One could wonder if changing the name of “Speed Bump” to “Slow-down Bump” might be one direct route to safer streets. The crash pictured above occurred on May 18th at around 4:28pm despite several and various yield diamonds communicating reasons to take it slow on this stretch of road of Maspeth Avenue from Woodpoint Road to Morgan Avenue.
These traffic signs, crosswalks, and speed bumps are relatively recent developments. When these weren’t there pedestrians regularly had to beware of near misses, and one suffered a run-over foot. Representatives from the Cooper Park Neighborhood Association, St. Nicks Alliance, Evergreen, among others persistently requested street safety measures of the Department of Transportation and local electeds. It was a happy day when the crosswalks, yield signs, and speed bumps went in, but there was a sense that more would have to be done. Right after the accident on May 18th, Karen Nieves (Manager, Business Expansion & Retention of Evergreen) called the precinct to get them to send enforcement.
My office window faces Maspeth east of Kingsland Avenue and I hear several trucks a day whose thumps over the speed bumps indicate they are going faster than 15 MPH. I also have to cross Maspeth and Kingsland at least twice a weekday, and usually it’s the pedestrians who have to yield to vehicles making left or right turns onto Kingsland Avenue, as there are no stop signs for those turns, just yield to pedestrian signs.
Mayor de Blasio has taken strides to improve traffic and especially pedestrian safety with his Vision Zero plan. Statics on the Vision Zero Web Page state, “Being struck by a vehicle is the leading cause of injury-related death for children under 14, and the second leading cause for seniors. On average, vehicles seriously injure or kill a New Yorker every two hours.” There is conflicting data as to how well Vision Zero is nearing its zero goal, but the City’s Transportation Department cautions there isn’t enough data yet to determine how much Vision Zero is up to speed. Granted the number of fatalities and injuries are on the decrease overall, but there are spots that where the danger has increased. However North Brooklyn shows one of the more impressive decreases in accidents with injuries and fatalities: McGuinness Blvd. between Freeman and Bayard has seen a 33% drop. An indication of assured success in street safety is a combination of a change in rules and increased enforcement of these changes.