Letter to the Editor: On slowing down traffic

Robert HuDock’s op-ed on slowing down traffic is very one-sided and may not be the best approach for protecting pedestrians and decreasing traffic deaths.

There are three things to consider when looking at traffic fatalities: Pedestrians, traffic flow, and the roads.

In terms of pedestrians, there are many laws guiding our safety: the issue is that these rules are not enforced by the authorities. Many deaths are due to distracted, careless pedestrians who do not believe the laws apply to them. Other major cities enforce traffic rules. Why don’t we? Teaching children traffic safety rules when they are young will go a long way to ensure most will not become another traffic fatality statistic.

Traffic flow is the next issue. Many of our local streets have become alternate routes for trucks ever since the ‘80s when the one-way toll on the Verrazano was put into effect. It flooded the Gowanus and BQE. The plan for Fourth Avenue that CB7 loves has also served to slow morning rush hour traffic from a controlled 30 MPH to an average of eight MPH. 30 MPH used to be the benchmark for safe speed. Now I guess it’s less than 10 MPH.

Next are the highways. Roads like the Gowanus and BQE are not 21st century models. The Gowanus has only two lanes merging into the BQE. That creates chronic backups at all times. It is no mystery that vehicles used for business seek alternate routes to make up the lost time. How do these vehicles bring citizens the goods and services they need in a reasonable amount of time when the expressways are not express and the streets are reduced to a crawl? What you end up with is a lot of frustrated drivers and increased road rage, which is very unsafe for everyone needing to share the streets and roads.

I have owned a field service company in this city and have been doing service calls for 45 years. Almost all the traffic changes over the past decade have hurt my bottom line. I used to be able to spend 35 to 40 minutes per hour on a job site, the rest of the time traveling. Now time on the job site is down to about 20 minutes with the rest of the hour spent in traffic or looking for parking. Gas mileage due to the long crawl is now less than 9 MPG. In this economy where so many costs are being shifted to the working person, how can this be fair or acceptable?

I may be a driver, but I’m also a citizen of this city. It is beginning to feel like I’m at war with the city and the people who think driving at a crawl all the time is the only solution to protecting pedestrians. There are many alternate ways to reduce fatalities, starting with enforcing the laws already on the books. This one-sided approach proposed by Mr. HuDock seems like a losing proposition.

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