INWOOD — Drivers will need to get used to slowing down on one Manhattan's busiest streets, as the city announced plans Thursday to turn an 8.3-mile stretch of Broadway into a slow zone.
The stretch, which runs from Columbus Circle on the Upper West Side to West 220th Street in Inwood, would see its speed limit decreased from 30 miles-per-hour to 25. DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg said the move, part of New York's larger Vision Zero traffic safety initiative, would reduce fatalities along a street that has seen 22 pedestrian deaths since 2008.
"The de Blasio administration is charging full speed ahead to make Broadway safer," Trottenberg said at a press conference announcing the changes, which will be implemented in July.
Trottenberg was joined by City Council Transportation Committee Chairman Ydanis Rodriguez, Councilman Mark Levine, State Sen. Adriano Espaillat, NYPD Transportation Chief Thomas Chan and traffic safety advocates.
"We have to reduce speeding because speeding kills," Rodriguez said.
Broadway would be New York's fourth major street to be turned into an arterial slow zone, after Atlantic Avenue and McGuiness Boulevard in Brooklyn and Grand Concourse in the Bronx. Trottenberg said while traffic-heavy arterial streets make up 15 percent of city streets, they account for 60 percent of traffic fatalities.
“It’s no surprise that in all the town halls that we’ve been holding across the city, in every conversation that I’ve had, the number one thing I hear from New Yorkers is that they want us to do something about these arterial streets,” Trottenberg said.
The slow zone runs near 15 schools and will pass through seven police precincts. Chan said that the NYPD will reach out to each precinct's commanding officer to ensure that speed reductions are enforced at all hours.
Deputy Inspector Chris Morello, head of the 34th Precinct, said that his officers would work to enforce not only speeding, but would issue summonses for drivers who used their cellphones for talking or texting while driving, as well those that did not wear their seatbelts.
The 34th Precinct has been criticized in the past for a relative lack of speeding tickets issues by officers, but Morello said he would make sure that speeding drivers were issued summonses.
"We're going to make a concerted effort to enforce the speed restrictions," Morello said. "It's something we want to work on."
Thursday's press conference took place at the busy Broadway, Dyckman Street and Riverside Drive intersection, and Trottenberg gave an update on the DOT's plan to ban left turns, shorten cross walks and institute other traffic calming measures, saying that the work would begin on the intersection at the end of May and would be complete by the summer.