Spring 2001, p.10

T.A. Coalition Tackles Neighborhood Traffic

The neighborhood Streets Network (NSN) is a citywide coalition of 100+ block associations and civic and business groups working for quiet, safe, traffic calmed streets. The Network represents a remarkable cross-section of groups, large and small, from all over the city-from Brooklyn Heights to eastern Queens, and from the South Bronx to lower Manhattan.

The Network was formed in 1994 by T.A., inspired in part by the campaign to calm traffic in Downtown Brooklyn. The Network's goal is to unite local groups that are working to calm traffic into a potent coalition pushing for citywide policy changes. Among the Network's victories were the passage in 1999 of the NYC Traffic Calming Law, the installation of 500 speed humps around the city, and the development of traffic calmed 'safe routes to schools' around almost 40 Bronx elementary schools from 1997-2000.

A traffic calming scheme prepared for a NSN member. This design uses neckdowns, a raised crosswalk, and speed humps to create a "slow street" where neighborhood residents, not speeding cars, come first. The NSN is pushing for this kind of streetscape all over the city.

The Network has four goals:

Slow and reduce traffic on neighborhood streets.
Traffic calming tools such as speed humps, neckdowns, raised crosswalks and medians slow speeds, save lives, and make streets more pedestrian and neighborhood friendly. The NYC Traffic Calming Law, passed in October 1999, allows for speeds as low as 15 mph when used in conjunction with traffic calming. This law, if implemented widely and effectively, could place NYC at the forefront of U.S. traffic calming and pedestrian safety.

Create "Safe Routes To School" programs at schools citywide.
Getting hit by a car is the number one cause of death and injury for NYC children ages 5-14. The Safe Routes to School program works to create safe walking conditions around NYC elementary schools. From 1997 to 2000, the program worked with parents, faculty, and students to create safe walking corridors at 36 Bronx elementary schools.

Increase pedestrian safety on major thoroughfares and dangerous intersections.
Big streets like Queens Boulevard, and the Grand Concourse should be thriving, pedestrian-friendly retail centers. Instead, they serve as speedways that are intimidating and dangerous to cross, and divide and isolate neighborhoods. These streets and intersections need comprehensive pedestrian improvements, including increased 'walk' cycles, pedestrian-only walk phases, red-light cameras, speed cameras, and traffic calming.

Increase funding for pedestrian, bicycle and traffic calming projects.
A study by the Network shows that current government spending is severely skewed toward motorists. Quadrupling the money spent on pedestrian safety would result in dramatically safer streets for pedestrians.

For more information on the Neighborhood Streets Network, call 212-629-8080, or email ped@transalt.org.

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NSN Members

Atlantic Avenue Betterment Association
Auburndale Improvement Association
Banana Kelly Community Association
Bronx Shepherds Restoration
Care About the Slope
Boerum Hill Association
Brooklyn Heights Association
Bronx Shepherds Restoration
Carroll Gardens Association
Chambers-Canal Civic Association
Charles St. Block Association
Cherry Tree Association
Clinton Hill Society
Dean St. Block Association
Ditmas Park Association
DUMBO Neighborhood Alliance
Eden Wald Gun Hill Neighborhood Center
First Street Resident's Association
Fort Greene Coalition for Clean Air
Fulton Ferry Landing Association
Grand Avenue Block Association
Greenpoint/Williamsburg Environmental Watchperson Project
Harlem Environmental Impact Project
Highbridge Advisory Council
Holland Street Neighborhood Association
Institute of Public Administration
Jane Street Association
Jefferson Avenue Block Association
Juniper Park Civic Association
Kingsbridge Heights Neighborhood Improvement
Linden Blvd. Improvement Association
Monroe, Nostrand, Marcy Block Association
Monroe, Patchen, and Reid Block Association
Mothers on the Move
Neighbors in Highbridge
Nos Quedamos
NYC Environmental Justice Alliance
Our Lady of Refuge PTA
Park Slope Action for the Environment
Project for Public Spaces
Richmond Town and Clark Ave.
Civic Association
Riverton Tenants Association
Seventeenth St. '200' Block Association
Sierra Club-NYC Chapter
SoHo Partnership
South Bronx Community Coalition
St. Francis de Chantal PTA
St. James/Ful/Gates Block Association
Sunset Park Restoration
Tenth St. 5th/6th Block Association
Town Hall Civic Association
Transportation Alternatives
Trees Not Trucks
Tri-State Transportation Campaign
University West Burnside
Neighborhood Association
Wakefield Tax Payers and Civic League
Walk NY
Watkins Street Block Association
West 9th Street Block Association
West Village Houses Tenants Association
University-West Burnside
Neighborhood Association
Bronx PTAs 5, 6, 14, 20, 23, 27, 41, 48, 36, 54, 55, 62, 66, 71, 73, 79, 81, 83, 95, 96, 103, 105, 106, 112, 119, 126, 130, 132, 156, 161, 214, 226, 246, 306, 360
Queens PTAs 66 and 166