EXCLUSIVE: Gentile clocks in Fourth Avenue speeders

May 21, 2013 Denise Romano
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It’s a sure shot.

On Tuesday, May 21, Councilmember Vincent Gentile and a member of Transportation Alternatives decided to see for themselves how bad the speeding problem is on Fourth Avenue by clocking in drivers with a speed gun.

Gentile, accompanied by two staffers, Shawn Macias of Transportation Alternatives and this paper, measured speed between 85th and 86th Streets and between 82nd and 83rd Streets, just a half block away from where a woman was fatally hit last month.

While most of the drivers did obey the speed limit of 30 miles per hour, mostly clocking in between 27 and 29 mph, Gentile did catch one car going 53 mph and a few dozen blazing by at over 40 mph.

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According to the Department of Transportation, speeding is “hottest” at 81stStreet and 82nd Street, with 63 percent of southbound cars going over the limit.

Macias noted that since this study was done in the middle of the day, the lights along Fourth Avenue were more staggered than they are during rush hours, thus decreasing the number of speeders. However, he did count up to 14 green lights in a row at once.

“If you’re driving and see only green lights, you’re going to step on it,” Macias said.

Gentile suggested staggering the lights at all hours to reduce speeding, but Macias had a better suggestion – syncing the lights to the appropriate speed limit, which is already done further north on Fourth Avenue and on Third Avenue under the Gowanus Expressway.

That way, “If you are going the appropriate speed limit, you make all the lights,” Macias explained.

Gentile noted that speed cameras — which were not included in the state budget — would not only deter speeding, but create a lot of revenue for the city. Speed cameras ticket drivers who go 10 miles over the speed limit.

“In the half hour we were out here, the city would have made hundreds of dollars,” Gentile said, noting that the dozens of speeding drivers that he clocked in would be ticketed.

Gentile encouraged residents to attend the Fourth Avenue Redesign public forum on Wednesday, June 5 at 7:15 p.m. at St. Anselm’s auditorium to voice their opinion of the DOT’s proposed plans to improve the corridor.

To view DOT’s proposed Fourth Avenue plans, visit http://a841-tfpweb.nyc.gov/4thave/files/2013/05/4th-Ave_Bay-Ridge_CB10-Trans-presentation-May-13-2013.pdf.

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