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Is The Lowered NYC Speed Limit Safer Or Just Symbolic?

New York City is finishing its first week with lowered speed limits on most of its roads. Workers began installing new 25 mph speed limit signs throughout the city last week. Once complete, in about one year, there will be 3,000 new speed limit signs.

So what, if any, impact have NYC motorists and pedestrians noticed so far?

“It’s like NASCAR out here,” said a 58-year-old Bronx woman walking along the Grand Concourse.

“In the long term, unless they see sustained enforcement, they will return to their old habits,” said Sam Schwartz, a former traffic commissioner, when asked about the impact of the 25 mph speed limit.

The New York Police Department has hinted that it will enforce the speed limits because it has issued 26,000 more speeding tickets in 2014 than it did at this point last year.

Will the new speed limit really get drivers to slow down and further the end game of reducing traffic fatalities? At this point, it looks like little more than a symbolic move to further Mayor Bill de Blasio’s ‘Vision Zero’ campaign.

Only time will tell if the change will yield results, but it is part of a greater attempt to change the habits of NYC motorists and cyclists. Ultimately, it is up to each motorist to decide whether he or she wants to drive prudently and help save lives.

Source: NY Times, “25 M.P.H. Speed Limit Takes Effect In New York,” Benjamin Mueller, Nov. 7, 2014

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