Councilman targets speeding motorists on Atlantic

The Brooklyn Paper
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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 or by calling her at (718) 260-2511.
Updated 10:15 am, March 9, 2012
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Reasonable discourse

Peter Kaufman from Brooklyn Heights says:
Great job, Councilman Levin.
March 9, 2012, 7:58 am
Sally from BH says:
Thank you, Steve Levin!!!!
March 9, 2012, 9:34 am
S from PPW says:
Let's not wait until someone dies to fix this street. Drivers can not be trusted to obey the speed limit. We need traffic calming now.
March 9, 2012, 9:47 am
Kevin from Flatbush says:
No surprise her
The DOT has treated Atlantic Ave as a highway feeding and fed by the BQE at its westernmost end.
Why should we be surprised the drivers respond to the signals that Atlantic Avenue is for them and them alone, and drive a near highway speeds?
March 9, 2012, 9:51 am
Joey from Clinton Hills says:
wait until the Nets are playing at Barclay Center...high speeds mixed with gridlock.
March 9, 2012, 10:43 am
SOAPBOX from brooklyn says:
Motor vehicles will never be taken seriously if they do not learn to follow traffic laws.

We should require registration of motor vehicles so these dangerous scofflaws can be controlled.

Motor vehicles occupants must wear helmets, since most head injuries in this country are as a result of motor vehicle crashes.
March 9, 2012, 10:50 am
mikey from downtown brooklyn says:
All the radar guns in the world are not going to help.You need the N.Y.P.D highway unit to give out speeding and reckless driving tickets.
Speeding (mph over posted limit)
1 to 10 3
11 to 20 4
21 to 30 6
31 to 40 8
More than 40 11
Reckless Driving 5 points on license.
March 9, 2012, 11:21 am
Billy from Greenpoint says:
I You need the N.Y.P.D highway unit to give out speeding and reckless driving tickets.

No, we need the regular NYPD in neighborhoods driving around in their patrol cars to enforce traffic laws (instead of busily flouting them themselves).
March 9, 2012, 11:41 am
Billy from Greenpoint says:
wow, garbled comment! It was supposed to be:

I heart SOAPBOX (the angle bracket 3was interpreted as html?)!

Then I tried to quote mikey from downtown who suggested we need the highway patrol, with another bracket. And in response I just wanted to say:

We need the regular NYPD in neighborhoods driving around in their patrol cars to enforce traffic laws (instead of busily flouting them themselves).

Highway patrol does a great job on the BQE et al, let's keep them up there. Atlantic Ave, (or Franklin St in Greenpoint) already has police patrolling. The NYPD considers traffic enforcement below them, as a demotion.
March 9, 2012, 11:43 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
I do not understand what the problem is if drivers need to get where they are going fast. I don't see anyone complaining when cyclist speed 40 miles per hour or faster through red lights on the Prospect Park West bike lane then why is it bad for drivers to do it? If the police do not go out to ticket drivers then it must mean it is okay to do it. There is a reason they are cracking down on bike zealouts for flouting the law because it is worse than speeding drivers. So stop complaining if you get caught just because drivers speed. They are allowed to and bikes should not.

The solution is simple if you just build a pedestrian bridge at one end of Atlantic Avenue you can have all of the pedestrians in one place and the drivers will not need to hit them. Everyone will get to go where they want to and no one will be unhappy except for you Streetbloggers who think cars should be banned from America.
March 9, 2012, 11:45 am
ch from bh says:
NYPD doesn't have the resources (or, some would add, the desire) to catch every speeder.

We need physical improvements to Atlantic Ave to calm traffic.

Speeding cameras. Neckdowns. And the "4-7pm No Parking" restriction eliminated.

Please. Thanks.

March 9, 2012, 12:24 pm
Mike says:
Fake Tal Barzilai is getting tiresome.
March 9, 2012, 1:25 pm
Joe R. from Flushing says:
That's definitely a good Tal Barzilai parody at 11:45 AM. I was LMAO at the line about 40 mph or faster cyclists! If anyone can ride that fast on the nearly flat PPW, then they should be given an invite to the US Olympic Team, not a speeding ticket.
March 9, 2012, 1:25 pm
D from Bklyn says:
After years of hearing -- and reading in this paper -- about how bikes are a terrible menace it's great to see Council Member Levin focus on a truly life-threatening problem. Thank you, Council Member Levin. Keep it up!
March 9, 2012, 2:13 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Mike and Joe R, cut the impersonations already, and I was actually away from my computer at that time. Anyway, I will agree with Levin if he agrees to do the same thing with bicycles. Those that exceed the speed limit are the minority yet cyclists that flout the laws happen to be the majority. Even if all motorists obeyed the speed limit, we still have a group cyclists who believe that the laws don't apply to them. Let's not forget that not only do such cyclists diseobey traffic lights and signs, but also go the wrong way on one way streets. The reason why Levin will probably never call for that is probably because TA will stop endorsing him if that ever happens, which shows what plutocracy is.
March 9, 2012, 3:28 pm
What the? from Williamsburg says:
Wait, is Tal B a real dumb person, or a fake dumb person? In any event, tell Tal that it's virtually impossible for a bike to go 40 mph and that the article was about speeding cars which are the cause of 99.9% of all traffic fatalities between cars and cars, cars and pedistrians and cars and bikes.
March 9, 2012, 4:23 pm
Somebody from Somewhere says:
I usually never address you Tal, because you don't make any sense. But to claim that TA endorses any candidate is patently false. 501(c)(3) organizations cannot do so by law.
March 9, 2012, 8:10 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Somebody, there are loopholes to this. Although it's illegal for a not-for-profit group to endorse politicians, they can still do so as indviduals. I am sure Mark Gorton and Paul Steely White have enough money to sway politicians to their side without any help from their groups. Afterall, they live in the good parts of the city. Reguardless, I wouldn't be surrpsised if the stats that Levin said could have been fudged, and the NYPD along with others has a history of doing this. For the record, I do obey the speed limit when I drive, and I have called out those who haven't along with many others, but at the same time, I hardly hear any good cyclists calling out the bad ones.
March 9, 2012, 8:21 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
On a side note, you don't need multiple names to make your point or to sound like more than one is talking, Mr. Idon'tuseaconsitantnamewhenIcommenteventhoughIamprobablythatverysameperson.
March 9, 2012, 8:22 pm
Somebody from Somewhere says:
All I can do is shake my head.
March 9, 2012, 9:06 pm
Other Michael from Park Slope says:

We are trying to make the streets we walk, cycle and yes drive safer.

You are an annoying distraction. Please go away.
March 10, 2012, 6:13 am
Other Michael from Park Slope says:

We are trying to make the streets we walk, cycle and yes drive safer.

You are an annoying distraction. Please go away.
March 10, 2012, 6:13 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Other Michael, why should motorists be the only ones subject to follow every letter of the law when so many cyclists and pedestrians don't have to? I smell a double standard here. Then again, what's new from you Streetsbloggers anyway? That famous quote known as "Do as I say, not as I do" fits your kind very well. Your kind has no legitimacy to another how to act when your's doesn't, so start practicing what you preach for once. Hearing this reminds me so much of George Orwell's Animal Farm where the special animals, that describe you, believe that you are above all others compared to everyone else who must follow the laws. BTW, nobody tells you to go away, so knock it off already.
March 10, 2012, 6:40 pm
Other Michael from Park Slope says:

I have never advocated for lawlessness. Never.

Now go away.
March 10, 2012, 11:10 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Other Michael, if only I can believe you, but for some reason, I can't. If you truly believe that radical cyclists are so bad, then I went you to cite when you have actually called them out. With the way you are talking, you probably either remained silent or rushed to their defense. You are sort of like those Palestinian protesters who were just outside a military prison calling for the release of a terrorist, but was silent when he did the very attack. Maybe you need to take some time off from the internet, because it seems to make you feel bent out of shape on this, and according to studies, that was the way some felt when they were on it almost 24-7 compared to those who weren't online that much.
March 11, 2012, 2:34 pm
Other Michael from Park Slope says:

I don't know anything about Palestine, so I don't tell Israel how to run it's country.

You don't know anything about Atlantic Ave. Go away.
March 11, 2012, 5:12 pm
manhatposeur from Portlyn Lakes Park says:
Tal get off your fat a$$ and learn to appreciate the benfits of bike riding.
plus, Atlantic Avenue is not Indy 500 or NASCAR race track.
March 12, 2012, 8:31 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
First off, I don't condone motorists who speed. Secondly, when was the last time you guys called out cyclists who flouted the law? More importantly, how could anyone speed on Atlantic Avenue when it has the borough's most busiest intersections, especially with the one by Flatbush Avenue alone? Also, Atlantic Avenue is considered a major thoroughfare, so there is always a lot of traffic on that street.
March 12, 2012, 2:15 pm
Other Michael from Park Slope says:

Have you ever tried to walk across Atlantic Ave in Steven Levin's district? Would you know where that is?

Go away Tal!
March 12, 2012, 4:45 pm
Nat from Greenpoint says:
did somebody say Levine's office is on Atlantic ave?
March 13, 2012, 10 am

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