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More UWS Police Trained to Use Radar Guns to Catch Speeding Drivers

By Emily Frost | April 9, 2014 2:47pm
 More officers are now trained in monitoring speeding in the 20th Precinct.
UWS Police Increase Speeding Oversight
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UPPER WEST SIDE — The 20th Precinct has increased the number of police officers authorized to use radar guns amid complaints that authorities aren't doing enough to curb speeding, the NYPD said.

The precinct — which runs from 59th Street to 86th Street, between Central Park and the Hudson River — handed out seven speeding summonses from March 10 to April 6 and a total of 18 overall this year, said Officer Felicia Montgomery, who manages traffic safety at the precinct. 

During the same time period, nine pedestrians were hit by vehicles, she said. None of the crashes resulted in fatalities.

Montgomery also reported that there were 135 summonses handed out for drivers using cellphones over the same period, but only nine for failure to yield to pedestrians. 

At a meeting Tuesday, Community Board 7 members reacted with dismay at the low number of summonses handed out for failure to yield and speeding — moving violations that are a major concern to residents.

"We have single digits on the failure to yield and speeding summonses," said board member Mark Diller. "Is there some challenge to catching folks with those violations?" 

Montgomery said she expected the number of speeding summonses to increase soon. Two more officers were trained in using speed radar guns last week, bringing the total to three.

"We should increase the number of failure to yield [summonses]; we should increase the number of speeding tickets," said Transportation Committee co-chairman Dan Zweig. 

The 24th Precinct to the north has upped its number 11, police said.

In late February, 24th Precinct Capt. James Dennedy announced his precinct hoped to have at least four more officers trained in radar gun use in the coming months. He said on Wednesday that the precinct now has 11 radar-qualified officers. 

Neighborhood residents have been pushing for more enforcement of speeding and reckless driving after a deadly string of collisions this winter.

In reaction to the crashes, which included the death of 9-year-old Cooper Stock, Assemblyman Daniel O'Donnell introduced a bill in Albany calling for the city speed limit to be reduced to 20 mph.

As part of his Vision Zero initiative, Mayor de Blasio has said the city will lobby Albany for local control of how many red light and speeding cameras it can post.