Lentol wants city to install 20 mph zones in his district

Says speeding drivers present danger to public

January 29, 2014 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
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Pedestrians crossing streets in Northern Brooklyn will be a lot safer if the city reduces the speed limit for vehicles to 20 miles per hour on three main thoroughfares, according to Assemblyman Joseph Lentol, who has reached out to Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg to request the slowdown.

Lentol said the three streets he is targeting: McGuinness Boulevard, Kent Avenue and Park Avenue – are notorious for speeding and traffic fatalities.

Lentol wrote a letter to Trottenberg asking her to establish 20 mph zones in the three thoroughfares. His letter was written in the wake of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s recent announcement of the establishment of his “Vision Zero” program aimed at reducing traffic fatalities through various approaches ranging from speed cameras to the creation of 20 mph zones to increased police enforcement against residents who disobey the rules of the road.

“Mayor de Blasio’s proposal to reduce traffic fatalities is certainly a step in the right direction. I hope he and Commissioner Trottenberg take note of these very dangerous roadways within my district. I urge them to consider these three roadways when determining where to introduce these new speed zones,” Lentol said.

McGuinness Boulevard is a thoroughfare that connects Queens to drivers looking to access the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway. The boulevard is known for speeding, according to Lentol, who said there have been numerous deaths over the years on the street. In the most recent tragedy, a woman was killed after being struck by two vehicles on McGuiness Boulevard on Dec. 29

The victim, 32-year-old Nicole Detweiler, was struck by a BMW and an Isuzu box truck at McGuinness Boulevard and Nassau Avenue and died a short time later.

Kent Avenue serves as a main artery between South and North Williamsburg. The avenue provides access to the waterfront and is heavily utilized by drivers because of the limited number of traffic control devices, Lentol said.

Lentol said he is especially concerned about Kent Avenue because there are two parks along the roadway that are used by thousands of individuals every week, including large numbers of children.

Park Avenue has served for many years as an alternative for motorists seeking to bypass heavy traffic on the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, which runs right above the avenue. Speeding is an ongoing problem along Park Avenue, Lento said.

In 2012, StreetsBlog.com reported that the Myrtle Avenue Revitalization Project released an in-depth analysis and report examining the various solutions to slowing drivers down. The proposals included neckdowns and crosswalk markings on cross streets along the avenue, as well as raised crosswalks and more stop signs.

Mayor de Blasio announced his Vision Zero plan earlier this month. The goal of the plan is to reduce the number of traffic fatalities on city streets to zero by the year 2024.

The mayor announced that he was organizing a working group of city agencies to work together to develop a roadmap to eliminate fatal crashes. He charged the New York Police Department, Department of Transportation, Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and the Taxi & Limousine Commission with developing the plan.

The working group is due to report back to the mayor with its recommendations on Feb. 15. The mayor has stated that he wants the ideas to include improving at least 50 dangerous corridors and intersections annually to discourage dangerous driving and the expansion of the number of 20 mph zones across the city.

“This will be a top-to-bottom effort to take on dangerous streets and dangerous driving. We aren’t going to wait and lose a son, a daughter, a parent or a grandparent in another senseless and painful tragedy. Our top responsibility is protecting the health and safety of our people,” de Blasio said when he announced the start of his Vision Zero plan.

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