Winter 2004, p.17

Prospect Park Speedway
T.A. finds average motorist goes 38 mph and only 7.4% obey the speed limit

Motorists race by park users on the Prospect Park Drive.

A new T.A. study shows that prospect Park’s loop drive is a haven for speeding motorists. The study was conducted in early December 2003 and used T.A.’s radar gun, the same model used by local law enforcement officials around the country, to measure the speed of 608 motorists on Prospect Park’s loop drive during morning and evening rush hours on four weekdays.

The study found that only a miniscule 7.4% of motorists were driving within the 30 mph speed limit, with an average speed on the roadway of 37.66 mph. Sixty-three percent of motorists were driving at speeds between 36 and 45 mph. Over two percent of motorists on the roadway were driving over 50 mph, with the highest speed recorded a scary 63 mph. The widespread prevalence of speeding on the drives is yet another reason that the City should ban driving in Prospect Park.

Even a small difference in speed is important because the severity of injury and chance of death increases exponentially as speeds increase. Studies have shown that at a speed of 30 mph, 40% of pedestrians who are struck are killed; but at 40 mph, 70% are killed.

The study was conducted during the annual period between November and January when there are no weekday car-free hours in the park. T.A. has long called this discontinuation arbitrary and unnecessary: Hundreds of non-motorists use the park during this period every day and they should not to have to fight for space with motorists. When rampant, deadly speeding is added to the equation, then all bets are off. At a minimum, the police department should crack down on speeding on the park’s loop drive and the New York City Department of Transportation and Parks Department should institute year-round weekday car-free hours. Park users deserve a safe park in any season.

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