Traffic calming is a set of street designs and traffic rules that slow and reduce traffic while encouraging walkers and cyclists to share the street. Behind traffic calming is the belief that streets are valuable public spaces that should be shared equally by all users. Traffic calming devices are simple, inexpensive, self-enforcing, and easily modified to accommodate emergency vehicles, garbage trucks, and buses. T.A. works to deepen the traffic calming tool box, and educate concerned residents and officials that safe streets need more than stop signs. T.A.’s complete guide to traffic calming, Streets for People, is available for download.
Reclaiming the CrosswalksMost New Yorkers think of sidewalks when they think of walking. T.A. focuses largely on crosswalks, where the overwhelming majority of pedestrian crashes occur. In most of these cases, the pedestrian has the right of way and is crossing with the light. Many traffic calming measures exist that can drastically reduce the crash rates and intimidation at crosswalks.
Speed HumpsOne of the traffic calming methods that is wildly popular with NYC communities is the speed hump. Speed humps are very effective in reducing speeds on neighborhood streets, contributing to greater quality of life and fewer crashes.
TrucksNew York City is overrun with oversize trucks that often turn down neighborhood streets illegally. T.A. is working to reduce NYC's reliance on trucks, to increase enforcement of laws relating to truck routes and truck size, and to encourage the city to install traffic calming devices that make it difficult for trucks to take shortcuts down neighborhood streets.
Downtown Brooklyn Traffic CalmingThe innovative $1.2 million Downtown Brooklyn project study—the first ever collaborative traffic planning venture for New York City—was the result of intensive negotiations between neighborhood groups, T.A. and City officials in late 1997 and early 1998. It came in response to a virtual uprising, manifested by a series of morning rush street blockades, by residents fed up with heavy traffic in their neighborhoods. By far the highest priority for both T.A. and the neighborhood groups who spurred the city into conducting the planning process is to reduce the number of cars traveling on west Brooklyn streets. T.A. continues to work with Brooklyn groups to ensure that the DOT does not stray from the original purpose of the project. Though it tooks years after the report’s completion for the full build-out of its recommendations, in Fall 2008, Phase I is being implemented. Phase II is slated for 2010. T.A. is working to make sure the DOT adheres to the original principles and design recommendations set forth in the plan and to win additional measures to help reduce oppressive through traffic in afflicted west Brooklyn neighborhoods.
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