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Speeding in Brownstone Brooklyn: Electeds outraged over lack of enforcement

Fast and furious: Pols outraged at NYPD for not ticketing speeders

The Brooklyn Paper

Cops in three Brownstone Brooklyn precincts ticketed just two speeding motorists for the second straight month — a disturbing trend that could cost pedestrians their lives, politicians fear.

Officers in Park Slope’s 78th Precinct did not issue a single speeding ticket in June — echoing their approach to speeding enforcement in May, records indicate. Cops at the 77th Precinct in Prospect Heights and Crown Heights followed suit, giving out no speeding tickets last month after issuing just one over the previous 30 days, while police at Fort Greene and Clinton Hill’s 88th Precinct ticketed two speeding motorists — up from one in May.

Elected officials say the stats show a frightening policy of inaction.

“The reason why so many ghost bikes are in our neighborhood is that they’re a symbol of all the fatalities we have experienced,” said Councilwoman Letitia James (D–Fort Greene). “The NYPD needs to get serious about drivers who speed.”

The NYPD did not respond to requests for comment, but community leaders were quick to say the department’s lack of speed-limit enforcement runs directly contrary to another city campaign: an aggressive anti-speeding initiative by the Department of Transportation that uses billboards, ads, and “slow zones” in an attempt to coerce drivers into slowing down.

“I don’t think that one side of City Hall is communicating with the other,” said James. “The NYPD is again on its own in not coordinating with all the other initiatives that are being put forth to address speeding.”

Other neighborhood leaders say cops must rethink their priorities.

“Our precincts need to do more, and residents in the area expect more,” said Councilman Steve Levin (D–Downtown), who once used a radar gun to prove that 88 percent of Atlantic Avenue motorists exceed the speed limit. “People speed down Atlantic Avenue at many times of the day, especially when there is no traffic. I see it every day from my office.”

James and Levin said they asked NYPD brass to address reckless driving at a council hearing on traffic enforcement in February — a meeting where the department admitted it issued nearly twice as many tickets to cyclists as it did to truck drivers in 2011. Both politicians say they are still awaiting an official response.

Cops at the 88th Precinct have only ticketed 18 speeding motorists all year, but the enforcement drought appears to have begun in recent months in Park Slope, Prospect Heights, and Crown Heights.

Data from the first four months of 2012 shows that the 77th and 78th precincts averaged nine and 20 speeding tickets per month until May, when the numbers dropped.

Not that police weren’t out there giving tickets. Cops in the three precincts issued a combined 513 tickets to drivers using cellphones behind the wheel in June alone.

Other Brownstone Brooklyn precincts issued slightly more speeding tickets — with cops at Brooklyn Heights, Downtown, and DUMBO’s 84th Precinct doling out six in June, and the 76th Precinct, which covers Cobble Hill, Carroll Gardens, and Red Hook, leading the pack with eight.

Pedestrians say motorists in the neighborhoods treat the streets like a speedway.

“It’s scary around here — people drive like they’re on a highway,” said Fort Greene resident Nancy Finton as she walked down Lafayette Avenue with her young son.

Reach reporter Eli Rosenberg at erosenberg@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-2531. And follow him at twitter.com/emrosenberg.

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Reader Feedback

Trevor from Brooklyn says:
Shame on the NYPD for not keeping pedestrians safe. Shame on them.
July 25, 2012, 8:30 am
Man from La Mancha says:
Wow
July 25, 2012, 8:59 am
D from Bklyn says:
Zero speeding tickets? Come stand outside my apartment for two minutes. The NYPD could write a dozen. This is terrible.
July 25, 2012, 9:54 am
ch from bh says:
they're too busy issuing sham-tickets to cyclists in retribution for asking them to move their squad car!
July 25, 2012, 10:01 am
RP from Prospect Heights says:
It takes just five minutes on Flatbush, Vanderbilt, or Washington to see how much of a problem this is—especially during rush hours when the red light chasers seem really eager to make that next block before having to comply with traffic laws.
July 25, 2012, 10:04 am
boof from brooklyn says:
Motor vehicles will never be taken seriously as transportation until their operators learn the laws and begin to follow them.
July 25, 2012, 10:08 am
T from Slope says:
We should stop building "car lanes" until scofflaw motorists learn to obey the law.
July 25, 2012, 10:17 am
John from Bay Ridge says:
This is a widespread problem in Brooklyn. The 68th Prec has long ignored speeding and other moving violations. This is an issue with the management of the NYPD from the top on down.
July 25, 2012, 10:21 am
Ken from Bk-Heights says:
Yet another person was hit by a car on Adams street last week. Why can't we have speeding cars slowed down??
July 25, 2012, 12:54 pm
S from PPW says:
The 78th is busy ticketing cyclists in Prospect Park. Sorry, Brooklyn, you're on your own.
July 25, 2012, 1:46 pm
Juan from Gowanus says:
Disgraceful. We deserve better.
July 25, 2012, 2:13 pm
Bklyn biker from South Slope says:
There are cars going 50-60 mph as they pass other cars going 35-40 on 5th avenue. It's not hard to find or see these drivers.
What IS the NYPD doing?
(Besides busting bikes, right or wrong?)
July 25, 2012, 4:10 pm
Other Michael from Park Slope says:
and how many drivers are talking or texting?
July 25, 2012, 5:14 pm
S from PPW says:
Or failing to yield to pedestrians who have the right of way in the crosswalk? Speeding is just the tip of the iceberg as far as deadly driver behavior is concerned.
July 25, 2012, 6:59 pm
Peter from Brooklyn Heights says:
It's a cultural thing.

How many cops walk to work, or walk as part of their jobs?

They drive. They think like the suburban drivers most of them are.
July 25, 2012, 7:54 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
I will not argue about those who speed, but when there isn't much traffic, it gives the motive to go faster. As long as they are not running red lights or getting into other accidents, I don't see much of the problem here. It's interesting how some of these politicians bring up ghost bikes when it's very possible that many of those cyclists probably got the way they did by placing themselves into harm's way. By that, I am referring to disobeying all traffic lights and signs. More importantly, they are known to strike without warning for that especially when they tend to go the wrong way on one way streets. For the record, I do follow the traffic laws a zillion times more than just about all cyclists do combined. If flouting the laws is so wrong, then why do some of bike zealots never follow the laws yourselves? When are you all going to practice what you preach? Start with yourselves first before you go to others, otherwise you have no moral legitimacy in what you say.
July 25, 2012, 8:24 pm
John from Williamsburg says:
Stop speeding cars? They go fast and it takes effort to catch them. Also, the NYPD prefer confrontations with better odds, like 7 cops frisking 1 minority. Cars might have 2 or more people in them, and weapons too! Too much bother. Might be dangerous. It's easier to wait a few minutes, then process the resulting hit and run.
July 25, 2012, 8:31 pm
mike from GP says:
Speeding, reckless driving, failure to yield.. all of this is an epidemic in Greenpoint, and this behavior kills, maims and ruins lives. And yet the NYPD does very little. It's a problem because of both their "windshield perspective" and a lack of resources. Why does Ray Kelly still have a job?
July 25, 2012, 8:50 pm
SwampYankee from ruined Brooklyn says:
It's a wash. I'm a pedestrian and NYPD does nothing about cyclists running red lights either. between the speeding cars and the arrogant cyclists a pedestrian is on their own out there. Cyclists and drivers deserve each other.
July 25, 2012, 8:56 pm
S from PPW says:
Shame on Tal Barzilai.
July 25, 2012, 10:34 pm
Chris from Bushwick says:
Tal, go back to meddling in the affairs of Westchester County. We don't care what you think.
July 25, 2012, 11:16 pm
whatever from Greenpoint says:
Oh Tal....once again the broken record that no one cares or even agrees with (except swampYankee). Yeah Bicycles the evil of the world! Now you will say, "I didn't say 'evil', blah blah blah...bicycles ALL need to blah blah blah....." - do you hear the skip in the record?
July 25, 2012, 11:27 pm
Other Michael from Park Slope says:
So it is likely that I will get a ticket for not stopping at a red light when I am in a park on my bike when nobody is crossing the street but unlikely that I will get a ticket for speeding in my car in a residential neighborhood.

Yea, this makes sense. Not.
July 26, 2012, 7:34 am
Eric Holder from DC says:
Wait - Fast and Furious is about me trying to get American guns into Mexico, so I can argue that American guns are bad.

200 Mexicans have been killed by those guns and at least 1 US border agent.

I've been stonewalling about Fast and Furious, because it makes my boss Obama look bad.

Wars have been started for less than this, but it's our legacy, so don't try to call anything else Fast and Furious!
July 26, 2012, 8:15 am
Em from Red Hook says:
"I will not argue about those who speed, but when there isn't much traffic, it gives the motive to go faster. As long as they are not running red lights or getting into other accidents, I don't see much of the problem here." - Tal

That's plain wrong. No, make that idiotic. No problem with speeding as long as not running lights or getting into accidents? It's not a problem, until it is. Another motorist makes a left, or a car pulls into traffic from a parking spot. suddenly it's a problem. The speed limit is there because there's a traffic speed at which other motorists, cyclists, or pedestrians taking ordinary actions are suddenly thrust in unsafe situations because some yahoo is doing 50 or 60.

I don't know if it's true, but here's what an officer on 4th Ave in the 78th told me a couple weeks ago. He said they were trying to crack down on unsafe or reckless driving in the area. But, he said it was very difficult to get speeding tickets to stick in court, so, they were focusing on on violations. Apparently, the standard that the court holds for an officer to establish speeding is high. The officer needs to follow a speeding car for a certain distance to document the speed. If that is in fact true, I'd like to see a few radar guns out there in some good old fashioned speed traps.
July 26, 2012, 10:59 am
NYC Parent from Prospect Lefferts says:
Because NYPD is now, primarily, a revenue collecting arm for the Leviathan NYC Gov't, that is ever hungry to sustain itself with more $ from the citizens.

Mayor B. has perfected this to an art form.

In five minutes, an NYPD officer can ticket 2-3 cars for parking violations that, at best, are quality of life nuisances.

It would take that same officer 20-30 minutes to issue one moving violation (pull over, license check and fill out the paperwork).

It's just more efficient for the NYPD to collect revenue from stationary, easy targets.

The same goes for the new restaurant "grading system" that has so many arcane and useless metrics that it becomes a completely discretionary tool for inspectors to just extort more $ from perfectly clean businesses.

Why do Prospect Park Officers ticket dog owners for off-leash, but in 2 years have issued ZERO tickets for littering or gross BBQ violations that actually trash the park? Because middle class dog owners will pay the fine.

The real culprit here is out of control NYC Government that is primarily concerned about "feeding the beast" i.e. itself.

Vote no to taxes, "good idea" social programs that we don't need, and let's get our City government working for the taxpaying citizen again.
July 26, 2012, 1:30 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
As usual, the bike zealots and anti-car crowd gangs up and attacks me especially with name calling, which I find to be very cowardly if you asked me. Of course, websites such as Streetsblog have been known for being biased against cars, and will hate any who drives them. Every time there is an accident by a bicycle, they try to either shove it under the rug or bury it somehow. BTW, running a red light and/or stop sign is illegal whether or not the intersection is clear. If all other motor vehicles are not allowed to do this, then why should bicycles be allowed to do so? Are they those special animal from George Orwell's famous book, Animal Farm? Again, I do follow the traffic laws a lot so I do have the moral legitimacy to criticize those that don't unlike the rest of you who probably believe that everyone but you has to be subject to them.
July 26, 2012, 5:21 pm
ty from pps says:
Tal -- Shut up. Why does your mom let you use the internet? Does she know what you are doing in your room?
July 26, 2012, 10:24 pm
Other Michael from Park Slope says:
Tal

When you have something useful to add to the conversation, do it. Till then GO AWAY.
July 27, 2012, 6:53 am
John from Bay Ridge says:
The only way that ordinary cops in the local prec will ever make enforcing moving violations a priority is if Ray Kelly decides that it is a priority. Unless pressure is applied to Ray, speaking to local commanders is a complete waste of time.
July 27, 2012, 10:26 am
Scott from Park Slope says:
Boerum Hill has the right idea--reduce the speed limit to 20mph throughout the neighborhood. Implement speed bumps and time the lights. Slow the speeders down. Local precincts are no use. They will never crack down on speeders because that would be work; and why would they, when their natural sympathies are with the speeders?

Those cops don't live here, and don't understand why these primarily pedestrian neighborhoods bursting at the seams with young children and young families would want cars to slow down. They would probably privately chuckle if a toddler from this part of Brooklyn were mown down, because that would teach all of us, right? It would show us the cost of challenging the supremacy of the hot rod, the 70's Brooklyn icon of manhood, and show us our rightful place; and Tal, SwampYankee, Or, and Pat I. would be right behind them, waving their bigoted flags of self-righteousness.

Well, I choose to be pro-family, pro-children, pro-public safety, and pro-common sense. If drivers want to go really, really fast, then let them travel to the Bonneville Salt Flats and get it out of their system. Or, they can go to New Jersey. Same difference. But let the rest of us cross the streets with our kids in peace.
July 27, 2012, 11:19 am
Duff from Now in Florida says:
Try driving in Florida, where it takes at least 3 cops for a single speeding ticket. (stupidity) Try driving in Florida where No One Other Than Northerners Know that the stinking left lane is for passing not keeping with the limit, that's what the right lane is for! SOUTHERNERS KILL ME!! I HATE IT HERE.
July 28, 2012, 12:08 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Do you some of you know how to have a conversation without making personal attacks? I guess not. You don't hear me making any personal attacks at you for what you guys side on. No wonder why a website such as Streetsblog has so many enemies rather than allies. Every time a group or individual (mainly a politician) that doesn't agree with them, they are black listed. Sometimes, those that get hit sort of asked for it if they were jaywalking. On busy streets, one shouldn't be doing this or they are placing themselves into harm's way. Then again, there are those who love doing that. Still, I find reducing speed limits to be nothing more than a slippery slope where new scapegoats will just be made by anti-car groups later on saying that those should be stopped as well, which will drive out a lot literally because of those laws.
July 28, 2012, 6:03 pm
Chris from Bushwick says:
Tal, you have a non-sensical opinion that's based in delusions and conspiracy theories, and is therefore undebatable. In addition, you meddle in affairs of a neighborhood that's nearly an hour drive from where you live. That's the very definition of an Internet troll, and that's why we personally attack you.

Nobody at Streetsblog is crying to ban cars in Westchester County or ruin your suburban, car-centric lifestyle up there. Yet you constantly push some sort of deluded agenda to make our own car-clogged streets unlivable in some of the most densely-populated neighborhoods in the city. You accuse us of pushing an agenda, yet you yourself are pushing an agenda, and doing so with ad-hominem attacks on cyclists, and absurdly attacking cyclists as a defense for law-breaking drivers who routinely kill pedestrians.

Many of us are just pedestrians - some with children who we also want to keep safe when we cross the street. Some of us have never ridden a bike in our lives or choose not to bike in the city. You don't know us, you never acknowledge that we might know our own neighborhoods better than you, you don't care for our safety, and you don't deserve a "conversation" with us.

Bottom line: shut up and leave us alone. We don't care what you think, and we never will.
July 30, 2012, 2:43 pm
Tom from Bay Ridge says:
I would much rather that the police spend their time chasing criminals than chasing speeders. I can get out of the way of a speeding car far easier than a speeding bullet. I don't know why people are always making the police the scapegoats for any/all of their problems. NYPD is probably the most profeesional force in the world and they have the hardest job. We are a very diverse city that requires so much undeerstanding of the different cultures and overall they seem to do an excellent job. They cannot, however, be everywhere at once so I am for them getting the bad guys that actually mean to hurt people.
Aug. 18, 2012, 11:57 pm
dporpoentine from East Flatbush says:
@Tom from Bay Ridge:
So the 241 pedestrians or cyclists killed by cars in New York in 2011--those deaths weren't criminal, right? Every one of them deserved it, right? And speeding wasn't the top-cited cause of serious crashes in the city that year, right? Right. Speeding: not a serious crime.
March 4, 2013, 9:55 am

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