Neighborhood Slow Zones

Neighborhood Slow Zones are a community-based program that reduces the speed limit from 30 mph to 20 mph and adds safety measures within a select area in order to change driver behavior. The ultimate goal of the Neighborhood Slow Zone program is to lower the incidence and severity of crashes. Slow Zones also seek to enhance quality of life by reducing cut-through traffic and traffic noise in residential neighborhoods.

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DOT creates Slow Zones in response to applications from communities. After each round of applications, DOT selects appropriate locations and works with the community to devise a plan to install the Slow Zone. Slow Zones must be approved by the local Community Board. DOT has worked with communities throughout the city to create Slow Zones. Read more about the proposed and installed slow zones

2013 Slow Zones

In October, 2013, DOT announced the 15 communities from across the city selected to receive Neighborhood Slow Zones over the next three years. These communities were selected from among 74 applicants. DOT selected each location based on crash history, community support, proximity of schools, and senior and daycare centers, among other criteria. Read the Mayor's announcement of the new Slow Zones

Download a map of each planned Slow Zone:

Slow Zone Treatments

Neighborhood Slow Zones are established in small, self-contained areas that consist primarily of local streets. Gateways announce the presence of a Slow Zone. A gateway is a set of signs and markings at an intersection to alert drivers to the reduced speed limit. An average of one or two parking spaces are typically removed to construct each gateway.

The zone itself is a self-enforcing, reduced-speed area with speed bumps, markings and other traffic calming treatments. Slow Zones are implemented in areas with low traffic volumes and minimal through traffic, where reducing the speed limit will not cause traffic congestion.

Safety

In London, the introduction of 20 mph zones was associated with a 42% reduction in injuries, as compared to untreated areas. In the UK, average speeds in 20 mph zones were reduced by 9 mph.

Applying

DOT has worked with communities throughout the city to create Slow Zones. Applications may be submitted by local Community Boards, civic associations, business improvement districts (BIDs), elected officials, or other community institutions such as schools or churches. DOT is not accepting new Slow Zone applications at this time.

Applicants should:

  • pick a location with an area of roughly a quarter square mile (around 5 by 5 blocks)
  • pick a location that is primarily residential. Avoid wide, major streets, industrial sites and major commercial areas within the zone
  • pick an area with strong boundaries, e.g. major streets, highways, large parks or elevated train tracks

Applications must demonstrate local support for the Slow Zone. Applications that include letters of support from key community stakeholders will be prioritized. Examples of key stakeholders include the local Community Board, police precinct, civic councils, community groups, BIDs and local elected officials.

All applications will be reviewed to ensure they are complete, and applicants will be sent confirmation of receipt of their applications as soon as they have been processed. Applicants may be asked to provide additional information or make changes to the application after the original application has been submitted. Applicants may amend their proposals within a reasonable time period, set by DOT.

Map of the Slow Zone in Boerum Hill and Gowanus, Brooklyn. The major streets, in yellow, form a strong boundary around the interior streets, in blue.
boundary street
Example of a boundary street
interior street
Example of an interior street

Application Review and Evaluation

All applications will be reviewed to ensure they are complete, and applicants will be sent confirmation of receipt of their applications as soon as they have been processed. Applicants may be asked to provide additional information or make changes to the application after the original application has been submitted. Applicants may amend their proposals within a reasonable time period, set by DOT.

DOT objectively reviews and evaluates each application. DOT prioritizes applications based on a wide range of factors, including:

  • an analysis of traffic crashes inside the proposed zone, using official crash data records
  • strength of the proposed zone's boundaries
  • letters of support
  • presence of schools, senior centers, daycare centers, and small parks
  • proximity to subway stations
  • the feasibility for DOT to implement the zone

Zones that contain fire stations, hospitals or truck routes (except on the boundary) will not be considered.

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