New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) Commissioner Polly Trottenberg and the New York City Police Department (NYPD) Chief of Transportation Thomas Chan today announced the next milestone in the city’s Vision Zero initiative: the launch of the innovative Arterial Slow Zone program to reduce dangerous speeding along nearly eight miles of Atlantic Avenue, a corridor that has seen 25 fatalities, including 13 pedestrians, between 2008 and 2012.
Through a combination of improved signal timing to discourage speeding, distinctive signage and increased enforcement by the NYPD, the program marks the latest step taken by DOT and its partners to prevent traffic fatalities and improve safety on New York City streets. Following this launch, the program will expand to 25 corridors across the boroughs throughout the year. The Commissioner was joined at the announcement by Borough President Eric Adams, Council Transportation Committee Chair Ydanis Rodriguez and Councilmember Laurie Cumbo, Transportation Chief Thomas Chan from the NYPD, Transportation Alternatives and Amy Cohen from Families For Safe Streets.
“With long crosswalks and wide-open lanes, major corridors like Atlantic have too often served as barriers in our communities, especially for our students and seniors,” said Commissioner Trottenberg. “By targeting corridors with the greatest numbers of injuries, building on our agency’s engineering expertise and partnering with communities across the city, this program marks the next step towards Vision Zero and streets that are safer for all New Yorkers.”
“Vision Zero is a commitment made for safer streets and roadways by our Mayor Bill de Blasio. The epidemic of traffic fatalities and injuries are unacceptable,” said NYPD Chief of Transportation Thomas Chan. “Our city agencies are working hard to achieve these ends. Speeding motorists must slow down, drivers must yield to pedestrians who have the right of way. Pedestrians must use caution and don’t assume that drives always see you.
The Arterial Slow Zone program – one of 63 proposals included in the Vision Zero report released in February – will lower posted speed limits from 30 to 25 m.p.h. on streets that have seen some of highest numbers of fatalities and serious injuries. Citywide, arterials make up only 15 percent of total mileage but have accounted for some 60 percent of pedestrian fatalities.
On these arterials, DOT will make comprehensive improvements to signal timing along the corridor, maintaining crucial vehicular capacity and providing more efficient, predictable traffic flows along these heavily used corridors. The locations will also benefit from increased enforcement by the NYPD, as well as temporary speed boards the DOT will place in key locations. The program will feature comprehensive signal timing enhancements paired with distinctive blue-and-white speed limit signage with the name of the corridor, complementing the agency’s existing Neighborhood Slow Zone program as well as the administration’s efforts to reduce the citywide speed limit in partnership with the state legislature.
“I thank Commissioner Trottenberg and the Department of Transportation for recognizing the dangers of Atlantic Avenue and acting swiftly to make it safer for cyclists, drivers and pedestrians alike,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams. “The spirit of Vision Zero is that nothing can be prioritized ahead of our safety, a precept I have fought for my entire career. It is significant that de Blasio administration’s first arterial slow zone implementation will be here in Brooklyn, which has faced the challenge of having the deadliest streets in the city. Today, Brooklyn begins to turn the corner toward safety.”
“As someone who has fought for traffic safety improvements for years, it is encouraging to see Mayor de Blasio’s Vision Zero plans being implemented all over our city,” said Senator Michael Gianaris. “DOT has already taken steps to improve conditions at dangerous locations in the area I represent, and this arterial slow zone is another important step forward in the fight to make our streets safer. Though we still have plenty of work to do, I am glad we are making progress towards making Vision Zero a reality.”
“The DOT is demonstrating their ability to react to community concerns with this great initiative. Arterial roads are where we see the most crashes in our city so these measures will save lives,” said Council Member and Transportation Committee Chair Ydanis Rodriguez. “I am happy to see our forums across the city translate into policies that will benefit all. We are making our city safer day by day and this process will continue until we achieve vision zero.”
“I want to commend DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg and NYPD Chief of Transportation Thomas Chan for their leadership in the implementation of the first arterial slow zone in my district,” said Council Member Laurie A. Cumbo. “Through community input on Vision Zero, Atlantic Avenue was identified as an arterial for safety improvements to prevent future vehicular incidents and pedestrian deaths. I look forward to working with the de Blasio Administration and community residents to improve pedestrian safety throughout my district.”
“Crossing Atlantic Avenue is a harrowing experience – and one that tens of thousands of Brooklynites must face daily in their trips to work, school, home, shop, eat and park. Reducing speeding on Atlantic will save lives,” said Council Member Brad Lander. “Thanks to Mayor de Blasio, Commissioner Trottenberg and DOT for taking this step toward Vision Zero.”
“The launch of the Arterial Slow Zone program is a major step forward in accomplishing Vision Zero and Atlantic Avenue is the perfect spot for the first location,” said Council Member Stephen Levin. “We have witnessed speeding vehicles on Atlantic Avenue for years and too often the result has ended in tragedy. Reducing speed limits will protect New Yorkers and help to ensure that our streets are safe for all. I want to thank Mayor de Blasio, DOT Commissioner Trottenberg, NYPD Commissioner Bratton, and Chief of Transportation Chan for launching this program, as well as all of the advocates who have fought for safety improvements on Atlantic Avenue for years.”
“This announcement of an Arterial Slow Zone for Atlantic Avenue is great news for everyone who uses this hazardous corridor, which has long been plagued by speeding and reckless driving,” says Paul Steely White, Executive Director of Transportation Alternatives. “We commend Commissioner Trottenberg and Mayor de Blasio for taking action to save lives. We look forward to working with all stakeholders along this crucial roadway to ensure that the safety improvements on Atlantic, and Vision Zero city-wide, are implemented as soon as possible.”
“It is imperative that streets like Atlantic Avenue be redesigned to put a stop to speeding and make it possible for vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists to share the road safely,” said Amy Cohen, founding member of Families for Safe Streets, a group of New Yorkers who have lost loved ones in traffic crashes. “We are grateful that the DOT is moving forward with the Arterial Slow Zone initiative, and we encourage officials to act with urgency to implement Vision Zero so that no other families will suffer the loss that members of our group have had to face.”
The introduction of Arterial Slow Zones comes as the extensive public outreach program for Vision Zero continues. At each of the well-attended town hall meetings held to date, speeding along these corridors has been named a serious safety issue by New Yorkers across the boroughs, and this program is designed to address some of these concerns. Building on these community-driven efforts, the agency is also looking to gain additional input at nine upcoming Vision Zero public workshops to be held across the city. All New Yorkers are invited to provide insight on conditions in neighborhoods and to aide in the prioritization of street safety initiatives, as DOT and the NYPD work to develop comprehensive pedestrian safety plans for each borough.