NEW YORK—Mayor Bill de Blasio announced today that speed limits will be reduced by 5 MPH on 25 miles of major streets with some the highest rates of crashes across the five boroughs. The City also announced that the Department of Transportation (DOT) has reached its goal of activating cameras in all 750 school zones – the largest speed camera network in the world. These efforts, combined with stepped up NYPD speeding enforcement, are part of a coordinated effort, as reduced vehicular traffic has led to dangerous driving during the COVID-19 crisis.
“New York City’s children deserve safe, livable communities – and Vision Zero’s groundbreaking work will protect them in their streets,” said Mayor de Blasio. “Slower speed limits, speed cameras, and increased enforcement will save lives and keep New York City the safest big city in America for the next generation.”
“Speeding is a leading cause of traffic fatalities. Even under COVID-19, this administration has maintained our commitment to keep our streets safe for the all users, especially the most vulnerable,” said DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg. “We are reducing speed limits on some of the city’s most crash-prone corridors, and growing our speed camera program at a rate that will make our system the largest in the world. With more cameras installed in 2020 than in the first six years of the program combined, DOT is continuously working to make our streets safer for everyone.”
“The DOT’s speed-limit efforts and speed-camera program play a vital role in ensuring the safety of all who use our city streets, particularly some of our most vulnerable New Yorkers: schoolchildren, pedestrians and bicyclists,” said NYPD Chief of Transportation Nilda Hofmann. “These cameras, combined with the everyday speed enforcement initiatives conducted by the NYPD’s Highway Patrol officers and precinct personnel serve to more effectively accomplish the goals of Vision Zero: Saving Lives.”
Lower Speed Limits:
In the last year, DOT has lowered the speed limit along Manhattan’s West Street as well as along 3rd Avenue and Hamilton Avenue, two major streets under Brooklyn‘s Gowanus Expressway. The nine newly targeted streets, more than 25 miles citywide, are largely arterial roadways that are also heavily used by pedestrians and cyclists.
Street locations and mileage are as follows:
- Flatbush Ave from Grand Army Plaza to Empire Boulevard*, .8 mile (30 MPH to 25 MPH)
- Shore Parkway Service Road from Bay 8th Street to Plumb 3rd Street, 4.8 miles (30 MPH to 25 MPH)
- Dahlgren Place from 86th Street to 92nd Street, .3 miles (30 MPH to 25 MPH)
*Earlier this summer, DOT installed new protected bicycle lanes along this roadway.
- Riverside Drive from 165th Street to 181st Street, .8 mile (30 MPH to 25 MPH)
- Bruckner Blvd from East 135th Street to Pelham Bay Park, 6.5 miles (30 MPH to 25 MPH)
- Webster Ave from East 233 Street to East Gun Hill Road, 1.2 miles (30 MPH to 25 MPH)
- Rockaway Blvd from 150th Ave to 3rd Street (Nassau County border), 2.5 miles (40 MPH to 35 MPH)
- Northern Blvd from 114th Street to Glenwood Street (Nassau County border), 7 miles (30 MPH to 25 MPH)
- Targee Street from West Fingerboard Rd to Broad St, 1.8 miles (30 MPH to 25 MPH)
All of the speed limits will go into effect as DOT posts new speed-limit signage over the next 4-6 weeks. Speed cameras located along any of these streets will be reprogrammed and will only issue warnings for the first 60 days after new signage is posted.
Speed Camera Installations:
DOT announced that this summer, it had reached the maximum number of 750 school zones allowed under a state law that took effect in the summer of 2019. After passage of that expanded speed-camera law in Albany, Mayor de Blasio had announced a commitment that over two years, DOT would rapidly scale up its speed-camera program, activating new school speed zones citywide at a rate of about 40 per month through 2019, and 60 per month in 2020. A grand total of over 950 speed cameras are now active, with a goal of 2,000 total active cameras by the end of 2021 (zones are permitted to have multiple cameras).
The new speed-camera law that took effect last July expanded the maximum number of school zones from 140 to 750, doubled speed camera hours to 6am until 10pm year-round, and expanded cameras’ permitted distance to a ¼ mile radius from a school, rather than the previous restriction that the camera be no more than a ¼ mile of a school along an abutting street. Fines for speed-camera violations remain $50, issued to those who exceed posted speed limits by more than 10 MPH.
The City’s speed camera program has deterred speeding in school zones by over 60% although many cameras installed in July 2019 showed decreases in speeding violations of over 70 percent by the end of the year. Studies have repeatedly proven that speed is a critical factor in severe injuries and traffic fatalities. A pedestrian who is struck by a vehicle traveling at 30 MPH is twice as likely to be killed as a pedestrian struck by a vehicle traveling at 25 MPH.
The valuable data provided by the Department of Transportation’s speed cameras enable the New York City Police Department to focus its enforcement efforts on our local streets in the specific areas where most speed violations actually occur. This “precision policing” as it pertains to addressing traffic violations is viewed as being more effective in accomplishing the goals of Vision Zero: saving lives.
Despite a spike in motor vehicle and motorcycle fatalities, traffic fatalities overall are down 6.9% in 2020. While motor vehicle and motorcycle fatalities have increased this year, injury collisions involving these modes are down. Motor vehicle occupant injuries are down 34% year to date and motorcycle injuries are down 9% year to date. In recent months, the NYPD has conducted targeted operations focused on keeping motorcyclists safe through enforcement and education. Taken together, the NYPD’s approach to traffic safety is an integral part of New York City’s life-saving Vison Zero efforts.
The NYPD will continue its enforcement of speed violations – both on the highways and the local streets – to protect all road users including our school children, and our essential and emergency workers as they continue serving our city.
About Vision Zero:
Vision Zero is the de Blasio administration’s initiative to use every tool at its disposal to end traffic deaths and injuries on New York City streets. Since the program’s inaugural year in 2014, when New York City became the first American city to adopt Vision Zero, the City’s traffic fatalities have declined more than 25 percent — bucking national fatality trends, which have increased 15 percent over the same period.
For more information about the de Blasio Administration’s Vision Zero initiative, please see www.nyc.gov/visionzero.