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Fool runnings: 30% of drivers blowing red light at B’wick intersection, study finds

Red light district: The intersection at Evergreen and Gates avenues, where drivers routinely blow red lights, according to a new Hunter College study.
The Brooklyn Paper
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Drivers in Bushwick are seeing red — and then hitting the gas.

A whopping 30 percent of motorists blow through the red light at the intersection of Evergreen and Gates avenues, according to a new study. The researchers found that nearly one in 10 New York drivers who are first to approach a red light do not wait for it to turn green, which transportation activists say is a disturbing statistic.

“We need to make decisions that are going to keep us safe on our streets, and running red lights is not one of those decisions,” said Luke Ohlson, the Brooklyn organizer at Transportation Alternatives, a group that advocates for cyclists and pedestrians. “It is really unsettling.”

Professors at Hunter College performed the study by sending their students to 50 intersections around the city, where they were instructed to record whether the first vehicles at each red light obeyed the law or not. The student stationed at the Bushwick intersection recorded 28 drivers running red lights across two one-hour periods.

The academics only allowed their pupils to count the infraction if the light was red when the driver put pedal to the metal — not when an automobilist ran through just as it was turning from yellow to red. If students had counted those drivers too, the study notes, the figures would have been far worse.

The undergraduates who did the legwork noted that drivers at the Evergreen and Gates intersection did not just run through the light willy-nilly — they typically stopped for the red light, looked both ways, and then went through, as if they were at a stop sign rather a traffic light.

The study showed that many drivers are prioritizing speed over both the law and safety, said the organizers of the investigation.

“People just assume that driving and getting someplace quickly is the norm,” said Hunter College urban planning professor William Milczarski, who co-directed the study at the university. “If they understood the real danger to themselves and others, I hope they would slow down a bit and not try to get through the light.”

Transportation Alternatives organizers said they plan to urge the police department to dispatch cops to the Bushwick intersection and ticket all scofflaws.

Other Brooklyn intersections in the study that had a high percentage of red-light runners were 88th Street and Fourth Avenue in Bay Ridge where 37 percent ran the light, 77th Street and Seventh Avenue in Bay Ridge where almost 20 percent floored it, and New Lots Avenue and Miller Avenue in East New York where almost 23 percent ignored the stop light.

The study also found that drivers run more red lights on Mondays; taxi drivers — though not livery cab drivers — blow more red lights than regular motorists; and that male and female drivers were roughly equally likely to run the light — though they were slightly less likely to gun it if they had a female passenger along for the ride.

The students made 4,379 observations, visiting each site for an hour between 7:30 am and 6:30 pm on two separate days between April 2 and May 13 of this year.

Reach reporter Danielle Furfaro at dfurfaro@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–2511. Follow her at twitter.com/DanielleFurfaro.
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

NSA from ny says:
Waaaah! Waaaah!Waaaah!
What about the cyclists who flout the law?!?!?!
*panties wadded*
-Tal Barzilai, mouth breather from Pleasantville, NY
June 8, 2015, 8:40 am
stairbob from brooklyn says:
Motorcars will never be accepted as a legitimate form of transportation if their operators do not learn to follow the traffic laws.
June 8, 2015, 8:59 am
Brooklynite from Brooklyn says:
The NYPD does not care. And this kind of lawbreaking continues.
June 8, 2015, 9:01 am
Arthur from web reader says:
Traffic signals are placed to separate competing streams of traffic. Drivers cannot come to a complete stop and proceed on a red without a crash unless there IS no competing traffic. I'm not an advocate of flouting the law, but the professionals should look into whether a full-signal is called for at this intersection. It appears that a demand-responsive (actuation when traffic is detected) signal may be a better mechanism here. It's not a wise expenditure of resources to try to fine 30 percent of drivers for failing to stop for nobody.
June 8, 2015, 9:06 am
Jimmy from Faltbush says:
Arthur,
This is a crowded city.... that "nobody" they are not stopping for may be a pedestrian or a child on a bicycle that they just didn't see. The same "nobodies" they don't stop for when they shove their cars through crosswalks full of people.

These are the same types of people that rush railroad crossings and end up injuring (or killing) dozens of people and causing major damage to our public infrastructure.
June 8, 2015, 10:35 am
A Raphael from Sheepshead Bay says:
As a NYC driver for over thirty years, I just do not believe these statistics. I see virtually no one run a run light at all in my experience.
I seriously think there is some fraud in this report.
June 8, 2015, 1:09 pm
Jimmy from Flatbush says:
HAHAHAHA! Raphael is a hoot!
June 8, 2015, 1:20 pm
Charles from Bklyn says:
Probably 30% at every intersection in NYC. Stopping red light drivers would go far to make the streets safer for everyone, including these irresponsible, morally repugnant, outrageously reckless, cowardly red light running drivers.
June 8, 2015, 1:23 pm
Common Cents from Crown Heights says:
Personally I hate drivers that run red lights and what's worse is they don't get to their destination significantly faster. But let's face it, in NYC people are always in a rush. It's the reason why drivers run lights and speed excessively, pedestrians Jay Walk and cross outside the crosswalk, and Cyclists don't obey any traffic laws.
June 8, 2015, 1:43 pm
Jimmy from Flatbush says:
But only one of those groups in your list kill someone approximately once every couple days and severely injure a dozen every day. (Hint: It's not the pedestrians or the cyclists) But I do appreciate that you've decided "cyclists don't obey *any* traffic laws." Confirmation bias much?
June 8, 2015, 8:01 pm
Arthur from web reader says:
Jimmy,

The report doesn't say that any of these red-light runners have hit anybody. When someone cuts off a real live pedestrian or blocks a crosswalk, that's a serious offense. Evidently you get much higher driver compliance at actually crowded intersections than at the subject one. How many cops is it worthwhile to place at an intersection where running a red light doesn't seem to be hazardous, versus the places that you describe, where hazards are constant? My suggestion for alteration of the intersection involves giving drivers their red when it counts; signal control IS for safety, not an exercise in teaching morality. (that's for you Charles)
June 9, 2015, 7:21 am
bkmanhatman from nubrucklyn says:
speed bumps and why are cops not busting on these drivers. Some how its convenient to go after cyclist.
June 9, 2015, 7:22 am
Common Cents from Crown Heights says:
I'm bias? If you can be honest with yourself, the next time you're in the street pay attention to who is breaking the most traffic laws (Hint: it's not the drivers). It's not like a majority of those drivers are jumping the curb and hitting people on the sidewalk. Pedestrians play their part in these accidents as well. Here's something to remember; if you get hit by a car you end up in the hospital not the car so don't jay walk, cross in the crosswalk and don't wait in the street for the light to change. Understand there is an emotional, psychological and financial strain one goes through after hitting someone. So don't act as if drivers intentionally kill pedestrians because they don't. For example this poorly reported article does not state one basic piece of info; What direction these drivers were going when they ran the light. The answer; they were making left turns and they ran the light to beat the traffic in the opposite direction. Simple fix, left turn only turn signals and all way red lights. But that solution only saves lives and doesn't fill the city coffers like "Zero Vision". By the way, how is that working out?
June 9, 2015, 7:27 am
Trollerskates from Moving Target says:
Give it up CC, this comment thread is only for getting your 30 minutes of hate fix about cars and the self absorbed people that dare to own one.
June 9, 2015, 10:38 am
Mike from Williamsburg says:
Common Cents,

You should change your name, because you have none.
-People with brains
June 9, 2015, 10:58 am
Jimmy from Flatbush says:
Wow, Common Cents... your last comment is just overflowing with irrational thoughts. It's almost too much. You're not one of those parody posters are you? Cuz I'm thinking you might be. It's just so over-the-top.
June 9, 2015, 12:23 pm
Desy says:
Get back to your pretend job.
June 9, 2015, 1:03 pm
Common Cents from Crown Heights says:
Mike from Williamsburg is a grown man living with roommates whose main mode of transportation is a bike with a basket. How can anyone take him seriously?
Jimmy, exactly what part of my comment was irrational?
June 9, 2015, 2:06 pm
Jimmy from Flatbush says:
Common Cents --
We live in a very dense city of over 8 million people and you make disparaging remarks about someone "whose main mode of transportation is a bike."

Tell me exactly why using a bicycle in a dense, relatively flat city with major street congestion problems is so whacky?

(Answer that and then I'll think about dissecting your dumb comment from this morning.)
June 9, 2015, 2:21 pm
Common Cents from Crown Heights says:
Jimmy,
I'm much too fat, stupid, and lazy to ride a bike, therefore your argument is moot. I don't even know what moot means, so there!
June 9, 2015, 2:43 pm
Reading is from Fundamental says:
Jimmy you really need to learn how to read.
June 9, 2015, 3:02 pm
Common Cents from Crown Heights says:
Jimmy I used to ride a bike; when I was twelve. And where did I say riding a bike was 'whacky'?
June 9, 2015, 3:08 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
For the record, I do call out reckless drivers all the time, so I don't condone their actions. However, trying to talk about how others should follow the rules when your group doesn't on a normal basis does feel hypocritical hence the pot calling kettle black. To me, anyone who is flouting the law is placing themselves into harm's way no matter who it is, which shows that I don't turn a blind eye to motorists that flout them compared to how many times much of the rest of you does to cyclists and pedestrians. Perhaps, a better way to make the streets safer is to fix the timing of the lights so that it won't be around the same as the crosswalk for the intersecting street, but the anti-car fanatics will never allow for this, because it will make their whole idea of redesigning entire streets to make it difficult for motorists to be obsolete not to mention can be done with both lesser money and time.
June 9, 2015, 5:16 pm
Jimmy from Flatbush says:
Sorry, Common Cents. You're right. You just suggested (and reconfirmed) that you think bicycles are toys for children. Thus, part of the reason I think you and your comments are irrational and idiotic.
June 9, 2015, 6:27 pm
Mr Ford says:
Mike, tell us more about the moral inferiority of car drivers. Thanks n advance.
June 10, 2015, 8:13 am
Scott from Park Slope says:
There are legitimate use-cases for driving in the city, but enforcement must be much tighter. Running red lights is dangerous. Speeding is dangerous. Failing to yield to pedestrians in crosswalks is dangerous. Passing in parking lanes is dangerous. I see all four every day in front of my kids' school. Drivers who commit more than 3 infractions in a year should lose their license for an equal number of years. Drivers who run down pedestrians and cyclists should instantly lose their license and, if negligence is proven, they should go to jail. The consequences for the pedestrians and cyclists struck by distracted, reckless drivers are life-ending or life-altering; the consequences for the drivers should be no less so. Then, and only then, will the lazy who drive because they're lazy take transit instead, or put down their smartphones and pay attention to the road.
June 10, 2015, 10:41 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Scott, I can say the same thing about cyclists and even pedestrians in that matter for flouting the laws. For cyclists I see them constantly ignoring traffic lights and signs, failing to yield to pedestrians, riding while distracted, and even ride in parks and streets as if they are always feeling like they are in the Tour de France. Meanwhile pedestrians have a long history of ignoring walk signals, running into traffic, or even crossing while on their cell phones or listening to their iPods. They may not be hurting others, but what they are doing is placing themselves into harm's way. Why is there no outcry on them especially coming from Streetsblog or Transportation Alternatives? It's mainly because they believe that only motorists can only do any wrong while giving everyone else a slap on the wrist for the most part. Overall, what you are saying is like someone trying to address all scandals and wrongdoings of the Democrats when at the same time I can make a whole list of Republicans that do the same things to show that neither side has any angels. For the record, I do call out reckless drivers, so I do have moral legitimacy for what I'm saying, so now I would like to hear you calling out cyclists and pedestrians that flout the law on a normal basis as well.
June 15, 2015, 3:11 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
I can't stop farting.
June 17, 2015, 8:32 am

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