Study shows majority of drivers still racing down McGuinness
by Lisa A. Fraser
Apr 05, 2012 | 773 views | 0 0 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A local community group study released last week unveiled that 66 percent of drivers on McGuinness Boulevard constantly exceed the city’s 30 mph speed limit set for the notoriously hazardous road.

The study, “Slow Down: A Study of Speeding on McGuinness Boulevard” was released on Tuesday, March 27, by the McGuinness Boulevard Working Group, a coalition of community and advocacy groups, in conjunction with transit advocacy group Transportation Alternatives.

Using a radar gun, four speed surveys were taken in the morning and afternoon on four days. The group found that two-thirds of drivers exceeded the 30 mph speed limit and 36 percent of all motorists were traveling 5 mph over the limit.

As many as 75 percent of drivers exceeded the limit when the group conducted the study one day in early March, and speeds as high as 50 mph were recorded on another day.

“McGuinness Boulevard is a truck route that cuts through a residential neighborhood,” said Summer Greenstein, a member of the McGuinness Boulevard Working Group. “The design of the street, combined with signal timing that encourages the free flow of traffic, means that drivers of large vehicles can speed with impunity.”

The group also recorded 61 big commercial trucks over the duration of the study and found that 62 percent of all trucks exceeded the speed limit.

Results of the study also show that the highest speeds on the corridor are on weekday afternoons and weekend evenings, when the sidewalks are also the busiest.

“Speeding along McGuinness Boulevard has been a problem for as long as I can remember and it’s getting worse,” said Councilman Steve Levin. Levin said that he is upset, but not surprised at the results of the study.

“We have to get speeding under control for the safety of bicyclists, pedestrians and other drivers,” he added.

Labeling it the “McGuinness Speedway,” Levin noted that the road is not the only one causing concern in his district. He is also trying to crack down on reckless drivers on Atlantic Avenue in Downtown Brooklyn.

According to studies conducted by Transportation Alternatives, between 1995 and 2009, there were a total of 36 crashes between pedestrians and cars at the busy Nassau Avenue and McGuinness Boulevard intersection.

“The findings provide clear evidence that drivers continue to blatantly disregard the law on McGuinness Boulevard and endanger local residents,” said Transportation Alternatives Executive Director Paul Steely White. “The NYPD must step up enforcement of speeding in general, and in particular on McGuinness Boulevard.”

Assemblyman Joe Lentol said the report indicates the need for “immediate and sustained action by our precinct.”

He suggested earmarking a patrol car for speed limit enforcement day and night, and adding additional cars when truck traffic is at its greatest.

“Send a message to drivers loud and clear,” Lentol said. “They will pay attention.”

The Department of Transportation (DOT) said they put up countdown clocks on the boulevard last October in an effort to reduce speeding.

And Transportation Alternatives is pushing for DOT to install a mobile speed board at the Nassau Avenue intersection, so that drivers can see how fast they’re going.

The McGuiness Boulevard Working Group is calling on the New York State legislature to pass a bill known as the “Neighborhood Speeds for Neighborhood Streets Act,” which would authorize the city to use assisted enforcement technology to catch speeding drivers.

Specifically the group wants the legislation to pass because it would authorize a pilot program for speed cameras, a low-cost technology currently in use in other cities nationwide to quell speeding.

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