How to Stop Speeding Drivers in N.Y.C.? Scare Them

A brand new billboard in East New York reveals a pedestrian thrown into the air after bouncing off the entrance of a automotive, as his espresso splashes in all places. “Dashing ruins lives,” it says. “Decelerate.”

The objective of the marketing campaign is to scare dashing drivers on this Brooklyn neighborhood, the place 35 folks have been killed in site visitors crashes since 2017.

It’s a part of New York Metropolis’s newest effort to battle rampant dashing, which has turned neighborhood streets into raceways and propelled site visitors deaths to the very best degree in eight years.

“It’s getting uncontrolled — day-after-day vehicles are dashing,” mentioned William Candelario, 64, whose auto restore store within the neighborhood was slammed into by a van final 12 months.

Credit score…New York Metropolis Division of Transportation

On Monday, the town’s transportation commissioner, Ydanis Rodríguez, will unveil a brand new security marketing campaign in three dozen neighborhoods like East New York, the place site visitors fatalities and accidents are among the many highest within the metropolis.

Focused areas embody Bushwick and Canarsie in Brooklyn, Jamaica in Queens, Harlem and Washington Heights in Manhattan and Hunts Level within the South Bronx. Metropolis officers mentioned these neighborhoods had been chosen primarily based on elevated crash information.

“We’ve got seen simply too many individuals dying on our streets, with crashes disproportionately concentrated in sure New York Metropolis communities,” Mr. Rodríguez mentioned.

The marketing campaign will function 18 high-profile billboards alongside high-crash roads and highways, in addition to posters on the again finish of public buses and at gasoline station pumps. Metropolis staff will likely be dispatched handy out postcards, brochures and fliers.

In New York Metropolis, site visitors deaths have risen to 64 this 12 months by way of April 26, from 61 for a similar interval final 12 months — largely due to a spike in deaths amongst drivers and passengers, which practically doubled to 23 this 12 months from 13 final 12 months.

Pedestrian deaths — although nonetheless the biggest share of site visitors deaths — fell to 30 this 12 months from 39 final 12 months.

Two cyclists had been additionally killed, the identical as final 12 months, in addition to 4 riders of motorized units, which was two greater than the 12 months earlier than, amid a pandemic growth in biking and electrical bikes, scooters and skateboards.

Simply over one-quarter of the 64 deaths this 12 months had been on highways — together with three deaths every on Henry Hudson Parkway and Grand Central Parkway — whereas the remaining had been on native streets all through the town.

The site visitors deaths have reversed among the hard-won positive factors of the town’s eight-year-old transportation coverage, known as Imaginative and prescient Zero, which as soon as aimed to remove all site visitors deaths and had change into a nationwide mannequin. Underneath the coverage, the town received state approval to decrease the pace restrict to 25 m.p.h. from 30 m.p.h. on most streets, constructed a sprawling community of practically 2,000 automated pace cameras, and redesigned many streets to make them safer for pedestrians and cyclists.

Mayor Eric Adams, who took workplace in January, has promised to increase on Imaginative and prescient Zero efforts. He just lately pledged $904 million to the city’s streets plan over the subsequent 5 years, which is able to embody redesigning harmful intersections and including extra protected bike lanes and pedestrian areas. He has mentioned police officers will even enhance enforcement of site visitors legal guidelines.

As well as, metropolis officers are lobbying state lawmakers for native management of metropolis streets, which might give them authority to set pace limits, increase crimson mild cameras, and prolong hours for pace cameras at school zones to nights and weekends — when the cameras are off and dashing has soared. “Town wants to have the ability to management its personal future, in order that we will shortly make modifications that meet the present disaster,” Mr. Rodríguez mentioned.

The brand new billboard and media marketing campaign, which is able to value $4 million, goals to bolster these different site visitors security efforts by attempting to alter driver conduct.

“It is a disaster and we have to use each software attainable to make our streets safer,” mentioned Danny Harris, the chief director of Transportation Alternate options, an advocacy group, which has pushed the town to handle the site visitors violence.

There was an epidemic of dashing and reckless driving across the nation in the course of the pandemic partly as some drivers have change into emboldened by emptier roads and lax police enforcement, in accordance with transportation specialists. New York Metropolis has additionally seen an increase in automotive possession as many individuals have averted public transit.

Even earlier than the pandemic, a rising variety of cities sought to decrease pace limits and design safer roads over considerations that larger speeds and bigger autos like S.U.V.s led to extra extreme accidents and fatalities.

“The chance of loss of life exponentially will increase as pace will increase,” mentioned Alex Engel, a spokesman for the Nationwide Affiliation of Metropolis Transportation Officers. “That is particularly vital because the autos on the streets have gotten bigger.”

The eight-week, citywide marketing campaign will even embody television ads exhibiting a pedestrian or bike owner being thrown backward in sluggish movement. And it’ll goal drivers on social media, primarily based on their on-line searches, and run in sure print publications.

Erick Guerra, an affiliate professor of metropolis and regional planning on the College of Pennsylvania, mentioned that whereas media campaigns are vital, they don’t have the identical fast impact on slowing down drivers as, say, increasing using automated pace cameras. “I feel it takes a very long time to alter a tradition of driving in the identical means it took a protracted strategy to change a tradition of smoking,” he mentioned.

Some transportation advocates have known as on cities to focus extra on redesigning harmful streets, saying that it’s not sufficient to come back right into a neighborhood and inform drivers to not pace when its streets had been primarily constructed to maneuver site visitors as quick as attainable.

“It’s a vicious cycle,” mentioned Leah Shahum, the chief director of the Imaginative and prescient Zero Community, a non-profit marketing campaign. “Why is there dashing right here? It’s due to the setting we constructed.”

In East New York, the billboard there will likely be seen by drivers going by way of a very harmful intersection at Atlantic and Pennsylvania Avenues, the place 167 folks — together with 154 motorcar occupants — had been injured in crashes from 2015 to 2019, in accordance with the most recent information obtainable.

Laura Remigio, 35, a make-up artist and stylist who mentioned she was nearly hit by a automotive whereas visiting a shopper in East New York, mentioned that drivers go too quick and have lower her off within the crosswalk. “It’s purported to be folks first and the vehicles wait — they usually don’t wait,” she mentioned. “I’m working as a result of the vehicles don’t cease.”

However Ian Johnson, 67, a driver from New Jersey, mentioned that some pedestrians additionally have to pay extra consideration. He mentioned he typically has to honk at individuals who don’t look as they cross or are on their telephones “once they nearly stroll into my car.”

Mr. Candelario, whose auto restore store is steps away from the billboard, mentioned he hoped the billboard would lastly get the eye of drivers.

“It’s a watch opener and it makes you suppose,” he mentioned. “You’ve bought to be onerous. You’ve bought to place just a little worry in it.”

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