Residents of the East Village, where a speeding and allegedly drunk driver hit three pedestrians and a cyclist Wednesday, recently petitioned the city for a “Slow Zone.”
The proposed zone — from east of First Avenue to the FDR, and north of E. Second Street to south of E. 14th — is a block east of yesterday’s crash site. But the blocks within the would-be zone saw an average of 42.6 pedestrian and cyclist injuries a year from 2005 to 2009, according to the application. That’s more injuries on average than occurred in any existing slow zone during the same time frame, with the exception of the one in Elmhurst, Queens, the application says.
“The historical number of pedestrian and cyclist injuries caused by motor vehicles in our proposed slow zone makes it one of the most dangeorus areas in the entire city,” said Chad Marlow, member of Community Board 3 and founder of the Tompkins Square Park and Playgrounds Parents’ Association, which submitted the application, in an email.
There are 16 schools and 22 Pre-K or daycare centers inside the proposed zone, which has been endorsed by a roster of electeds and community groups, including Council Member Rosie Mendez, Assembly Member Brian Kavanagh, State Senator Daniel Squadron, State Senator Brad Hoylman, Borough President Scott Stringer, and a number of businesses and schools. Community Board 3 passed a resolution in favor of the application in May.
Slow Zones have speed limits of 20 mph, and feature speed humps along with prominent signage and street markings. Launched in 2011, the Slow Zone program is extremely popular. DOT received more than 100 applications last year, but only 13 were selected for implementation. The number of applications submitted by May 31, this year’s deadline, isn’t yet known. DOT will announce chosen locations in the fall, according to a spokesperson.
While slow zones in London have reduced deaths and injuries, that city’s program employs not only engineering, but also enforcement — including speed cameras — to slow drivers down. In New York, NYPD’s 9th Precinct, which covers the proposed East Village zone, issued just 11 speeding tickets in all of 2012. In the months after the installation of Manhattan’s first Slow Zone, in Inwood, the 34th Precinct stopped enforcing speed limits altogether.