By JULIAN CANTRES
The New York City Council voted Tuesday to set the default speed limit in the city at 25 miles per hour, a big step in supporting Mayor Bill de Blasio Vision Zero project to reduce traffic deaths, especially of pedestrians.
The new limit was slated tyo go into effect on November 7 following a publicity campaign.
Because the speed limit is the default, it will only apply to streets where there is no posted speed limit. Other streets, such as highways, will not be affected.
Brooklyn Councilman David Greenfield, who helped push the law, recalled that he had “really struggled” to get a vote on the proposed law. He said that it took about two and a half years to bring it to a vote, and that there had been widespread doubt that it would pass. It eventually received more support from groups such as Families for Safe Streets before making it to the council.
Before the ballot was cast, he added that the last change to the speed limit was in 1964 and concluded that he was proud to put his support behind a measure that “quite literally saves lives”.
A person is more likely to survive getting hit by a car traveling less than 30 miles per hour, said experts. According to the website of the advocacy group Transportation Alternatives, the odds of dying in such an incident are 70 percent at 40 mph, 20 percent at 30 mph, and a mere 2 percent at 20 mph.
Ydanis Rodriguez, a representative of Manhattan, was another supporter of the law. He acknowledged it by saying that “Cultural change is coming.”
Statistics show that so far in 2014 pedestrian deaths have been reduced to 164 compared to 189 at the same period last year.
Other topics discussed at the council hearing included increased services for victims of domestic abuse and spreading out of garbage-related services.