CROWN HEIGHTS — The speed limit is now 25 mph on one of Brooklyn's main thoroughfares.
Like Atlantic Avenue and Northern Boulevard before it, Eastern Parkway is the latest corridor in the city to have its 30 mph speed limit lowered and turned into a “slow zone” as part of Mayor Bill de Blasio's Vision Zero traffic safety initiative.
Signs displaying the new speed limit were installed last week, police said, and enforcement will begin the week after the Fourth of July following an education blitz about the new rule.
Police from the two precincts that border Eastern Parkway, the 77th and 71st, will begin publicizing the new restriction starting June 30 by handing out fliers and talking to drivers between Rochester and Washington avenues, according to the 71st Precinct.
Two weeks later, on July 7, they’ll start enforcing the 25 mph limit by issuing more tickets, sticking to the rules “a little more closely than we normally would,” Deputy Inspector George Fitzgibbon of the 71st Precinct warned residents at a precinct community council meeting Thursday night.
“When you see [ticketing] going on out there and you’re not happy with it, know that I would rather see something like this go on than...see a 5-year-old person that was hit by a car,” Fitzgibbon said, adding that Eastern Parkway is consistently one of the “top collision-prone” streets in the city.
The enforcement initiative on the parkway will focus on drivers failing to yield, running red lights and speeding, Fitzgibbon said. Bicyclists, too, will be targeted in the safety push, but pedestrians have less to worry about, Fitzgibbon said.
“We’re here to protect the pedestrians. We’re not going to go out there and write 8,000 jaywalking summonses,” he said. “We’re looking to educate the drivers to be more aware of their surroundings.”
Injuries to pedestrians and cyclists in the 71st and 77th precincts are up since last year, according to collision data from the NYPD. Forty-nine bikers or walkers were injured in car crashes in April, the most recent month for which data is available. That’s up more than 50 percent since April 2013, when 32 bikers or walkers were injured in collisions in these precincts.
On Thursday evening, the state Assembly and Senate passed a bill allowing New York City to lower the speed limit to 25 mph across the five boroughs, another piece of de Blasio's Vision Zero initiative.