Andrew M. Cuomo, NY governor, signs New York City speed-reduction bill - Newsday
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on Saturday morning signed a bill to let New York City drop its default speed limit to 25 miles per hour from 30.
The bill signing ceremony, held inside the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in Manhattan, was attended by more than a dozen families who have lost loved ones in crashes involving motor vehicles.
"New Yorkers like to do things fast. Everything is time. Everything is pressure in New York. But this says 'slow down and save a life,' said Cuomo, standing between two "SPEED LIMIT 25" road signs.
The chance of a pedestrian's death is "cut in half" when the speed of the traveling vehicle is lowered to 25 mph from 30, the city's transportation commissioner, Polly Trottenberg, said at the ceremony.
The new speed limit can go into effect in as soon as 90 days, once City Hall enacts its own law formally lowering the limit, which it is all but certain to do.
The default limit is the maximum speed motorists can legally travel unless a posted sign indicates otherwise.
Sarah Bravo, 13, of Jackson Heights, hoped the bill would force drivers to slow down. The eighth-grader lost her 19-year-old brother, Luis, last September after he was struck by a hit-and-run driver as he walked eastbound on Broadway near 58th Street in Queens.
"We are actually helping other people not to suffer what we are suffering," Bravo said. "Everyday we are angry. We are sad. This helps a lot."
The driver who struck Luis Bravo has never been caught.
The legislation is part of Mayor Bill de Blasio's "Vision Zero," a 63-step traffic safety plan with the ambitious goal of reducing pedestrian fatalities to zero. Most of what de Blasio wants to do does not require state approval -- installing more speed bumps, redesigning roadways, tightening rules on taxicab drivers.
Albany needed to greenlight the limit reduction because the state's capital controls much about municipal governance -- the speed limit, most taxes, schooling.
The speed-limit bill Cuomo signed was passed in June, in the middle of the night, by the State Legislature.
The last time the city's default speed limit was changed was 1964, when the state raised it to 30 from 25 -- against the city's wishes.