The state Assembly and Senate late Thursday approved a bill allowing the city to lower its speed limit from 30 miles an hour to 25 miles an hour, but the measure is getting mixed reactions from New Yorkers who wonder how big an impact it will actually have on pedestrian safety. NY1's Anthony Pascale filed the following report.
At the corner of Dyckman Street and Broadway in Inwood, work is under way to help pedestrians get to where they're going safely. Expanding the sidewalks is just part of Mayor Bill de Blasio's "Vision Zero" plan, an effort to eliminate traffic fatalities in the city by 2024.
The issue hits close to home for Aaron Charlop-Powers whose mother was struck and killed by a bus four years ago.
"It's stupid that people are dying of preventable causes on the streets of New York," he said.
The effort to create safer streets got a boost Thursday night in Albany. State lawmakers approved a bill to reduce the city's default speed limit from 30 to 25 miles an hour. City Council transportation chair Ydanis Rodriguez says the move will help save lives.
"The data shows that if we decrease five miles an hour there's a better possibility that someone who has been hit by a car to survive than if he's hit at 30 miles an hour," Rodriguez said.
Rodriguez says the state bill combined with several city initiatives including strict enforcement and increased penalties will result in a safer city. Still, New Yorkers' opinions are mixed as to whether decreasing the speed limit will change people's habits.
"Five miles an hour? That's not really big. Do they really enforce it when it's 30 rather than 25?" asked one New Yorker.
"It doesn't seem like people are going 30 anyways at this time and I don't see why they'd go 25," said another New Yorker.
"I think it's a good idea because people are racing to nowhere, take your time, you will get there eventually," noted a third New Yorker.
Charlop-Powers is now a member of the group Families for Safe Streets. He says a lower speed limit may not have saved his mothers life but it may save someone else's in the future.
"Addressing speeding is a great place to have a citywide impact and I think we just chip away," Charlop-Powers said.
The bill still needs Governor Andrew Cuomo's signature.
Community boards will have to be given 60 days notice before any changes are made.