Slope hails road warrior DeBlasio – Brooklyn Paper

Slope hails road warrior DeBlasio

Bill DeBlasio delivers his victory speech at his election party at the Park Slope Armory after he won the city’s mayoral race in a landslide on Nov. 5.
Photo by Elizabeth Graham

Mayor DeBlasio has tasked police and city agencies with clamping down on reckless drivers in an effort to bring traffic deaths down to zero, to the joy of road safety activists from his native Park Slope.

The city started issuing tickets generated by its 20 speed cameras in school zones on Thursday, and will ramp up traffic enforcement and devise a system for tackling 50 unsafe intersections and thoroughfares, DeBlasio annonced. Slopers who have been pushing for car-slowing measures cheered the pledge, but said it has to come with concrete follow-through, including the enactment of a 20-mile-per-hour speed limit on residential streets.

“We are obviously pleased that the mayor is taking the issue of traffic safety seriously and plans to implement comprehensive solutions,” said Amy Cohen, whose 12-year-old son Samuel Cohen Eckstein was killed by a van on Prospect Park West in October. “We are hopeful that the solutions will include a wide expansion of 20 mile-per-hour zones and a significant increase in enforcement.”

The mayor is supposed to come up with “concrete plans” to devote more cops to enforcing traffic laws by Feb. 15 and will follow up with road redesigns and legislation that aim to slow cars, he said.

Twenty recently installed, roving speed cameras, which will bounce from corner to corner based on factors such as frequency of car crashes, started generating tickets after six months of just issuing warnings. A spokesman for the mayor said he could not say where the cameras are.

“The exact locations are not a public matter,” DeBlasio spokesman Wiley Norvell said.

A state law passed on June 21 established a five-year pilot program for the speeding cameras. The law says the city “may” install signs giving notice to neighbors about upcoming street surveillance systems.

Activists said they are glad the city is keeping the camera locations secret because it puts fear in lead-footed drivers who would otherwise just slow down at the handful of spots known to be watched.

Eric McClure, founder of the Park Slope Street Safety Partnership said he wants Flatbush and Fourth avenues put on the city’s list of 50 stretches to target with further speed-reduction measures.

Police Commissioner Bill Bratton also vowed to increase by 270 the number of highway patrol officers, who investigate accidents and can operate on city streets, Norvell said.

Reach reporter Megan Riesz at mriesz@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4505. Follow her on Twitter @meganriesz.

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