When the pandemic emptied NYC streets, some drivers turned them into open speedways. Now the city is striking back, cracking down on violators by lower speed limits on nine of the most dangerous streets across the five boroughs.
Speed limits will go from 30 mph down to 25 mph on corridors where accidents — especially fatal ones — have been more likely to occur. While that may not sound like a drastic change, the city's Department of Transportation said that is enough enough to potentially save lives.
"A pedestrian is twice as likely to be unfortunately fatally struck by a car going 30 mph as opposed to a car going 25 mph," city DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg said. The department said that many streets saw drivers traveling at increased and even dangerous speeds with less traffic on the roads during the pandemic.
While overall traffic deaths are down, deaths are up in 2020 for motor vehicle occupants and motorcyclists.
"We know the reason. It's not complicated. We've seen it in the crash reports," Trottenberg said. "The main reason has been speeding."
Here is a list of the nine impacted streets:
- Manhattan — Riverside Drive
- Bronx — Bruckner Boulevard and Webster Avenue
- Brooklyn — Flatbush Avenue, Shore Parkway service road and Dahlgren Place
- Queens — Northern Boulevard and Rockaway Boulevard (the latter's limit will be 35 mph)
- Staten Island — Targee Street
Those who live around streets like Bruckner Blvd. in the South Bronx know how dangerous it can be.
"I've seen guys zooming through here," said Ramon Valentin. "If you're not paying attention, anyone can get hit."
The entirety of each road may not be impacted by the new law, just parts as designated by the city. The DOT also said it's focusing efforts on adding more speed cameras, with hundreds more expected to be installed around the city through the end of next year.
The department said that in March, when the city entered lockdown, the number of speed camera violations doubled compared to February. The new rules are expected to take effect, with new speed limit signs changed, over the next six weeks.