Local News

Local community board puts brakes on plan for Bed-Stuy ‘slow zone’

BEDFORD-STUYVESANT (PIX11) - Some people are trying to make 20 the new 30 — when it comes to miles per hour, that is.
But this week Community Board 3, which represents Bed-Stuy, blocked it.

The board voted against a proposed “slow zone” that would have reduced the speed limit from 30 miles per hour to 20 on certain streets.
The board, which voted 27 to 4 against writing a letter of support for the proposal, said the Department of Transportation’s presentation was too confusing and lacked specifics on how the slow zone would improve safety.

But Wednesday, drivers and pedestrians on Lafayette Avenue, which would be included in the proposed slow zone, agreed that sometimes cars just go too fast through the neighborhood.

“I’m a driver and sometimes people around here, they drive too fast.” said Stephanie Cox-Alston of Bed-Stuy.

The DOT says the proposed slow zone, which spans from Washington Avenue to Bedford Avenue and Layfayette to Fulton, averages more than 60 accidents per year.
But Bed-Stuy resident Kellan Waverly said she couldn’t remember the last time she witnessed a car crash.

“I haven’t seen an accident in this area in a very long time,” said Waverly.

Opponents of the plan are concerned that lowering the speed limit could cause neighborhood traffic jams on streets that are already very busy.

“We already have the bicycle lane, so there’s only one lane on Lafayette,” said Swaphia Dorns. “This is a very important bus route, so that’s a problem also. So I think it would cause a lot of congestion if we did lower the speed limit.”

But those who support the slow zone say it just makes sense with several schools scattered throughout the proposed area.  They say children’s safety needs to be the top priority, even if it means a slower commute.

“Yes it may slow the buses down,” said Cox-Alston, “but they need to slow down.”

According to the DOT reducing a car’s speed from 30 mph to 20 mph increases the survival rate for pedestrians from 80% to 95%.
But some say they don’t think keeping the speed limit at 30 mph is putting people at risk.

“If I did, I’d say yes good, get the slow mileage going,” said Waverly. “But, no, I don’t think so.”

So for now, Community Board 3 says the slow zone in Bed-Stuy is dead.

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