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Bicycle Safety

Speed Survey Confirms Deadly McGuinness Boulevard Is Out of Control

A study released today finds that two out of three motorists speed on Brooklyn's McGuinness Boulevard [PDF], a notorious Greenpoint thoroughfare where locals have for years called on the city to take action to prevent pedestrian and cyclist injuries and deaths.

The McGuinness Boulevard Working Group -- comprised of Transportation Alternatives, Neighbors Allied for Good Growth, Community Board 1 and area residents -- conducted four surveys between Norman and Nassau Avenues in February and early March. Clocking cars and trucks with a radar gun, the group found 66.25 percent of all drivers exceeding the 30-mph speed limit, with 36 percent speeding by 5 mph or more.

Surveyors found that 62 percent of all truck drivers exceeded the speed limit, with a top truck speed of 47 mph. "At that speed, a big rig would require 346 feet to reach a full stop, well over the full length of a football field," the report reads. "Equally as alarming, the MBWG found that 34 percent of all trucks were traveling 5 mph or more above the speed limit."

According to state DOT data cited in the report, from 2005 to 2009 there were 57 crashes on McGuinness involving pedestrians or bicyclists, or an average of nearly one crash per month. Of those, 44 crashes involved pedestrians, with one resulting in death. The remaining 13 crashes, involving cyclists, resulted in three fatalities.

Two years ago, 28-year-old Williamsburg resident Neil Chamberlain was killed by a hit-and-run driver as he walked near the intersection of McGuinness and Calyer Street. In December 2009, cyclist Solange Raulston, 33, was struck and killed by the driver of a flatbed truck at McGuinness and Nassau Avenue. The driver was not charged.

Despite outrage over those deaths, and a 2010 study that chronicled rampant law-breaking, McGuinness is still a poorly designed street dominated by speeding drivers.

“This study is a call to action that must be taken seriously by Ray Kelly’s NYPD,” said TA's Paul Steely White. “The NYPD must step up enforcement of speeding in general, and in particular on McGuinness Boulevard. Until they do, everyone will be risking their lives any time they’re near this dangerous road.”

"Speeding along McGuinness Boulevard has been a problem for as long as I can remember and it’s getting worse," said City Council Member Steve Levin. "We have to get speeding under control for the safety of bicyclists, pedestrians and other drivers."

McGuinness Boulevard runs through the 94th Precinct. To voice your concerns about traffic safety directly to Deputy Inspector Terence Hurson, the commanding officer, head to the next precinct community council meeting. The 94th Precinct council meetings happen at 7:00 p.m. on the first Wednesday of the month at the Church of the Ascension at 122 Java Street. Call the precinct at 718-383-5298 for information.

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