Simcha Felder Wants More People to Die on Ocean Parkway
Ocean Parkway is one of the deadliest streets in Brooklyn, but it’s not dangerous enough for State Senator Simcha Felder.
Felder has introduced a bill that would raise the speed limit on Ocean Parkway to 30 miles per hour, exempting the street from NYC’s citywide 25 mph limit. The 25 mph limit was established in 2014, the first year of the city’s Vision Zero initiative, thanks to the tireless efforts of New Yorkers who lost family members to reckless drivers.
City Council Member Brad Lander says Felder’s bill is supported by Senate Republicans and the so-called Independent Democratic Conference, led by Bronx rep Jeff Klein. “To make matters worse, the Senate version is part of their budget package, so it could move quickly, in the dark of night,” Lander wrote on Facebook.
Steven Cymbrowitz, Democrat from Brooklyn, has introduced a companion bill in the Assembly.
“A speed limit change on Ocean Parkway would set a dangerous precedent,” warned Transportation Alternatives, “leaving the door open to elected officials pushing for speed limit changes on other streets, which would create a confusing and broken patchwork of variable speed limits.”
Ocean Parkway is one of the streets singled out for Vision Zero upgrades in the DOT’s Brooklyn pedestrian safety action plan. Based on the number of fatal and severe crashes per mile, it’s Brooklyn’s fourth most dangerous street for walking, behind Flatbush Avenue, Eastern Parkway, and Utica Avenue.
City data show drivers killed eight pedestrians on Ocean Parkway between 2009 and 2013, and 64 crashes resulted in death or severe injury to pedestrians during that time frame. Motorists have injured 279 people walking on Ocean Parkway in the last five years, according to TransAlt.
Neighborhoods around Ocean Parkway have a higher proportion of seniors than Brooklyn as a whole, TransAlt says. Multiple lanes of fast-moving traffic lead to crashes like the one that killed Feliks Dadiomov, an 88-year-old hit head-on by an SUV driver in a crosswalk in January.
As a City Council member, Felder was a mouthpiece for aggrieved motorists who referred to parking enforcement agents as “vultures.” In the Senate, Felder supported the city’s 25 mph speed limit, but was the only Democrat to vote against allowing NYC to put more speed cameras near schools.