Children’s crusade! School kids aiming guns to slow down speeders on Atlantic Ave

Children’s crusade! School kids aiming guns to slow down speeders on Atlantic Ave
Community Newspaper Group / Andy Campbell

They say that kids shouldn’t play with guns, but students at PS 261 are using them to save their own lives.

The kids — who must cross Atlantic Avenue to get to their school at Pacific and Hoyt streets — have been using a radar gun to clock speeders on the so-called “Avenue of Death,” where nine pedestrians were killed by cars between 2006 and 2008, and almost 600 accidents on the stretch between Flatbush Avenue and the river between 2005 and 2006 (more current stats are on the way from the city).

The kids’ smoking gun? The average car zooms through at 38 miles per hour — eight miles per hour over the speed limit.

The students’ road work is partly a photo-op organized by the Department of Transportation as part of a larger enforcement effort and a lobbying campaign to eventually reduce the speed limit near schools to 20–25 mph.

Kids have quickly learned what adults (well, some of them) know intuitively: speeding near schools is dangerous.

“A lot of bad things happen at this intersection — we even saw someone go through at 50 miles per hour!” said 10-year-old Emanual Lopez, who joined his classmates and city officials at the intersection this week to call for stricter enforcement. “Drivers don’t pay attention, because they’re texting. They don’t realize that we walk across every day.”

Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan — on hand for the Tuesday photo-op — touted her agency’s plan to install 1,500 countdown signals to decrease traffic fatalities citywide.