New York City officials have opened the city’s second arterial slow zone on the Grand Concourse in the Bronx, part of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Vision Zero quest to eliminate deaths from car accidents.
The Grand Concourse slow zone covers 5.2 miles from East 140th Street in Mott Haven to Moshulu Parkway in Bedford Park. The New York City Department of Transportation reduced the speed limit in the slow zone from 30 mph to 25 mph and timed traffic signals accordingly.
In addition, the city is installing signage and increasing awareness among drivers and pedestrians.
Since March, police precinct community affairs officers have distributed more than 20,000 safety education flyers to drivers and pedestrians along the Grand Concourse. In a single week in April, police issued tickets for more than 500 moving violations and more than 1,400 parking-related violations, according to Streets Blog NYC.
Going forward, officers will be on the lookout for motorists who fail to yield to pedestrians, disobey stop lights and stop signs, make improper turns and illegally use cellphones. Anyone violating these and other traffic laws will receive tickets.
The Department of Transportation says speeding is the leading cause of traffic deaths in the city, and statistics show 12 traffic fatalities along this one stretch of roadway in the five years of 2008 through 2012.
De Blasio launched his Vision Zero campaign in February to crack down on speeding and other traffic violations in an effort to reduce collisions, especially those involving pedestrians.
On May 29, the New York City Council approved a Vision Zero legislative package, putting traffic and pedestrian safety measures into place and creating a path toward ending all pedestrian, bicyclist and motorist deaths in the city.
The legislative package is made up of 11 bills and six resolutions that include requiring rapid repair and replacement of faulty traffic signals.
The measures also allow the Taxi and Limousine Commission to review and possibly revoke cab drivers’ licenses if they are involved in an accident causing death or critical injury.
In addition to these measures, the New York General Assembly recently approved a bill giving the city additional speed cameras.
The slow zone program focuses on some of the city’s most dangerous roadways. While the targeted arteries make up only 15 percent of the city’s streetscape, they account for 60 percent of the city’s pedestrian fatalities.
Officials will establish 25 slow zones across all five boroughs this year, and the city is moving quickly.
On April 9, officials dedicated New York City’s first slow zone on Atlantic Avenue. After the Grand Concourse slow zone opened, the city’s third slow zone was unveiled, covering 1.1 miles of McGuinness between Freeman and Bayard Streets. The fourth slow zone extends along Broadway in Manhattan from Columbus Circle to Inwood.
The slow zone initiative will expand to nine more streets across the city by the end of August, and 12 other zones will be announced later this year.
The DOT will also implement a series of neighborhood slow zones that will reduce the speed limit to 20 mph and feature speed bumps and other safety measures to change driver behavior.