COBBLE HILL — A new speed sign was installed on Hicks Street to remind drivers to hit the brakes less than a month after a deaf 5-year-old boy was struck by a taxi nearby.
Timothy Keith, 5, who was visiting Brooklyn from Washington, D.C., was struck by a yellow SUV cab after darting between cars April 14 and died several days later. The Department of Transportation agreed to the sign, installed on Hicks Street near Degraw Street.
"The speed sign is a simple, but smart way to put drivers on alert," said Dave Abraham, vice president of the Cobble Hill Association. "But it’s just one small step forward."
The new sign is one of several being placed across the city to remind drivers of the citywide 30 mph speed limit. The speed boards are part of the DOT’s larger education efforts to improve safety for drivers, cyclists and pedestrians, a DOT official said.
Residents agree that speeding on Hicks Street has been a longtime problem, especially headed northbound. Reinforcing the community's fears,
Some community members said poor street design also contributes to the problem.
"Look at Hicks now and you see a gritty, car-centric, service road to the BQE that drivers use to avoid gridlock," Abraham said. "In reality it should be a living street that caters to the many residents of Carroll Gardens and Cobble Hill, and unites us with our neighbors in the Columbia Waterfront District."
Werner Cohn, an 18-year resident of Hicks Street, created a blog dedicated to tracking car accidents that take place along the nearby BQE. He pinned the real problem on congestion — not speeding.
“[Speeding] is secondary to the basic, inherent traffic problems in brownstone Brooklyn,” said Cohn. "The streets in Cobble Hill weren’t made for automobiles. You can't just put more and more cars into streets that were meant for horses."