Vision Zero supporters plan more speed cameras, slow zones

Speed limit signs are displayed on Broadway and

Speed limit signs are displayed on Broadway and 96th Street in Manhattan on Aug. 4, 2014. (Credit: Charles Eckert)

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Drivers on major roads now have to slow down and speed cameras are being installed, but lawmakers who support the Vision Zero pedestrian safety initiative said this is just the beginning.

City and state lawmakers announcing enforcement of a new 25 mph speed limit on Broadway Tuesday said the slower speeds need to be in place citywide, while more cameras are needed to catch lead-footed drivers.

"The Council is in full support, working with the mayor, to move on making 25 mph the speed limit in New York City," said Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez, the transportation committee chair. "We are ready to do it."

Rodriguez is planning to move on a citywide speed limit bill in September, pending Gov. Andrew Cuomo's signature on legislation giving city lawmakers the power to change the speed restrictions.

Meanwhile, state Sen. Adriano Espaillat said he wants restrictions on speed cameras -- currently limited to school zones -- removed early in the new session starting in 2015, along with the cap that limits the number of cameras. Albany had recently increased the cap to 140 from 20.

"If we really want to have an impact and reduce the fatalities, we're going to have to substantially increase the number of speeding cameras," Espaillat said.The 8.3-mile stretch of Broadway between 59th and 220th streets that has a 25 mph limit was among the first batch of 13 slow zones targeting major thoroughfares, such as Brooklyn's Atlantic Avenue and the Bronx's Grand Concourse. The Department of Transportation last week announced another 14 roads that will go on a speed diet through the rest of the year.

Precinct officers are getting radar gun training, as well.

Janis Tiltins, a 42-year-old contractor, said in his car that drivers never look at speed limit signs.

"You always follow the traffic -- that's New York pace," he said. Still, he backed a lower speed if it meant results.

"If that would improve the safety, 25 would be fine," he said.

Victor Mack, a 39-year-old from Parkchester who is anticipating his first drivers license soon, said he didn't believe the new speed limit was a drastic change.

"It shouldn't be a problem," he said.

Speeding tickets from officers have increased 32% in the first six months of the de Blasio administration, but there is a disparity in enforcement between precincts, even if they share a corridor, according to a recent Transportation Alternatives report.

"Enforcement is going to vary by command to command," said NYPD Chief of Transportation Thomas Chan. "There may be other issues within that command, where there's more [problems with] failure to yield ... we've asked them to concentrate on hazardous violations we feel are going to cause more problems."

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