New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio wants to lower the citywide default speed limit from 30 miles per hour to 25 mph as part of an effort to reduce traffic-related deaths.
The change, which would require cooperation from the State legislature, is one element of de Blasio’s plan to implement “Vision Zero,” a Swedish initiative to end traffic deaths with smarter street engineering and policy solutions.
In an address today, de Blasio pledged to redesign 50 locations each year, to make dangerous intersections safer.
He also said he wants to expand the use of speed and red light enforcement cameras, which were activated in January.
The City Council can change speed limits in areas, and the City can create “slow zones” in discrete areas using lowered limits and traffic calming devices. But the State controls the default speed limit, so the most direct way to get everyone down to 25 mph is through Albany, a City spokesperson said.
Whatever the limit, the City also plans to ramp up enforcement of speeding laws. As it stands now, New Yorkers are far more likely to get a ticket for illegal parking than for dangerous driving. Last year, former Traffic Commissioner Sam Schwartz told WNYC that because the City splits revenue from moving violations with the State, there’s a financial incentive to focus on writing parking tickets.
But a City spokesperson told Business Insider that the real trouble is a speeding violation “is a harder ticket to write.” Police officers have to witness the violation, chase down the driver, and issue the summons. In addition to time, that takes training, and equipment — and the NYPD will focus on providing those to its officers, he said.
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