An anonymous Park Slope woman may have had enough of the flowers and teddy bears marking the spot on Prospect Park West where 12-year-old Sammy Cohen Eckstein was killed by a driver last October, but the DOT erected the most gratifying memorial of all on Friday: Signs officially declaring the speed limit lowered from 30 mph to 25.
DOT spokesperson Nick Mosquera said yesterday that the agency has "greatly expanded our fight against speeding across the city using the introduction of speed cameras near schools, which the Mayor announced are now issuing violations instead of warnings, expanding neighborhood slow zones and through education campaigns. On Prospect Park West, the speed limit is being lowered as a safety measure following an evaluation of the corridor. Installation of the new signage began today."
Cohen Eckstein's mother, Amy Cohen, said she hopes that the increased attention to traffic deaths will prevent other families from having to endure the loss of a loved one:
I can't imagine what motivated the individual who tried to take down the community memorial for Sammy. What I do know is that there is a groundswell of support for immediate action.
Sammy's memorial is for him, but it is also a testament to the many families in my neighborhood who are coming together to right this wrong and fight for drivers to be careful and slow down. And it has made an impact. Today, the Department of Transportation reduced the speed limit on Prospect Park West to 25 miles per hour and retimed the lights to slow the speed of drivers.
We hope this reduction of speed on our street is the start of an effort to reduce the speed limit on many streets in NYC. Slower speed limits are proven to save lives. They allow drivers more time to react to avoid crashes and when crashes do occur, injuries are substantially reduced. At 20 miles per hour, a pedestrian has a 95% chance of surviving; at 40 miles per hour the survival rate is less than 30%. Although it is too late to have prevented Sammy’s death, we hope this change is part of a larger initiative that saves lives
Mayor Bill de Blasio announced earlier this week that a multi-agency working group will release a report in February detailing safety measures to prevent traffic fatalities, including the use of reduced speed limits.