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20 MPH 'Slow Zone' Coming to Astoria

 The DOT plans to lower the speed limit on several streets between Astoria Boulevard and 30th Avenue.
The DOT plans to lower the speed limit on several streets between Astoria Boulevard and 30th Avenue.
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DNAinfo/Nigel Chiwaya

ASTORIA — The Department of Transportation is planning to lower the speed limit on a number of residential roads in the neighborhood, in what will be the first "Slow Zone" implemented in Astoria.

Queens Community Board 1 approved the DOT's plan Tuesday to install a 20-mile-per-hour speed limit on streets between Astoria Boulevard and 30th Avenue, from 21st Street to Steinway Street. The change will only affect roadways between the boundaries, not the boundaries themselves, according to CB1.

"This would be a great help and great precedent in the neighborhood," said Steve Scofield, a volunteer with Transportation Alternatives' Queens committee, who testified in favor of the Slow Zone at Tuesday's meeting.

"Slowing traffic down saves lives," he said.

According to a presentation of the DOT's plan posted online, the zone's location was chosen after meeting with CB1's transportation committee last year. The area includes three schools, a senior center and several daycare and pre-K programs.

"Many of these streets feed into Astoria Boulevard, the Triborough/Robert F. Kennedy Bridge, and the Grand Central Parkway, and as a consequence, cars will often speed down these quiet residential blocks," City Councilman Costa Constantinides wrote in a letter of support for the plan sent to the DOT Tuesday.

He said 33rd Street in particular "has been a focus of constituent complaints."

"My office is around the corner from 33rd Street, and my staff and I have witnessed numerous instances where cars and trucks speed down the block to make the following light," Constantinides wrote.

In addition to the new speed limit — which will be noted by markings on the street and signs posted around the entrance to the Slow Zone — the DOT will install 14 speed bumps throughout the area.

The changes will go into effect in late summer, a DOT spokeswoman said.

Slow Zones have already been launched in several neighborhoods around the city, resulting in a 10 to 15 percent drop in drivers' speeds and a 14 percent decrease in crashes that cause injuries, according to the DOT.