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Lower speeds for Greenwood Heights?

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Greenwood Heights residents want to reduce the speed limit on Sixth Avenue, beginning their own push for a “slow zone” after protesting a similar traffic safety plan in Park Slope that emerged without their input.

Civic leaders are trying to cut the speed limit from 30 to 20 miles per hour between the Prospect Expressway and 24th Street to make the street safer for pedestrians and to prevent frequent car crashes. But before they call on the city to take action, they want the support of neighboring communities.

“We don’t want this to be ‘NIMBY’ thing; there are definite speed concerns all over the area,” said Aaron Brashear of Concerned Citizens of Greenwood Heights, who is planning on joining forces with Park Slopers and Windsor Terrarians to “look at the issue holistical­ly.”

The safety-focused Greenwoodsmen are hoping to triple-team the problem at a transportation meeting this month.

The planned speed summit comes after Greenwood Heights residents rallied against a proposed 20-mile-per hour zone in Park Slope on Sixth Avenue between Flatbush Avenue and the Prospect Park Expressway.

They claimed the zone’s proposed border would turn their stretch of Sixth Avenue into a racetrack for time-crunched drivers playing catch-up, amping up speeds on a five-block section of the street with no stop signs where drivers already exceed the limit — and often crash.

The new proposal — which calls for seven more blocks of “slow zone” — must be approved by the Department of Transportation, which accepts applications from all civic associations and community boards.

Park Slope transportation honchos say they are eager to collaborate with their neighbors to the south.

“It’s great to work together when you have an issue that transcends boundaries,” said Gary Reilly of Community Board 6’s transportation committee, which includes Park Slope. “The reality is that a lot of people get hurt by cars every year.”

Members of Community Board 7, which includes Greenwood Heights, will take up the slow-zone extension plan at a transportation meeting that has not yet been scheduled.

“It’s natural extension,” Brashear said. “And it’s something that’s on our radar.”

Reach reporter Natalie O'Neill at noneill@cnglocal.com or by calling her at (718) 260-4505.
Updated 5:29 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Stu from Bklyn says:
Greenwood Heights residents never "rallied against a proposed 20-mile-per hour zone in Park Slope on Sixth Avenue between Flatbush Avenue and the Prospect Park Expressway."

They spoke to a reporter at the Brooklyn Paper about some reservations about the program. Natalie O'Neill created a controversy where there was none.
Feb. 6, 2012, 7:38 am
ty from pps says:
But won't this make drivers beat their wives due to the pent up aggression if *two* neighborhoods do this? (Or some other silly excuse.)

The key to all of this is to time the lights according to the new speed AND POST THIS INFORMATION -- "Lights Timed for 20 mph." Folks certainly do not average 50 mph over many blocks, they just rage between red lights.
Feb. 6, 2012, 9:45 am
fact face says:
@ Stu

Greenwood Heights residents sent letters of opposition to elected officials and had meetings to discuss concerns about how a slow zone in Park Slope would impact their neighborhood.
Feb. 6, 2012, 10:41 am
Jacob from Clinton Hill says:
Natalie O'Neil covers the heart-warming resolution to the controversy she manufactured. Fantastic journalism. Really raising the bar, Natalie.
Feb. 6, 2012, 10:51 am
Gret from GH says:
fact face,

the idea that every single person in every single neighborhood in brooklyn can and will agree on every single change to the neighborhood is ludicrous. that some residents sent letters of opposition and had meetings to discuss their concerns is not surprising. it's new york - some people were probably upset that the giants won the super bowl.

drivers need to slow down. period. if the nypd can't do anything about it, i'm glad that the majority of people have their concern in the right place: making the neighborhood safer for the majority of people who don't use greenwood heights as a speedway.
Feb. 6, 2012, 11:47 am
Aaron Brashear from Greenwood heights says:
@ Fact Face:

While some letters were sent to the community groups, CCing elected, there were no meetings.

@ Gret from GH:

Agreed.

What Natalie left out of the article was that Community Board 7 is taking up the issue, informally first, for the ENTIRE Board area. While our neighborhood may be the most likely test site within CB7, slow zones could benefit many areas in Windsor Terrace and Sunset Park. The meetings @ CB7 will be to inform the community.

The first meeting at CB7 will be via the Transportation Committee on 2/28 @ 6:30pm at the Board offices. This will be an intro meeting, hopefully with a presentation by DOT. No formal action. A larger meeting planned for March, TBD. At the larger meeting, we hope to have PSCC and PSN (and CB 6's Transportation Chair) there to give us their pov on how the process went for them.

All are welcome.

Aaron
Feb. 6, 2012, 12:01 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Unfortunately, no matter how many signs or laws passed, some may never follow them. Unless there is true enforcement, many will try to flout the laws knowing that for the most part, they will never caught. This reminds me back at Adelphi University where there was a stop sign at the South Avenue entrance, but many ran it rather than stopped, and increasing the fine had no affect, because it was never enforced. I still think that a slow zone won't work, and some of the causes for it aren't all the motorists fault especially when there are pedestrians and cyclists who hardly ever follow the rules on their end, which is what puts them into harm's way. In order to really have safe streets, EVERYBODY
Feb. 6, 2012, 4:55 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
...must follow the laws no matter who no matter what. Still, if the residents of Greenwood Heights don't want this slow zone, it shouldn't be forced on them, because it's their area, not someone elses. One other thing, NYC isn't London, so stop saying that if it worked in neighborhoods in London, it can work here. On a side note, the only reason you see a consecutive comment by me, is because I pressed the Tab button by mistake, and it went to the Submit button here, and it places the comment when it's on it no matter what button I press after that.
Feb. 6, 2012, 4:58 pm
Ru from Bklyn says:
New York isn't London and Brooklyn isn't Pleasantville.
Feb. 6, 2012, 8:32 pm
Other Michael from Park Slope says:
Tal

You should check out the Slow Zone in The Bronx. It is not just speed limits. There are physical barriers that keep drivers form going too fast.
Feb. 6, 2012, 9:45 pm
Scott from Park Slope says:
Regional planning is the key. When you create patch-work regulations over a region, it's not surprising that drivers will get confused and violate slow zones, no-honk zones, and the like. It's also not surprising that recalcitrant change-haters can rail (with some justification) that the resultant regulations make no sense.

All of us across the region want our kids and families to be able to walk to school, church, the store, or whereever without fearing for their lives from speeding drivers. Many of us who drive, too, want to be able to get from point A to point B without spending an extra hour in travel time going 15-20 mph.

So why can't we approach transportation policy accordingly, to funnel high-speed traffic that means to go far from point A to point B to roads that can accommodate it, and to limit speeds within residential areas where arriving or originating cars are close to origination or destination?

Not matching speeds and driving behaviors to physical context kills children and adults alike. We have the technology to prevent their deaths. So let's create traffic policies that get it done.
Feb. 7, 2012, 10:23 am
Tom from Sunset Park says:
To the Other Michael: I will check out Claremont, but I've already checked out London. They have signs, 'bulb-out's' in some places and really cute speed bumps that are better than the crude type used here. What they don't have are the on-road barriers and the elimination of parking spots that our own program would necessitate. Of course, the roads in question in London are very narrow to begin with and all on-road parking spots are in demand as they are here in Brooklyn. Also, the areas covered are quite compact and widely spread apart, so you do have to watch what you doing. I stood at an intersection in North London(Wood Green) and saw three roads, each with a differing speed posted on the roadway(20/30/40 mph). A lot of braking/gear-shifting there.
Here in NYC we currently have streets with important NO ENTRY and NO TRUCK TRAFFIC signs mounted at street-entry points but on sidewalk poles, not on roadway barriers. Why be different now for this? Also, eliminating some 5% of parking spots to accommodate these roadway obstacles is politically a none-starter. Prof. Shoupe agrees that parking is necessary and parking has value. This crude taking- by-government of an needed amenity without providing alternatives(i.e., off-street parking) will not fly.
BTW: Speeding, and especially above-posted-limit speeding, is a danger to life but it is not a top cause of traffic fatalities. Check the stats, in detail.

Scott from PS: I've read the instructions from DOT regarding this program and I don't think they want large regions restricted, just 1/4 sq mile areas with low-volume traffic roads. Again, take a look at Claremont, or London(there's plenty of info on the internet).
Feb. 7, 2012, 3:08 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Honestly, a motor vehicle can hit someone if the motorist is not speeding. I think that traffic fatalities can also be reduced if there was a crackdown on jaywalking. The same goes with cyclists who flout the law. Still, enforcement of the laws does help more rather than just spend so many on signs. If a jaywalker gets hit, it's their fault, not that of the motorist, especially when the jaywalker put himself into harm's way, and cyclists seem to be martyrs whenever they are putting themselves into harm's way as well. Nevertheless, if the neighborhood, doesn't want a slow zone, they shouldn't have it forced on them.
Feb. 7, 2012, 4:32 pm
giuseppe buffone from staten island says:
Get the heck outta my way, it's my road and I want to do 60mph.
Feb. 8, 2012, 12:31 am
Other Michael from Park Slope says:
Tal

Our children's lives are more important than a few parking spots.
Feb. 8, 2012, 4:53 am
D from Slope says:
Scott,

Studies in the UK showed that lowering the speed limit from 30 MPH to 20 MPH added an average of less than 40 seconds to travel times.

Where did you get your information that it would take "an extra hour"?
Feb. 8, 2012, 11:25 am
D from Slope says:
And, Tal, the neighborhood does want a Slow Zone. Lots of neighborhoods in fact.
Feb. 8, 2012, 11:27 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
First off, you Streetsbloggers are nothing but an elitist group who believes that you speak for all when you really don't. Seriously, there are a lot of people who get hit when they cross the street without even looking first, and that is reguardless to whether or not the motorist was speeding. That is known is being non-negligible, because the motorist wasn't solely responsible for their actions. In reality, what good is a slow zone when pedestrians and cyclists aren't following the rules themselves? It's sort of like what the US was telling to Europe in the early part of the 19th century that it was wrong to have slaves, but were so hesitant to end in their own backyard first.
Feb. 8, 2012, 6:53 pm
Other Michael from Park Slope says:
Tal

Ya ever stop and think that maybe the neighborhood streets of Brooklyn are not meant for cars to travel at 30mph. There are lots of cars HITTING EACH OTHER. This has nothing to do with rouge cyclists or scofflaw pedestrians.

and this is not about "Streetbloggers" claiming to speaking for all, it is about community boards speaking for communities.

If you are going to rant about things you know nothing about, at least read the article.
Feb. 9, 2012, 5:26 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Other Michael, I have read the article. However, I think reducing speed limits isn't always the answer. Again, you can have accidents even without speeding. It's so interesting how I can't talk about rouge cyclists here when you and your bike zealot friends brought up cars in the articles invovling Prospect Park, so who are you to tell about that? The point is that if you want others to follow rules, you should do the same, so start practicing what you preach for once rather than doing what Newt Gingrich said about extra marital affairs.
Feb. 9, 2012, 6:12 pm
Other Michael from Park Slope says:
Tal

Slow Zones are a lot more than just a slower speed limit.

and

Prospect Park road safety has a lot to do with cars even during the times that they are banned. This is because the roadway there is designed for them.

and come by Park Slope today, you can meet me. I will be the one on a bike, stopped at a red light, practicing what I preach.
Feb. 10, 2012, 7:01 am
Joe R. from Flushing says:
Reducing the speed limit to 20 mph, if accompanied by physically altering the street to prevent speeding, actually can result is FASTER travel times. This is because at 20 mph you no longer need traffic signals or stop signs. Intersections can be posted with 4-way yields instead. This means even though the maximum speed is only 20 mph, a motorist will rarely need to stop more than a second or two. Average speeds can end up being pretty close to 20 mph as a result. On 30 mph roads with traffic lights, you're lucky if you average 15 mph.
Feb. 21, 2012, 6:23 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
For too long now motorists have had to bend over backwards and make sacrifices to satisfy the demands of an elite tax dodging group of streetsblogger zealouts. Roads are for motorists, not cyclists and pedestrians. I read an article recently that showed that b/c humans have an extremely inefficient calorie absoprtion mechanism (And besides, since our food comes from thousands of miles away), that cars actually pollute less per mile than do pedestrians and bicyclists. You'd never know this, because all the undebunkables are hiding this fact.
Feb. 21, 2012, 2:52 pm
Joe R. from Flushing says:
Tal,

That article you refer to is utter nonsense. Many foods can easily be grown locally, and/or the diet can be adapted to take advantage of what can grown in the local climate, negating that part of the argument.

Even if we assume human-powered transport is somehow more polluting than motorized transport, the car still doesn't win, rail does. Rail uses far less energy per passenger mile than any road vehicle. Moreover, non-polluting electrified rail has existed for well over a century.

Finally, you might do well to remember that 75 years ago NYC had nearly as many people as today but less than 1/10th the number of motor vehicles (and most of those were either commercial vehicles, buses, or emergency vehicles). Somehow, the city worked just fine, indeed arguably better than it does today. Personal autos are among the most dispensable things in a modern urban environment. There's no reason NYC should make any effort at all to accommodate them with either roads or parking. The only motorists the roads in the city should be "for" are those driving emergency vehicles, delivery vehicles, and buses. I personally couldn't care less how "inconvenient" we're making it for suburbanites like you to travel into the city by car. I hope we eventually make it so costly and inconvenient you'll either come in some other way, or just work elsewhere.

And I'm saying this not as a cyclist, but as a city resident who has had it up to here with the pollution, carnage, and wholesale destruction of neighborhoods solely to make things more convenient for the well-connected minority who insists on driving, even when alternatives are often faster, and nearly always less expensive. Sacrifices? You haven't a clue who has really made the sacrifices here for the last 50 years, and it hasn't been motorists. Now the tables are finally starting to turn in the other direction as we city residents are saying enough is enough.
Feb. 21, 2012, 5:57 pm

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