May 5, 2014 By Michael Florio
The city is lowering the speed limit on large sections of Northern and Queens Boulevards — as part of its Vision Zero program to reduce pedestrian fatalities.
The city aims to implement a “slow zone” on Northern Blvd – from 40th Road to 114th Street—by the end of May, which will lower the speed limit on the 4.2 mile stretch from 30 M.P.H. to 25 M.P.H.
This section of Northern Blvd has seen five pedestrian fatalities since 2008, according to city statistics.
Meanwhile, in July, 7.4 miles of Queens Blvd will be deemed a slow zone, where the speed limit from Jackson Ave to Hillside Ave will be lowered from 30 MPH to 25 MPH. There have been 23 fatalities on this section of Queens Blvd since 2008, according to officials.
In addition to introducing the slow zones, the city plans to change the timing of signals to on both roadways to discourage speeding. It will also call for greater police enforcement on selected streets.
“We have to do everything we can to reduce these unnecessary deaths,” said Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer. “This is an obligation of our government to end this and protect [pedestrians].”
Van Bramer went on to say that reducing the speed limit, even if is only by five miles per hour, can and will save lives of residents.
Meanwhile, State Senator Michael Gianaris noted that Albany is starting to play its part in trying to combat traffic deaths.
“Just yesterday in Albany we approved the addition of 120 new speed cameras in school zones around New York City,” he said.
The location of where these speed cameras will be placed will be the city’s decision. However, Gianaris said, the legislation requires them to be within a quarter mile of a school. Gianaris also said that he is still pushing for his legislation that would impose tougher penalties for those who drive on suspended licenses.
Northern and Queens Boulevards are two of 13 arterial roads that the city has selected to be part of the speed zone program this year.
“I am pleased to bring the Arterial Slow Zone program… where long crosswalks and high speeds have been an unnecessary reality for too many Queens residents,” DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg said in a statement.