The city is slamming the brakes on two more busy Bronx thoroughfares.
The speed limit on three miles of E. Gun Hill Road – from Jerome Avenue east to the Interstate 95 highway – will drop from 30 mph to 25 mph by the end of the month. Four miles of Southern Boulevard, between E. Fordham Road and Bruckner Blvd. will get a similar slowdown by July.
Both corridors will soon be outfitted with new blue and white 25 mph speed limit signs to go along with a new traffic signal timing system that city Department of Transportation brass say will help motorists cruise at the new speed limit.
Pursuing ‘Vision Zero’
The most recent crop of slowdowns comes weeks after the DOT announced its first Bronx so-called “arterial slow zone,” on over five miles of the Grand Concourse from Mosholu Parkway to E. 140th Street.
DOT has targeted wide, heavily used “arterial” streets as part of the citywide embrace of “Vision Zero,” an originally Swedish idea of reducing traffic deaths entirely.
According to city statistics, arterials account for 60 percent of traffic deaths, though they only take in 15 percent of NYC’s total mileage.
The stretch of E. Gun Hill Road that will soon get the slowdown saw four traffic deaths since 2008, while three people were killed in traffic on the Southern Boulevard corridor that will get the slowdown, said the DOT, which announced the new slow zones on May 1.
So far in 2014, 67 people have died in traffic-related incidents across the city, including six in the Bronx, according the public radio station WYNC, which has been tracking the deaths on its website.
The next question is whether locals will follow the new guidelines?
“It’s fine to put up signage and alert people, but I want to know who is going to enforce it?” asked Vinnie Prezioso, co-chair of the transportation committee at Community Board 11, which borders E. Gun Hill Road. “Maybe if enough tickets are given out, people will slow down.”
Local electeds were optimistic the slowdowns would work, and praised the city for choosing corridors within their districts.
“I’m grateful that the 12th District will be utilizing this traffic safety initiative to reduce the speed limit on East Gun Hill Road, one of our busiest traffic corridors,” said Councilmember Andy King.
“For years, Southern Boulevard has been a crash-prone corridor, added Councilmember Ritchie Torres. “Lowering the speed limit will ensure safer streets for drivers and pedestrians alike.”