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Inwood Traffic Could Put on the Brakes Under Neighborhood Slow Zone

By Carla Zanoni | June 11, 2012 9:46am

INWOOD — Drivers might need to step on the brakes in Inwood under a plan by the city to reduce driving speeds in certain neighborhoods across the city.

A section of Inwood from Riverside Drive to West 218th Street, between Broadway and Inwood Hill Park, could be shielded from speeding under a Department of Transportation Neighborhood Slow Zone program that aims to improve safety by slowing down vehicular traffic. 

The program typically "reduces the speed limit from 30 mph to 20 mph and adds safety measures within a select area in order to change driver behavior," according to the department.  

If approved, DOT officials said the zone could be in place by the end of the summer. 

The zone would be the first and only introduced in Manhattan, although the department opened the city's first slow zone in Claremont, The Bronx at the end of 2011. The city also plans to introduce a dozen or more other undetermined slow zones in the outer boroughs in the future, a spokesman said.

According to DOT, similar zones in other cities have resulted in a 46 percent reduction in fatal and severe injury crashes, with average speeds reduced by 9 mph. The department noted that areas adjacent to the slow zone saw no increase in collisions.

Community Board 12’s traffic and transportation committee approved a resolution in favor of the new zone and the full board will vote on the measure during its general meeting at the end of the month. 

An application requesting the zone was first proposed by local resident Dave Thom in February, but was limited to the northwestern section of the neighborhood, between Isham and West 218th streets, between Broadway and Inwood Hill Park. 

CB12 then asked the DOT to look into bringing the initiative to the neighborhood in March, holding judgment on the plan until the board could assess the proposed changes, which include plans to set the speed limit at 20 mph, and add speed bumps and markers reminding drivers to slow down. 

The board will vote on the proposal during its general meeting on June 26 at 7 p.m., which will be held at the Vivian and Seymour Milstein Family Heart Center at New York-Presbyterian Hospital at 173 Ft. Washington Ave., between 165th & 168th streets. 

Those interested in weighing in on the DOT design elements and plan should send an email to parkterracenorth@gmail.com before the meeting.