NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Police wasted no time enforcing new speed laws Monday.
As CBS 2’s Alice Gainer reported, city officials are hoping that by lowering the speed limit from 30 to 25 mph and ticketing drivers, they can help prevent future fatalities. The changes are part of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s “Vision Zero” plan that aims to curb traffic deaths.
One of the new slow zones is on Broadway between West 59th and West 220th streets in Manhattan, which includes the area around West 95th and West 96th streets, where there have been four traffic deaths within a two-block radius this year.
“It’s scary,” said Joe Sporn, of the Upper West Side. “It’s dangerous. It’s really dangerous around here.”
“It makes me feel a lot safer,” James Cerio, of Manhattan, said of the reduced speed limit. “You know, 5 miles an hour can significantly decrease deaths or injury.”
“I always have trouble crossing here,” added Jenny Meyers, of Manhattan. “I find it an uncomfortable intersection. I never know when to cross and when not to cross, so I’m really happy they’re doing something finally.”
There have been 22 pedestrians killed since 2008 along the stretch of Broadway where the speed limit is being lowered.
The NYPD is ticketing drivers there, and traffic lights are being retimed.
“I think it’s going to really make a difference, give people enough time to cross,” said Upper West Side resident Ava Callender.
“Speeding is one of the number one causes of traffic injuries and fatalities,” said DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg.
Last month, 61-year-old Jean Chambers, became the latest pedestrian killed. She died after an SUV hit her as she was in the crosswalk at West 95th Street and West End Avenue.
“I miss her so much already,” said her friend Jane Burbank. “What a wonderful person. Much loved.”
In addition to Broadway, 14 other slow zones will be phased in over the next few months, including Seventh Avenue and Jerome Avenue in the Bronx.
“I used to live on the Grand Concourse, so they definitely need it up there and they definitely need it over here,” said Connie Williams, of Mount Vernon.
While many have high hopes for the new plan, others say not so fast.
“I don’t see speeding,” said Danielle Morris, of the Upper West Side. “I just see people crossing when they’re not supposed to.”
Traffic officers will focus on the slow zones for the next four weeks. Police will then police turn over reports to the mayor’s office to see if the speed reduction makes a difference.
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