Southern Brooklyn

City Council Mulling 25 MPH Speed Limit Citywide

Source: formulanone/Flickr

The New York City Council is considering legislation that would cut the speed limit citywide from 30 mph to 25 mph, and the legislative body’s leadership is hoping to see it passed before the end of the year.

The new bill took shape last week, evolving from legislation originally proposed by Councilman David Greenfield that called for 20 mph limits “on all streets fewer than 60 feet wide in areas zoned for residential purposes.” It would only affect single lane, one-way streets.

A state law, though, interfered with the lower limit. Streetsblog writes:

DOT told the council in October that state law permits the city to set speeds at 15 to 24 miles per hour only if other physical traffic-calming treatments are also implemented, or if a street is within a quarter-mile of a school.

To set speed limits at 20 mph citywide, DOT suggested lobbying Albany to change the state law before passing a local law.

(WNYC created a map showing that most streets are close enough to a school. Still legislators sought to up the limit.)

In addition to slashing the speed limit, the bill will require the Department of Transportation to introduce at least seven new “slow zones” every year, each covering five blocks. Slow zones are areas of reduced speed limits to 20 mph on roadways selected for a history of accidents, proximity to schools and community concerns.

According to the New York Times, Council Speaker Christine Quinn is hoping to see the bill passed before the end of the year, when much of the Council’s members will be ousted by term limits. The paper also reports that Mayor Michael Bloomberg is supportive of the effort and waiting for the final bill. Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio is likely also in favor, given that he has called for an expansion of slow zones, but a spokeswoman said it is still being considered.

Some in the taxi industry are apparently opposed to the bill, reports the Daily News. One representative testified to the Council, saying that changing the speed limit would cause confusion for drivers and give the city an opportunity to dole out more revenue-generating tickets. (Updated)

UPDATE (December 4, 2013): A representative for the Metropolitan Taxicab Board of Trade e-mailed to say that not all in the taxi industry are opposed to the proposal. The MTBT is the largest taxi trade group in the city, and issued the following statement of support:

For over 60 years, MTBOT has made safety a priority for the thousands of drivers it represents and the millions of passengers they serve. That is why we strongly support Int. 535, a life-saving measure that would reduce the speed limit from 30 mph to 20 mph exclusively on residential side streets, making the City safer for our drivers, passengers and neighbors.

This important bill should not be used as an excuse to target drivers for tickets, but rather it should bring all New Yorkers together for a common goal, to make our streets safer, especially for our children and elderly residents. Research shows that 20 mph residential speed limits work—including in London and Tokyo, where reduced speed limits have cut the number of fatal crashes on residential streets by as much as half.

It’s time New York joined other major cities in passing this sensible, life-saving legislation. MTBOT calls upon the Department of Transportation to support Int. 535 and make our streets safer for all New Yorkers.

Comment policy


  1. This has nothing to do with safety. It is only about writing summonses and raising revenue, not to mention the fact it will increase congestion, cut bus speeds, slow bus travel even further, etc. besides no one will listen unless cameras are installed all over.

    The speed limit on Queens Blvd was cut to 30 mph, and everyone still does 35 or 40 which is perfectly safe. The reason there were so many accidents is because of all the people crossing mid block. They installed fences to prevent that so the accident rate declined which the City of course attributes to the lower speed limit.

    I urge city council members to reject this poorly thought out legislation. It will result in even lower respect for speed limits where they are really needed like at highway exits, and will result in increased accidents, not fewer ones.

  2. Man these damn law makers politician cops only care about their own well being….enough is enough already when these criminals will stop robbing people blind

  3. Once again, there you go, making believe the absolutely psycho and utterly reckless driving does not exist. I don’t understand you, BrooklynBus. NY bus drivers are the best drivers I’ve ever seen. Been riding buses 57 years, never had an accident. They’re sensational drivers. Why would you ignore or defend what’s going on on the road? Shame on you. Why do you insist on making up stories that all these accidents are not caused by drivers speeding or whizzing around corners, going through lights, etc?
    Do you ever walk? Walk with me sometime. Virtually EVERY street crossing is fraught with dangerous cars. I’d like to say it’s only a tiny minority: IT IS NOT. A majority of drivers challenge my right of way in the most reckless way. Not a minority. Not a small group. MOST drivers. It’s so scary to walk, I don’t know how seniors do it, and, being pretty close to senior-dom, it’s frightening for me personally.
    And if you ask me if I ever drive, I did in the 80’s and early 90’s. It was NOTHING like this. Then I wasn’t afraid to drive. Now I’m afraid to WALK.
    Despite all I’ve written, I too wonder if decreasing the limit will do anything if the cops don’t enforce it. Probably the cops drive recklessly in their private life.

  4. Probably the off duty cops drive recklessly in their private cars. I can reassure they do drive recklessly and get away with it. Don’t you know same rules don’t apply to them. Only herd aka public gets to pay. I know this pig in my building he parks in any spot that suitable to him and displays his placard pride of arrogance. Why people so naïve….

  5. When did I ever say that reckless driving does not exist. I fully agree that it is a big problem and have repeatedly stated that. I also said nothing bad or good about bus drivers, so what is your point? Of course most bus drivers are great.

    I walk all the time and am just as upset as you are about reckless driving. In fact just about an hour ago I saw a car going about 50 mph or maybe more on Oriental Bouevard. Way too fast. I asked myself, where are the cops? Of course they can’t be everywhere.

    Too many drivers don’t respect a pedestrian’s right of way. I won’t venture a percentage.

    But all that is irrelevant. Te question is will a blanket lowering of the speed limit to 25 mph accomplish anything to make things safer and the answer is No. First of all, because it does not make sense and second because no one will listen.

    I am all in favor of lowering te speed limit to 20 mph on narrow streets such as in Brooklyn Heights, but on most streets, 30 is just fine. In fact on some avenues, it should een be 35

  6. My computer locked up. I was saying on some streets it coud even be 35 if you are not driving in the lane adjacent to the parked cars. But a blanket lowering of the speed limit without considering street width is just absurd.

  7. Damn right taxi’s oppose the bill, Cause then they will have to lower the amount of money the meter counts…… Because i’m sorry but 20mph is stupid, Just STOP giving licensees to OLD people, and idiotic teenagers.

  8. bruce b. i agree with most of what you’ve said. But why the last sentence? Most law abiding citizens have very limited dealings with the police. Personally I’ve had two, one was a traffic stop, another time I had my car stolen, both times they were respectful and helpful. It would seem to me that the lawbreakers would be bad mouthing the police.
    I would really be interested in finding out why there seems to be so many people here,that feel they have been unnecessarily harassed.

  9. We need to help instill personal responsibility. Unfortunately, this is a difficult road to climb, because the sense of the other, if anyone’s been noticing, has been on a downward spiral! Civics, anyone?!

  10. This is another voters didn’t give me what I want bill. Screw over as many people as possible, plain and simple. The emperor has shown time and again that when you go against his will, you will suffer. This would be disastrous. Buses, taxis, deliveries, cars.. This would be extremely bad. Don’t be naive. Don’t kid yourselves. If schmucks are going to speed and be reckless THIS WILL NOT STOP THEM! Just like all the stop signs, bumps and traffic lights in the world. The only clowns aside from the emperor and his pals that I can see liking this is that moronic transportation alternatives group.

  11. I think those comments were more about police (and emergency vehicles in general) flouting traffic regulations in non emergency situations.

  12. I Quote: “Probably drive recklessly in their private lives”. So then we should assume that any unmarked vehicle driven recklessly in operated by a policemen ?

  13. I did.

    This is what it states: “The proposed legislation would require that all residential streets that are less than 60 feet wide have a speed limit of twenty miles per hour.”

    I see the word”all” not one-way.


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