The Prospect Heights Neighborhood Development Council

Frequently-asked questions about a Neighborhood Slow Zone for Prospect Heights
Posted: January 7, 2012 - 7:27pm

What are the boundaries of the proposed Prospect Heights NSZ?

PHNDC will request the Prospect Heights NSZ to be implemented within the area bordered by the following major arterials:

  • Eastern Parkway and Flatbush Avenue on the south,
  • 6th Avenue on the west,
  • Atlantic Avenue on the north, and
  • Washington Avenue on the east.

Vanderbilt Avenue will traverse the Prospect Heights NSZ. Vanderbilt already has benefited from traffic calming improvements (turning lanes, bike lanes, medians) but further safety improvements should result from the NSZ. The “gateway” 20 mph speed limit signs would be posted near the crosswalk of each cross street accessed from Vanderbilt and turning vehicles should be slowed, enhancing safety.


Why is the Eastern Parkway service road not in the proposed Slow Zone?

Although the above map does not show it as such, PHNDC endorses the inclusion of  the Eastern Parkway service road, from Washington Avenue to Plaza Street as part of the Slow Zone. During January residents living on and near Eastern Parkway developed and strongly supported a separate petition requesting its inclusion. PHNDC endorses this addition to the proposed Slow Zone and we stated this in the Application we submitted to DOT on February 3. Inclusion of the service road would mean that an additional gateway would be installed at the eastern end of the service road, at the corner of Washington Avenue.


What information will be submitted to DOT?

Our NSZ application to DOT will include a comprehensive inventory of relevant institutions and transportation facilities on or within the boundaries of the Prospect Heights NSZ, including schools, playgrounds, small parks, senior centers, daycare centers, places of worship, subway stations, bus routes, truck routes, police stations, fire stations, hospitals and other healthcare facilities. PHNDC is developing the application with team of community volunteers. If you are interested in participating in the effort, you’re welcome to contact us.


How will drivers know they are entering the NSZ?

Signs and gateways will announce the presence of an NSZ. A gateway is a treatment at an intersection that uses signs and markings to bring down vehicle speeds, where drivers are clearly alerted that they are entering a traffic calmed zone. Physical gateways with concrete stanchions will help prevent dangerous side-by-side queuing, slow down turning vehicles and improve safety of pedestrians using a crosswalk.

The proposed gateway locations are:

Western region:

  • Carlton Ave at Atlantic (southbound)
  • Pacific St at 6th Ave (eastbound) (if Pacific is converted to a two-way street)
  • Dean St at 6th Ave (eastbound)
  • St Marks Ave at Flatbush (eastbound)
  • Park Pl at Flatbush (eastbound)
  • Carlton Ave at Flatbush (northbound
  • Plaza St at Vanderbilt (southbound)
  • Sterling Pl at Vanderbilt (westbound)
  • Prospect Pl at Vanderbilt (westbound)
  • Bergen St at Vanderbilt (westbound)

Eastern region:

  • Park Pl at Vanderbilt (eastbound)
  • St Marks Ave at Vanderbilt (eastbound)
  • Dean St at Vanderbilt (eastbound)
  • Pacific St at Vanderbilt (eastbound)
  • Underhill Ave at Atlantic (southbound)
  • Pacific St at Washington (westbound)
  • Bergen St at Washington (westbound)
  • Prospect Pl at Washington (westbound)
  • Sterling Pl at Washington (westbound)
  • St. John’s Pl at Washington
  • Lincoln Pl at Washington (westbound)
  • Underhill Ave at Eastern Parkway (northbound)
  • Plaza St at Eastern Parkway (northbound)


Will the Prospect Heights NSZ include new speed humps?

Yes. Speed humps have been shown to reduce speed and reduce traffic noise due to speeding. Our application will not propose specific locations for speed humps, but we support their positioning on many blocks within the NSZ. The NSZ will have the greatest effect on diverting traffic from the neighborhood if drivers have to drive slowly on each block, not merely on a few blocks. However, we don’t expect the blocks along the Dean Street and Bergen Street bus routes to have speed humps. The community will have an opportunity to provide input to DOT on the specific locations if our application is approved.


Does an NSZ have any potential negative effects?

Two possible negative effects have been brought to our attention. After consideration, PHNDC does not believe these issues outweigh the significant benefits that the NSZ would bring to Prospect Heights.

Small loss of on-street parking

As stated on the DOT NSZ website "Two parking spaces will usually be needed to be removed to construct each gateway" at an entrance point. In our opinion, this is a relatively small number and a worthwhile tradeoff. As a representative example, consider St. Marks Avenue west of Vanderbilt. The gateway to this section of St. Marks is at Flatbush.  On St Marks, there are approximately 140 parking spaces in the two blocks from Flatbush to Vanderbilt served by this gateway. Two spaces out of 140 is only 1.4% of spaces lost. Also, note that not every gateway will require the loss of two spaces.

Potential speed hump noise/vibration

The speed humps used in NSZs are not the narrow and jarring speed bumps of years past (they used to be narrow and tall and caused much noise when cars went over them). Newer speed humps are lower and wider, causing less noise when cars pass over. For example, see this video, taken of an existing speed hump on Park Place between Carlton and Vanderbilt. The two cars that cross the hump slow down considerably without any noticeable noise increase. There also seems to be no significant vibration or rattling.


Why isn't Pacific Street between Carlton and Vanderbilt Avenues in the NSZ?

Pacific Street between Carlton and Vanderbilt Aveues has been condemned by the City for use by the Atlantic Yards project. It is now a private street that belongs to Forest City Ratner. It is not administered by DOT, and access by the public is not permitted.


What can I do to help?

While we have submitted our application to DOT, we are still collecting signatures for an online petition to demonstrate community support to DOT and our elected officials. Please encourage your friends and neighbors to sign. Signing the petition will enable you to receive updates on the progress of the Slow Zone and learn about the public meetings we will be hosting should Prospect Heights be selected. 

You can also sign up for just our mailing list through the link on the upper righthand side of this page.