Senate OKs town speed limit mandate relief legislation

Betty Little

March 26, 2014

Legislation that would authorize towns to set speed limits within their own jurisdictions was approved today by the State Senate.  Current law requires most towns to petition the New York State Department of Transportation (DOT) to do so but exempts villages, cities and about 80 towns with large populations.

Senator Betty Little sponsors the legislation which is supported by the Association of Towns of the State of New York, Parks & Trails New York and AARP.

“This is a mandate relief measure,” said Little.  “Towns in New York are required to jump through a hoop that villages, cities and some very large towns don’t have to, costing them time and money.  This would create a uniform policy treating all municipalities the same.”

The bill (S.1356) would amend section 1622 of the Vehicle and Traffic Law to authorize towns to establish maximum speed limits on all town highways that are functionally classified as "local roads," within limits and standards set forth in the bill.  Speed limits would be less than the 55 miles per hour statutory maximum speed  limit.

Towns that elect to set maximum speed limits would need to do so in accordance with engineering specifications and other factors applicable to speed limits.  Speed limit changes would require certification by a licensed professional engineer specializing in traffic operations.

The legislation would retain the DOT’s jurisdiction to set maximum speed limits on town roads at the request of town boards not wanting to set speed limits.

Assemblywoman Addie Russell sponsors a companion bill.