Mobilizing the Region
Issue 258 February 25, 2000

Bronx Leaders Turn Out for Safe Streets

Political enthusiasm for traffic calming in the Bronx is alive and well, but doubt remains about the city's will to see it through. In early February, Assemblyman Peter Rivera agreed to work to earmark $125,000 of NY State multi-modal funds for design and construction of traffic calming plans at several schools in his district. All eight Bronx City Councilmembers have also written to Mayor Giuliani, calling for implementation of pedestrian safety designs developed for 24 sites by the Bronx "Safe Routes to School" program. This innovative effort to slow down traffic in school zones by installing speed humps, raising crosswalks, and narrowing some streets is a project of Transportation Alternatives, the Bronx Borough President and the Governor's Traffic Safety Committee. 

However, despite its avowed commitment to the project, the NYC Dept. of Transportation has only installed calming devices around one school of the twenty-four, and has no timeline or even loose plans for starting in on the remainder. In fact, doubt remains as to whether there is any NYC DOT commitment to traffic calming at all, in light of disparaging comments made about speed humps by Transportation Commissioner Wilbur Chapman at a City Council meeting last November (MTR #245). Over 1,000 neighborhood requests for speed humps remain unfilled.

- Crash City -

Sounds of crushing metal and breaking glass are NYC streets' cries for traffic calming, according to last week's NY Post ranking of the city's top 24 intersection crash-sites. One Bronx intersection - E. 177th St and Harding Ave. - ranked tenth overall, with 112 crashes last year. Other bad spots are the corner of Second Ave. and E. 59th St. in Manhattan and Grand Army Plaza in Brooklyn, in first and second place respectively.

Transportation safety experts noted that the Post's numbers do not actually reveal the most dangerous intersections in the city, because they tally crashes only and not results like death and injuries, or who is getting hurt. Bicyclists and pedestrians are well over half of total NYC traffic fatalities and injuries, but these weren't broken out by the Post. The vital statistics won't be available until the DOT releases its crash reports to the public, as advocates have urged them to do since 1999 NYPD fatality and injury figures were reported in the press last month.

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