October 10, 2013
Speed Limit to Be Reduced to 20 MPH in 15 Neighborhoods Across Five Boroughs; Speed Bumps, Markings and Other Traffic-Calming Measures Added to Reduce Speeding in Residential Areas
Slow Zones Now Cover More Than 65 Miles of City Streets, Joining Speed Cameras, Record Speed-Bump Installation and Other Efforts to Reduce Dangerous Driving
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Department of Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan today announced the latest expansion of the application-based Neighborhood Slow Zone program, with 15 new communities across the city selected to have speed limits reduced from the citywide standard of 30 mph citywide to 20 mph along with other traffic calming measures to reduce speeding and improve safety. Selected from among 74 applications from across the city, the 15 communities to receive Slow Zone treatments over the next three years are: Alphabet City in Manhattan, Norwood in the Bronx, Clinton Hill/Bedford Stuyvesant and Brownsville in Brooklyn, and Jackson Heights, Queens in 2014; Sunnyside Gardens/Woodside and Sunnyside in Queens, Crown Heights, Brooklyn, Parkchester in the Bronx and Manhattan’s West Village in 2015; and Midland Beach in Staten Island, Brooklyn Heights and Prospect Heights in Brooklyn, Westchester Square in the Bronx and Hudson Heights in Manhattan in 2016. The program, first launched in 2011, builds on the City’s aggressive efforts to curb speeding, which has helped bring traffic fatalities to the lowest levels in recorded history and made the last six years the safest period in city history. The city’s first-ever neighborhood Slow Zone was installed in November 2011 in the Claremont section of the Bronx.
“Speeding is the single greatest contributing factor in traffic fatalities in our City,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “Slow Zones have shown proven results in curbing dangerous driving and we want more neighborhoods to benefit from the program. Our commitment to making New York’s roads safer through smart policies and aggressive enforcement has made a big difference on our streets and we’re going to continue making our City safer than ever.”
“Speeding played a role in 81 traffic deaths in New York City just last year and more and more communities across the five boroughs are demanding that traffic along neighborhood streets return to the speed of life,” said Commissioner Sadik-Khan. “Dropping the speed limit by even 10 mph dramatically increases the safety odds and drives home the message that the city’s residential streets aren’t shortcuts.”
Each location—all currently being designed with local input—was requested by local applicants and evaluated based on crash history, community support, proximity of schools, and senior and daycare centers, among other criteria. These neighborhoods will join the city’s 14 existing Slow Zones—including the city’s first zone installed in the Claremont section of the Bronx in 2011 and the 13 completed this year under the first round of neighborhood applications—which brought nearly 150 speed bumps, 180 gateway treatments and more than 800 slow-speed signs to transform more than 65 miles of residential New York City streets.
Slow zones are marked by high-visibility blue gateway signs at all streets entering the area, with signs noting the 20 mph speed limit in the zone, as well as speed bumps and stenciling of “20 MPH” eight-foot-high letters to make clear that motorists are in a reduced speed area. The program was first announced in 2010 as part of the DOT’s landmark Pedestrian Safety Study and Action Plan, and criteria considered in evaluating the Slow Zone applications included crash rates, community support, number of local schools, senior centers, daycare centers, subway stations and distinct boundaries. Areas that included fire stations, hospitals, and truck routes were avoided and the amount of bus routes were kept to a minimum inside the proposed zone. Following installation in 2011, the Claremont Slow Zone saw a 10 percent reduction in the worst speeding in the neighborhood, and across the city, speed bumps have been shown to reduce pedestrian crashes by more than 40 percent and reduce speeds by nearly 20 percent. In addition to Claremont, the other existing Slow Zone neighborhoods are Mt. Eden, Baychester, Eastchester and Riverdale in the Bronx; Boerum Hill in Brooklyn; Inwood in Northern Manhattan; Corona, Elmhurst, Jackson Heights/East Elmhurst and Auburndale in Queens; and New Brighton/St. George, Dongan Hills and Rosebank on Staten Island. In 2016, DOT plans to re-open the application process again and invites neighborhoods across the city to apply.
The last six years recorded the fewest traffic fatalities since the City began collecting data in 1910, and DOT continues to improve street safety engineering in all five boroughs. Research shows that when hit by a vehicle traveling 40 mph, there is a 70 percent chance a pedestrian will die, but when hit at 20 mph, there is a 95 percent chance of survival. To further reduce speeding, DOT has added nearly 3,600 pedestrian countdown signals at intersections in the last six years, installed more than 2,200 speed bumps citywide, including more than 250 just this year, re-engineered 137 major corridors and 113 intersections, and installed the first of 20 speed cameras near schools under new authorization from the State. For more information, including the criteria for establishing a neighborhood slow zone, visit www.nyc.gov/dot.
Marc LaVorgna/Evelyn Erskine (212) 788-2958
Seth Solomonow / Scott Gastel (212) 839-4850