The year 2013, it seemed, was a year of increased pedestrian fatalities due to speeding motorists-- at the very least it was a year that awareness of the problem was heightened:
The deaths of 9-year-old Lucian Merryweather in Fort Greene and 12-year-old Sammy Cohen Eckstein in Park Slope in 2013 caused outrage and protests from parents and community boards calling for measures that will make the city's streets safer for pedestrians.
Also in 2013, while campaigning for mayor, Bill de Blasio, announced "Vision Zero," a plan to reduce the city's traffic fatalities to zero within 10 years, which would include revamping at least 50 dangerous corridors and intersections a year, with a focus on poorer neighborhoods, areas near schools, and neighborhoods with higher senior populations.
"This means narrowing excessively wide streets that encourage reckless passing and speeding, widening sidewalks and medians to make streets easier and safer to cross, and adding dedicated bicycle infrastructure to create a safe space for New Yorkers on bikes."
On Friday Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams convened a meeting at Borough Hall to discuss Vision Zero, a plan that would prioritize safety in New York City's transit system, reducing the speed limit to 20 miles per hour.
Participants included representatives from the Department of Transportation, the New York City Police Department, New York City Council Transportation Chair Ydanis Rodriguez, Transportation Alternatives, Park Slope Neighbors and Neighbors Allied for Good Growth (NAGG).
"Pedestrian safety is at the top end of our food chain here at Borough Hall," said Borough President Adams, who supports dropping the speed limit in some residential areas to 20 mph."Working together, we can prevent traffic fatalities, improve pedestrian safety and protect our most vulnerable populations, particularly young children and seniors."
Dropping the speed limit in some residential areas of Brooklyn may appeal to some. But at least one motorist in Brooklyn questions it:
"The problem is that some drivers are not following the 30 miles an hour-- not that it needs to be slower," said Terrence Oliveira of Clinton Hill. "As a driver myself, I'd like to see more data on the issue. I think 30 miles per hour is sufficient; we just need more traffic cops enforcing it. Drivers who don't follow 30 will not follow 20 either."
Community Board 3, which meets on Monday, February 10, will also discuss the issue of pedestrian safety and vote on whether to turn Bed-Stuy into a "slow zone," decreasing the neighborhood's speed limit to 20 mph. The CB3 meeting is at Restoration Plaza, 1368 Fulton Street at 7:00pm. The community is encouraged to attend.