The Department of Transportation is greatly expanding the number of reduced speed zones around the city, and Boerum Hill wants to get in on the slowdown. This year, the department will triple its 20 mph reduced speed zones around schools, and is also trying out a pilot 20 mph zone program that would slow traffic on an area-wide, rather than individual street, basis. The plan calls for at least 75 reduced speed zones, if a pilot zone in the Bronx is deemed a success. CBS 2 reports that in Boerum Hill, community leaders are already calling for the DOT to include them.
Locals say drivers frustrated by Atlantic Avenue traffic are cutting through side streets and driving like maniacs. The proposed go-slow zone would cover an area bounded by Court Street on the west, 4th Avenue on the east, Pacific Street on the north and Baltic Street on the south. The plan has the support of local Councilman Stephen Levin, and proponents point to London's "20 Is Plenty" plan, which has successfully reduced speeding and fatalities in certain parts of the city since 2001.
According to recent studies, for every additional mile per hour driven over the 30 mph speed limit, the likelihood of a crash becoming fatal increases exponentially. At a speed of 30 mph, 40% of pedestrians who are struck will be killed. At 20 miles an hour, that fatality percentage lowers to 10%. "It’s a good idea," resident Beth Marchese tells Brooklyn Paper. "I have a baby, and it’s like no one ever stops. There are so many kids here, it’s Baby Central."
You can read the DOT's full report here [pdf]; the thorough study, released last year, also notes that 80% of pedestrians killed or seriously injured in car crashes were hit by male drivers. Maybe the DOT should also consider a pilot program with Female-Only Driver Zones? (We'd love to hear Steve Cuozzo's thoughts on that.)