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Traffic Tickets Are Up Across the City

Monday, March 17, 2014 - 11:31 AM

Tickets for the most dangerous moving violations are up across New York City. A WNYC analysis of new NYPD data shows that in February, most precincts stepped up enforcement of speeding, failure to yield to pedestrians, and failure to stop at traffic signals.

It’s worth digging a little deeper into the numbers. Some precincts wrote 10 times more tickets this February than they did in February 2013. But that’s because ticketing last year was strikingly low. In Brooklyn’s 84th precinct, which covers Boerum Hill and Brooklyn Heights, officers wrote just 10 tickets for speeding, failure to yield and ignoring a signal combined. This year, they have issued more than 100.

In the Upper West Side’s 24th precinct, where three people were killed in early January, officers wrote 64 tickets in those three major categories, compared to 47 last year. In the 71st precinct in Crown Heights , where a 5-year-old was killed Sunday night, tickets nearly tripled, from 73 to 213. The 110th precinct in Queens, which contains three major thoroughfares (Roosevelt Avenue, Broadway, and Queens Boulevard) wrote the most tickets—317—but that was slightly fewer than the February 2013 total of 340. The 111th precinct, which is in a residential part of Queens, wrote the fewest—just 21 for the month.

February 2014 was the first month the NYPD was operating under the mayor’s 63-point Vision Zero plan (pdf), which calls on police to “[increase] enforcement against dangerous moving violations, including speeding, failing to yield to pedestrians, signal violations, improper turns/disobeying signage, and phoning/texting while driving.”  The plan also specifically directs police to “increase speeding enforcement at the precinct level.”

Speaking before the City Council in February, Chief Thomas Chan, head of the NYPD Transit Bureau, said that the ramped-up enforcement would be folded into routine patrol duties, and would not require additional resources. 

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Comments [14]

Harvey Wachtel from Kew Gardens

I'm all for vigorous enforcement of traffic laws for motor vehicles. Violation of most of these laws is often dangerous even when the driver doesn't think so. And cameras seem particularly fair: By providing physical evidence, they eliminate the possibility of overzealous enforcement.

When it comes to pedestrians, I believe enforcement should be limited to dangerous violations like running across a busy intersection against a light or crossing at a "no pedestrian crossing" location. Coming down on pedestrians for technical infractions (e.g., crossing a local street against a light after checking that no traffic is approaching) would merely encourage contempt for traffic laws in general.

Mar. 19 2014 10:50 AM
Chris Z from Katonah

What wasn't mentioned was the fact Bratton lifted the Internal Affairs presence within the traffic courts that was established previously by the Kelly administration. If officers lost a traffic court case, Internal Affairs investigators would open a case against an officer. If anyone has ever gone to traffic court in NYC you realize it's a circus. Officers would give testimony that sounds convincing but when the judge dismisses the case for whatever reason, the officer gets in trouble. Another example of how Kelly handcuffed the police from doing their jobs. Compare the increase in summons writing with Brattons first few days in office in comparison to Kelly's last few days in office. I bet the differences are dramatic.

Mar. 18 2014 09:16 PM
Daniel from Brooklyn

This is great news! We're starting off at an extreemely low level on the enforcement front, but it's obvious there has been a change at the top. Lets hope we keep moving in the right direction!

Mar. 18 2014 08:57 PM
John Fratelli from Brooklyn, NY

Cathleen Srour: riding on streets that don't have bike lanes is 100% legal.

It's strange how whenever there's talk of enforcing traffic to make it safer, the anti-bike ogre rears it's head and complains about bicycles. Is there really a comparison between these vehicles that weigh well under 50 lbs. and rarely go over 20 mph and the cars that weigh 2 tons and up and consistently exceed the 30 mph posted speed limit?

Mar. 18 2014 06:01 PM
Please Slow Down from NYC

It's almost impossible for the NYPD to keep up with the number of traffic violation in this city. We need significant camera enforcement blanketing the 5 boroughs. That would instill a culture of fear among reckless drivers citywide. Speed, red light, stop sign, failure to yield cameras; bring them all. We need it.

Mar. 18 2014 05:27 PM
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY

For the record, I actually do follow the traffic laws, which is a lot more than you cyclists and pedestrians do combined. Also, I haven't gotten any traffic violations for years, so my record is actually good. When I first commented here, it was to debunk the claim that enforcement on motorists flouting the laws wasn't done where so many on places like Streetsblog claim otherwise. Another thing is that I don't condone the actions done by reckless drivers, but I hardly hear any other cyclists and pedestrians calling lawbreakers of their own kind. I do agree with those who believe that enforcement should be stepped up on cyclists and pedestrians, but the anti-car fanatics will always be crying foul on that. Let's not forget that every motorist that someone claims here isn't following the traffic laws, I can say the same thing for every cyclist and pedestrian that doesn't as well. BTW, I have nothing against those that like to ride bicycles, just those who act like they are above the laws with them.

Mar. 18 2014 03:21 PM
editor123 from Brooklyn

To Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY the fines are much higher for motorists because their ability to cause severe harm to life and limb is exponentially higher.

Mar. 18 2014 01:32 PM
editor1 from Brooklyn

Good. Keep it up NYPD. We pedestrians need to do our part and be more aware of our surroundings and our own general behavior. That combined with motorists actually facing some consequences for reckless and dangerous driving, maybe the streets will be a little safer for pedestrians and bikers.

Mar. 18 2014 01:30 PM
Marc from Brooklyn

It never ceases to amaze me how every time the conversation is about dangerous drivers and ACTUAL carnage in NYC, some immediately seek to change to subject to bicycles.

(and even more bizarrely, HORSES!)

Meanwhile...
There have already been 37 traffic related fatalities this year
http://www.rightofway.org/vision-zero-clock
Speeding was the leading cause of NYC traffic deaths https://www.google.com/url?q=http://www.streetsblog.org/2013/03/18/dot-speeding-the-leading-cause-of-nyc-traffic-deaths-in-2012/&sa=U&ei=Y1woU43YOLLC0AH0-4CgDg&ved=0CAYQFjAA&client=internal-uds-cse&usg=AFQjCNGiKuQlGTlVQGOnS5J8gstoj9sfBA

There were 14,327 pedestrian and cycling related injuries in 2012 http://www.streetsblog.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/1146graph_2012b.gif

At least 10 pedestrians and cyclists have been killed by MTA bus drivers in the last 12 months, including Marisol Martinez, who was hit in a Brooklyn crosswalk on March 1. http://www.streetsblog.org/2014/03/07/mta-tells-city-council-agency-is-onboard-with-vision-zero-for-subways/

A 5 year old is killed by a double-parked driver http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/brooklyn/boy-5-struck-killed-van-brooklyn-article-1.1723834?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

Police Arrest Man for Drunk Driving on SI After Catching Him Speed at More Than 100 MPH ,http://www.silive.com/news/index.ssf/2014/03/driver_who_allegedly_hit_100_m.html.
MTA Bus Deaths: 4 in 2011, 8 in 2012, 10 in 2013, and 5 So Far This Year (Post) http://nypost.com/2014/03/17/fatal-nyc-bus-crashes-skyrocket/

and we will continue to see drivers running red lights, making illegal u-turns on red lights and mid-block, and otherwise drive recklessly, until the NYPD makes traffic enforcement a PERMANENT priority.

Mar. 18 2014 11:00 AM
AMHess from Harlem

This is encouraging. I see drivers speeding, running red lights and failing to yield every day. Once motorists learn to observe the law, the streets will become safer and I believe cyclists will no longer feel the need to ride on the sidewalk so much.

It's appropriate that enforcement is directed at the drivers of deadly motor vehicles. Last time I checked, pedestrians and cyclists have not killed anyone in the city lately.

Mar. 18 2014 10:04 AM

To Cathleen Srour: I absolutely agree with what you say about rogue cyclists. I encounter it everywhere I go in the city, and consider it absolutely out of control of effective enforcement. I would at this point think that the only effective means of curbing this problem as I see it and you I imagine see it is to have bicycles licensed exactly like motor vehicles are.

Much of the scourge of what we're seeing today I feel is due to the ministrations of Mayor Bloomberg's renegade Transportation Commissioner,
Jeanette Sadik-Kahn, the scars from which will be with us for a long time.

Yes, she was largely responsible for the creation of bike lanes on various streets, but these have had varying success, interfering with motor vehicular traffic in some instances, and many bikes do not observe them anyway. She encouraged the general populace to turn to bikes as an efficient, non-polluting form of transportation, and an already bad problem has gotten worse as a result, with one having constantly to look over one's shoulder when moving around the city.

Motor vehicles follow a fixed path and direction; bicycles can and do come from just about anywhere, and quite unpredictably - for that reason they are a greater danger to pedestrians. One must always look back even when walking on the sidewalk for bicyclists who have taken on an attitude of entitlement when riding on the sidewalk - the pedestrian is in THEIR way!
Of course, the problem here has to do with those drop curbs at pedestrian crossings - a boon to senior citizens who have difficulty in walking along with those who have to push rolling shopping carts. But the byproduct of this has been an open invitation for bicyclists to speed onto sidewalks, attempting to avoid vehicular traffic, making it easier for themselves, and the absolute hell with the walking pedestrian. As usual, it will take a very serious or even fatal accident for the city powers that be to see the truth of this situation and hopefully to take action. One possible remedy - although it will take years to implement - would be to design a drop curb that senior citizens and those pushing shopping carts can readily use but at the same time is inhospitable to bicycles, if such a thing is possible.

Mar. 18 2014 08:23 AM
Cathleen Srour

Is this the same street safety group that is against the Central Park Horses, was instrumental in forcing Christine Quinn out of the race for Mayor, is interested in buying the building that stables the horses and to whom Mayor De Blasio owes an enormous favor.

I doubt they are interested in enforcing traffic laws with bicylists.e.g..running red lights, riding on streets that don't have bike lanes, riding the wrong way on local streets and riding on the sidewalk. All of which I encounter regularly, just in Park Slope.

Mar. 17 2014 11:44 PM
Jeniffer Marinelli from Marine Park

Mr. Pleasantville sounds bitter about getting traffic violation. Obey the rules and get over it!

Mar. 17 2014 08:41 PM
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY

I would really love to hear what the anti-car fanatics will be saying about this. Then again, they will probably say that it's not enough as they will always by the opposite of what's happening. On a side note, I would love to see the trends on how enforcement against jaywalkers and rogue cyclists are going as well, but those said groups will probably try to block that. BTW, the fines motorists get are way higher than what pedestrians and cyclists get combined, and I'm not even talking about the surcharges that come with them, which makes me feel if the city or state is really broke or something and that they are making it up by sticking it to the little guy.

Mar. 17 2014 06:20 PM

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