WITH PUBLIC SCHOOLS OPENING TOMORROW, NYC DOT REMINDS DRIVERS TO EXERCISE EXTRA CAUTION ON NEW YORK CITY ROADWAYS
So far in 2023, the agency has already completed 15 safety projects near schools – with another 29 in progress – by installing raised crosswalks, increasing pedestrian space and slowing drivers near schools; Schools are still welcome to apply to reimagine adjacent neighborhood Open Streets for student use
Speed cameras are now 24/7, with new data illustrating how they remain an incredibly effective tool in saving lives around the clock
New York – NYC DOT Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez today issued an alert to motorists in advance of the first day of classes in NYC public schools, urging them to drive carefully. DOT also used the opening of schools to highlight the number of safety projects near schools the agency had already completed this year or has in progress as well as to encourage schools to apply to have Open Streets added on adjacent streets. The Commissioner also cited recent data on the success of 24/7 camera enforcement to reduce speeding, injuries and fatalities near schools.
“Under Mayor Eric Adams, nothing is more critical than the safety of our children – so that is why we are asking drivers to prepare themselves to exercise extra care on roads as our kids return to school this week,” said Commissioner Rodriguez. “ If you must get behind the wheel, there can be no excuse for unsafe driving: you must obey all laws, but especially those against speeding and failure-to-yield near school zones. We have done extra work to make streets near schools safer and to add more Open Streets this year, and our speed cameras are still working 24/7. Drivers need to slow down, be patient and remember to keep our most vulnerable street users – our kids – at the top of their minds.”
Safety Projects and Open Streets Near Schools: The Commissioner noted that thus far in 2023, DOT had completed 15 safety projects located within 250 feet of schools across the City, with another 29 in progress. Work in the safety projects includes a range of treatments that increase pedestrian space and reduce crossing distances, as well as add vertical elements that slow drivers. Among the major new elements near schools are raised crosswalks, which increase pedestrian visibility and slow drivers at intersections, as well as provide greater accessibility for the disability community.
Among safety projects completed or in progress this year, DOT highlighted those near the following schools:
- PS 192: 18 Ave & 47 St, Borough Park – New raised crosswalk
- PS 94: 6 Ave & 50 St, Sunset Park – New raised crosswalk
- Our Lady of Grace School: Bronxwood Ave & E 225 St, Williamsbridge – New raised crosswalk
- Springfield Gardens High School: Springfield Blvd and 143rd Rd – New traffic signal and crosswalks (see photo above). Along Springfield Boulevard, a major safety project between 144th Avenue and 131st Avenue has increased pedestrian safety by adding median tip extensions and curb extensions at intersections to increase pedestrian space, as well as left-turn traffic calming.
- PS 38*: Lincoln Avenue, Midland Beach – Improvements near the school will include a new crosswalk, curb extensions, parking lane striping as well as five new speed humps. Other safety-related changes to discourage speeding are being added to the Lincoln Avenue corridor from Father Capodanno Blvd to Boundary Avenue.
The agency also encourages public, private, and charter schools to apply to have adjacent streets converted into Open Streets during school hours. Schools may use Open Streets for safer drop off/pick up operations, recreation, and outdoor learning. So far this year, 62 Open Streets have been approved for schools, with 10 further applications currently under review. Interested schools should learn more and apply at nyc.gov/openstreets.
Effectiveness of 24/7 Speed cameras: Last month, DOT released the results of speed-camera enforcement in the year since Mayor Adams had “flipped the switch” on 24/7 operation. Results since the 24/7 change on August 1, 2022 indicate that speeding, injuries, and traffic fatalities declined in school zones with speed cameras during the first year. Speed camera violations dropped an average of 30%, with the most dramatic drop occurring on Houston Street in the East Village, where speeding declined by 96%. In addition to the reduction in speeding, injuries also declined by 25% along corridors with camera enforcement across the city.
Banner Image: School bus. Image Credit – Megan Lee