Family members of New Yorkers killed in traffic accidents and advocates gathered near City Hall on Tuesday to demand in Albany work to lower the speed limit to 25 mph before its legislative session ends. Credit: B---hCakes/Flickr
Time is running out for state lawmakers if they want to reduce the city's lowest speed limit to 25 mph.
Family members of New Yorkers killed in traffic accidents and advocates gathered near City Hall on Tuesday to demand action in Albany before the legislative session ends on June 19.
"We need a lifesaver in the New York Senate," Aaron Charlop-Powers said. His mother died in 2010 after she was killed by a city bus in an attempt to avoid an oncoming car in the Bronx.
"Today I am here demanding 25 mph streets for my only son Sammy," said Amy Cohen as she held up a photo of her son who died in 2013. "He was 12 when he was hit and killed across the street from our home on Prospect Park West in Brooklyn."
Both she and Charlop-Powers belong to group Families for Safe Streets, which gathered around 6,000 petitions that they plan to deliver to Senate co-leader Jeffrey Klein of the Bronx.
Advocates of the proposal said a person hit by a car traveling at 25 mph is twice as likely to survive a collision than someone hit by one traveling at 30 mph.
Still, the local push to change the law is effectively stalled — the city's speed limit is under the state Legislature's jurisdiction, not City Hall's.
The Democratically controlled Assembly has a bill sponsored by Speaker Sheldon Silver, yet no one on the politically split Senate has stepped up to sponsor its own version.
"New York City is watching for his leadership, and we want for him to be on our side," Manhattan City Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez said at the event. "We want him to make this one of his priorities before the session is over in Albany."
Candice Giove, a spokeswoman for Sen. Klein said in a statement that he remains committed to making New York City streets safer.
"Sen. Klein secured 140 speed cameras to make the streets of New York City safer for our school children and their families," Giove said. "When it comes to the safety and welfare of our children we can always do more and he is working hard to make that happen."
Updated at 4:33 p.m. with response from Sen. Klein's office.