Mayor de Blasio Signs New Law Lowering New York City's Default Speed Limit to 25 MPH

October 27, 2014

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New default speed limit to take effect November 7

As key piece of Vision Zero takes hold, City undertaking major education effort promoting new speed limit and urging drivers to slow down

NEW YORK—Mayor Bill de Blasio signed legislation today that will lower the default speed limit in New York City from 30 to 25 miles per hour. Beginning November 7, the speed limit on all streets will be 25 mph, unless otherwise posted.

Excessive speed contributes to 25 percent of roadway fatalities on New York City Streets and is the leading cause of motor vehicle crashes. Reducing vehicle speed from 30 to 25 mph doubles the likelihood of a pedestrian surviving a crash.

Lowering the speed limit is one of 63 initiatives being undertaken by the de Blasio administration as part of Vision Zero, a comprehensive set of policies to reduce traffic fatalities in New York City.

“Families and children will be safer because of what we’re doing here today. Lowering the speed limit will save lives. This is a major step toward achieving Vision Zero, and it depends on every New Yorker taking personal responsibility and putting the lives of their neighbors first,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “This moment is possible because leaders like Speaker Sheldon Silver and Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito stood up here and in Albany, and partnered with this coalition of families, advocates, and the City Council to press for change.”

“We must make our streets safer for pedestrians and reduce the tragic loss of life that is too often the result of dangerous driving. In the last decade, we have passed many measures to discourage dangerous driving, including banning cell phone calling and texting while driving; prohibiting u-turns within areas adjacent to schools; and requiring motorists to yield the right of way to pedestrians in crosswalks where there are no traffic signals. Vision Zero is another important step in the right direction. It has been effective in cities around the world, and we believe it will work here in New York City. On behalf of my Assembly Majority colleagues, I want to thank Mayor de Blasio for his leadership and commitment to the safety of pedestrians and all who travel the streets of this city,” said Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver.

“New York City is dedicated to making our streets as safe as possible for pedestrians, motorists, cyclists, and all who share the road,” said Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. “I thank my colleagues in the Council for all their hard work in making this common sense measure a reality and am glad to have the support of the de Blasio administration as we continue our work to stop traffic fatalities in New York City.”
Approximately 95 percent of city streets are currently set at speeds of 30 mph or higher. After November 7, 90 percent of streets will have a speed limit of 25 mph or lower. Up to 3,000 new speed limit signs will be installed over the next year at a cost of $500,000. The City will prioritize signage at all entry points to the city, at major bridge and tunnel crossings, at airports, and at exits from limited access highways.

“Because of the leadership of Mayor de Blasio, this life-saving measure is now law,” said Department of Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg. “Dropping the default speed limit by 5 mph may not seem like a lot, but it cuts the chances of pedestrians dying from being hit by a vehicle in half. On November 7, all New Yorkers can do their part by slowing down behind the wheel.”

“The men and women of the NYPD work hard every day to keep our streets safe. This speed reduction initiative will help to create a safer environment for all New Yorkers and assist us in our education and enforcement efforts towards the goals of Vision Zero,” said NYPD Commissioner William Bratton.

“The 25 mph speed limit will benefit taxi and other for-hire drivers in a number of ways,” said TLC Commissioner and Chair Meera Joshi. “First, it will create a safer work environment for them all, but it will also help both passengers and drivers understand our shared responsibility of putting an end to traffic deaths and injuries. Passengers—please tip for safety and not speed!”

The City will continue retooling traffic signal timing and adjusting street designs to improve safety and reduce speeding through its Safe Routes to School, Arterial Slow Zone, and Neighborhood Slow Zone programs.

The NYPD and Department of Transportation are undertaking comprehensive education efforts to ready new Yorkers for the change. The 25 Days to 25 Mph campaign has been canvassing neighborhoods with NYPD and DOT personnel educating motorists and pedestrians.

The DOT is running radio, print and online ads informing the public of the change, each featuring photographs and messages from real New Yorkers, urging the drivers to slow down.

Police precincts are handing out flyers, electronic traffic displays are conveying the message, and the NYPD’s School Safety division is sending letters home with every student to inform parents. 

Partners including GEICO, AAA, parking garages, and more than 1,000 civic groups, churches, community boards, council members are spreading the message to their constituencies. Those actions will culminate in an October 30 day of Action across the city that will distribute hundreds of thousands of fliers and palm cards to motorists and pedestrians. 

“Today marks the beginning of a culture change in New York. New York City roadways can no longer be a battleground between pedestrians and drivers. Each and every New Yorker must take a moment and reevaluate the way they approach our roadways, pedestrian and driver alike. I praise the Mayor and Speaker Mark-Viverito for allowing for the swift implementation of such an important piece of legislation,” said Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez, Chair, Transportation Committee.

“I am proud to have sponsored this legislation that will save lives. Thanks to the vision of Mayor de Blasio and support of Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, the day has finally come that all New Yorkers will be safer on the streets of our city. This law is quite literally the lynchpin of Vision Zero,” said Council Member David G. Greenfield.

“The push for a 25 mph speed limit has become one of the cornerstones of the Vision Zero plan to reduce traffic deaths and increase street safety across our city, and I have been proud to support it,” said Council Member Margaret Chin. “I thank Council Member Greenfield for introducing this legislation, Council Member Rodriguez for his hard work as Transportation Committee chair, Council Speaker Mark-Viverito for her leadership, and Mayor de Blasio for signing this bill into law and taking a major step forward for street safety in New York City.”

“Today’s signing of Intro 466-A is an important step of progress of Vision Zero, in reducing the speed limit to 25 mph in the City of New York, to reduce and prevent traffic injuries and fatalities. This important legislation reminds us that too many have lost loved ones to speeding motorists, and this collective partnership is our firm commitment to educate the public on our efforts to achieve public safety for all New Yorkers,” said Council Member Vanessa Gibson.

“Transportation Alternatives commends Mayor de Blasio for signing this new law, which is an essential part of the effort to achieve Vision Zero and eliminate traffic deaths and serious injuries in the city by 2024. We would like to thank all the lifesavers who have stepped up to support a safer speed limit,” said Transportation Alternatives Executive Director, Paul Steely White.

"After a devastating surge of pedestrian tragedies in my community early this year, I was proud to introduce the bill in Albany to enable the coming speed limit reduction. I know this change will save lives and protect families, and will be a crucial part of making our streets safer and our communities more livable for all," said Assembly Member Daniel O'Donnell (D-Manhattan).

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