Williamsburg’s roads are the deadliest in the city, according to police data.
The numbers were crunched, then mapped, by a Pratt Institute statistics professor who says that cops tried to keep a lid on the car carnage, but he thought the public had a right to know where drivers are ending lives.
“The NYPD is against the open data movement,” said Ben Wellington, the data maven who turned police records into online heat maps. “I wanted to take this data and present it in a way that people could digest and understand it.”
Williamsburg logged eight traffic fatalities in 2013, more than any other neighborhood in not only Brooklyn, but in all of New York. Of the deaths, four were pedestrians, one was a car driver, and three were auto passengers. Five of the fatal crashes took place on the stretch of Broadway leading up to the Williamsburg Bridge.
The prof took on the project to engage his students in the craft of interpreting figures, he said.
“Teaching statistics is always so dry,” Wellington said. “I thought it would make it more interesting to teach real New York City data.”
Williamsburg officials said they are not surprised that neighborhood streets are so dangerous and that something has got to be done about it.
“It begs for a review of not only traffic studies but an intervention from the mayor’s office to focus on reduction of accidents in the area,” said Community Board 1 chairman Chris Olechowski, suggesting lowering the speed limit to 20 miles per hour and installing more traffic cameras.
The area’s freshman councilman praised Mayor DeBlasio’s Vision Zero pledge to reduce auto fatalities to zilch by 2024.
“Even one traffic-related death is one too many,” said Councilman Antonio Reynoso. “I am committed to working with the administration and the Department of Transportation to implement Vision Zero and to make the 34th District safer for all road users, especially pedestrians and cyclists.”
Other Brooklyn death zones include Canarsie, with six traffic fatalities, East New York with five, and Bay Ridge with four.