Councilman targets speeding motorists on Atlantic

Councilman Steve Levin (D-Downtown) is bringing out the big gun — well, radar gun — to track speeding cars.
Photo by Elizabeth Graham

Councilman Steve Levin’s got a gun, and he’s not afraid to use it!

The Downtown Democrat is trying to crack down on reckless Atlantic Avenue drivers by recording their speeds with a radar gun and sending the data straight to Mayor Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly.

“It’s a matter of life and death,” said Levin, who toted the speed shooter outside his office near Bond Street on Wednesday. “We need real traffic calming measures.”

Levin’s findings indicate a largely lawless road: 88 percent of motorists zipped by at about 10 miles per hour above the limit of 30 miles per hour.

He even clocked an empty school bus racing past at 39 miles per hour and a BMW gunning it at 47 miles per hour.

Those speeds are no surprise to cycling advocate Eric McClure.

“This is the wild west,” said McClure, who loaned Levin the radar gun he once used to track speeds on Prospect Park West. “If someone gets hit over here, they’re not going to survive.”

The stretch between Hicks Street and Flatbush Avenue is no stranger to NASCAR wannabes.

In fact, Atlantic Avenue tied with Kings Highway as the deadliest street in Brooklyn, with each playing host to seven fatalities between 2008 and 2010, according to the Tri-State Transportation Campaign.

Students at PS 261 even brought out a radar reader in 2010 to clock motorists on a strip The Brooklyn Paper has dubbed “The Avenue of Death and Destruction” for its numerous car accidents each year.

Sandy Balboza, president of the Atlantic Avenue Betterment Association, slammed the street’s traffic light timing because green lights on each block are synchronized.

“The speeding is encouraged,” she said.

Levin hopes his findings motivate the NYPD to ticket rogue drivers.

“This is common sense,” Levin said. “You don’t need a speed gun to know these cars are going dangerously fast. But now we have the results.”

Reach Kate Briquelet at kbriquelet@cnglocal.com or by calling her at (718) 260-2511.

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