DOT Announces New Arterial Slow Zones Across the Boroughs

On Friday, DOT announced the second round of Arterial Slow Zones, which will expand the program by 14 streets before the end of the year.

State Senator Adriano Espaillat and City Council reps Ydanis Rodriguez and Helen Rosenthal inaugurated the Broadway Arterial Slow Zone today. DOT announced on Friday that 14 additional arterials will get the slow zone treatment before the year is out. Photo: ##
State Senator Adriano Espaillat and City Council reps Ydanis Rodriguez and Helen Rosenthal inaugurated the Broadway Arterial Slow Zone today. DOT announced on Friday that 14 additional arterials will get the slow zone treatment before the year is out. Photo: ##

The first of those streets to get the slow zone treatment is Jerome Avenue in the Bronx, where as of today the speed limit is 5 miles per hour lower along a five-mile segment, from E. 161st Street to Bainbridge Avenue, according to a DOT press release.

Arterials comprise 15 percent of total NYC street mileage, but account for some 60 percent of pedestrian fatalities. With high-visibility signage, changes in signal timing, and — ostensibly — increased law enforcement, the Arterial Slow Zone program brings a focus to streets that are especially dangerous.

“In total, dangerous speeding will be reduced on more than 65 miles of major corridors that have seen 83 fatalities,” the DOT press release says.

The citywide default 25 mph speed limit is expected to be implemented by October.

Here are the other phase two streets, with the expected slow zone completion month and their respective number of pedestrian fatalities from 2008 to 2012:

  • Manhattan: Seventh Avenue from Central Park South to 11th Street, August, four fatalities
  • Brooklyn: Coney Island Avenue from Park Circle to the Boardwalk, September, six fatalities
  • Queens: Roosevelt Avenue from Queens Boulevard to 154th Street, September, five fatalities
  • Staten Island: Victory Boulevard from Bay Street to Wild Avenue, September, five fatalities
  • Brooklyn: Utica Avenue from Malcom X Boulevard to Flatbush Avenue, October, 12 fatalities
  • Brooklyn: Flatbush Avenue/Flatbush Avenue Extension from Concord Street to Hendrickson Place, October, 11 fatalities

  • Manhattan: Amsterdam Avenue from 59th Street to 190th Street, October, eight fatalities
  • Manhattan: Bowery from Chatham Square to Cooper Square, November, five fatalities
  • Bronx: Third Avenue from E. 138th Street to E. 183rd Street, November, four fatalities
  • Manhattan: Houston Street from West Street to Baruch Place, November, one fatality
  • Manhattan: Park Avenue from E. 45th Street to E. 132nd Street, November, six fatalities
  • Manhattan: Sixth Avenue from Central Park South to Franklin Street, December, five fatalities
  • Queens: Metropolitan Avenue from Onderdonk Avenue to 132nd Street, December, six fatalities

Two phase one slow zones — Broadway north of 59th Street and most of Southern Boulevard — took effect today. NYPD has pledged to enforce the new 25 mph speed limit on those streets.

  • Larry Littlefield

    At this point, it seems redundant, unless the idea is to direct enforcement to these streets.

    With the default speed limit set at 25, doesn’t the city need to designate the non-slow zones instead?

  • AnoNYC

    I thought the citywide 25 MPH bill only corresponded to streets with one moving lane in each direction?

  • Daphna

    I agree, since the citywide speed limit will be 25 mph on most streets once Gov. Cuomo finally signs that into law, all these slow arterial zones are no longer anything special.

  • Daphna

    The 25mph speed limit is for almost all streets. The exceptions are streets such as the West Side Highway and the FDR which currently have 55mph speed limits, and streets such as Ocean Parkway and a few others that are state controlled instead of city controlled streets. Those streets will stay at the 30mph or 35mph speed limit they currently have.

    Then the city will also have the right to lower the speed limit by 5mph (but not more) under the 25mph anywhere without going to Albany for approval.

  • Daphna

    Does anyone know why Governor Guomo is delaying signing the 25mph speed limit legislation into law? After Cuomo signs it, it will be still be 90 days before it can be put into effect.

    These arterial 25mph zones will be able to get the process started a bit sooner…

  • A. Scott Falk

    For the same reason a dog licks himself, I assume: because he can. #notafan

  • Dennis_Hindman

    In California the speed limits posted on streets is set by a law that requires that cities must have a posted speed limit that reflects what 85% of the motor vehicles are moving at before law enforcement can give a speeding ticket based on what a electronic speed measuring device indicates.

    In Los Angeles, several streets per year get higher posted speed limits due to this state law. There were objections by bicycle advocates two years ago to increasing the speed limit from 30 mph to 45 mph on a street that had bike lanes. A policeman at a city council transportation committee meeting explained that the police department would have to have someone check motor vehicle speeds for hours out of a day to keep the average vehicle speeds from rising.

  • Joe R.

    So why wasn’t the street redesigned so the 85th percentile would drop from 45 mph to 30 mph? I’m actually a huge fan of properly set (i.e. 85th percentile) speed limits as they allow police to focus only on people who drive at truly dangerous speeds. At the same time I realize high speeds aren’t appropriate in urban settings. The only way to mesh these two seemingly conflicting viewpoints is to redesign streets so drivers no longer feel comfortable driving at high speeds. You’ll still get some percentage of a$$holes who will drive at high speeds on such redesigned streets, but the 85th percentile speed (and therefore the speed limit) will drop dramatically.

  • Larry Littlefield

    “once Gov. Cuomo finally signs that into law”

    My bad. I thought it was signed. I guess they have to keep going just in case.

  • Dennis_Hindman

    The senior bicycle coordinator for Los Angeles recently stated that she did not know of any arterial street in the city that has a posted speed limit of less than 35 MPH.

    In the San Fernando Valley where 47% of the streets are located in Los Angeles, its fairly common to see posted speed limits of 40 or 45 mph.

    The street I mentioned could be redesigned for lower speeds.

    Usually the highest speed limits are on wide streets with lower traffic volumes per lane. Los Angeles has done 51.5 miles of road diets since the late 1990’s to reduce the speeds on streets and install bike lanes. Unfortunately, LA has just about run out of streets where motor vehicle through lanes could be removed to put in bike lanes without making a significant impact on the flow of traffic.

  • Joe R.

    It’s sounding to me like someone will need to make a decision as to which is more important-traffic flow or safety. Of course, you can remove motor vehicle lanes and not impact traffic flow if traffic levels are somehow reduced via disincentives to driving. Not sure if that would work all that well in LA given its spread out nature, but at some point every large city is going to have to choose between cars and bikes/public transit/walking. At least LA has made great progress in the last decade building more public transit and installing some bike infrastructure.

  • Dennis_Hindman

    The land area of Los Angeles is spread out, but unlike most major U.S. cities there are several areas which provide large amounts of jobs that are spread out across the city. Four of the locations for large amounts of jobs in LA are downtown, USC, UCLA and Warner Center.

    This creates a situation in several areas of the city where the flow of traffic is busy during peak morning hours heading towards different parts of the city. A major transit line will likely be picking up lots of people heading in both directions during peak morning hours.

  • Geck

    50 MPH is the max anywhere in NYC (on highways). I’m pretty sure the FDR is 40 MPH. I assume DOT is going ahead with Arterial Slow Zones because they include added signs and re-timing of traffic signals to correspond to the slower speed limits. Also the ability for the City to easily reduce speed to 20 MPH was dropped from the final bill. It can still only be done in conjunction with physical street calming measures (i.e, the Slow Zone program) or in school zones during school hours.

  • lop

    >at some point every large city is going to have to choose between cars and bikes/public transit/walking

    They already did.


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