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City to lower Atlantic Avenue speed limit to 25 miles per hour

The Brooklyn Paper
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Brooklyn’s Avenue of Death and Destruction is getting the go-slow treatment.

The city’s transportation department announced on Wednesday that it would reduce the speed limit along the whole eight-mile length of Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn to 25 miles per hour. Atlantic, the brutal and deadly nature of which The Brooklyn Paper examined in an in-depth report last week, will be the first of 25 major thoroughfares in the city to have their speed limits lowered ahead of additional car-slowing measures. Roads czar Polly Trottenberg said that the push to pinch drivers will save lives.

“Crashes on these roads tend to be more deadly,” Trottenberg said at a press conference to announce the plan in Lowry Triangle, a tree-lined plaza at the intersection of Underhill, Washington, and Atlantic avenues. “We’re really going to work to make Atlantic Avenue safer.”

Trottenberg, a resident of the Atlantic-bordering neighborhood Cobble Hill, said her department would also re-time the traffic lights, work with cops to step up enforcement, and explore potential changes to the road’s design, including the expansion of medians to reduce crossing distances.

The move to revamp the arterial street all the way from the New York Harbor to just beyond the Queens border is part of Mayor DeBlasio’s Vision Zero plan to reduce traffic deaths to zero by 2024.

Thomas Chan, the police department’s transportation chief, said officers at local precincts have been trained to help crack down on speeding and other dangerous driving infractions. He also said that education will be a big part of making the streets safer, and that police will partner with the departments of education and aging to to teach people about pedestrian safety.

“Education is a long-term solution,” Chan said. “But our officers will be doing enforcement out there now.”

The shift would increase travel times from the water to the Queens line by three minutes to 19 minutes, assuming a driver was able to hit green lights the entire way.

The chaotic car track continues for two more mile into Queens, but that stretch will keep its current speed limit.

The new speed limit will go into effect by the end of the month, Trottenberg said. The city is also exploring the installation of speed cameras to boost enforcement even further, but their hands are tied by state rules that limit placement of the cameras, she said.

“We’d like to have local control over the number of speed cameras and where they go,” she said. “We think they’re a very important enforcement tool.”

Road safety activists are thrilled to see their years of warning about the dangers of the road, which in 2012 and 2013 saw 843 crashes between the water and Flatbush Avenue alone, bearing fruit.

“There’s no place more appropriate for an arterial slow zone,” said Eric McClure, a member of the Park Slope Street Safety Partnership. “This shows that the administration is committed to making the streets safer.”

Reach reporter Matthew Perlman at (718) 260-8310. E-mail him at mperlman@cnglocal.com. Follow him on Twitter @matthewjperlman.
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Rufus Leaking from BH says:
Zero Vision! Soon, we will have "congestion' and need a congestion tax. That will save us!

We used to have traffic jams - new we have Traffic Calming!

Save us from ourselves we need big brother becasue we are not smart enough to cross the street by ourselves!
April 10, 2014, 7:34 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
I thought de Blasio was going to be the anti-Bloomberg, but maybe I'm wrong. This is a major thoroughfare and reducing the speed limit will just make the traffic go from bad to worse. A good number of pedestrians fatalities here are most likely those that go against the light. Also, if the current speed limit isn't enforced, lowering it will be no different as long as the enforcement will be the same. Just fix the timing of the traffic lights, which will cost much less and can be done much faster. I do agree with Rufus's statement on creating congestion to help promote congestion pricing, which is the Bloomberg way of addressing problems by creating them and looking for a scapegoat while trying to avoid self incrimination.
April 10, 2014, 5:29 pm
Joseph from Bay Ridge says:
Soon we'll have congestion?

What city do you live in?

Reducing the speed limit will reduce the likelihood of collision, The change in official speed is also negligible when driving.

De Blasio the Anti-Bloomberg?

Are you really that simple?

Street safety is a public health issue. A city cannot allow pedestrians deaths to persist. Every major city in the world is trying to combat this issue for the 21st century.

And no, most traffic deaths here correlate with reckless driving. It's obvious that you don't know the statistics.

Synchronizing the lights is good, but doesn't address the lead feet that do 40 MPH between them. In that regard we need camera enforcement.

Oh and the conspiracy theories...sigh.
April 10, 2014, 10:47 pm
CommonCents from Crown Heights says:
A majority of these pedestrian fatalities occur on streets the DOT previously made changes to. So now they will lower the speed limit, reduce even more lanes and put up speed cameras. The end result is to make driving expensive through gas consumption and tickets, and time consuming so people will lean towards mass transit. More money for the MTA, DOT and the coffers. And more importantly, more people dependent on the government.
April 11, 2014, 5:01 pm
CommonCents from Crown Heights says:
Is it a public health issue? It's more of an issue of people not paying attention while driving and walking while they text/talk etc. Pedestrians will try to cross 4 lanes even when they see only a few seconds flashing, just as drivers will see a yellow light and hit the gas. The point is that safety is everyone's responsibility, so why are driver's taking the financial burden alone?
April 11, 2014, 5:13 pm
Marc from Windsor Terrace says:
Now that we know that DOT can lower speed limits to 25 MPH without going through some extended public discussion and hearing process like the 20 MPH slow zones, why is the speed limit on the very narrow Ocean Parkway service road still 30? DOT has standards for installing traffic signals. How about standards for lowering speed limits to 25 on very narrow streets?
April 11, 2014, 5:40 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
CommonCents, as long as pedestrians and cyclists continue to flout laws, they will always be placing themselves into harm's way. If you asked me, it's just another way to give us motorists the royal screw job. For the record, I do follow a lot of the traffic laws when I am driving, which is lot more than what the anti-car crowd does. In other words we already screwed enough. As for Joseph, de Blasio was elected for the fact that he wouldn't be like Bloomberg and be a true populist. Meanwhile, cameras don't help with safety as they just take a shot of a license plate and send that person the ticket in the mail. It's not as if it alerts the police to go after them or creates some barrier to stop the speeder let alone stopping a possible accident. Their primary reason is for revenues while safety is only secondary. If most follow the speed limit because of the cameras, then no revenues can be made from this.
April 12, 2014, 7:34 pm

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