Updated 07/10/2012 07:17 PM
"Slow Zones" Come To 13 Additional City Neighborhoods
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City transit officials are expanding the "slow zone" program to 13 more neighborhoods in an effort to improve traffic safety in primarily residential areas.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the Department of Transportation announced plans in Corona, Queens for the new "slow zones," which will reduce speed limits from 30 mph to 20 mph.
Signs, road markings and speed bumps will be installed in 13 areas by year's end to get drivers to slow down.
Authorities say a person has a 98-percent chance of surviving a collision with a car going only 20 mph.
"Compared with the 10 largest other U.S. cities, New York ranks the safest with a fatally rate less than half their average," said Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
"Slow zones sends a strong message to drivers; that our neighborhoods are not shortcuts, and speeding on our streets is really a matter of life and death," said Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan.
Corona residents said the slow zone is a welcome improvement to the neighborhood.
"I put up the sign and people just fly right through without even paying attention to it or anything like that," said Moses Santiago, a local ice cream truck man.
"They cross the street and they don't stop. they want to pass and they don't stop," said a local mother.
"New Yorkers, look at your speedometer when you drive look at your speedometer. And before you complain about other people going too quickly, look in the mirror," said Bronx Councilman James Vacca.
The slow zones program comes as the city boasts the lowest number of fatalities since at least 1910.
"Keeping streets safe for motorists, cyclists and pedestrians is one of the most important public safety challenges any government faces," the mayor said.
Bloomberg said there is more to do when it comes to safer roads. But some laws are out of his control, and in the hands of state lawmakers in Albany. The mayor wants not only more red light cameras to catch those who go through them, but also speed cameras, which would enable automatic tickets to be sent to some speedsters.
The bills are so far blocked in the state capitol, prompting Bloomberg to lament the city's lack of independence.
"The city should be in charge of its own destiny. That's why we had the revolution in 1776," said Bloomberg.
AAA New York's Robert Sinclair Jr. said his group still has questions.
"To unfairly impact upon one group of road travelers, we don't think is right. The motorist is being castigated as a bad guy every time we look up. But everybody is out there, pedestrians and bicyclists, they're doing bad things too."
Officials say other neighborhoods can get slow zones if local representatives make a convincing case to the Department of Transportation.
The DOT has set up 14 slow zones since November, including some that need community board approval. In that time, more than 100 neighborhoods have applied for the program.