Sign On For Slow Zones

10 NEIGHBORHOODS INSTALL ’20 IS PLENTY’ SIGNS ON STREETS WHERE THEY HAVE APPLIED FOR SLOW ZONES THAT HAVE BEEN REJECTED OR DELAYED

New York, New York: On Saturday and Sunday, March 15th and 16th, 10 communities that have applied for Neighborhood Slow Zones but have yet to receive any traffic calming infrastructure from the city installed their own “20 is Plenty” signs.

The rejection of Neighborhood Slow Zones grabbed headlines this week when the widow of Antonio Ramirez called on the DOT to reevaluate a Slow Zone that was denied two days before he was killed by a speeding driver.

Speed is the leading cause of traffic fatalities in NYC and pedestrians are twice as likely to survive being struck by a car going 20mph as 30mph.

NYC allows communities to apply for Neighborhood Slow Zones (NSZs). When applications are approved, the zones are supposed to receive traffic calming treatment including speed humps, road narrowing, daylighting, and 20mph speed limits. As part of his historic Vision Zero initiative to eliminate traffic fatalities in NYC, Mayor de Blasio has called for a rapid expansion of Neighborhood Slow Zones.

“Yet there are currently dozens of communities that have applied for Slow Zones and await groundbreaking while people are dying,” said Keegan Stephan, an organizer with Right of Way. “If you look at this recent slew of tragic deaths, they all occurred in neighborhoods that had applied for slow zones – Noshat Nahian in Jackson Heights, Coopers Stock on the Upper West Side, Lucian Merryweather in Fort Greene, Sammy Cohen Eckstein in Park Slope, and so many more. These communities knew their streets were dangerous and asked the city to fix them, but were told no or not yet by the last administration.”

“These rejections and delays are largely due to the last administration granting community boards veto power over slow zones,” added Stephan. “Even one of the Slow Zones slated to be installed this year, in Bed Stuy, has since been rejected by the community board. This policy is not required and is nonsensical for a public safety initiative. If the water supply were poisoned and killing 250 people a year, would we ask for community board approval to fix it? No. The DOT must use the mandate of Vision Zero to revoke the veto power of community boards and begin installing life-saving infrastructure today.”

“We are calling on the Mayor to reverse these decisions and begin groundbreaking on all of these applied-for slow zones today. That is the only way they will be guaranteed,” said Michael Mintz of Right of Way. “As a grassroots, city-wide effort, this action also demonstrates support for the DOT’s push to lower the speed limit across all five boroughs, which we will advocate for in every way we can. But that will take months of lobbying in Albany. In the meantime, we are calling on the city to lower the speed limit on every street that it can, starting with these slow zones.”

“Reducing speed limits to 20mph is a great first step to making our streets safer for everyone,” added Liz Patek, an organizer with Right of Way. “To make these slow zones truly effective, it is imperative to redesign our streets with additional traffic calming measures. Human error will occur, but streets designed according to the principles of Sustainable Safety eliminate or greatly reduce the consequences of human error. The cost of redesigning our streets is far outweighed by the cost of losing even one life.”

A note from our sponsor: “We’re so pleased to help Right of Way get their message out with our signs,” said Conrad Lumm of RoadTrafficSigns.com. “Sometimes it falls to citizens to bring local governments’ attention to pressing safety issues, and we applaud Right of Way for their creativity and persistence.”

All signs generously donated by RoadTrafficSigns.com

Contacts: Keegan Stephan, Keegan@RightofWay.org, 907.244.6426

Barbara Ross, Press@RightofWay.org

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