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Debate over Ocean Parkway speed limit

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To the editor,

I am horrified that state Sen. Simcha Felder wants to raise the speed limit, and with it the death tolls, on Ocean Parkway (“Five for Fighting! Activists: Felder’s Ocean Parkway speed-limit hike will kill people” online March 31). I cross Ocean Parkway almost every day, taking my life in my hands as drivers speed up when the lights turn yellow so they can beat the red light, drive through the red lights they can’t beat, and speed up instead of slowing down when they make turns onto and off the parkway. Often, I see balloons and bouquets of flowers tied to the poles alongside Ocean Parkway, memorials for drivers and pedestrians killed a day or two previously. If the victim was a child, there are stuffed teddy bears. I have seen smashed cars, ambulances and police vans after a crash. That is the only time I ever see a police or traffic officer anywhere near Ocean Parkway. Many of these accidents could have been prevented by proper traffic control.

I think the worst thing the city or state could do would be to raise the speed limit on Ocean Parkway. I think this would only encourage reckless drivers to be even more reckless and drive even faster. I am sure many of them drive above the current speed limit now. Maybe, instead of raising speed limits, we should install speed bumps. Police patrols along Ocean Parkway would also be helpful, as would cameras on every traffic light to catch drivers who go through the lights. I would also urge strict traffic controls near schools along Ocean Parkway, and even stricter controls near Coney Island Hospital. The crossings at Coney Island Hospital have to be among the most dangerous in Brooklyn. Hundreds of patients, including senior citizens, have to cross Ocean Parkway every day in order to get to the outpatient clinics for treatment. Most of these patients use walkers, crutches, canes and wheelchairs. And many of them are desperately trying to maintain their independence by getting to and from their treatments by themselves. They not only have to cope with the reckless drivers and heavy traffic on Ocean Parkway, but with cars coming off the Belt Parkway and streaming onto Ocean Parkway. I would like to ask our politicians to please do whatever they can to make Ocean Parkway safer, not more dangerous, and to provide more traffic control instead of raising the speed limit. I don’t think anyone wants to see more flowers and balloons tied to poles along Ocean Parkway.

Elaine Kirsch

Gravesend

...

To the editor,

Regarding your article “Five For Fighting,” Vision Zero initially called for a default speed limit of 25 mph. DeBlasio promised the speed limit would be higher on arterial roadways where appropriate. However, due to pressure from Transportation Alternatives, he later decided that virtually no roads could have a speed limit higher than 25 mph.

Consider Queens Boulevard, where the speed limit was an appropriate 35 mph. It was lowered it to 30 mph because the city deemed 35 as too dangerous. DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg stated at the time that city engineers believed 30 mph was an appropriate speed limit for the street. A few months later, it was lowered again to 25 mph. Why? Pressure from Transportation Alternatives (TA) is the only possible explanation. TA is also the reason why traffic lanes are being replaced with bike lanes on major thoroughfares all over the city when bikes belong on the side streets.

More bikes on the main roads mean more bike accidents and fatalities, but that doesn’t stop TA from requesting additional bike lanes. But they use “safety” to advocate for fewer cars by making car travel slower and more inconvenient.

The notion that cars not be allowed to travel faster than bikes on city streets is absurd. Unlike the other boroughs, Brooklyn has only one real highway. We rely on arterial roads. It is ridiculous that from Southern Brooklyn you can get to New Jersey, Nassau County, Queens and the Bronx in 45 minutes, when it takes longer than that to get to Borough Park.

Paul Steely White (TA leader) talks about safety, saying injuries and deaths have been reduced by lowering the speed limit on Ocean Parkway. If that is true, does it mean the speed limit should be further reduced to 20 or 10 mph, if that would further reduce injuries and deaths? Where do we draw the line? Increased air pollution from increased traffic congestion also kills.

There isn’t even proof that a correlation exists between a lower speed limit and fewer accidents. Queens Boulevard is safer today because of fencing preventing jaywalking and longer walk signals, not because of a frequently-violated lower speed limit. Ocean Parkway has better marked crosswalks and longer walk signals also.

White says drivers need to expect the unexpected. Well, if pedestrians didn’t cross the street when and where they shouldn’t, there wouldn’t be any “unexpected” with respect to pedestrian accidents.

So it doesn’t matter if cars are traveling at 25 or 30 mph, because when pedestrians should be crossing, cars are traveling at zero mph. Why inconvenience cars and cater to jaywalkers by having cars travel slower? To make it easier to run across the street mid-block?

TA believes everyone should bike, walk, or use mass transit. But the spillover of traffic from Ocean Parkway to Coney Island Avenue since the speed limit was lowered on Ocean Parkway has also slowed buses. White only cares about bicycles and pedestrians. I once heard him give a speech at a meeting in the summer. He arrived on his bike, late, and a hot sweaty mess. Most of us prefer not to travel that way.

And as far as his petition signatures, probably most are from people outside the area and few of them drive. If you do a survey of those who use Ocean Parkway you will find most are in favor of Felder’s sensible proposed law, which needs to be extended to other arterial roads where there is no highway option. We need to vote out a mayor who allows an outside group to dictate his transportation policy and who consistently overrules the concerns of the community.Allan Rosen

Sheepshead Bay

Seeking the truth

To the editor,

The fool in the White House who in my opinion is our make-believe President, lied about his tax return. He should release all his tax returns like all the other Commander-in-chiefs. It is time to get to the truth about this information.

He lied about former President Obama hacking in Trump Towers. He lied about former Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara when he said he would keep him on.

Trump and the Republican Congress lied about healthcare. Why can’t we the people get the same health care that Congressmen and Senators get? We the American taxpayers are paying for Senators’ and Congressmens’ health insurance. Trump also lied about the Russian meddling into America election.

Trump’s Republican slaves (especially House Speaker Paul Ryan, who originally didn’t want Trump to be President) should know better. They should tell the truth that they in fact do not care about low- and middle-income people. They just care about themselves and the very wealthy.

Howard Katz

Sheepshead Bay

In last week’s editions, this letter was attributed in error to Robert W. Lobenstein. The actual writer of this letter is Howard Katz.

Don’t ban Planned

To the editor,

Congress, in defunding Planned Parenthood, and President Trump expecting to sign it is reprehensible.

Groups that propose alternatives to unwanted pregnancies that will help curtail a woman’s right to safe sex and abortions will cause more girls and women to go to quacks, more high school dropouts and will even frame innocent men for rapes they did not commit because many young girls will be afraid of a beating by abusive parents. In order to protect themselves from a bad beating and get public sympathy they will tell a sob story and many an unethical or overzealous policeman and prosecutor will be glad to coach these girls so that it will help them keep their jobs.

I remember a case I read in the magazine True Confessions, where a girl framed her father when he gave her a bad beating for minor things. The mother had her daughter admit she lied about her abusive fagther and he was released from prison. I am aware that DNA exists, but it is not always available or as a matter of cost effectiveness. Many shyster lawyers will have their clients clop a plea in turn that they might get clemency from the judge, whether innocent or guilty. Sometimes the judge won’t budge. Elliott Abosh

Brighton Beach

Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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