New Report: Eighty Percent Of Drivers On East Elmhurst’s 23rd Avenue Speed

Speed Cameras Needed To Keep New Yorkers Safe From Dangerous Drivers

December 20, 2012
Michael Murphy 646-873-6008

Today, Transportation Alternatives and Council Member Julissa Ferreras (D-Queens) released "Elmhurst Speedway: A Study of Lawbreaking in Elmhurst." The report found that 80 percent of all drivers speed on 23rd Avenue in East Elmhurst.

"What this study shows is that in a residential neighborhood that includes a school and park only blocks away, traffic is speeding by at an alarming rate. This is unacceptable. We must have more enforcement on 23rd Avenue." said Council Member Julissa Ferreras. "While it often serves as a thruway for drivers in route to the expressways nearby, it is also the way to and from school and work for many residents. There are insufficient crosswalks and lights to help aide pedestrians get across the various streets connected to 23rd Avenue. We must do more to make certain that we prevent any future crashes, which includes speed cameras, additional signage, as well as crosswalks in order to protect the residents of this community. I hope the administration takes the recommendations of this study into account."

From 2000 to 2009 there were 29 incidents of motorists crashing into pedestrians or bicyclists on 23rd Avenue. Of the 29 crashes, 20 involved pedestrians, including one fatality

"These numbers are not only startling, they are unacceptable," said Paul Steely White, Executive Director of Transportation Alternatives. "When four out of every five motorists speed through residential streets, one has to ask why the NYPD isn't doing more to protect New Yorkers from dangerous drivers. It doesn't have to be this way. With increased enforcement from the police and the installation of speed cameras, streets like 23rd Avenue can be safe for everyone."

Over the course of four speed surveys, Transportation Alternatives found that 80 percent of all motorists on 23rd Avenue exceeded the 30 mph speed limit. The study found that 56 percent of drivers traveled 5 mph or greater over the speed limit.

While 23rd Avenue is lined with residential and commercial buildings, it's also a multi-lane road that parallels Grand Central Parkway and serves as an access route to LaGuardia Airport. These factors contribute to the presence of trucks and buses traveling through residential areas. A total of 100 commercial trucks and buses were recorded during the survey and 79 percent of them exceeded the speed limit, with 52 percent going at least 5 mph over the speed limit.

A pedestrian has a far better chance of surviving a crash with a driver who is complying with the 30 mph speed limit (80 percent survival rate), than a crash with a driver who is travelling at just 10 mph over the speed limit (30 percent survival rate at 40 mph).

Yet, the New York City Police Department consistently fails to prioritize the enforcement of the speed limit. The 115th Precinct, which covers East Elmhurst, has written four times as many tickets for tinted windows as they have for speeding. In February of this year, the 115th Precinct wrote just six speeding tickets.

Automated enforcement devices, such as speed cameras, can help catch many of the moving violations that are difficult to control through traditional traffic enforcement techniques. Transportation Alternatives supports Bill A7737/S7481, the "Neighborhood Speeds for Neighborhood Streets Act." This legislation would authorize a speed camera pilot program in New York City residential neighborhoods. Speed cameras are a low-cost, proven technology and are currently in place in over 120 American municipalities.

The full report can be found online at

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