New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) Commissioner Polly Trottenberg, NYPD Chief of Transportation Thomas Chan, Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer and State Senator Michael Gianaris today announced a slate of nine additional Arterial Slow Zones to be implemented in the coming months. Beginning later in May, the speed limit will be lowered to 25 m.p.h. and traffic signals will be retimed to reduce opportunities for dangerous speeding along the first phase of Northern Boulevard in Queens, 4.2 miles from 40th Road to 114th Street near the Grand Central Parkway that have seen five fatalities, all pedestrians, since 2008.
The agency also announced eight additional Arterial Slow Zones: East Gun Hill Road and Southern Boulevard in the Bronx; Canal Street in Manhattan; Jamaica Avenue, Queens Boulevard and Rockaway Boulevard in Queens; Forest Avenue in Staten Island; and Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn. This release of this list follows the previously announced Atlantic Avenue and McGuinness Boulevard in Brooklyn, the Grand Concourse in the Bronx and Northern Broadway in Manhattan, introduced earlier today. In total, dangerous speeding will be reduced on more than 61 miles of major corridors that have seen 152 fatalities, with additional sites to follow later this year, as the agency expands the program to 25 major streets.
The Commissioner was also joined by transportation advocates for the announcement at Northern Boulevard and 39th Avenue. At the intersection of 61st Street and Northern, the site of the crash that killed eight-year-old Noshat Nahian, DOT is nearing completion of a major pedestrian safety project to shorten crossing distances and reduce conflicts between drivers and pedestrians.
“I am pleased to bring the Arterial Slow Zone program to Northern Boulevard where long crosswalks and high speeds have been an unnecessary reality for too many Queens residents,” said DOT Commissioner Trottenberg. “With the announcement of thirteen Arterial Slow Zone locations, communities in all five boroughs will soon enjoy safer corridors as part of this crucial Vision Zero initiative.”
“Vision Zero is a commitment made to have safer streets and roadways. With, proper enforcement, the Department of Transportation’s Arterial Slow Zones will improve pedestrian safety,” said NYPD Chief Chan. “This collaboration between agencies and communities will bring us closer to our goal.”
“These slow zones will save lives,” said City Council Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer. “Northern Boulevard and Queens Boulevard are two of the highest trafficked and most dangerous roads in Queens. Fighting these tragic and ultimately preventable deaths is a fundamental and moral obligation. I will not rest until Vision Zero is accomplished. This announcement begins the process of installing much needed traffic safety improvements that will protect the lives of the hundreds of thousands of pedestrians, cyclists and motorists that cross these streets every day. I thank Mayor Bill de Blasio and Commissioner Polly Trottenburg for listening to our concerns and incorporating Northern Boulevard and Queens Boulevard into the City’s Vision Zero initiative. I will continue to work with the Administration and the Department of Transportation to improve traffic safety for all in Western Queens and throughout New York City.”
Details on the first 13 Arterial Slow Zones
|Atlantic Avenue||Columbia Street||76th Street||Brooklyn||7.6||April||25|
|Grand Concourse||East 140th Street||Mosholu Parkway||the Bronx||5.2||April||20|
|Northern Boulevard, Phase I||40th Road||114th Street||Queens||4.2||May||5|
|McGuinness Boulevard||Freeman Street||Bayard Street||Brooklyn||1.1||May||4|
|East Gun Hill Road||Jerome Avenue||Northeast Thruway Southbound||the Bronx||3||May||4|
|Jamaica Avenue||Van Wyck Expressway||224th Street||Queens||4.8||May||8|
|Eastern Parkway||Plaza Street East||Bushwick Avenue||Brooklyn||3.9||June||15|
|Canal Street||East Broadway||West Street||Manhattan||1.5||June||6|
|Forest Avenue||Victory Boulevard||Goethals Road North||Staten Island||5||June||6|
|Broadway||Columbus Circle||West 220th Street||Manhattan||8.3||July||24|
|Southern Boulevard||Bruckner Boulevard||East Fordham Road||the Bronx||4||July||3|
|Queens Boulevard||Jackson Avenue||Hillside Avenue||Queens||7.4||July||23|
|Rockaway Boulevard||75th Street||Farmers Boulevard||Queens||5.4||August||9|
“I am thrilled to be here on Northern Boulevard with Commissioner Trottenberg announcing safety improvements, rather than with a grieving family begging the city to take action,” said Senator Michael Gianaris. “Too many lives have been lost on Northern and Queens Boulevards, and on many other dangerous roads throughout our city. Today I join with community leaders, transit advocates and all New Yorkers who don’t want to fear for their lives each time they cross a street in applauding Mayor de Blasio and the DOT for taking swift action toward making our collective goal of Vision Zero a reality.”
Through a combination of a lower speed limit, signal timing changes to discourage speeding, distinctive signs and increased enforcement by the NYPD, Arterial Slow Zone program expands efforts by DOT and its partners to prevent traffic fatalities and improve safety on New York City streets. One of 63 initiatives included in the Vision Zero report released in February, it reduces posted speed limits from 30 to 25 m.p.h. on streets that have seen some of highest numbers of fatalities and serious injuries. Queens Boulevard, which was previously signed for 35 m.p.h., is similarly reduced by five to 30 m.p.h. Citywide, arterials like these make up only 15 percent of total mileage but have accounted for some 60 percent of pedestrian fatalities.
On these arterials, DOT will improve signal timing along the corridor, making it consistent with the new 25 m.p.h. speed limit while maintaining mobility on these heavily used corridors and preventing diversions to residential street. The locations will also benefit from increased enforcement by the NYPD, with temporary speed boards installed in key locations to alert motorists of the new speed limit. The program will also feature distinctive blue-and-white signs 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 time has come to put an end to the hazardous conditions along Northern Boulevard,” said Rep. Joe Crowley (D-Queens, the Bronx). “The implementation of this new slow zone will go a long way toward ensuring the safety of pedestrians, cyclists and motorists alike. I thank and commend DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg for listening to the concerns of the Queens community and recognizing the need for swift action along one of our city’s deadliest arterial roads. I look forward to collaborating with the city on the hard work that remains to make sure our streets are safer for all New Yorkers.”
“Northern Boulevard is a notoriously dangerous street. Already this year, numerous people have been struck by speeding cars, including 8-year-old Noshat Nahian, who was killed by a fast-driving truck as he was walking his little sister to school. No one should ever have to endure the heartbreak of losing a loved one who is crossing the street, especially since the solution is so simple. We need drivers to slow down to save lives. Once again, I commend Mayor de Blasio and Commissioner Trottenberg for continuing to expand the Arterial Slow Zone program, as this is an issue that affects all New Yorkers,” said Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12).
“Northern Boulevard is one of the most dangerous roadways in the city for pedestrians and in February we asked for it to get high priority in Mayor de Blasio’s Vision Zero campaign,” said Assemblywoman Margaret Markey. “Slowing down traffic will make it safer and help save lives because we know that when people come into contact with cars and trucks, it is the person who is always the loser. I want to thank the Mayor and the Department of Transportation for hearing us and implementing the Northern Boulevard slow zone they are announcing today.”
“The addition of these new arterial slow zones are further steps in the efforts to improve traffic and pedestrian safety,” said Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz. The two Neighborhood Slow Zones that I sponsored in my own district will undoubtedly prevent many injuries and possibly save lives. I am very pleased that the de Blasio administration is expanding the efforts to cut down on injuries and fatalities, and I look forward to continuing to work with them on this.”
“I would like to thank I thank Commissioner Trottenberg and the Department of Transportation for implementing this slow zone on Rockaway Boulevard in an effort to increase safety for pedestrians,” said Assemblyman Mike Miller. “A slow zone is a great way to help reduce accidents and fatalities among this very busy corridor. In addition, I look forward to working with DOT to implement ‘Dedicated Crossing Times’ for pedestrians, during which there will be no moving vehicular traffic, and other actions that will support the Vision Zero plan”
“I commend Mayor de Blasio and Commissioner Trottenberg for this important step in realizing the mission of the Vision Zero plan which is to make our roadways and pedestrians paths safer for all New Yorkers,” said Marcos A. Crespo, Member of Assembly, 85th District.
“With the launch of Arterial Slow Zones across major corridors in New York City, we are taking an important step towards reducing traffic speeds,” said Senator Jeff Klein (D-Bronx/Westchester). “I thank Mayor de Blasio, Commissioner Trottenberg and the Department of Transportation for making traffic safety a top priority and for bringing this program to East Gun Hill Road, where slower speeds and enhanced traffic enforcement will create safer streets for pedestrians and drivers.”
“Sometimes it seems as if Canal Street is a perpetual slow zone — but slowing down traffic on Canal, which bustles with bicycles, pedestrians, and vehicles all day long, is the right thing to do,” said Senator Daniel Squadron. “This heavy volume of road use is exactly what makes Canal Street a great candidate for an arterial slow zone. I applaud DOT and Commissioner Trottenberg for including Canal Street in its efforts to use slow zones to protect all kinds of road users around our city.”
“I applaud Mayor de Blasio and Commissioner Polly Trottenberg for instituting slow zones to Upper Broadway and to Canal Street, two of the most dangerous roadways in my district,” said Senator Brad Holyman. “These slow zones, along with the legislation passed yesterday by the New York State Senate to authorize 120 additional speed cameras in school zones, bring us another step closer to making the Mayor’s “Vision Zero” plan to eliminate traffic fatalities a reality for New Yorkers.”
“I commend the Mayor for aggressively pursuing solutions such as Arterial Slow Zones to make our streets safer for drivers and pedestrians alike. I personally took the Safe Driving Pledge and I urge all New Yorkers to do the same. Slowing down saves lives,” said Senator Toby Ann Stavisky (D-Flushing).
“I am glad to see that the Mayor’s Vision Zero Plan is moving forward. Anything that will improve public safety for both pedestrians and motorists is beneficial,” said Senator Malcolm Smith. “DOT can count on my full support. I applaud their efforts to make the city safer for all New Yorkers and I welcome Vision Zero to Queens.”
“Pedestrian and vehicular deaths from speeding and reckless driving causes grief and heartaches for the families of victims,” said Senator John Sampson. “One of the answers to addressing vehicular speeding and enhancing pedestrian safety is to institute either Arterial Slow Zones or Neighborhood Slow Zones. The proposed Eastern Parkway to Bushwick Avenue Arterial Slow Zone is timely and necessary. This zone will not only reduce speed limits but add other safety measures in order to adjust driver behavior on our local streets. I am confident that this will enhance the quality of life in the neighborhoods, lower the incidence and severity of vehicle crashes, and reduce noise pollution.”
“The DOT is demonstrating their ability to react to community concerns with this great initiative. Arterial roads are where we see the most crashes in our city so these measures will save lives,” said Council Member and Transportation Committee Chair Ydanis Rodriguez. “I am happy to see our forums across the city translate into policies that will benefit all. We are making our city safer day by day and this process will continue until we achieve vision zero.”
“Not a day goes by without someone narrowly escaping a collision or noticing an unsafe traffic pattern on Queens Boulevard,” said Council Member Karen Koslowitz, District 29. “By including it as an arterial slow zone, we are ensuring that no one who crosses this roadway feels as though his or her life is at risk. Safety on the boulevard has improved over the past twenty years with the implementation of measures such as pedestrian fences, extended medians, and countdown clocks. With improved monitoring and enforcement of traffic on this roadway we will save lives.”
“The Mayor’s Vision Zero program brings common sense solutions to the goal of eliminating traffic fatalities,” said Council Member Rafael Espinal. “We should do all we can to invest attention and resources to pedestrian safety in New York City.”
“As we transform as a people our communities must transform as well. Vision Zero is an action plan that allows all communities to embrace transformation when it comes to traffic safety,” said Council Member Andy King, 12th District. “I’m grateful that the 12th District will be utilizing this traffic safety initiative to reduce the speed limit on East Gun Hill Road, one of our busiest traffic corridors.”
“The safety of all who utilize our streets has always been a paramount concern of mine,” said Councilwoman Debi Rose. “As councilmember, I have successfully supported two sweeping slow zones on the North Shore of Staten Island, and I am pleased to see this additional slow zone implemented on Forest Avenue, a busy corridor in my district. These zones represent another step in making New York City a safer place to walk, bike and drive.”
“I applaud Mayor de Blasio and Commissioner Trottenberg for pursuing Vision Zero in my district and throughout the City. For years, Southern Boulevard has been a crash-prone corridor; lowering the speed limit will ensure safer streets for drivers and pedestrians alike,” said Bronx Council Member Ritchie Torres.
“The City’s ‘Vision Zero’ plan is charging full speed ahead on Jamaica Avenue,” said Council Member Rory Lancman. “By mandating that drivers make more cautious decisions on the road, we will be able to dramatically decrease pedestrian fatalities and keep our streets safe.”
“Bringing an arterial slow zone to Northern Boulevard is a huge victory for our entire community,” said Council Member Julissa Ferreras. “After partnering with local parents and street safety advocacy groups, like Make Queens Safer, I am happy that Mayor de Blasio’s Vision Zero plan is bringing new safety initiatives to this heavily used corridor. I applaud Mayor de Blasio, the Department of Transportation and our countless advocates for their tireless efforts to protect motorists and pedestrians alike.”
“The designation of nearly four miles along Eastern Parkway as an Arterial Slow Zone is a win for the community of Crown Heights and the borough of Brooklyn,” said Council Member Laurie A. Cumbo. “We have witnessed far too many injuries and fatalities along this corridor, which must end through the implementation and expansion of Vision Zero. I thank Mayor Bill de Blasio and New York City Department of Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg for their leadership in improving the safety of our streets.”
“I commend Mayor Bill de Blasio for the progress our city has made through Vision Zero,” said Council Member Daniel Dromm. “Too many lives have been lost on Northern Boulevard because of speeding traffic. Lowering the speed limit of 4.5 miles of Northern Boulevard to 25 miles per hour will make a huge difference in our Vision Zero goals of no pedestrian deaths.”
“We thank DOT Commissioner Trottenberg and Chief Chan for adding Northern Boulevard to the list of Arterial Slow Zones,” said Paul Steely White, Executive Director of Transportation Alternatives. “For too long, this multi-lane speedway has divided communities and terrified pedestrians. It’s been the site of too many deaths and injuries. In addition to a lower speed limit and more consistent enforcement, Northern Boulevard also needs a safety redesign with features like pedestrian safety islands and dedicated lanes for bicycles and buses. We look forward to working with DOT and Queens communities to make that happen.”
At the intersection of Northern and 61st Street, DOT is nearing completion of a major pedestrian safety project that includes the installation of two pedestrian safety islands to create safer crossings, modifying the signal timing to maximize crossing time for pedestrians and reduce conflicts with turning vehicles, and installing high-visibility crosswalks to increase visibility and better serve the many students heading to nearby schools.
The agency announced this major project, one of many safety enhancements underway at locations around the city, shortly after Mayor Bill de Blasio visited the site earlier this year to introduce the Vision Zero safety initiative.
These efforts in Queens come as the extensive public outreach program for Vision Zero continues. At each of the well-attended town hall meetings and interactive workshops 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 seven additional Vision Zero public workshops to be held across the city. The two Queens workshops will be held on Wednesday, May 21, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., at Bohemian Hall, 29-19 24th Avenue, and on Thursday, May 29, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., at Jamaica Performing Arts Center, 153-10 Jamaica Avenue. All New Yorkers are invited to provide insight on conditions in neighborhoods and to aide in the prioritization of street safety initiatives, as DOT and the NYPD work to develop comprehensive pedestrian safety plans for each borough.
For more information on Arterial Slow Zones, DOT’s intersection safety project at Northern Boulevard and 61st Street and the agency’s safety awareness efforts including the “Reckless Driving Kills” campaign, please visit nyc.gov/dot and nyc.gov/visionzero.