As part of New York’s Slow Zones program the Department of Transportation will be lowering the speed limit in a number of residential roads in Astoria, Queens. The Queens Community Board recently approved the DOT’s plan to reduce the speed limit from 25 mph to 20 mph by late summer 2015.
Neighborhood Slow Zones are community-based programs that reduce the speed limit and add safety measures within selected areas in order to lower the rate and severity of accidents while also reducing traffic noise. According to traffic data, a pedestrian hit by a car going 40 mph has only a 30 percent chance of survival while a 20 mph limit increases the rate of survival to 95 percent.
The DOT began implementing the Slow Zones program in 2014 in response to applications from communities throughout the city. After each round of applications, the DOT selected appropriate locations and worked with the community to devise a plan to implement the Slow Zones. Each location is selected based on a combination of factors including crash history, community support, and proximity of children and senior facilities.
In Astoria, the selected slow zone areas will include a senior center, three schools, daycare facilities, and pre-K programs. Each zone which will be noted by markings on the street and signs posted around the entrance to the zone. In addition, the DOT will install 14 speed bumps throughout the area.
“Slowing traffic down saves lives,” said Steve Scofield, a volunteer with Transportation Alternatives\’ Queens Committee. “This would be a great help and great precedent in the neighborhood.”
Slow Zones have already been launched in several neighborhoods in Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Staten Island. According to the DOT, the slow zones have resulted in a 10 to 15 percent reduction in drivers\’ speeds and a 14 percent decrease in injury-causing accidents.
The ongoing Slow Zone initiative is one of many efforts made in coordination with Mayor Bill De Blasio’s Vision Zero plan. Vision Zero has seen stricter speeding enforcement, investment in more radar guns for the NYPD, and the addition of speed cameras throughout the city.
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