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City Council seeks to lower speed limits

UN General Assembly Traffic street closures (Credit: Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

City Council Speaker Christine Quinn announced on Tuesday that she hopes to pass a bill before year's end that would lower the speed limit for much of the city to 25 mph.

"We are actively working on the bill," she said.

One-way streets that do not have more than one lane of traffic would have a speed limit of 25 mph, down from 30 mph.

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The legislation, sponsored by City Councilman David Greenfield, originally called for 20 mph speed limits on residential streets that are fewer than 60 feet wide, The New York Times reports.

The bill had to be revised because state law requires city streets to have further adjustments made if the speed limit is less than 25 mph, Greenfield told the Times.

"At this point, with what we can do, this is the best bill that we can get," he said.

Traffic safety has been a top concern for local elected officials in the wake of a spate of pedestrian deaths in the city.

Mayor-elect Bill De Blasio has said he supports a Vision Zero plan, which aims to reduce street fatalities each year until the city reaches zero fatalities and serious injuries. His plan includes narrowing excessively wide streets that encourage speeding, as well as widening sidewalks to make streets easier to cross.

The Bloomberg administration has already taken a number of steps towards reducing traffic injuries and deaths.

The city established 14 slow zones in residential areas, and is adding 15 more. In addition, more than 900 speed bumps have been installed.

On Tuesday, the City Council passed a bill requiring the city to install 50 speed humps each year on streets near schools.

That bill, sponsored by City Councilwoman Debi Rose, was inspired by a Staten Island teen who was struck and killed by a tractor-trailer after leaving school on her last day of classes in 2011.

 
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