed 1) the traffic is as slow on 1 way streets as 2-; and 2) that there are fewer vehicle-ped accidents when turning left as the ped only has to check out one side. My reaction is that if a ped does not look both ways before crossing a 2-way street, it’s better he’s out of the gene pool.’

    PPW is a different kettle of fish. It will attract many more vehicles when it is 2 way as many cars cannot access it directly from PPW SW or the Prospect Expressway. More cars , more potential accidents, especially with the crazy drivers , who will cut off anyone in their way for a parking space. This sentiment is shared by many of my neighbors who emailed me about this yesterday before I was even aware of the petition. Also, more congestion = more noise for those living nearby.

  • One-way streets are much more efficient. They can process more traffic, with fewer accidents, because you’ve eliminated conflicting movements. If 8th Avenue is two-way, all it takes is one car waiting to make a left turn to bring traffic in that direction to a head halt. If you want to slow the traffic, then time the signal light progression accordingly.

    You can’t have a signal progression on a two-way street, so you get far more cars idling even without the backups caused by left turns, and therefore much more pollution.

    If your goal is to have streets serve their transportation function of allowing people, including motorists, to get where they’re going, this is a bad idea.

  • doldrums, you made your point. not everyone agrees.
    stop repeating it!

  • doldrums – the only thing that is proven by the fact that your neighbros agree with you isthat they ALSO don’t understand how traffic works. PLease stop bringing them up.

    There’s a big flaw in your logic. If PPW is made 2-way then it’s true that the street can be accessed more easily from more streets (like from PPSW). BUT (and this is the important part so pay attention) – the number of lanes going southbound (the current direction) will have to be cut in half in order accomadate these new northbound lanes. Half the southbound lanes means half the southbound traffic. Actually even less than half the southbound traffic b/c southbound traffic will now be moving more slowly since they are now on a 2-way street. So the additional traffic brought to the street bythis new access from PPSW is MORE THAN OFFSET by the reduction in the current traffic. Get it?

    Sparafucile – I agree that 2-way 8th ave is a bad idea. I’m really talking about PPW here, which is a wider street, I believe.

  • Ah, knew somebody would bring up the twaddle about ‘more efficient’ and ‘process traffic’. Yes, if roads are meant to be car sewers, you’re right. If quality of life and pedestrian environment and cycling safety etc mean anything, NO. Old style traffic engineers have basically one goal…move them cars fast…and cannot being to comprehend psychological and aesthetic factors in designing streets.

    Conflicting movements…such as double parking and potential U-turns?…they also calm traffic as you have watch out for them.

    Signal progression causes motorists to try to game the timing, so even slow signals cause problems. 2-way streets have randomized greens, so they automatically calm traffic.

  • And if, as your analogy suggests, cars, trucks, their occupants and their contents are just so much shit to be flushed, then you’re right. Also, as a frequent cyclist, I strongly disagree with your suggestion that two-way streets are safer for bikes. That hasn’t been my experience at all.