There's been more scrutiny than usual in few months over traffic enforcement (or lack thereof) in Brooklyn — namely its notorious loopholes, some of which complicated the prosecution of the driver responsible for killing an entire young family — and a new look at recent traffic data is even less encouraging. It's also not too surprising: patterns of enforcement are wildly varied from neighborhood to neighborhood, and the worst by far is Bushwick.
Out of 2,873 speeding tickets written in Brooklyn in 2011, just eight of them were given in Bushwick. Eight. In a sprawling, growing neighborhood, with several major avenues, where drivers routinely drive like it's the fucking audobahn, and cyclists and pedestrians are routinely hurt or killed.
By comparison, 555 speeding tickets were given out in Greenpoint, and even the second lowest-enforced neighborhood, East Flatbush, clocked in with 45 speeding tickets over the course of the year. So far in 2013, only 2 people have been ticketed for speeding in Bushwick. Not great numbers to hear on the heels of a year in which traffic fatalities rose significantly.
And, for what it's worth, some politicians agree. "This data shows that Brooklyn needs more resources and clearer enforcement goals to deal effectively with dangerous drivers," said state Senator Eric Adams. "Until these speedsters know that they'll be caught and harshly prosecuted for their reckless behavior, they will continue to put lives at risk on our streets day-in and day-out."
Which, other than his questionable use of the term "speedsters," is true. In the case of Bushwick, it's also not something that seems likely to change anytime too soon, regardless of the neighborhood's rapid, well-chronicled changes. So, you know, keeping looking both ways and wearing helmets and all the usual stuff people do in order to not be killed by an idiot in a car. If you're a pedestrian or cyclist, our system still puts the onus on you.
Follow Virginia K. Smith on Twitter @vksmith.