In November, Mayor Bill de Blasio signed legislation that lowered the default speed limit citywide from 30 mph to 25 mph. However, the expectation was that major through-routes like Ocean Parkway and the Gowanus Expressway would remain at their previous speed limits since a higher speed is necessary to carry traffic smoothly.
The lowering of the default speed limit is a part of Vision Zero – an initiative aimed to reduce traffic fatalities citywide.
“I am proud to have co-sponsored legislation that reduced the default speed limit citywide to ensure the safety of every New Yorker. However, we were promised that major thoroughfares like Ocean Parkway would not be reduced without the input of the local community. We very clearly told the Department of Transportation that Ocean Parkway is not an appropriate street for 25 miles per hour. Applying the 25 mile per hour speed limit Ocean Parkway will actually do more harm than good for our neighborhoods: it will increase traffic and force drivers onto the surrounding narrow residential streets. Already, Waze – the traffic app – is advising drivers to avoid portions of Ocean Parkway and use local streets instead. I am asking Mayor de Blasio to put the speed limit back to 30 mph as soon as possible for the sake of my constituents’ safety and quality of life,” said Councilman David Greenfield.
“I fully support the new speed limit on the majority of roads across the city, especially in residential areas. At the same time, we must recognize the important role that major thoroughfares like Ocean Parkway play in moving high volumes of traffic as efficiently as possible. I am concerned that this lower speed limit will only serve to increase traffic on this extremely busy street without having a real impact on pedestrian safety. This will result in drivers searching for alternate routes through the neighborhoods surrounding Ocean Parkway, which will unnecessarily jeopardize the safety of residents in those areas. I am proud to support Vision Zero and the lower speed limit in appropriate areas where it will protect the public, but I do not believe that Ocean Parkway meets this criteria,” said Councilman Treyger.
Brooklyn’s Ocean Parkway was constructed as the major roadway throughout central and southern Brooklyn. The parkway is heavily trafficked since there are no parallel roads of similar capacity. Keeping this roadway at 30 miles per hour is critical to the communities’ quality of life and elimination of collisions. Many residents are also concerned that the 25 miles per hour speed limits is impractical and will be used to earn revenue via speed-cameras.