New Yorkers Gather in Park Slope to Talk Street Safety

Park Slope resident David Alquist sent us a summary of last night’s traffic safety meeting. Here are his notes, edited for style and clarity.

Approximately 30 people gathered at Congregation Beth Elohim for a meeting to address community street safety in Park Slope. The meeting was convened by Daniel Hurewitz, a Park Slope parent who was moved by the recent deaths of several children in traffic crashes, Laura Landau, Revson Fellow for Community Organizing at Beth Elohim, and Adam White, a Park Slope father and attorney who works with victims of traffic violence.

Daniel noted, during introductory remarks, that the tragic events had driven home to him how vulnerable to automobile violence other street users are. His hope is that by working together, we can effect positive change, particularly on behalf of children.

Much of the meeting was consumed by a review of current conditions, including:

  • Speeding: The DOT acknowledges, in its review of statistics for Prospect Park West following the bike lane installation, that 20 to 30 percent of drivers are still speeding.
  • Enforcement: 78th Precinct ticket categories were reviewed [PDF]. Relatively few speeding tickets are written. Many issues — difficult to enforce, lack of training, lack of resources. Some folks observed that it reflects a lack of will. Street safety needs to be addressed with the same intensity as the lowering of other crime rates.
  • DOT efforts include installing Slow Zones. But Park Slope’s application was turned down. Park Slope Civic Council President Michael Cairl explained the application process. He thinks the area we requested (all of Park Slope) was too large for DOT, and also it included “through streets” such as Eighth Avenue and Prospect Park West. Also, there was a lot of discussion about the citywide 20 mph option.

There was a “goals” vs. “strategies” discussion, and some disagreement on whether to concentrate on speeding or failure to yield. In small groups, attendees focused on drivers, police, electeds, and DOT. Breakout group facilitators will consolidate and get information to the groups in the next few days.

Alquist says another community meeting will be held on December 3.