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Is 20 Plenty for Park Slope?

January 18, 2012

This Saturday, January 21st, the Park Slope Civic Council is hosting a community meeting on “Neighborhood Slow Zones and Safer Local Streets.”

The city’s Department of Transportation is looking at locations in all five boroughs to install neighborhood slow zones, a program that reduces speed limits to 20 mph within a select area and adds safety measures in order to change driver behavior.

You can have a voice in where, how, and if these zones should be installed in and around Park Slope. Join us for this important and informative discussion.

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. Signs and gateways announce the presence of a slow zone. The zone itself is a self-enforcing, reduced-speed area with traffic-calming treatments that may include speed bumps, curb extensions, and special markings.

The ultimate goal of the program is to lower the incidence and severity of crashes. Research has shown conclusively that lower vehicle speeds save lives. A pedestrian struck by a car at 20 mph has a 95% chance of surviving; the odds of surviving drop to 55% for someone hit at 30 mph. Slow Zones also enhance quality of life by reducing cut-through traffic and automobile noise in residential neighborhoods.

Slow Zones have been used to great effect in the UK as part of the “20’s Plenty for Us” campaign.  Closer to home, Hoboken, NJ instituted a 20 mph public awareness campaign which has reduced serious injuries to pedestrians, cyclists, and drivers alike.

Find out more this Saturday, January 21st at 11:45 a.m at Congregation Beth Elohim. (274 Garfield Place at Eighth Avenue.)  The meeting is co-sponsored by Councilmember Letitia James, Councilmember Brad Lander, Councilmember Stephen Levin, P.S. 10, Parents Association of Millennium Brooklyn High School, Park Slope Neighbors, Park Slope Parents, and Prospect Heights Neighborhood Development Council.

In my view, Slow Zones are a no-brainer: they reduce fatalities and injuries, help businesses, and make neighborhoods places to be in rather than merely places to get through.  I’m looking forward to seeing what comes out of this important community meeting.

One Comment
  1. January 19, 2012 9:53 am

    For many neighborhoods, 20 is a perfect speed. You make a good point that slowing down makes a neighborhood a place to hang out rather than speed through. There’s a definite difference.

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