Manhattan On Track To Get Its First Slow Zone

Monday, June 11, 2012

(Courtesy of the DOT)

Manhattan, where the standard form of motion is an all-out sprint, is about to be told by the NY Department of Transportation to slow down. At least in part: a couple of dozen blocks at the island's northern tip in the neighborhood of Inwood are on track to become the borough's first traffic Slow Zone.

NYC DOT unveiled Slow Zones last year. The program calms traffic by lowering a neighborhood's speed limit to 20 miles per hour — the lowest in the city — and fitting it out with safety measures such as speed bumps, signs and street markings that either force or urge drivers to slow down. The city would also remove more than 20 parking spots in the neighborhood to open up sight lines at intersections.

Inwood's Community Board passed a resolution in February that unanimously supported the Slow Zone, which would cover the blocks west of Broadway from West 218th down to Riverside Drive near Dyckman Street. A formal vote by the full board will be held on June 26. Should the Slow Zone be approved, as expected, the NYC DOT is set to put it in motion this summer.

Inwood is frequently used as a short-cut by northbound drivers, especially during the evening rush hour, to avoid paying the toll on the Henry Hudson Bridge, which spans Manhattan and the Bronx. Drivers have also learned to avoid the traffic lights on Broadway by traveling on Seaman Avenue, a parallel street that is heavily residential.

In general, Inwood's streets are hilly, narrow and almost wholly disconnected from the street grid. For those reasons, the NYC DOT not only approved the neighborhood's Slow Zone application, but doubled the size of the proposed area.

Resident Dave Thom, for one, is pleased. "Our neighborhood is packed with schools, churches and young children," he said. "I have a two year old and three year old myself and it can be nerve-wracking to see a car racing down our streets."

The city's first and only Slow Zone was installed in the Claremont section of the Bronx last year. NYC DOT is considering adding another 13 Slow Zones, including the one in Inwood, by the end of 2013.


Correction: An earlier version of this story said the slow zone would be east of Broadway, it will in fact be west of Broadway.


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Comments [6]

erinnyc from Inwood, Upper Manhattan

The traffic laws are not enforced in Inwood, so adding new laws will have no effect on the neighborhood. Motorcyclists drag race on Dyckman west of Broadway. Cars drag race on Seaman Ave. Cars, cabs, and trucks double park across from each other, making it impossible to pass. Triple parking is reserved for Sundays, at least. Cabbies make u-turns through crosswalks at red lights. Delivery persons ride motorized vehicles on sidewalks, into on-coming traffic, in city parks, and through red lights. It is the like the wild west up here. And nothing is being done to stop any of these violations. If people know there is no consequence for ignoring the law now, they certainly won't respect these proposed slow zones.

Jun. 13 2012 06:59 AM
Old Gopher

This is a wonderful idea. I look forward to the change, enthusiastically. New Yortk City should consider applying this "slow-down" solution to many other neighborhoods in Manhattan, vulnerable to speeding motorists.

Jun. 11 2012 04:23 PM
Seaman Drake from Inwood

Actually, the hundreds of double parked cars are the best kind of Slow Zone installation one could ask for -- nothing slows a speeding cabby like having to maneuver around those steel roadblocks.

But yes, Broadway will need to have double-parking enforced if there is any hope of sending traffic up Broadway instead of Seaman.

Note - the "east" in the article is a typo. Should read "west".

Jun. 11 2012 11:05 AM
Nora G from NYC

What are they going to do about the hundreds of double-parked cars?

Jun. 11 2012 10:50 AM
janice from inwood

i hope it is enforced and it works out!

Jun. 11 2012 10:20 AM

The area used as a shortcut to avod paying the toll is west of broadway and broadway, so how does having the slow zone to the east of broadway help?

Jun. 11 2012 10:14 AM

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