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Study finds speeding at Northern, Junction blvds

Nearly 40 percent of city motorists violate speed limits, including those at a Queens intersection where drivers routinely roar past a school and a police precinct.

The speed limit in New York is 30 mph, but safety advocates have long said many motorists do not observe it.

The information was released last week by Transportation Alternatives, an organization that promotes, bicycling, walking and using mass transit.

The organization reported that 39 percent of motorists at the points observed citywide were exceeding the 30 mph limit.

“Speeding is endemic on New York City streets,” the report said. “It is the primary factor in more than 2,300 motor vehicle collisions in the city each year — three times the number of alcohol−related collisions.”

The organization spent eight months collecting and formulating data from 13 locations in all five boroughs, including the intersection of Northern and Junction boulevards in Corona.

Transportation Alternatives reported that 32 percent of motorists driving through the Queens intersection were driving more than 30 mph as they sped past a school and the 115th Precinct station.

Five pedestrians, including two bicyclists, have been killed and 188 injured, including 140 pedestrians and 48 bicyclists, at the Queens intersection between 1995 and 2005.

The worst place in town was on Rogers Avenue in Prospect−Lefferts Gardens in Brooklyn, where 88 percent of motorists were in violation and 25 percent exceeding 40 mph. Some motorists at Webster Avenue and 195th Street in the Bronx clocked in at 66 mph.

Seventy percent of drivers were speeding despite a school zone on East Houston Street in Manhattan.

Even 10 mph over the speed limit can have fatal consequences, according to Transportation Alternatives.

“If you hit a pedestrian at 40 miles an hour, the chance of that person dying doubles,” said Paul Steely White, chairman of Transportation Alternatives.

Locations chosen for speed checking were based on complaints about speeding and reckless driving from community activists and the general public, as well as prevalence of pedestrian and cyclists injured or killed by motor vehicle crashes.

Transportation Alternatives recommended the following:

• installing speed enforcement cameras, which would require permission from the state Legislature.

• gathering data on speeding and other traffic crimes. “The NYPD currently records only the number of speeding tickets (more than 70,000 in 2008) issued to speeding drivers, which can be completely unrelated to the underlying problem and which rewards the writing of tickets rather than reduction of traffic crime,” the report said.

• designing streets for lower speeds. “Outdated street geometry encourages speeding with excessive lanes and in intersection design that allows drivers to make turns [at] high speeds,” Transportation Alternatives said.

Reach contributing writer Philip Newman by e−mail at news@timesledger.com or phone at 718−229−0300, Ext. 136.

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