Breaking away! Slope police are ‘number one’ in reckless driving tickets

Panel calls for car crackdown in Sunset Park, Windsor Terrace
Photo by Elizabeth Graham

Park Slope cops are way out in front in the race to crack down on drivers as part of the mayor’s road safety initiative.

The neighborhood’s 78th Precinct slapped 63 motorists with tickets for failure to yield to pedestrians in the first two months of 2014, which is more than two thirds of the 96 its cops handed out in 2013 and is on pace to be more than 15 times the amount logged at a neighboring station house. Road safety activists are fired up about the ticketing blitz, as well as the precinct’s other 2014 initiatives, including a crossing guard audit and a just-begun parking-in-bike-lanes crackdown, saying that the precinct is the best proponent of Mayor DeBlasio’s Vision Zero pledge to stop traffic deaths, but could still do even more.

“The 78th is the NYPD’s number one Vision Zero precinct,” said Charles Komanoff of the car critic group Right of Way. “Still, just one ticket a day for failure to yield, thus far in 2014, is pretty slim.”

Slim or ample, the amount is huge in comparison to the tickets produced by neighboring precincts.

Carroll Gardens’ 76th Precinct handed out just two failure-to-yield summonses in January, while Crown Heights 77th Precinct wrote up four.

Slope officers started hitting drivers with the seldom-enforced charge during a two-day citation spree in late January, when undercover officers posed as everyday road-crossers and hit 16 drivers with tickets when they failed to take their feet off the gas.

The pace of the crosswalk crackdown slowed in February, when the precinct recorded 21 of the failure-to-yield slips, half of the amount written the month prior. But the issue is clearly more of a priority now than it was in February 2013, when the precinct only filled out two of the reprimands.

Another road warrior said the fact that the precinct is keeping the pressure on scofflaw drivers is what Slopers should focus on, not this February’s decline.

“I think it’s great that they’re out there turning this into a regular enforcement detail,” said Park Slope Street Safety Partnership founder Eric McClure.

McClure, who has attended both of the precinct’s new monthly road safety meetings, said commanding officer Deputy Inspector Michael Ameri knows what he is doing and the flurry of new campaigns targeting drivers will not fall by the wayside.

“I don’t think they would be doing things if the deputy inspector thought they didn’t have the manpower to adequately staff them,” McClure said.

Reach reporter Megan Riesz at [email protected] or by calling (718) 260-4505. Follow her on Twitter @meganriesz.