By Paula Katinas
Motorists driving on Ridge Boulevard in Bay Ridge are going to have to slow down, now that the city has declared an eight-block stretch of the roadway a “Neighborhood Slow Zone.” The speed limit during arrival and dismissal times at schools in the zone is now 20 miles per hour. The zone is located on Ridge Boulevard from 84th Street to 92nd Street.
Councilman Vincent Gentile (D-Bay Ridge-Dyker Heights-Bensonhurst) was the driving force behind the designation. Gentile said he pushed the New York City Department of Transportation to put a slow zone on the street because he believes it would increase safety for pedestrians, particularly school children. There are four schools in the new Ridge Boulevard slow zone: the Dimitrios and Georgia Kaloidis Parochial School at 8502; Adelpi Academy at 8515; PS 185 at 8601; and Visitation Academy, 8902.
Slow Zones are a community-based program that reduces the speed limit from 30 mph to 20 mph in areas where schools are located. The city also adds safety measures within the selected area in order to change driver behavior. The ultimate goal of the Neighborhood Slow Zone program is to lower the incidence and severity of crashes, Gentile said. Slow Zones also seek to enhance quality of life by reducing cut-through traffic and traffic noise in residential neighborhoods, he said.
“This much-needed zone will cover four schools in an area that desperately needed traffic control,” Councilman Gentile said. He added that as a councilman, “my number one concern will always be for public safety and I continue to work closely with the Department of Transportation towards making our streets a safe place where pedestrians, cyclists and motorists can all co-exist safely, peacefully and responsibly.”
There are 14 slow zones in New York City, according to the DOT website. Ridge Boulevard will be the second street in Brooklyn to receive the designation. Plans are already in the works to establish a slow zone in Boerum Hill.
To start, large new signs will be installed to inform drivers that the speed limit of 20 MPH and how breaking this speed will cost a higher than normal speeding fine. Within a month or two, large flashing beacon lights will be installed that will say “20mph when Flashing” and will flash Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. and from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.