E. 66th Street residents to city: Give us a speed bump

Bump it up: Perry November has been petitioning the city to install a speed bump on his block of E. 66th Street near Avenue U in order to curtail the reckless speeding that he says has grown to be a concern.
Photo by Steve Solomonson

Motorists with the need for speed are treating E. 66th Street in Mill Basin like the Indy 500, say residents who are demanding that the city put in a road block that will rip the undercarriage right out from under these hot rods: a speed bump.

Residents between Avenues U and T have put together a petition of 98 signatures calling for the city to install the speed bump, which they claim will slow down daredevil motorists zipping down their block — if they value their mufflers.

Yet local legislators are reluctant to forward the request to the Department of Transportation, claiming that not everyone on the block is happy about the proposal.

“Three or four won’t sign, so they won’t give us the speed bump,” said Perry November, a retired city Emergency Medical Technician who lives on the block.

November said motorists treat the stoplight on Avenue U like a stop sign, and frequently blow through the light altogether before zooming up the one-way street at breakneck speeds.

“Without exaggeration, about 200 cars a day blow through this light,” he said. “They treat it like a stop sign.”

Resident Elizabeth Costantini says she can feel the cars whoosh by from out her house.

“They go well over 60 miles-per-hour,” said Costantini.

November said an out-of-control motorist hit the B3 bus stop at the Avenue U intersection recently. wiping out the benches.

Residents were relieved that there were no early-morning commuters at the 3 am crash — so no one was seriously hurt.

“The whole bus stop was wiped out,” said November. “The fence, the signs. If there were kids standing there it would have been over.”

November claims that he sent four letters to Councilman Lew Fidler’s office this year requesting the speed bump — which many say create as many hazards as it prevents.

City officials say humps may cause speeding cars to careen into other vehicles, pedestrians, or nearby property. They also make a lot of racket when they scrape the bottom of a passing car.

“Vehicles traveling at a high rate of speed can go out of control,” explained Reeves Eisen, Councilman Fidler’s chief of staff. “Also, if someone hits the bump at a high rate of speed — but not so fast that they go out of control — it makes a terrible noise and the people whose house it’s near are disturbed. They can be awakened in the night and people don’t take kindly to that.”

That’s why Fidler is unwilling to consider the proposal unless everyone on the block consents, she said.

“The councilman’s policy regarding speed bumps is that everyone on the block has to sign off on them before he’ll make the request to the Department of Transportation,” said Eisen. “He doesn’t want to do anything that would turn neighbors against each other.”

Reach reporter Colin MIxson at cmixson@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4514.

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