By Bill Parry
Construction of the first of two Neighborhood Slow Zones is already underway in Sunnyside, Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside) announced Tuesday. Speed limits have been lowered to 20 mph and speed bumps have already been installed by the city Department of Transportation with more on the way.
“Here in the 26th District we are using every tool at our disposal to protect the lives of our seniors, children and families,” said Van Bramer, surrounded by students from PS 199. “We will improve the safety of pedestrians, cyclists and motorists who use our neighborhood streets every single day. Slow Zones have a proven track record when it comes to lowering the incidents of death and serious injuries on our City’s streets.”
Since 2007, their have been four fatalities in the zone and since 2008 there have been three severe pedestrian injuries and five very serious injuries involving vehicle occupants. The borders will be 36th Street to 51st Street between Queens Boulevard and the Long Island Expressway.
The new traffic calming features being installed in the 100-block zone will include 20 more speed bumps and 31 gateways with signs warning motorists. “All together, they will help create safer streets for New Yorkers of every age in this neighborhood,” Queens DOT Borough Commissioner Dalila Hall said.
She added that she hoped construction on the first zone would be completed before the winter weather interfered, and that work on the second zone would begin in the spring. That zone will be on the north side of Queens Boulevard in the historic Sunnyside Gardens district and when finished a total of 150 blocks would be included in the two zones.
“We have a lot of traffic that comes through our neighborhood very fast so this is what it’s about,” Community Board 2 Chairman Joe Conley said.. “It’s about saving lives and about improving the quality of life in our community.”
DOT studies found that a pedestrian hit by a vehicle travelling 40 mph only has a 30 percent chance of surviving, while one hit at 20 mph has a 95 percent of survival.
“There’s nothing more important than keeping our children safe,” Van Bramer said. “The single most important thing for the parents in this district is keeping traffic slow, calm, manageable and keeping their children safe.”
Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (718) 260–4538.