Pols propose slower speed limit in city
by Andrew Shilling
Mar 05, 2014 | 362 views | 0 0 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The NYPD reported that 268 people - 168 pedestrians - were killed in New York City traffic accidents last year, sparking Mayor Bill de Blasio’s push for the Vision Zero traffic calming initiative across the five boroughs.

In response, council members Stephen Levin and Ydanis Rodriguez introduced a bill to reduce the citywide speed limit from 30 mph to 20 mph.

The proposal comes following State Senator Martin Dilan and Assemblyman Daniel O’Donnell both introduced state legislation to allow the reduction of the city’s speed limit, unless otherwise posted.

“By reducing speed limits in New York City we will save lives and achieve the goals of Vision Zero,” Levin said. “I want to thank Senator Dilan and Assemblyman O’Donnell for introducing this legislation at the state level and urge their colleagues for their support.”

According to a study by the United Kingdom Transportation Department, pedestrians have a 45 percent chance of dying when struck by a car traveling 30 miles per hour and just a 5 percent chance when the car is traveling 20 mph.

“The data is conclusive: slower speeds decrease the probability that someone will be seriously injured or killed in a crash,” Levin said. “We have seen time and time again the pain inflicted on families as the result of crashes, and we as New Yorkers refuse to stand by and let another person be killed in traffic.”

NYPD data shows that 3,000 collisions last year resulted in injuries or fatalities.

"Speed kills, plain and simple," Rodriguez said. "Whether here or in Albany, we as legislators have a responsibility to protect the lives of our constituents.”

Paul Steely White, executive director of Transportation Alternatives, noted that while slower speed limits are just one component of a safer city, he is confident the new measures would contribute to reducing these numbers.

"Slower speeds give drivers time to react when something unexpected happens, and even if there is a crash, it's less likely to cause death or serious injury,” White said. “We need the vast expansion of the 20 mph speed limit across our pedestrian-dense city, along with consistent traffic enforcement, and the redesign of the dangerous major streets where most crashes happen."

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