BY TRISHA SAKHUJA
Over the weekend, a local advocacy group traveled to various neighborhoods across the City, including Astoria, Jackson Heights and Jamaica, with large clusters of pedestrians, to hang up signs that read “20 Is Plenty.”
As part of his Vision Zero initiative to eliminate traffic fatalities across the City, Mayor Bill de Blasio has called for a rapid expansion of Neighborhood Slow Zones, a process in which neighborhoods will apply to see speed humps, narrower roads, daylighting and 20 mph speed limits.
According to representatives from the group Right of Way, while many neighborhoods have applied for Neighborhood Slow Zones, many of them have yet to see any traffic calming infrastructure from the City, so they took matters into their own hands to install their own warning signs to slow speeding drivers that put the lives of pedestrians in risk.
Keegan Stephan, an organizer for Right of Way, said a lot of people were energized by the series of events that took place in 10 local neighborhoods across the City.
“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,” Keegan said. “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,” he said.
Michael Mintz of Right of Way said their grassroots effort also demonstrates support for the DOT’s push to lower the speed limit across all five boroughs.
Nicholas Mosquera, a Dept. of Transportation’s spokesperson, said safety is the DOT’s number one concern.
“As noted throughout the Vision Zero report, DOT is committed to installing additional Slow Zones and working with stakeholders across the City and in Albany to lower New York City’s speed limit and make our streets safer for everyone using them,” he said in a statement.
Reach Trisha Sakhuja at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 128, firstname.lastname@example.org, or @Tsakhuja13.