BRONX — The city is putting the brakes on speeders on the Grand Concourse with plans to drop the speed limit on part of the thoroughfare from 30 to 25 mph.
The city announced Thursday that 5.2 miles of the road, from East 140th Street to Mosholu Parkway, would be the second thoroughfare in its Arterial Slow Zone program, part of the Vision Zero plan, which aims to end traffic injuries and deaths on New York City streets.
The program includes a combination of increased police enforcement and improved signal timing to help discourage speeding and make traffic flow more predictable.
The city expects to have the speed limit signs up in early May, according to the Department of Transportation.
Arterials, such as the Grand Concourse, account for about 60 percent of pedestrian fatalities throughout the city, according to DOT statistics. There were 12 fatalities along the 5.2 mile section of the Grand Concourse between 2008 and 2012, including seven pedestrians, data show.
Overall, traffic fatalities in New York have dropped in recent years. They fell from 701 in 1990 to 381 in 2000 and hit an all-time low of 249 in 2011, according to the city's Vision Zero website.
There were 274 traffic fatalities in 2012, according to the Department of Transportation.
Hatuey Ramos, curator of education at the Bronx Museum of the Arts, said he was pleased that the speed limit on Grand Concourse would be dropping.
"We are really glad that some steps are being made to ensure that the safety of pedestrians and cyclists is being addressed," he said.
The museum has seen an increasing amount of bikers since installing bicycle racks last year, and seniors visit as well. Many schools are very close to the museum and walk there, said Ramos.
The slow zone program was introduced last week on Atlantic Avenue. Grand Concourse is the second of 25 zones that the city plans to install.
Jill Guidera, field organizing manager at the activist group Transportation Alternatives, was excited about the city's Vision Zero plan as well.
"Reducing the speed limit on the Grand Concourse is going to save lives," she said. "And it will make the Bronx safer, more pleasant. It will improve the quality of life along the corridor."
However, Guidera viewed lowering the speed limit to 25 miles per hour as a beginning. Her group is encouraging the city to consider a broader overhaul of Grand Concourse that would include upgrades such as protected bike lanes, pedestrian safety improvements and dedicated bus lanes.
"This 25 miles per hour slow zone on the Concourse is a great first step," she said, "but we are really encouraging our mayor to look at a redesign."