Drivers on New York City streets will have to slow down starting Friday.
Late last month, Mayor Bill de Blasio signed legislation that lowered the city’s speed limit to 25 mph. The law is part of Vision Zero, a group of 63 traffic initiatives introduced earlier this year in hopes of reducing the number of traffic-related fatalities in New York City.
The 5 mph decrease is believed to double a pedestrian’s chances of surviving a crash, according to the mayor’s office. The change affects about 90 percent of city streets, and the mayor’s office previously said the city will need to install 3,000 new speed limit signs at the cost of $500,000.
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The new signs will first be installed at major intersections, highways and near the city’s highways and airports, the mayor's office said previously.
Paul Steely White, executive director of Transportation Alternatives, told Metro this is the first time the city has lowered the speed limit since 1964. The nonprofit organization promotes public transit, walking and bicycling instead of car use in New York City.
“I think all this (Vision Zero) will certainly save lives and it will also be an added benefit for New York’s economy,” White said. “People come to New York to walk and ride bikes, whether it’s coming for a job or for tourism, and the humanity of our streets is really New York’s calling card.”
“The speed limit is inconsistent with the hustle and bustle, the hustle and bustle is with walking, not driving, which is what makes New York even greater,” White added.
White said speed kills more New Yorkers than drunk and distracted driving combined, and the lower speed limit can mean life or death when a person is hit by a car. He said he was impressed by the “enthusiasm” and work the NYPD has done getting the word out on the lower speed limit.
White said the next questions are whether drivers obey the new law, and if officers actively enforce the new speed limit.
Other recent Vision Zero changes include installing speed cameras in school zones, as well as using mobile speed cameras outfitted on SUVs. Some 23 school zones in the city already have cameras, and a total of 140 cameras will be installed in the next two years , de Blasio said last month.