By on November 11, 2014

NYC 25 MPH Limit Legislation

Sammy Hagar may not be able to drive 55, but thanks to new legislation limiting rate of travel in New York City to 25 mph, the Red Rocker would be dying to hit the double nickel.

WCBS-TV reports the new limit will affect all streets where no other limit exists, with the first 89 of approximately 3,000 signs going up at “key gateways to the city,” per NYC Department of Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg. An NYC DOT representative added that the stop lights would be recalibrated to reflect the new change.

The move comes on the order of Mayor Bill de Blasio — inspired by pedestrian fatalities linked to speeding — and is part of his “Vision Zero” plan aimed at reducing traffic deaths. Trottenberg stated the reduction would “cut in half” the chances an accident would be fatal, citing research to back up her claim.

While some of the city’s denizens applaud the move, others believe the 25-mph limit is a money grab — $150 ticket if pulled over, $50 if caught by automated law enforcement — and doesn’t change much in the way people drive as it is.

The last time 25 mph was the law was 50 years ago, when the New York Legislature raised it to 30 mph.

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63 Comments on “NYC Lowers Speed Limit To 25 MPH For Safety Reasons...”


  • avatar
    schmitt trigger

    Will this law apply only to Manhattan, or to all the boroughs?

    I can see it making some sense in Manhattan, but let’s say in Queens? Close to the approaches to JFK and LGA, for instance.

    • 0 avatar
      raph

      Manhattan makes sense to me, ultimately I suppose they could eliminate vehicle traffic there altogether except for livery and business related vehicles in Manhattan.

    • 0 avatar
      heavy handle

      “let’s say in Queens? Close to the approaches to JFK and LGA, for instance.”

      The 25mph law is only for roads where no other speed limit is posted, like residential streets. The examples you give will almost certainly have higher posted limits.

    • 0 avatar
      bk_moto

      This applies to all five boroughs of New York city (Manhattan, the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island). Important to note that this only applies as the default speed limit when the speed limit is not otherwise posted. For example, on the highways and parkways, such as those that approach JFK and LGA, the speed limit has not been reduced. I don’t remember off the top of my head what they are, gonna go with 45-50 mph with people of course regularly driving 20 over that.

      They haven’t done much changing of actual posted speed limits in the city with the exception of some major routes with lots of pedestrian fatalities which have been dubbed “arterial slow zones” and been re-posted to 25 mph from 30 mph (like Atlantic Avenue and Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn).

      Of course, there are parts of the city (midtown Manhattan, for example), where 25 mph would be a mind-blowing increase from the everyday actual speed of traffic.

      The speed limit is only as meaningful as the enforcement and historically NYPD has not done much speed enforcement at all. This has changed slightly – precincts are doing a bit more speed enforcement these days but still overall there’s not much. Recently I’ve seen an NYPD officer on the side of Eastern Parkway with a LIDAR gun which is something I’ve never seen before in the past 9 years.

      NYPD Highway Unit has always done a fair amount of speed enforcement but they really only patrol the highways within the city and are not active on the city streets.

      • 0 avatar

        Absolutely correct. The folks bitching in the residential areas are correct about a total lack of speed enforcement. They do write a lot of “turn from wrong lane” tickets, and a LOT of 5 point, no deals, Cell Phone tickets. You will get a 72/50 on the Belt, or coming off the NE Thruway into the Bronx, where the limit drops, or near a bridge approach where the limit drops to 35 and no one does it.

        Instead of each precinct getting a radar gun and dedicated road cop, we got “25 mph”, soon to be followed by “moar $cameras, plz”.

        Cams don’t catch drunks, unlicensed, uninsured, or stop the reckless. They just send a bill.

  • avatar
    HerrKaLeun

    Cha ching!

  • avatar
    Hummer

    Trying to stay relevant, or on the news at least, if you don’t give him attention, he’ll fine you, just like every other NYC mayor.

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    It’s all about safety… We can “safely” say that the income produced by the new speed limit will increase

  • avatar
    petezeiss

    Great, hope it starts a trend culminating in the return of 55 and the taller greenhouses that would permit despite CAFE.

  • avatar
    Elena

    Anybody still lives in NYC? I would be speeding… driving a U-haul truck.

  • avatar
    Jeff Waingrow

    The traffic in Manhattan is so bad that 25 mph is more a goal than a limitation. The other boroughs do have a speeding problem that has historically been mostly ignored as low priority in the chaotic scheme of things. I doubt that this is a money grab. Parking tickets are easier to give out en masse, the fines are steep, and you have little recourse unless you want to give up a day fighting it. My prediction is that the lower speed limit will have little or no effect. And the cabs will continue to cross six lanes in the blink of an eye.

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    I guess all those pedestrians who had been killed by speeders would have survived if the speed limit that the speeder was in was 25?

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      With the new pedestrian friendly front ends on cars, perhaps maybe

      • 0 avatar
        Land Ark

        Problem: People are driving recklessly and completely ignoring the posted speed limit. People are getting hit by cars and killed.

        Solution: Lower posted speed limits.

        While I agree something should be done, I also understand that municipalities want to spend as little money as possible to come up with something enough people believe is a real solution to be able to trot out and make it look like they are doing something.

      • 0 avatar
        npaladin2000

        You mean all those nice pedestrian-friendly Crown Vics? ;)

    • 0 avatar
      bunkie

      Actually, that’s the justifcation. Last year, they were running PSAs on buses that were saying that the risk of fatal injury increases radically when impact speed goes from 30mph to 40mph.

      It’s great, in theory. The problem is that the traffic is so bad that open stretches invite maximum acceleration and speed to make up for lost time. The results are sometimes tragic.

      I live this every day as a pedestrian. I live near the Queensborough bridge lower-level entrance on Second avenue at 59th street. Trying to make the bridge, many drivers there act as if there are no pedestrians whatsoever, there is no limit to speed and a good 5% of cars cross 2nd ave. after the light has gone full red. To those who scoff, there are real dangers to pedestrians that need to be addressed. I’m amazed at the number of peds who wear headphones and text while crossing the street. That’s not how I want to die, so I pay attention.

      Looking at it with a cool eye, it’s clear that the lower speed limit is a somewhat misguided attempt to address the issue. I would advocate that a better approach is rotating targeted enforcement of problem areas with tickets issued for all driving infractions so as to make drivers wary no matter where they are.

      There’s plenty of blame to go around. There are scores of idiot peds, a plethora of reckless (and I do mean reckless) drivers and, finally, some traffic guards who actually make things worse (not all, but some. I’ve, more than a few times, yelled at a few who, I thought, were creating dangerous situations). We have a real problem here. It needs to be addressed.

      One can argue with the specifics, but I do give Di Blasio credit for trying to deal with the problem.

      • 0 avatar
        tedward

        Damnit, reply deleted…again.

        Cliffnotes: It sounds like 25pmh might be a good idea “near the Queensborough bridge lower-level entrance on second ave at 59th street.” This does not mean it makes any sense at all at every other street which is currently un-signed in the five boroughs. End result will be an increase in the expense of living in NY, and a nice pay day for the camera vendor of choice who will definitely be financing various political action committees for the mayor’s next election.

        Actually I bet this has less to do with election financing and more to do with DeBlasio’s need to show any sort of successful initiative in his first term. Good government would entail tasking the DOT with evaluating each section of roadway for the appropriate speed limit and actually signing them, and I agree that this would likely lead to more than a few 25 zones. I think that he is desperate after failing to rein in the NYPD, the sole issue he ran on that resonated with his voters.

        • 0 avatar
          bunkie

          New York State law mandates minimum 30 mph surface street speeds. The City sought an exemption. Also, this has been in the works for quite some time with the implementation date long set for Nov. 7th.

          Also, NY the speed limit is “25mph unless otherwise indicated”. It says so on all the signs. We do have higher speeds where there is no pedestrian access.

          The truth is that many people drive really badly, period. These drivers trust more than evaluate, fail to adjust to changing conditions and all believe themselves to be in the right at all times.

          It’s really easy to cry “revenue enhancement!” because it appeases the anti-government crowd. I get that. I even get that it often has a basis in fact. But few places scare me as much as intersections in New York City. I *know* that the risk increases dramatically every time I cross the street. As I said, I’m not sure what good, if any, 25 mph will do. But I support the Mayor’s attempt to address the problem.

      • 0 avatar
        npaladin2000

        I’d give him credit if he did what you suggested. But instead it tossed out a quickie SOP to make it appear like he was doing something. And he did it right after the midterm elections, which CAN’T be coincidental timing.

        • 0 avatar
          bk_moto

          Actually this has been in the works for a while, well before the elections. NYC had to get a bill through the state legislature to allow the city to lower the default speed limit to 25 mph from 30 mph because state law specified that the minimum speed for city streets was 30 mph. The bill passed through the state legislature back in June and who knows how long it took to get that far (I can’t be bothered to research it).

          The effective date (11/7) was 90 days after the governor signed it.

          So to portray it as the mayor’s reaction to the midterm elections, though that sounds cute and fun, doesn’t really align with the reality.

          As I recall, the real momentum for this change was the kid who got killed by a van on Prospect Park West back in January. The family began agitating for lower speed limits in the city and apparently were tied into or were able to generate some political clout to make it happen.

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          Note the date of this article: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/21/nyregion/officials-plan-adjustments-as-new-york-city-slows-to-25-mph.html

          Once you’ve done that, feel free to retire your tinfoil hat.

  • avatar
    Brian P

    How about getting pedestrians to put down their phone, and actually look both ways before crossing. Distracted pedestrians, and pedestrians who just keep on walking and doing whatever they are doing secure in the knowledge that the car driver will always be held at fault no matter what happens, are a big problem around here …

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      I’ve seen that in San Diego, Los Angeles and Phoenix, but I’ve walked in Boston and Manhattan, and pedestrians in those two cities have to keep their wits about them when stepping off a curb, even within a crosswalk and with a “walk” signal. If they didn’t, the pedestrian death toll would be much higher.

      • 0 avatar
        DC Bruce

        I’m in Manhattan a lot on business and I agree with Lorenzo’s observation about New York pedestrians. For one thing, the sidewalks in a good bit of Manhattan are pretty crowded; so you have to pay attention just to avoid running into another pedestrian.

        Who walks anywhere is Los Angeles, or Phoenix for that matter? :-) DC pedestrians are not quite in the category of people in Manhattan, but I don’t recall seeing too many that are spaced out on their I-pods or whatever.

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      [Citation needed]. Saying that the average (pedestrian/driver/person) is dumber than a bag of hammers is just a way of saying “I, and anyone who agrees with me, am smarter than everyone else.”

      ETA: To Brian P, not Lorenzo.

  • avatar
    an innocent man

    Hope this trend picks up speed and spreads around the country. I’ve said it many times: 35mph national speed limit on all highways. And no need to enforce by police or speed traps or to use this as a revenue enhancer; that max speed would be regulated and controlled by the vehicle’s own software. NOTHING would do more, quicker, to slow down Climate Change, and reduce pollution, with the side effect of saving lives.

    • 0 avatar
      NoGoYo

      You can enjoy your eight hour trip from Philadelphia to New York City, meanwhile I’m going to be blowing smoke in your face in my old, barely computer controlled death machine.

    • 0 avatar
      SOneThreeCoupe

      There are not enough curses in the English language to lambast you with.

      You haven’t thought this through. At all. Start by thinking about transportation of goods, then continue to think about the state of the national non-highway transit system as a whole. Let it sink in.

      Even North Korean economists wouldn’t make that mistake.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        North Korea has speed limits and lane controls based upon social status. The average grunt isn’t allowed to exceed 25 mph (although the point is moot, as the average grunt would have about zero chance of owning a car.)

      • 0 avatar
        an innocent man

        Actually I’ve thought it completely through. Transportation of goods moves back to rail where it should be. Or becomes more local. People eventually rearrange their living/working arrangements as they are nudged out of bedroom communities and toward a more sensible commuting/living balance. This puts less stress on infrastructure, which becomes cheaper to maintain. People are nudged into mass transit as it becomes a more viable alternative. It’s a far more fair alternative than carbon taxes, or higher gasoline taxes which fall disproportionally on our most vulnerable citizens. Gasoline use plummets. This is the most sensible way to significantly and quickly reduce CO2 pollution. In addition, with a large amount of truck cargo traffic off the highways, and the remaining cars doing 35mph, more folks would be using alternatives such as scooters, so even less gas use and pollution. Instead of another lane on some highway, we spend infrastructure money on Bullet Trains. Perhaps in larger metro areas, HOV lanes become true HOV lanes: for busses only. Maybe those could be allowed to do 55mph, if run by alt fuel, to nudge people out of their slower vehicles and onto a more healthy mode of transport. NO OTHER solution offered would have as dramatic and important and quickly affected positive influence on reducing pollution and saving the planet. NONE.

        • 0 avatar
          an innocent man

          And I forgot to add the most beautiful part: zero chance of it being stopped or obstructed in Congress. Pollution is regulated by the EPA. They could mandate this easily.

    • 0 avatar
      James2

      How come the spam filter didn’t trap this piece of nonsense?

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      This is some quality trolling right here.

    • 0 avatar
      petezeiss

      @innocent

      Dude, get off my team.

      There’s obsessive and then there’s just plain crazy.

  • avatar
    tedward

    Part of the pedestrian problem is the poor sight lines in NYC intersections. Provided you aren’t walking around oblivious to your surroundings the middle of a one way block is by far the safest place to cross the street. Plenty of line of sight, and no one’s vision is blinded by an a-pillar.

    • 0 avatar
      npaladin2000

      “Provided you aren’t walking around oblivious to your surroundings”

      Key words there. Unfortunately, most pedestrians, based on my observation, are utterly oblivious.

  • avatar
    Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

    Yet another reason I’m glad I fled NYC. It’s amazing how much nonsense you can fool yourself into putting up with there.

  • avatar
    rudiger

    I would agree that this means little to nothing, except for the two little words ‘photo enforcement’. This seems more like a precursor to the wholesale installation of photo cameras which will then definitely put the decrease to a general 25 mph speed limit (unmarked, yet) into the realm of money grab.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    My Maseraaaaaaati does 185…

  • avatar
    nickoo

    It’s a good move in my opinion, crowded pedestrian areas should have a 25 mph speed limit for everyone’s safety. The problem is that there are too many people who ignore the speed limits no matter what the posted speed is. Variable speed congestion speed limits on busy freeways are what I’d really like to see, a slightly slower speed limit reduces accidents and eases the traffic light (stop/go) effect and allows everyone to get to their destinations safely. The only problem with lower speed limits are that there are too many selfish bad drivers who completely ignore them.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    Pedestrian safety is a crisis that needs addressing, and, no, it’s not mostly the pedestrians’ fault. Walk around DC or NYC and watch how many drivers completely ignore traffic controls. If you step into the roadway you need to be prepared for the fact that a vehicle may come at you at any speed from any direction no matter what the traffic lights, signs, or traffic officers are saying.

    But I’m not sure a lower general limit is the right way to address the crisis. I’d prefer aggressive, zero-tolerance enforcement of red lights, stop signs, crosswalk laws, and box-blocking. The issue is really at intersections, not midblock, and people need to be focused on safety at intersections. I think red-light cameras at every intersection and cops aggressively ticketing people who cut off pedestrians would do more actual good.

  • avatar
    stuki

    You know wealth concentration policies are working as intended, when the 0.1%ers being driven in limos, can no longer afford to keep up in the lobbying wars with the 0.01%ers being flown in helicopters…..

  • avatar
    Adamatari

    Fixing the issue of pedestrian deaths has at least as much to do with good road design and good crossing design (having crossings in the right places, etc.) as it has to do with speed limits. Sweden is aiming for ZERO traffic fatalities. Lowering speed limits in some areas is part of it, but road design is a major part as well. The Netherlands has a similar program with more emphasis on road design and less on speed limits.

    The idea is that if people know what to expect, they are less likely to make errors that result in collisions.

    On further research, it seems NYC is attempting Vision Zero policies as well, with this speed reduction being one part. We will see if they actually do anything else or if this turns into a nice slogan and a money grab. Fixing road design issues is essential, speed limits alone won’t fix it.

  • avatar

    Lowering the speed limit to 25 means cams at 35 mph. If you left it at 30, a 41 mph threshold for cams wouldn’t make money.

    Look at the NYC DOT page. They specifically ask The State for permission to install more speed cams. They just got cams “near school zones”. Already there is a very broad interpretation of school zone, like “off ramps near schools”.

    The City wants Cams all over, not just schools. Just like London.

    Next year’s headline :

    “NY City asks Albany for 200 more cameras in the face of massive speeding”.

    Vision Zero is a good idea in some areas of the city, but the blanket 25 mph is cash grab of massive proportions. There is a combination of anti car folks with a lot of quiet support from ATS, the contract holder for the Red Light Cams.

    While cams come down in places with direct democracy, NYC isn’t one of those places.

  • avatar
    cartunez

    As if I needed another reason to never visit.

  • avatar
    Stumpaster

    Oh sure, let’s demonize NYC. But if you look at your NYC-based car, your average speed over lifetime is about 25 mph. Go get your kicks on BQE.

  • avatar
    Brunsworks

    Jeez–even at the press conference, they couldn’t find one of those signs with all the little lights working!

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