BHA Joins Push for City-Wide 20mph Speed Limit

The Brooklyn Heights Association, having advocated successfully for the designation of the Heights as a “slow zone” with a 20 mph speed limit and speed bumps on streets, has now joined with Families for Safe Streets, Transportation Alternatives, and other civic and advocacy groups, to urge a city-wide default speed limit of 20 mph (higher limits could be posted for “larger Streets and arterial roads”). Given Albany’s strangle-hold on the City, this can’t be done by local government, but requires action by the State Legislature. Accordingly, the BHA is asking concerned residents to join in a “lobby day” in Albany to urge the Legislature to take action. Round trip bus tickets for the event, costing $10, can be reserved here.

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  • MonroeOrange

    unfortunately that scenario you witnessed, is the exact reason this change would have no affect. You describe a person, who not only passed someone at great speed on a one way street, but also drove on the sidewalk and then ran a red light. Nothing will change that type of behavior from that person unfortunately. Just image, if everyone was going 20mph in front of that driver, he/she will be driving on the sidewalk on every street he is on!

  • Banet

    I respectfully disagree. If we can create a big picture change in mindset around speeding and reckless driving there will be a lot less of it.

    It’s no different than drunk driving. 30 or 40 years ago MADD was formed and drunk driving was targeted. Now there’s far less of it and a corresponding drop in drunk driving deaths.

    And you know what, a LOT more people are killed in NYC every year by sober drivers than drunk drivers so in my mind it’s time for a campaign against speeding and red light running like the campaign against drink driving.

  • Joe A

    There aren’t “hundreds” of New York pedestrians killed each year. The numbers for the last three years are: 142, 152, 156

  • petercow

    People in cars are killed by speeding, too.

  • petercow

    That is a textbook case of a moron’s idea of “logic”.

  • petercow

    First – you presume that everyone is driving at the speed limit – and they’re not.. Most drivers are in fact speeding in NYC.

    You also presume traffic moves more efficiently at the faster speeds.

    And this statement, “The speed limits are reasonable because they are based on the safety vs efficiency of traffic, that has been carefully studied for decades.” is PURE bullshit.

  • Eddyde

    I’ll take that as you have no rebuttal of substance.

  • Eddyde

    Where did I say anything remotely like “everyone is driving at the speed limit” it is you who is being presumptuous.

    Again I presume nothing, Please show me the data that proves slower moving traffic is more efficient at getting from point A to point B

    Pleases explain why my statement is “PURE bullshit”?

  • petercow

    Uh yeah. Ok. Take it as that. I don’t rebut Sarah Palin, or when a pidgeon knocks over my chess pieces, ether.

  • Eddyde

    How many are killed by speeding?

  • Eddyde

    When one resorts to ad hominem remarks it usually signifies they are intellectually beaten.
    Don’t worry Peter, the internet quickly forgets.

  • Eddyde

    After researching the best available data here some facts:

    1. Pedestrians are at fault 80% of the time in vehicle pedestrian accidents.

    2. Vehicle speed is a factor in only 6% of vehicle pedestrian accidents.

    3. Alcohol is much more of a factor in pedestrians than drivers in vehicle pedestrian accidents.

    4. Lowering or raising speed limits has little effect on vehicle speed.

    5. in some cases, raising speed limits decreased accidents and lowering speed limits increased accidents. Although, lower speed in a collision with a pedestrian or vehicle will be less fatal.

  • Eddyde

    Please see list of facts above, with sources.

  • petercow

    If you know how NYPD has historically investigated collisions, you’d know the value of those statistics – less than zero.

    There is almost always, ZERO investigation.

  • petercow

    Enforcement would be a good thing – the chances of getting a speeding ticket in NYC are usually close to zero, but what the slow-zone does, through street design, is enforce a lower speed.

  • Eddyde

    So by your “thinking”, all studies in this matter are valueless. and there is no reliable data collected. Then by what___ can you claim a city wide speed limit reduction will effectively work?

  • Eddyde

    The problem with issuing speeding tickets is to get a clean read on the vehicle. That is, the target vehicle must be clocked by itself with no other vehicles next to of close to it, otherwise, is a defensible ticket. Obviously, this is a problem in NYC where the traffic density is usually high, an officer could spend hours just to issue 1 ticket that would hold up in court. Needless to say, that is very inefficient.
    Speed cameras will help towards that end as there is strength in numbers. Even if 1 in 100 speed camera tickets stick, it will be far more effective than cops with radar guns.

  • petercow

    You’re confusing something. The NYPD reports person hit by car, etc. That is not culpability.

    Until recently, the policy was there would even be an investigation unless the person was killed, or likely to die.

    And actually, NYC DOT found drivers to be at fault in pedestrian crashes, about 78% of the time.

    Lastly, if you’re struck by a car going 20 mph, your chances of survival are 95%.

    They drop to 55% at 30 mph, and 15% at 40.

    On top of that, the stopping distance is nearly double at 30mph, than 20mph.

  • Eddyde

    You link is a dead end.

    Anyway, i find it amusing you now tout stats and sources after dismissing the value of my stats and sources as “less than zero”. I guess the numbers only count if they reflect your dogmatic beliefs.

  • petercow

    “Speed has been identified as a key risk actor in road traffic injuries, influencing both the risk of a road crash, as well as the severity of the injuries that result from crashes.

    “The relationshp between speed and injury severty is particularly critical for vulnerable road usesrs such as pedestirans and cyclists.

    For example, pedestrians have been shown to have a 90% chance of survival when struck by a car travelling at 30 km/h or below, but less than 50% chance of surviving an impact at 45km/h.”

    An increase in speed of 1km/hr typically results in a 3% higher risk of crash involving injury, with a 4-5% increase for crashes that result in fatalities.

  • Eddyde

    Personally, I would rather not get hit by a car at any speed.

  • petercow
  • Andrew Porter

    A red light was installed on Hicks at Pierrepont several decades ago. Before that, the only traffic lights were at Montague, Clark, and Middagh.

    Many of the cars that go exceedingly fast have TLC license plates.

  • someone

    And what about the 10 cars in front of them at a red light??

  • someone

    I see almost every day people purposely running stop lights. They stop on the red light, look and then go through the intersection.
    At the BQE entrance on Old Fulton seems to be a police car parked 24×7, yet red lights are still being run and the cops arent moving at all. Does someone know what they are actually going there? Guarding the BB?

  • Rick


    I presume you have visited New York City? Because if you have, then you’d know that in many places here, (like Manhattan) there are traffic lights at every intersection (including narrow cross streets).

    So what would happen here is the same thing that happens all over NYC. The fire engine have sirens, which allow motorists to hear them and move out of the way.

    Not a perfect situation, as it would add seconds to emergency response time. But since I’m only talking about Brooklyn Heights, which is a small area, then adding even a few traffic lights would dramatically slow down non-emergency vehicles, and save lives. It might be a reasonable trade-off.

  • Rick

    Andrew, I had already posted a link to a NY Times article about that very stop light. If you scroll a couple of posts, you can read it if you’d like.

    And that light did help. But a few more would still be needed to slow cars and trucks down. Including TLC vehicles, which are certainly some of the fast drivers.

  • Pineapple Walk

    I was almost hit by a green taxi on Clark/Henry. I had the light and the taxi was making a left turn. The same morning, I saw a green taxi speeding in reverse the entire length of Monroe. With these new borough taxis – and let’s face it taxi drivers are notoriously aggressive drivers – we need whatever means of extra traffic controls on our streets.

  • petercow

    The Freakanomics Podcast, “How to Commit The Perfect Crime” –

    Something safe streets advocates in NYC have known for a long time – if you want to kill someone in NYC and get away with it, simply hit them with a car.

  • Pineapple Walk

    Informative and timely article!