New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan, Staten Island Borough President James P. Molinaro and Councilmember James S. Oddo today tracked vehicle speeds on Targee Street near Naples Avenue in Concord, Staten Island, joining fourth graders from P.S. 48 who are completing speed-observation exercises as part of a hands-on traffic-safety workshop led by DOT’s Office of Education and Outreach. With the aid of the speed detector, the exercise underscores the danger of speeding, particularly to children and senior pedestrians, and need for all motorists to follow New York City’s 30 m.p.h speed limit. As part of the workshop, students recorded an average speed of 39 m.p.h. on Targee Street, with some vehicles moving as fast as 50 m.p.h., despite the posted 30 m.p.h. speed-limit and school-crossing signs in the area. New York City’s streets are safer than ever, with the last four years recording the fewest traffic fatalities in City history. To continue its push to make streets even safer, DOT launched a sweeping educational campaign designed to combat excessive speeding. This student workshop is part of this focus, as is DOT’s re-introduction of its anti-speeding advertising campaign, “That’s Why It’s 30,” this month. The Commissioner, Borough President Molinaro and Councilman Oddo were joined at the event by the school’s principal Jacqueline Mammolito and the student’s teachers, Donna Lore, Carolyn Mackey and Karenanne Whalen.
“Our youngest pedestrians are helping bring New Yorkers up to speed on an essential formula—this city’s 30 m.p.h. speed limit—that’s critical to keeping our streets as safe as they can be,” said Commissioner Sadik-Khan. “Education and engineering go hand-in-hand as we work to enhance safety on our streets for all New Yorkers.”
Borough President Molinaro said, “Speeding and reckless driving is a serious concern on Staten Island, and I am pleased to work with the DOT and NYPD on enforcement and raising awareness of this problem that costs lives and untold millions of dollars in damage.”
Councilman Oddo said, “Speed can kill. The young students of P.S. 48 understand that. Now we have to get more motorists of Staten Island to appreciate it. Every day New Yorkers choose to speed and put their own lives and the lives of their neighbors at risk. I see it every single day on my travels throughout my district. I join with DOT and the students of P.S. 48 to urge Staten Islanders to slow down and help make our roads safer for all.”
The P.S. 48 workshop is part of a program that will be made available to other schools. In November 2010, students at Brooklyn’s P.S. 261 Philip Livingston School participated in a similar series. In addition to documenting speeds, students learned the science of safety by calculating the stopping distances for vehicles traveling 20, 30 and 40 m.p.h. and conducting other activities that illustrate that the faster the speed of a vehicle, the longer the stopping distance, up to as much as 160 feet—nearly the length of an entire city block.
“That’s Why It’s 30,” DOT’s anti-speeding campaign, was developed as part of the landmark Pedestrian Safety Study and Action Plan released in 2010. Quantitative surveys showed that more than two-thirds of New Yorkers did not know the city’s standard speed limit—
30 m.p.h. The ads, which launched last fall and ran in print, online and on radio and TV, focus on a key statistic that communicates the danger of speeding just 10 miles over the speed limit: If a pedestrian is hit by a car traveling 40 m.p.h. or faster, there’s a 70% chance that the pedestrian will be killed; at 30 m.p.h., there’s an 80% chance that the pedestrian will live. The ads can be viewed at nyc.gov/dot.
To build on the agency’s ongoing safety efforts, DOT released its Pedestrian Safety Study & Action Plan, which includes strategies such as the installation of pedestrian countdown signals at 1,500 intersections citywide to further enhance safety. The agency also will pilot a program to test the safety performance of neighborhood 20 m.p.h zones and re-engineer 60 miles of streets per year for greater pedestrian safety. For more information, visit nyc.gov.