Locals Plan to Post 20 MPH Signs to Slow Traffic in Fort Greene

By Janet Upadhye on February 25, 2014 6:26pm 

 A group of locals plan to hang 20 mph speed limit signs on a residential street in Fort Greene.
A group of locals plan to hang 20 mph speed limit signs on a residential street in Fort Greene.
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FORT GREENE — Neighbors and advocates in Fort Greene and other neighborhoods around the city are taking the law into their own hands — posting 20 mph speed limit signs around the area to protest the rejection of a slow zone.

The move came after the measure to turn the neigborhood into one of the zones — which have reduced speed limits and added speed humps in an effort to reduce traffic accidents — was rejected two years in a row.

"Our action is showing that the changes requested are relatively simple, and these slow zones can and should be implemented quickly and efficiently," said Hilda Cohen of local traffic safety advocacy group Make Brooklyn Safer. "Putting in a slow zone is 90 percent signage, paint and awareness."

Several neighborhoods in the city were selected for the slow zone program, which reduces the speed limit from 30 mph to 20 mph in order to cut down on the severity of crashes and reduce through traffic in residential areas, according to the Department of Transportation website.

Applications are based on a number of criteria, including crash data and the presence of schools, day care centers and other sensitive facilities, the DOT said. Fifteen neighborhoods were selected out of 74 that applied in the first round in October 2013.

Cohen said that Fort Greene was not accepted for a slow zone in 2012 and 2013 because its crash statistics were lower than in other neighborhoods.

Still she believes Fort Greene is ripe for a slow zone.

"The fact that only select few of the numerous applications are being implemented is really detrimental to the safety and well being of all the residents of NYC," she said.

Make Brooklyn Safer's protest will take place on March 15 in conjunction with other New York City neighborhoods that were denied slow zones.

The citywide event is organized by "Right of Way," with the goal being to "encourage the administration to immediately reverse [slow zone] rejections and begin groundbreaking on all requested neighborhood slow zones today."

The city plans to take down any unauthorized signs but a DOT spokesman said the agency is working on lowering the city's speed limit as a whole.

"DOT is committed to working with stakeholders across the City and in Albany to lower New York City’s speed limit and make our streets safer for everyone using them," Nicholas Mosquera of the DOT said. "These important discussions are ongoing and we welcome input from community members on this important initiative."

Make Brooklyn Safer has not yet determined where the signs will be placed in Fort Greene.

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