Tired of seeing cars zooming down Carlton and speeding around corners near the Underhill Playground, a group of neighborhood activists hope to turn Prospect Heights into a “Neighborhood Slow Zone.”
The designation would be granted by the Department of Transportation, which began offering neighborhoods the option to apply for it this winter after doing a pilot program in the Claremont section of the Bronx.
The Prospect Heights Neighborhood Development Council is spearheading the effort in conjunction with block associations, parents groups and other area organizations, and has launched an online petition to demonstrate resident support, a requirement of the application process.
The petition went live yesterday morning, and as of 3:10 p.m. today, 142 people have signed it.
“We receive complaints all the time about dangerous driving on these narrow residential streets,” said Danae Oratowski,PHNDC’s chairwoman.
The problem has gotten worse since ground broke at Altlantic Yards began, which has spurred more cars to drive through Prospect Heights to avoid the construction, she said.
The intersection of Prospect Place and Underhill right at the playground is particularly dangerous, Oratowski said.
In August, a three-car accident there and caused a car to jump the curb, nearly hitting four children and their babysitter, said Julie Quigley, whose child was among them.
But accidents abound on the residential streets. In December, a at Vanderbilt and Park Place (though Vanderbilt wouldn't be affected by the zone, Park Place would be). In October, at the same intersection. In May, a on Classon Avenue at Park Place (one block outside of the proposed zone in Crown Heights). Also in May there was a .
If the neighborhood wins the designation, the following measures would be put in place to reduce traffic speeds:
- the speed limit would be reduced from 30 to 20 mph
- speed bumps would be installed (the exact number to be determined with community input)
- signs and “gateway” striping at the boundaries of the neighborhood would alert drivers to the zone (see photo of what it would look like here).
Flatbush, Atlantic, Vanderbilt, Washington and Sixth avenues would not be included in the slow zone, though Carlton and Underhill would be. (Editor's Note, Jan. 30: The Eastern Parkway Service Road between Washington and Plaza has been added to the proposed slow zone).
In addition to DOT approval, the designation must also get the OK from Community Board 8.
While most people are likely to support the reduction of speed limits in the neighborhood, there is a downside: each gateway would mean a loss of two parking spaces.
Will drivers obey the lower speed limit?
After Slow Zones were installed in London, those spots had 42% fewer injuries than average, and driver speeds were reduced by 9 mph, according to the DOT.