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Speeding tickets in Park Slope, Fort Greene, Clinton Hill, Prospect Heights, and Crown Heights

Brownstone Brooklyn cops must give more speeding tickets, activists say

The Brooklyn Paper

Police in Brownstone Brooklyn are turning a blind eye to speeding motorists, according to street-safety advocates who are outraged over the fact that officers from three precincts covering a broad swath of the borough ticketed only two speeding drivers in the entire month of May.

Officers from Park Slope’s 78th Precinct did not issue a single speeding ticket during the month, while cops from the 88th Precinct, which monitors Fort Greene and Clinton Hill, and the 77th Precinct, which covers Prospect Heights and Crown Heights, gave out just one each.

Neighborhood activists were shocked by the numbers, saying anti-speeding efforts should be paramount in an area so heavily used by pedestrians and bicyclists.

“It’s fearful when you’re thinking, ‘These are the streets I live on and I just can’t even cross them,’ ” said Fort Greene resident Hilda Cohen, who founded the traffic-calming group Make Lafayette Safer last fall in an attempt to slow motorists on the thoroughfare. “I don’t know why the things that are proven to be unsafe are not addressed.”

The 77th, 78th, and 88th precincts, as well as the main NYPD press office, did not respond to requests for comment. But city officials acknowledge that speeding is a problem in Brooklyn: a recent Department of Transportation study found that 39 percent of Lafayette Avenue motorists exceed the speed limit of 30 miles per hour.

Councilman Steve Levin (D–Downtown) even brought a radar gun to Atlantic Avenue, where he found that a whopping 88 percent of drivers speed — many by more than 10 miles per hour.

“The police department has to do leaps and bounds better than what they’re doing,” Levin said.

The city is in the midst of an aggressive anti-speeding initiative launched in 2010 with the blessing of Police Commissioner Ray Kelly that features macabre billboards claiming pedestrians who are struck by cars driving at 40 miles per hour have a 70 percent chance of dying, while those struck by vehicles travelling at 30 miles per hour have an 80 percent chance of living.

The NYPD even received $150,000 in federal funds for increased enforcement of speeding motorists.

Road safety advocates say anti-speeding efforts obviously aren’t a priority in Brownstone Brooklyn compared to other parts of the city like northern Queens, where cops issued 416 speeding tickets across eight police precincts in May.

Other Brooklyn precincts issued only a few more speeding tickets than their peers in Park Slope, Fort Greene, and Prospect Heights: the 84th Precinct, which includes DUMBO, Downtown, and Brooklyn Heights, gave out four, and the 76th Precinct, which oversees Cobble Hill, Carroll Gardens, and Red Hook, dished out eight.

Brownstone Brooklyn cops didn’t stop many speeders, but they were harsh on other vehicular offenses, with the 77th Precinct flagging 44 drivers for improper headlights and the 88th Precinct ticketing 143 drivers for cellphone use in May.

But street safety advocates say speeding is the main cause for fatal crashes citywide — and something must be done to stop it.

“The NYPD is not living up to its mission: far too many drivers are getting away with speeding and putting all our lives at risk,” said Transportation Alternatives spokesman Michael Murphy, whose group claims speeding drivers took 45 lives and injured another 2,300 people citywide in 2010.

Reach reporter Eli Rosenberg at erosenberg@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-2531. And follow him at twitter.com/emrosenberg.

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D from Slope says:
"The city is in the midst of an aggressive anti-speeding initiative launched in 2010 with the blessing of Police Commissioner Ray Kelly that features macabre billboards claiming pedestrians who are struck by cars driving at 40 miles per hour have a 70 percent chance of dying, while those struck by vehicles travelling at 30 miles per hour have an 80 percent chance of living."

Clarification: this initiative was launched by DOT. This statement gives the impression that Ray Kelly had something to do with it, but he did not. He may not DISAPPROVE, but do you have any facts to say that he gave it his blessing? You ought to give credit to Janette Sadik-Khan, the only department head who actually does something about pedestrian safety.
July 3, 2012, 9:42 am
Brian Van from Gramercy says:
Isn't it sad that, in a city of 35,000 police officers, they can't find a few to keep wacko drivers from careening all over the place? Sure, it's bad that some kids carry weed on them (especially the non-white ones who don't live on the Upper East Side!) and it's not all that great that some cyclists don't fully wait for a red light to change to green (among other inconsiderate but non-lethal offenses). But I'm sure we can pull some officers off of stop-and-frisk duty and bike bedlam watch in order to enforce laws that have been on the books for 100 years for a matter that desperately needs atttention!
July 3, 2012, 10:26 am
BGGB from Bed-Stuy says:
The NYPD: keeping us safe as long as it doesn't require much effort on their part.
July 3, 2012, 10:34 am
jay from pslope says:
They need to also give tickets for running red lights and running stop signs which, where I live, drivers do that all day, every day.
I have tried to call the police to complain about it and when I get the person who "handles" that there is no answer just a recording that the user voicemail box is full. The police do a good job with somethings, but enforcing traffic laws is not one of them.
July 3, 2012, 10:46 am
S from PPW says:
I was almost run over today by a driver who ran a red and made a left without seeing about 5 people - including a blind lady -- in still in the crosswalk.

I didn't see anyone from the NYPD until I got on my bike and say them ticketing cyclists on 14th Street.

Shame on the NYPD.
July 3, 2012, 11:11 am
jay from pslope says:
you saw them giving tickets to bicycle riders on 14th? In Brooklyn? Amazing!!
July 3, 2012, 12:53 pm
boof from brooklyn says:
Until drivers learn to obey speeding laws and other safety laws, motor vehicles will never be taken seriously as transportation in this city.
July 3, 2012, 1:01 pm
Father from Brooklyn says:
I am not an activist. I am a resident. And I say the NYPD needs to issue more than 1 speeding ticket to protect me and my family when we walk around the neighborhood.
July 3, 2012, 1:32 pm
Boris from Bay Ridge says:
The 68th Prec in Bay Ridge ignores speeding and other moving violations as well. This is a problem with the leadership of the NYPD.
July 3, 2012, 4:31 pm
Station44025 from Park slope says:
Until they learn to obey the rules of the road we can't spend any more money or make any more lanes for drivers!! They're a menace, especially the commercial drivers! They're destroying our beautiful historic streets with their pollution, noise and parking! Hundreds of Real New Yorkers are killed by cars every year! They must be stopped! (thanks for the press release template, "Seniors For Safety"!)
July 3, 2012, 6:04 pm
KillMoto from NYC says:
Toss tennis balls in the road, right where the cars are speeding. When the tennis ball bounces off the windshield at 50mph, (some of the) drivers will s#it their pants and slow down. Others are beyond redemption.
July 3, 2012, 10:36 pm
sid from boerum hill says:
yes enforcement helps as does not crossing in the middle of the block or standing back from the corner and not in the street.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/30/nyregion/nyc-traffic-deaths-set-100-year-low-mayor-says.html

Hundreds of real nyers are no longer killed every year.

its at a hundred year low...
July 3, 2012, 11:01 pm
Webster from Here says:
Enough with "swath" already!! Use a ——ing thesaurus!
July 3, 2012, 11:17 pm
SwampYankee from ruined Brooklyn says:
boof,
I think many cyclist don't take motor vehicles seriously. Usually this changes when the vehicle hits them. How could you not take thousands of pounds of steel seriously when you are riding a child's plaything. this kind of attitude is whats getting cyclists killed. I'll write that on your tombstone "I didn't take motor vehicles seriously"
dick
July 4, 2012, 8:53 am
T from Safer Brooklyn says:
i think no one takes SwampYankee seriously.
July 4, 2012, 1:27 pm
TJ from Downtown says:
I think you could use more tags.
July 5, 2012, 6:20 am
TJ from Downtown says:
Ahah, you filter tags. "strong tags" for above
July 5, 2012, 6:21 am
SwampYankee from ruined Brooklny says:
T
You take me seriously enough to respond. As do many others. Sorry it is a City of cars. Cars, cars everywhere. Millions of cars. More every year. Car meets cycle. cyclist loses. Every time. You want things to be a different way, but they are not. Now head off to the park to ride in circles.
July 5, 2012, 4:45 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
As much as I don't condone motorist who exceed the speed limit, some of your comment are just the usual anti-car rhetoric. Nobody will argue that going above the speed limit is an issue, but there are some places where having a police car stand most of the day cause problems for the residents. Some may consider that a police state. Also, I find it an irony on those bike zealots to call for all motorists to follow ever letter of the law when they don't follow it themselves, so start with yourselves before going to others. BTW, there are just as many cyclists who flout laws as well, but whenever there is a talk about that, you guys tend to cry foul on that, so now you know how us motorists feel. Still, I find those who are speeding a lot to be a small number, plus when you jaywalk on busy street, you pretty much did put yourself into harm's way, and that is your own fault, not that of anyone else, so please obey the walk signal rather than crossing against it.
July 5, 2012, 5:01 pm
ty from pps says:
Hey Tal - When do you plan on moving out of your mom's house?
July 5, 2012, 5:50 pm
jay from pslope says:
Hmmm maybe this is all a bike lobby conspiracy, get the cops to stop writing tickets so that cars run a muck and then the bicyclists can claim they are sitting car-fodder and can get bike lanes!!! Brilliant!!! That must be it right?!!!! Ha!
Or maybe it really is just that the cops suck at doing this part of their job.
July 5, 2012, 6:08 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Jay, a lot of times a fanatical website such as Streetsblog calls for motorists to always follow the rules with them being strictly enforced while saying their kind is exempt at all times. I didn't come up with this arbitrarily, they actually say this on their website, and I happen to look at that. Seriously, why should one group have to be subject to laws while the other doesn't? Sounds like Animal Farms to me where the bike zealots act like those special animals while the motorists have to be treated like second class citizens. Last time I checked, it was illegal to run red lights and signs as well as go the wrong way on one way streets, and most cyclists tend to do this all the time. Again, if you jaywalk on a busy street and get hit, it's your own fault for thinking that. One other thing, whenever there is a call to enforce the rules on cyclists for flouting them, they always tend to act like victims to the rules and use others as their personal scapegoat.
July 5, 2012, 10:30 pm
ty from pps says:
Tal -
You're mommy's favorite little zealot aren't you? So adorable.
July 5, 2012, 11:01 pm
Ariel Sharon says:
Tal, do you really look around the North American landscape today and see motorists being treated as "second class citizens" compared to people who choose to transport themselves via bicycle?

Really?

Also, please share with us the link on Streetsblog where your so-called bike zealouts say they should be "exempt from the rules at all times." That sounds interesting. I can't wait to see it.
July 6, 2012, 1:27 am
Joe R. from Flushing says:
Tal,

The only time people on Streetsblog cry foul at enforcement against bicycles is when people are given tickets for doing things which aren't dangerous. Going through a red light on a bicycle after slowing enough to see if it's clear, and stopping if it isn't, is not dangerous and shouldn't be illegal. Traffic lights wouldn't even need to exist if there were no cars on the road. As such, they should only apply to cars. For bicycles or pedestrians they should have an advisory status only. It's dangerous and inefficient to require cyclists or pedestrians to wait at red lights if nothing is crossing. If there is to be any enforcement against cyclists, then it should be only when they engage in overtly dangerous actions, such as flying through crosswalks full of pedestrians. You won't find any people on Streetsblog complaining if this was the only kind of enforcement the NYPD does.

And not everyone at Streetsblog feels all laws against motorists should be strictly enforced. I've spoken out a number of times against things like speed cameras. I'd rather the police go after aggressive, dangerous drivers who weave in and out or jockey for position rather than people going a few mph over the limit.
July 6, 2012, 12:25 pm
boof from brooklyn says:
I think you need to work on your reading comprehension, SwampYankee.
July 6, 2012, 4:52 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
First of all, I cannot understand why this page wasn't able to be viewed at time. Nevertheless, Joe, it's illegal to run red lights and stop signs regardless to whether the intersection is clear or not, plus all throughout the boroughs, there are no right turns on red even after a complete stop unless noted, which is the opposite everywhere else in this country where this allowed. Why should bicycles be allowed something that all other vehicles shouldn't be allowed? I'm sorry if waiting for the walk signal is annoying, but it was put up there for your safety, and crossing when you don't have the signal on a busy or dangerous street really is going into harm's way. For the record, I'm not for aggressive drivers either, and I do follow the rules, so I do practice what I preach while so many cyclists never follow the rules themselves when they tell others to do so. Nice story, Joe, but I am not buying what you said about Streetsblog when it comes to following rules while on bicycles. On a side note, the NYPD didn't create any new rules in recent times, they are just enforcing what is already there.
July 7, 2012, 10:45 pm
T from PPW says:
No, the NYPD is not enforcing what is already there, which is exactly the problem. Zero speeding tickets in some precincts? One in another? Give me a break!
July 7, 2012, 11:24 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Ty, keep in mind that we motorists don't just get moving violations, but also parking violations as well. Although I won't argue about the fact that there are those who will probably get away with the moving violations for the most part, there are many motorists who can't seem to get away with parking violations be it having expired parking at metered areas, parking where it says you can't either during the day or at anytime, blocking a driveway, being next to a fire hydrant or at least with the amount of space by it, or even double parking in which it blocks a driving lane on others. Perhaps, cyclists should be given parking tickets for placing their bicycles at places where they shouldn't especially at those who do place them by fire hydrants or meters, which can create an obstruction. In other words, we motorists do get ticketed more than you cyclists, so quit trying to cry foul here.
July 9, 2012, 1:50 pm
Joe R. from Flushing says:
Tal,

The thing is traffic lights never were about safety. The only reason they exist is to allow cars to travel at speeds above about 20 mph. Back when few automobiles or other traffic could exceed 20 mph, intersections could operate just fine on a see and be seen basis. When speeds got higher, then it became necessary to give priority to one road at intersections. This could be done by putting stop or yield signs on the minor street, or installing a traffic light. Regardless, the fact is bicycles and pedestrians have far greater visibility, and travel much slower, than automobiles. As such, traffic signals aren't applicable to them regardless of what the law says. There is no safety or other function served by forcing pedestrians or cyclists to wait at red lights, especially when there is no cross traffic, and I ultimately feel the laws will eventually be changed to reflect this fact. Besides that, a human-powered vehicle lacks the ability to accelerate back up to speed repeatedly. With the sheer number and timing of traffic signals in NYC, following the law would often require cyclists to stop and start every block or two. This is clearly not possible even for top athletes, much less cyclists in average condition. Therefore, it's not solely just that it makes little sense for cyclists to follow traffic controls designed for cars, but also a case that they literally can't. And I could make a similar argument for pedestrians. No way am I going to wait a long time for a walk signal when I'm holding 20 pounds of groceries. When I get to the corner, I'm crossing as soon as a gap in traffic allows. I'm not putting blind faith in a stupid set of blinking lights which more often than not tells people to do things which make little sense. If you feel your time is worth so little that you'll stand at a red light if nothing is coming, well, that's your prerogative. Thankfully, I'm seeing more and more civil disobedience of the stupidity traffic lights foist upon us even among motorists. Last night when riding I saw three motorists treat red lights as a yield sign because nothing was coming. I felt like cheering them on.
July 12, 2012, 1:10 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
First of all, I couldn't have written that comment at 1:50 b/c I was using the toilet at that exact time, and I usually do not type and poop at the same time. Mike, or Other Mike, or Ty, cut out the crap and attack the issues, not the person. The endless hamasing on this site by streetsbloggers is too much to take, but as a nerdy leftist, I refuse to be silenced. Irreguaurdless, cyber-imposturization is a crime and a hit way below the belt, besides.
July 13, 2012, 9:19 am
scott from park slope says:
NYC should scale speed limits more appropriately. The limit on expressways is too low; the limit on residential streets is too low. 15-20mph is plenty for sidestreets. 25mph on feeder streets like PPW would even feel faster than 35mph if they timed the lights so you'd hit all greens if you travelled the optimum speed. It didn't use to be that we had computers to model traffic flow but now we do, so let's use them to solve the equation for maximum efficiency and safety.
July 13, 2012, 11:45 am
Joe R. from Flushing says:
I agree 100% Scott but it seems the trend these days with traffic lights is to not bother synchronizing them at all on most roads. Even as a cyclist, I'd be very happy with lights timed for about 20 mph. This would mean once I got greens, I could ride for miles without hitting a red. And this light timing would give motorists an incentive to keep to 20 mph since driving faster will only mean you'll hit red lights.
July 13, 2012, 12:06 pm
JD123 from Prospect Heights says:
The police cannot be everywhere all of the time. Not to mention that drivers are going to automatically slow down when they see a police officer's car. As even the unmarked police cars are well known throughout the city, you're still going to run into the problem of very few motorists being ticketed in Brownstone Brooklyn.
July 21, 2012, 3:49 pm

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