NYC DOT to Lower Speed Limits Across Boroughs Under Sammy’s Law

By Mohamed Farghaly |

In a move aimed at enhancing street safety, the New York City Department of
Transportation (NYC DOT) announced plans on June 25 to reduce speed limits
across targeted areas following the recent enactment of Sammy’s Law.

Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez unveiled the initiative, which will see speed limits
lowered in specific zones including schools, Open Streets, Shared Streets, and the
introduction of new ‘Regional Slow Zones’ in every borough. Sammy’s Law, passed
during this legislative session in Albany, grants the City of New York authority to set
speed limits at 20 MPH on designated streets and at 10 MPH on select streets
undergoing safety-related redesigns.

“Speeding ruins lives and reducing vehicle speeds by even a few miles per hour
could be the difference between life or death in a traffic crash,” Rodriguez said. “The
new Regional Slow Zones and other speed limit reductions announced today will
save lives and keep people safe. We are extremely grateful for Families for Safe
Streets and Amy Cohen, who has tirelessly advocated in honor of her son Sammy
Cohen Eckstein for the City to have greater control over our speed limits. We thank
Governor Hochul, State Senator Hoylman-Sigal, Assemblymember Rosenthal, and
other legislative leaders for providing New York City with another tool to keep
everyone safe on our streets.”

Starting this summer, NYC DOT will engage community boards with proposals,
allowing for a 60-day public comment period before the new limits are enforced.
The reduction effort will begin in September, with plans to implement speed limit
changes in 250 locations by the end of 2025, prioritizing areas with schools and
utilizing safety data to guide decisions.

Key measures under Sammy’s Law include reducing speeds to 10 MPH on all
current and future Shared Streets, designed to accommodate pedestrians, cyclists,
and motorists alike. Additionally, each borough will host a Regional Slow Zone
where speeds will be uniformly set at 20 MPH across defined geographic sectors.

The first of these zones is proposed for lower Manhattan south of Canal Street,
potentially implemented by year’s end or early next year.

Named after Sammy Cohen Eckstein, a 12-year-old who’s tragic 2013 death spurred
community action, Sammy’s Law also retains a 25 MPH limit on roads outside
Manhattan with at least three lanes in one direction. The legislation responds to
rising traffic fatalities, notably in Queens, where 37% of this year’s fatalities have

“As the Assembly sponsor of Sammy’s Law, I am thrilled that the New York City
Department of Transportation now has the tools needed to work with local
communities to lower speeds and make our streets safer,” State Assemblymember
Linda B. Rosenthal said. “This legislation was named in honor of Sammy Cohen
Eckstein who was tragically killed in a preventable crash in 2013. By lowering speed
limits, we can combat the scourge of reckless driving that has claimed the lives of far
too many New Yorkers. Today’s announcement heralds a city with fewer crashes
and safer streets.”

Advocacy groups like Families for Safe Streets, composed of individuals affected by
traffic accidents, hailed the legislation as a victory for grassroots activism. Their
efforts, alongside those of elected officials and other organizations, were
instrumental in driving Sammy’s Law through the state budget approval process.

“We praise NYCDOT and Mayor Adams for this initial roll out of safer speed limits in
our city. We also look forward to subsequent plans to expand this program where
data shows it will save the most lives,” said Juliane Williams, mother of Doniqueca
(Niiqua) Cooke and member of Families for Safe Streets. “These changes will
prevent more injuries and death so no one will have to go through what I am going
through, what Sammy’s mother is going through, and what countless other New
Yorkers who have experienced injury or lost a loved one due to traffic violence are
going through. We won’t stop fighting until Vision Zero is a reality.”

With its broad implications for safety and community well-being, Sammy’s Law
represents a significant stride in NYC’s ongoing efforts to curb traffic-related
dangers and foster safer streets for all residents.

“After years of hard work, we’re incredibly excited to see the City begin to
implement Sammy’s Law,”  Elizabeth Adams, interim co-executive director of
Transportation Alternatives said. “Speeding kills, and Sammy’s Law can and will
save lives across New York City. Today’s announcement is a great start, and we look
forward to a clear, data-driven, and equitable approach from the City to widely
implement Sammy’s Law.”

In Brooklyn, the areas affected by the speed limit reductions include Willoughby
Ave, spanning from Washington Park to Washington Ave; Berry St, stretching from
Broadway to N12th St; Underhill Ave, from Pacific St to Eastern Parkway; and
Sharon St, from Olive St to Morgan Ave. Moving to Queens, the impacted locations on
34th Avenue cover stretches from 69th St to 77th St, 78th St to 93rd St, and 94th St
to Junction Blvd. These adjustments are part of NYC DOT’s broader initiative under
Sammy’s Law to enhance safety measures and reduce traffic-related risks in densely
populated urban areas.


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