Case Studies

New York: Slow Zones

In November 2011, the New York City Department of Transportation (NYCDOT) launched its first Neighborhood Slow Zone pilot program in the Claremont neighborhood of the Bronx. The area was selected for its relatively high frequency of serious traffic crashes and for its definable boundaries that could be easily marked for a zone. The goal of the program was to slow down the speed limit from 30 mph to 20 mph in order to reduce number and severity of traffic crashes within the zone. To do so, NYCDOT installed blue “gateway” signs at each of the 14 street entrances to the zone. Within the quarter-square-mile area, NYCDOT added 28 signs marking the 20 mph speed limit, nine speed bumps in addition to the existing five, and 45 “20 mph” road markings.

NYCDOT’s launch of the Claremont pilot coincided with the start of its new application process allowing communities throughout the city to request their own slow zones. NYCDOT evaluated community applications for slow zones using criteria such as severity crashes per mile, the number of schools and senior- and day-care centers, and the presence of truck and bus routes. The agency will work with communities to design the slow zone traffic-calming measures before presenting the proposals to Community Boards for approval and implementing them. NYCDOT then announced the launch of 13 slow zones throughout New York City slated for implementation in 2012.

This material is the product of a partnership between America Walks and Sam Schwartz Engineering. Visit here for more information on the partnership.