New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) Commissioner Polly Trottenberg, NYPD Chief of Transportation Thomas Chan, State Senator Daniel Squadron, State Senator Martin Malavé Dilan, Assembly Member Joseph R. Lentol, City Council Member Stephen Levin and safety advocates today announced that McGuinness Boulevard in Greenpoint, Brooklyn will be the third Arterial Slow Zone to be installed on a major street as part of the Mayor’s Vision Zero safety plan. Later this month, traffic signals will be coordinated to reduce dangerous speeding along the 1.1 mile corridor from Freeman to Bayard streets that has seen four fatalities, including three pedestrians and one cyclist, between 2008 and 2013.
Through a combination of improved signal timing to discourage speeding, distinctive signage and increased enforcement by the NYPD, the announcement continues the City’s expansion to 25 Arterial Slow Zones. The event was held at the intersection of McGuinness Boulevard and Nassau Avenue, the site of two fatalities in recent years, and part of a larger area that DOT will be focusing on through the creation of a North Brooklyn Working Group, modeled on the Delancey Street Working Group convened by State Senator Squadron. DOT will work closely with State Senator Squadron and other elected officials to discuss ways to further enhance safety on nearby streets and intersections. In addition to State Senator Squadron, State Senator Dilan, Assembly Member Lentol, and Council Member Levin, the Commissioner was also joined at the announcement by Transportation Alternatives Executive Director Paul Steely White, Greenpoint Waterfront Association for Parks and Planning’s Richard Mazur, Community Board 1 Transportation Chair Karen Nieves and Jennie Romer from The Neighhbors Allied for Good Growth (NAGG).
“Vision Zero is creating safer streets along the entire length of McGuinness Boulevard,” said DOT Commissioner Trottenberg. “Safety has been a long-standing community concern and the Arterial Slow Zone will help reduce dangerous driving, injuries and deaths. I thank the elected officials and advocates who stand with us today as we work to make neighborhood streets and others across the city even safer.”
“Vision Zero is a commitment made for safer streets and roadways by our Mayor, Bill de Blasio. The epidemic of traffic fatalities and injuries is unacceptable,” said NYPD Chief Chan. “Our city agencies are working hard to achieve these ends. Speeding motorists must slow down, drivers must yield to pedestrians who have the right of way. Pedestrians must use caution and don’t assume that drives always see you.”
“If we are going to prevent traffic fatalities we absolutely need drivers to slow down. Arterial Slow Zones in areas likes McGuinness and Nassau will provide such a mandate and, hopefully, will save lives. I am grateful to Mayor de Blasio and Commissioner Trottenberg for supporting this innovative program, which I am confident will make our streets safer for all New Yorkers,” said Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12).
“North Brooklyn needs a safer, slower McGuinness, where no matter who you are — a pedestrian, bicyclist or motorist — you can know you are safe using it,” said State Senator Squadron. “We have advocated for traffic safety improvements for some time now, and I am thankful to Mayor de Blasio, DOT Commissioner Trottenberg, NYPD Commissioner Bratton and Chief of Transportation Chan for including McGuinness Boulevard in the Arterial Slow Zone program. I also want to thank Commissioner Trottenberg for establishing the North Brooklyn Working Group. Like our successful Delancey Street Working Group, this working group will help ensure the community’s continued involvement in improving streets and safety in North Brooklyn.”
“For decades McGuinness Boulevard has been a danger to drive, ride, walk and cross,” said Senator Dilan. “Amid calls to address its more treacherous crossings and greater enforcement, curbside memorials have become commonplace. I commend Mayor de Blasio’s commitment to making our streets and roadways safer and thank him for putting his Vision Zero initiative to work on McGuinness Boulevard.”
“I have long advocated for increased safety measures on McGuinness Boulevard, as it is one of the most notoriously dangerous roadways in my district accountable for countless traffic fatalities,” said Assemblyman Lentol. “With North Brooklyn’s population surge, McGuinness Boulevard has increasingly more pedestrians and cyclists and we need to slow drivers down. I congratulate Mayor Bill de Blasio and DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg for their vision in making our streets safer. The city-wide Arterial Slow Zone program is essential to saving lives on major thoroughfares and I am glad McGuinness Boulevard was chosen to be designated as part of the program.”
“Greenpoint will be a safer place for pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists thanks to the launch of the McGuinness Boulevard Arterial Slow Zone,” said Council Member Levin. “Reducing speeds is proven to also reduce the rate of fatalities in traffic crashes and McGuinness Boulevard is the perfect location for this new program. I want to thank Mayor de Blasio, DOT Commissioner Trottenberg, NYPD Commissioner Bratton and Chief of Transportation Chan for bringing the arterial slow zone program to McGuinness Boulevard.”
“We applaud Transportation Commissioner Trottenberg and NYPD Transportation Chief Chan for adding McGuinness Boulevard to the list of new Arterial Slow Zones,” says Paul Steely White, Executive Director of Transportation Alternatives. “In addition to the life-saving changes of a lower speed limit and stepped-up traffic enforcement along this infamously hazardous corridor, we look forward to a future redesign of McGuinness Boulevard. By shortening crossing distances and adding a protected bike lane for the growing number of bicycle commuters between Brooklyn and Queens, we can encourage travel along the corridor that is safe for even the most vulnerable street users.”
The Arterial Slow Zone program – one of 63 proposals included in the Vision Zero report released in February – will lower posted speed limits from 30 to 25 m.p.h. on streets that have seen some of highest numbers of fatalities and serious injuries. Citywide, arterials make up only 15 percent of total mileage but have accounted for some 60 percent of pedestrian fatalities.
On these arterials, DOT will make comprehensive improvements to signal timing along the corridor, maintaining crucial vehicular capacity and providing more efficient, predictable traffic flows along these heavily used corridors. The locations will also benefit from increased enforcement by the NYPD, as well as temporary speed boards the DOT will place in key locations. The program will feature comprehensive signal timing enhancements paired with distinctive blue-and-white speed limit signage with the name of the corridor, complementing the agency’s existing Neighborhood Slow Zone program as well as the administration’s efforts to reduce the citywide speed limit in partnership with the state legislature.
The introduction of Arterial Slow Zones comes as the extensive public outreach program for Vision Zero continues. At each of the well-attended town hall meetings to date, speeding along these corridors has been named a serious safety issue by New Yorkers across the boroughs, and this program is designed to address some of these concerns. Building on these community-driven efforts, the agency is also looking to gain additional input at nine upcoming Vision Zero public workshops to be held across the city. The first two workshops will be held in Brooklyn: one on Thursday, April 24, from 6:30 to 8:30 pm at Plymouth Church (Hillis Hall), 75 Hicks Street, and the second on Tuesday, April 29, from 6:30 to 8:30 pm at Brooklyn College (Student Center, 2nd Floor), Campus Road & East 27th Street. All New Yorkers are invited to provide insight on conditions in neighborhoods and to aid in the prioritization of street safety initiatives, as DOT and the NYPD work to develop comprehensive pedestrian safety plans for each borough.