The New York City borough of Staten Island is known for its speeding drivers. Residents rate speeding as the top traffic concern. Stories of terrible crashes, like the recent fatal car accident in Bulls Head, are more common than they should be, given the relatively low population of the island.
News reports indicate that speeding was most likely the cause of the accident that occurred on Victory Boulevard near Signs Road. The driver veered into the path of an oncoming bus and was ejected from his Lexus SUV. Residents in the area of the accident note that even though the speed limit is 25, most vehicles are traveling much faster. One test, conducted after a mobile electronic sign was used on Crystal Avenue reminding drivers of the new speed limit, showed that drivers were traveling at speeds that exceeded 40 mph. Another test, performed by reporters from the Staten Island Advance, showed that drivers were driving at double the speed limit across the borough.
The 25 mph speed limit is the result of the mayor’s Vision Zero initiative, which is intended to cut the number of pedestrian accidents. Additionally, the program has resulted in the installation of speed cameras in school zones, a change that has significantly reduced speeding near schools. However, drivers on Staten Island are experienced at finding ways around roadblocks that could lengthen the journey. Sometimes these workarounds create traffic problems and dangers.
Drivers have taken to driving on minor roads in an effort to avoid the congestion on the Staten Island Expressway and other main arteries. The development of new destinations developed after the traffic paths were established, such as the Bricktown Center that opened in 2007, have increased speeding on Amboy. This street, which is not entirely straight, has variable speed limits because of the curves, but drivers do not always slow down despite changes in the posted speed limits.
Potholes cause drivers to swerve into adjoining lanes to avoid them rather than reduce speed. Some concerned residents have complained about speeders, but note that there does not seem to be any more police enforcement. In addition, according to one resident, the city has yet to change the speed limit signs on some streets to 25 mph to reflect the new city-wide speed limit. Finally, the roadways on Staten Island are not on the grid system as in the other boroughs. They are older and follow old paths, twisting and turning around obstacles that no longer exist but were present when the roads were designed.
New York City has identified 53 miles of Staten Island roads as historically unsafe. The city’s department of Transportation has also named 17 intersections as “priority intersections.” The action plan to address the problems of these roads and intersections include more speed limit signs, modification of signal timing and other educational and engineering efforts. The DOT and NYPD are also committed to more strict enforcement of traffic rules.
A DOT spokesperson noted that it welcomes requests for speed bumps in specific locations from local citizens. Although there is no guarantee that all requests will result in new traffic calming measures such as speed bumps, each is evaluated for feasibility.
Source: “Speeding persists when cameras aren’t aimed at Island drivers,” silive.com, May 28, 2015.