Motorists used to the citywide 30 MPH (seemingly optional to many) speed limit will soon see it cut to 20 MPH in several Bronx neighborhoods.
It’s part of the city expanding its “Neighborhood Slow Zone” program after a successful pilot program begun in November in Claremont.
A team of reporters from the Bronx Weekly put the pedal to the metal on Thursday, July 12 to see how fast traveling at the current speed limit (or in some cases a little slower or faster) they could make it through the residential and commercial corridors in the newly designated areas in Mount Eden, Allerton, Baychester and Riverdale.
It would take roughly two minutes to drive through the proposed Mt. Eden neighborhood slow zone – comprised of two schools, a senior center and very narrow streets.
Along Walton Avenue, between East Mt. Eden Ave. and East 170th Street, drivers would encounter one traffic light, a speed bump and a stop sign.
One woman holding a child sneered when she witnessed a reporter hit the pedal at 24 MPH.
A car could travel eastbound on Burke Avenue from Laconia to Wilson avenues in 46 seconds; northbound on Laconia Avenue from Allerton to Boston Road in about 45 seconds; and on Arnow Avenue from Laconia to Wilson avenues in 36 seconds in the Eastchester Zone.
The zone has wide streets and is mostly residential.
In a busier commercial stretch in the Baychester zone, a drive along Boston Road from Connner Street to Eastchester Road at 35 MPH took about five minutes, while one on Eastchester Road from Chester Street to Burke Avenue took seven to ten minutes because of traffic lights.
The four new Bronx zones and another 13 citywide, were announced Tuesday, July 10 by Mayor Bloomberg, city Department of Transportation commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan, and City Council Transportation chair Jimmy Vacca. “We’ve driven fatalities and injuries down to record lows through innovative traffic engineering, aggressive enforcement and an unwavering commitment to finding new ways to make our streets safer, as even one fatality is too many,” said Bloomberg, who called speeding “the number one traffic killer.”
Vacca said speeders often don’t realize how fast they are going, or even that the speed limit for all city streets is 30 MPH.
“I cannot go anywhere without people telling me they need a four-way stop-sign or speed hump. But I think if those people look at their speedometers or in the mirror, they’ll realize that they need to reduce their speed and become more aware of how quickly they go.”
The slow zones are created at the request of the local community board or community, after a survey and approval by the city DOT, Vacca said.
• Boundaries for the Eastchester zone are Allerton Avenue, Laconia Avenue, Burke Avenue, East Gun Hill Road, Sexton Place, Wilson Avenue, and Stedman Place.
• Boundaries of the Baychester zone are East 222nd Street, Eastchester Road, Boston Road, and Hammersley Avenue.
• The Speed Zone in Mount Eden is bounded by Cross Bronx Expressway, East 174th Street, Grand Concourse, East 170th Street, and Jerome Avenue.
• Riverdale’s is West 247th Street, Palisade Avenue, Henry Hudson Parkway, and West 232nd Street.
– With Kirsten Sanchez and David Cruz
Patrick Rocchio can be reach via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (718) 742-3393