May 10, 2021
Eleven high-crash outer borough corridors to see speed limits reduced; NYPD will also crack down on speeding
NEW YORK—Mayor Bill de Blasio announced today that speed limits will be reduced on 45 miles of major streets with some the highest rates of crashes across Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, and Staten Island. The NYPD will conduct a weeklong pedestrian and cyclist safety enforcement blitz, across all 77 patrol precincts, to crack down on drivers who speed and fail to yield. The announcements kick off Streets Week!, a suite of transportation, traffic safety, and open space policy announcements to double down on the transformative Vision Zero initiative.
“Vision Zero has revolutionized traffic safety action in New York City and beyond, but its work isn’t finished until every New Yorker is safe on the streets. Telling drivers to slow down – and working closely with the NYPD to hold dangerous drivers accountable – will save lives and make our city safer,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “New York City will do its part. Now, it’s time for Albany to pass the Crash Victim Rights and Safety Act and join us in acting boldly to protect pedestrians and cyclists.”
“The message is simple: slowing down saves lives,” said Deputy Mayor for Operations Laura Anglin. “A recovery for all means ensuring a safe, sustainable passage for pedestrians, cyclists, and everyone who uses our streets to explore the neighborhoods that make New York City great.”
“Speeding is a leading cause of traffic fatalities – and we also know that less driving during COVID-19 led to an increase in speeding,” said DOT Commissioner Hank Gutman. “So under the Mayor’s leadership, we will not only lower speed limits on some of the city’s most crash-prone corridors, we will redouble our efforts to expand the hours when these life-saving speed cameras are in operation. These cameras now cover a majority of the City in an incredibly diverse range of neighborhoods. Important to note, in 2020, a shocking one third of fatal crashes happened in camera zones, but unfortunately during hours when the cameras were not allowed to operate. With the help of Albany, we need to fix that.”
“Protecting New York City’s most vulnerable road users is at the core of the NYPD’s Vision Zero program,” said NYPD’s Chief of Transportation Kim Y. Royster. “In response to a spike in traffic deaths in April, the NYPD will be conducting a high volume, revitalized citywide initiative aimed at protecting pedestrians and cyclists. Drivers that make the choice to speed with their vehicles, and drivers that fail to yield to pedestrians and cyclists, will be the subject of additional traffic enforcement during this important initiative.”
Last week, the Mayor called on the State Legislature to pass the Crash Victim Rights and Safety Act, a series of bills designed to take aggressive action against dangerous driving and support the families of crash victims. The Act includes a bill of rights for traffic crash victims, lowing the blood alcohol concentration limit, DMV pre-licensing courses, and 24/7 operation of speed cameras, among many other life-saving safety initiatives.
Lower Speed Limits on High-Crash Corridors:
Last year, DOT lowered speed limits by 5 MPH on eleven corridors citywide, totaling about 25 miles. The newly targeted corridors this year in Queens, Brooklyn, The Bronx, and Staten Island represent 45 miles of streets.
Street locations, mileage, and speed limit changes are as follows:
New speed limits will go into effect as speed-limit signage is posted over the coming weeks. Speed cameras located along any of these streets will be reprogrammed and drivers will be given a 60-day adjustment period after new signage is posted.
The NYPD is placing significant emphasis on a multifaceted pedestrian and cyclist safety operation during the week of May 10th through May 16th. This effort is anchored by increased focus on combating motorists who speed and fail to yield to pedestrians and cyclists. It is a comprehensive, citywide operation, to be carried out in all 77 patrol precincts. The effort will incorporate all the Transportation Bureau’s units and deploy additional Patrol Services.
Each Precinct will assign their traffic safety team to participate in these stepped-up efforts to combat traffic injuries. Officers will concentrate their enforcement on drivers who speed and drivers who fail to yield to pedestrians and cyclists. Enforcement will be focused at specific intersections and the corresponding corridors where the data shows a high frequency of pedestrian and cyclist injuries as a result of being struck by a vehicle.
NYPD Highway Patrol will focus enforcement efforts on high-crash highways to catch speeding before dangerous drivers come into close proximity with the cyclists and pedestrians.
The Traffic Enforcement District will focus its high-volume enforcement on vehicles that are obstructing bike lanes while parked, and it has specifically dedicated enforcement resources in each borough to keep bike lanes clear for cyclists. Vehicles that are summonsed for obstructing a bike lane are eligible to be towed to the NYPD’s violation tow pound.
In December 2020, the Mayor proposed expanding the State law that governs the hours during which speed cameras are operational. Under the current law passed in 2019, cameras are limited to operate only during the hours of 6 am to 10 pm on weekdays. The proposal would make cameras operational 24 hours a day, seven days a week. An analysis of 2020 fatal crashes shows that 36% of all traffic deaths this year that were not on highways occurred within school speed zones where permanent cameras are located, but happened during hours – on nights and during weekends – when the automated enforcement cameras were not legally allowed to issue summonses.
For the first time, the Department of Transportation also released a Citywide map (above) showing the locations of the 750 school zones with fixed automatic speed cameras – the largest speed camera program in the world. Over 1,300 speed cameras are now active citywide; DOT plans to have 2,000 active cameras by the end of 2021. According to DOT’s latest speed camera report:
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.
“As we mark the beginning of Streets Week, it is critical that we deepen our efforts to make our streets safer for all. Lowering speed limits is a proven method for reducing traffic crashes resulting in serious injury or death. For example, there is a 50 percent chance of a pedestrian dying when hit by a car at 35 miles per hour, compared to only a 20 percent chance when the car is traveling at 30 miles per hour. These are tangible actions to improve safety, and coupled with traffic calming measures and improved infrastructure, we can make 2021 the safest year on record,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams.
“Every mile of road with a lower speed limit is a safer mile of road for pedestrians, cyclists and drivers. The legislation I’ve introduced with Assembly Member Richard Gottfried, Sammy’s Law (S.524/A.4655), included in the Crash Victims Rights & Safety Act, would allow the City to further reduce traffic speed — a proven way to make our streets less dangerous. I applaud Mayor de Blasio for his efforts to improve street safety and support for the Crash Victims Rights & Safety Act,” said State Senator Brad Hoylman.
“I know firsthand the importance of slower speeds on city streets, and am painfully reminded of this each day – especially on Mother’s Day," said Amy Cohen, Co-Founder of Families for Safe Streets. "My son Sammy was killed by a reckless, speeding driver in 2013. This year, Families for Safe Streets is fighting in Albany to pass Sammy’s Law, as part of the Crash Victim Rights and Safety Act, allowing New York City to lower speed limits even further. We thank the de Blasio administration for taking action on 45 miles of roads right now and will continue working together to bring slower, safer streets to more communities across the five boroughs as we work together to pass Sammy’s Law and the entire Crash Victim Rights and Safety Act this legislative session. No more families should face another Mother’s Day with the pain of losing a loved one to preventable traffic violence.”
“Slower speeds save lives," said Danny Harris, Executive Director of Transportation Alternatives. "When looking at crash data, each mile per hour increase in speed results in nearly a three percent increase in the fatality rate. Lowering speeds across 45 miles of streets is an important tool for Vision Zero, and will be even more effective when coupled with physical redesigns of streets and automated enforcement. Expanding the speed safety camera program and lowering the speed limit further are key planks of the Crash Victim Rights and Safety Act in Albany, and we will continue working with the de Blasio administration to urge the state legislature to pass the entire package this year.”
“Speed is almost always a factor in serious crashes, and speeding is an epidemic in New York City, never more so than during the pandemic. Lowering the speed limit on these dangerous corridors is an important step, but it’s essential to enforce those lower speed limits with the city’s automated speed cameras. We commend Mayor de Blasio for calling on Albany to allow the city’s speed cameras to operate 24/7, and we implore the legislature and Governor to remove all restrictions before the session ends. It’s also urgently important that the city prioritize design changes to these streets to make it physically difficult for drivers to disobey posted speed limits,” said Eric McClure, Executive Director, StreetsPAC.
"Lower speed limits help make streets feel safer for all New Yorkers, whether they're walking, biking, or driving. When families are encouraged to use alternative modes of travel, we get less traffic congestion and fewer emissions from cars. NYC DOT's new speed limit reductions on major corridors will improve our streetscape and reduce air pollution. We thank Commissioner Gutman for implementing this important program,” said Julie Tighe, President of the New York League of Conservation Voters.