Mayor Bill de Blasio won a victory in Albany early this morning when both houses of the state legislature gave the green light to lowering the New York City speed limit from 30 miles per hour to 25 miles per hour.
After concerns earlier this week that Senate Republicans could prevent the bill from coming to a vote, it passed overwhelmingly in both houses and has been sent to Governor Andrew Cuomo for his signature.
The measure is a key item of de Blasio’s Vision Zero initiative, which seeks to make streets safer and eliminate traffic deaths citywide. Several of the initiative’s proposals require approval from state lawmakers, including speed limits and the installation of speed cameras.
The idea was first floated by the mayor earlier this year, but received a tepid response from lawmakers. It became increasingly politicized, with Senate Republicans threatening to block it from coming to a vote as retribution for de Blasio’s calls for returning that legislative body to Democratic control. Senator Andrew Lanza, a Republican representing Staten Island, suggested as recently as yesterday afternoon that he would oppose the measure if it did not fold in his proposal to require stop signs be installed around all city schools.
Ultimately, de Blasio and traffic safety advocates won out in a down-to-the-wire vote during the season’s final legislative session in the capital. The bill was passed 106-13 by the Assembly in a late night session, while the Senate took it up early in the morning, passing it 58-2.
An earlier version of the bill called for the speed limit to be reduced to 20 miles per hour, but was quickly squashed by legislative leaders.