Cops in Park Slope are doing something seldom attempted by the New York Police Department — enforcing traffic laws.
Undercover officers with the neighborhood’s 78th Precinct went on a ticketing blitz on Thursday and Friday, hitting drivers with the seldom-enforced charge of failure to yield to a pedestrian, according to police. Only instead of camping out near crosswalks to watch for the countless infractions that occur in a given hour, the precinct had undercover cops pose as hapless walkers. However they did it, the car crackdown is a step in the right direction, road safety activists say.
“Drivers are supposed to yield because anything could go wrong,” said Doug Gordon, Park Slope resident and writer of the bike activist blog Brooklyn Spoke. “This is a really good and easy way to make walking a little safer for everyone.”
Over two days, the girls and boys in blue handed out 16 summonses, one sixth of the 96 they gave out over all of 2013, and nearly two thirds of the 26 they wrote in December.
The crosswalk stings come as part of Mayor DeBlasio’s road safety agenda and they took place less than two weeks after the city supposedly started issuing tickets from 20 speed cameras in school zones as part of DeBlasio’s plan to bring traffic deaths down to zero by 2024. The Sloper-in-chief wants to devote more cops to traffic enforcement and push legislation to lower speed limits citywide, a priority of neighborhood road safety activists.
Park Slope’s Finest should be applauded for their legwork, but reining in reckless motorists is going to take a lot more, Gordon said.
“Enforcement will be really big, and that is clearly starting, but education will be a small part of it,” he said.
The citation spree started the same day that the precinct’s commanding officer, Deputy Inspector Michael Ameri, drew praise from cyclists for personally shoveling out a section of Bergen Street bike lane next to his station house.
Nearly half of pedestrians injured in car crashes are walking in a crosswalk with the signal, according to Councilman Brad Lander’s office.