Tomorrow night, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer will join the Community Board 12 Public Safety Committee and NYPD officials for a public meeting on out-of-control drivers in Inwood and Washington Heights.
Reckless driving isn’t new or unique to Upper Manhattan, of course, but during warm weather months motorcycle riders — most believed to hail from elsewhere — swarm the streets, racing from the northern tip of the island, near Inwood Hill Park, down to the Heights. The area is also popular with "boom car" drivers, who menace residential blocks at all hours, keeping CB 12 at or near the top of the list in 311 noise complaints.
This year has been especially bad already, and with the dangerous and noisy recreational traffic has come an uptick in criminal activity. Crime levels remain relatively low in the 34th Precinct, but robberies are up. Inwood in particular has seen a spate of alarmingly violent muggings lately. Not to say that the two are necessarily related, but to harried residents they are part and parcel of the same problem: lawless and increasingly unsafe streets.
In response, the 34th Precinct says it has ticketed drivers and even confiscated vehicles, and has promised to step up patrols and take a zero tolerance approach to noise. Last weekend was a bit calmer than usual on my Inwood block, but Upper Manhattanites are accustomed to selective enforcement, and have learned that complacency is never an option.
CB 12 has asked the city to install speed bumps in trouble spots, but DOT says daytime speed tests conducted last November (a month when motorcycle racing isn’t normally an issue) didn’t meet required criteria. The board has requested that tests be performed again on a weekend as late at night as possible, since DOT told transportation committee members that the agency doesn’t gather such data overnight.
Tomorrow’s meeting, which is co-sponsored by Council Members Robert Jackson and Miguel Martinez, will be held at CB 12 headquarters, 711 W. 168th Street in Washington Heights, at 7 p.m. As always, the more locals in attendance the better.
For the latest on this and other relevant issues in Upper Manhattan, keep an eye on the Inwood and Washington Heights Livable Streets group.