GREENWICH VILLAGE — After years of pleading with the city to take measures to slow traffic around the Village, P.S. 41 parents and the school principal have some new hope in the form of legislation proposed by two state lawmakers.
Manhattan Assemblywoman Deborah Glick and Queens state Sen. Jose Peralta announced their bill in front of the Greenwich Village school Thursday morning flanked by traffic safety advocacy groups Transportation Alternatives and Make Queens Safer.
If enacted, the law they're proposing would suspend for 60 days the licenses of drivers convicted of three or more speeding violations in school zones during school days within an 18-month time period.
"We must put all speeding motorists on notice that reckless driving in our school zones will not be tolerated," Glick said in a statement. "Every day over 1 million children travel to and from school in New York City. When a parent or guardian sends their children to school, they deserve the peace of mind to know that speeding motorists will not put their children in danger."
According to 2013 Department of Transportation statistics cited by the lawmakers, at least three out of every four drivers speeds within a quarter mile of a school building in a survey of 100 schools, and between 25 and 75 percent of drivers drove over the speed limit in another 306 school zones.
Peralta said more than 1,000 students under the age of 17 were injured in crashes last year, nine fatally, and noted studies that show children under 14 are five times more likely to die if hit by a car going 35 miles per hour versus a car going 25 miles per hour.
“We have a speeding problem in one of every three schools in the city,” he said. “Undoubtedly, exceeding speed limits a few miles can be the difference between life and death in crashes."
P.S. 41 Principal Kelly Shannon and parents of children at the school have been pushing for the city to create a special slow zone around the school and along Sixth Avenue, reducing the speed limit from 30 miles per hour to 25, since 2014, spurred on by a crash in front of the school that injured a babysitter and toddler in 2013.
The DOT refused to consider the proposal when the community raised it in 2014, but elected officials renewed the push earlier this summer, and at an unrelated event, a top DOT official said the issue has been referred to the agency's Traffic Division for possible expansion.