Eyes on the Street: A Slow Zone Takes Shape in East Elmhurst

Photo: Clarence Eckerson Jr.

Clarence snapped these shots of a new Slow Zone in East Elmhurst/Jackson Heights, where DOT is putting in 20 mph signage and street markings, including a wide striped median on 30th Avenue that reduces the number of lanes pedestrians must cross.

Photo: Clarence Eckerson Jr.

The 20 mph area includes a strip shopping center with over a dozen stores, bounded by 75th and 77th Streets and 30th and 31st Avenues, which Clarence says is a crash-prone location with a lot of auto traffic.

Photo: Clarence Eckerson Jr.

Clarence says the striped median on 30th Avenue, which measures about 12 feet, has already improved the pedestrian environment. “Anecdotally, the times I have been over there since they installed the Slow Zone, it does appear like cars are going slower.”

  • Driver

    I would think that people would drive significantly slower at first, expecting some kind of enforcement/speed trap. 20 mph is very slow when you have wide visibility, and in my opinion it opens the door for more distractions like phone calls and texting. However if the 20 mph zones reduce traffic to 30 mph or under as opposed to the previous 40 mph or under in 30 mph zones, I think that can be considered a significant safety improvement.

  • KillMoto

    I don’t see a bike lane. I suppose cyclists are wise to take center left position in the main travel lane. The road looks pretty flat, most cyclists can sustain speeds close to the 20mph max.

  • Ben Kintisch

    Um I guess the absence of bike lanes at first is to avoid the so-called political risk. Once traffic is calmed some, I think it becomes an easier ask to seek bike lanes in the newly traffic-calmed zone. This avoids the problem of “that’s crazy to bike there, it’s too fast” objection.

  • Bluewndrpwrmllk96

    Actually, the bike lane is there now … it’s unmarked but it’s a Class 3 shared. See the bike in photo 2. The DOT created a line delineating the parking lane but added an additional 2′ – 3′ of clearance for bikes. They did the same thing in 63 Rd in Rego Park, they eliminated one travel lane ’cause the people were driving too fast / reckless / etc… Now they did the same parking lane delineation, there’s no bike signage but the NYC bike map says it’s a Class 3 bike lane now. At least the bike sharrows would be nice…

  • Anonymous

    I think this is a good strategy. It also prevents drivers from thinking of it as a car lane taken away for a biking lane, and instead realizing that the number of lanes was reduced deliberately to reduce car speeds.

    It prevents DOT from getting caught in the inevitable car vs bike war the privileged car drivers love to get into, and pretend to be a persecuted minority.

  • guest

    The first picture still looks like a wide open street… I assume this was alternate side parking, and there would normally be cars along the left side to narrow this down?

  • perhaps in time… a two way center median bike lane?

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