25 M.P.H. Speed Limit Takes Effect in New York - NYTimes.com
The 25-mile-per-hour speed limit that went into effect in New York City on Friday did not slow a black Mercedes that blazed a path down the middle lane of Madison Avenue at a brisk 34 miles per hour around 1 p.m. Nor did it deter the drivers of a tow truck going 32 m.p.h. or a city bus lumbering along at 28 m.p.h. Even a police car was spotted darting through traffic, though no emergency was apparent.
In a city where any hint of open asphalt can take the edge off a day mired in traffic, the dawn of a new speed limit did not change much.
Cluttered roads still seemed to dictate speed far more than did the city’s new mandate, which dropped the default limit from 30 m.p.h. to 25.
Fear of enforcement was palpable. “Snitches get stitches!” one passer-by called out to a reporter who was monitoring cars’ speed with a radar gun on Madison Avenue near 39th Street.
But for many city residents who still step off the curb with a sense of dread, the first day of a slightly slower city carried with it a sense of promise.
“It’s like Nascar out here,” Carolyn Coates, 58, said ruefully as she approached an intersection along the Grand Concourse in the Bronx where the more open road invites speeders.
“We need this for the kids, for the elderly,” she added, referring to the lowered speed limit.
Though the new limit is already in effect on all city streets unless otherwise posted, city officials said there were no plans for a ticket blitz.
Nor did they expect police officers to begin splitting hairs at speeds just above 25 m.p.h.