Senator Dilan, Families for Safe Streets Rally in Albany

Continuing efforts to garner support for a measure to allow New York City to establish lower speed limits, Senator Dilan, Senate colleagues, city councilmembers and the families of loved ones lost to reckless driving, gathered in Albany to call for the passage of the legislation.

S.6496-A, sponsored by Senator Dilan in the Senate, and carried by Assembly Member O’Donnell (A.8478A) in the Assembly, would allow the city of New York to establish speed limits as low as 20 m.p.h. The proposal is intended to supplement Mayor de Blasio’s Vision Zero initiative to eliminate traffic fatalities and serious injuries by 2024.

Last month Vision Zero was set in action with the naming of Arterial Slow Zones, three of which are in Senator Dilan’s North Brooklyn district. In addition to a posted speed limit of 25 mph, the slow zones will also receive traffic calming measures and greater enforcement.

“Even after having three slow zones placed in my district, and an expanded speed camera package moving in the Senate, I still stand behind a 20 mph speed limit for New York City. The science doesn’t lie, and the policy rests on its own merits. It stands to reason that if the most dangerous stretches of road can be made safer by a 5 mph speed reduction, reducing the limit a full 10 mph will get us closer to our goal of zero losses for the sake of all New Yorkers and in memory of all those we have lost to reckless driving,” Dilan said.

Support for granting localities the ability to establish speed limits as low as 20 mph has grown well beyond the five boroughs. On the same day as the Families for Safe Streets rally, the Senate convened to take up a number of bills before the house, including a bill to allow the Town of Riverhead, Suffolk County, to set its own speed limits.

Speaking on the bill, Senator Dilan urged Senate colleagues to support the effort to allow New York City to set its speed limits, stating that his bill and the measure to allow Riverhead to do the same, served the same purpose: “to save lives.” The Senate voted unanimously to give Riverhead purview of its speed limits. Senator Dilan’s bill remains in the Senate Cities Committee, and has yet to be considered.  

Following the rally, Families for Safe Streets visited with lawmakers in the Senate Assembly seeking support for the New York City speed limit legislation. Their efforts helped to secure additional co-sponsors of Senator Dilan’s bill and commitments to support the legislation when it comes to the Senate floor for a vote. To date, 12 Senators and 26 Members of Assembly, including Brooklyn Assemblyman Joseph Lentol, co-sponsor the legislation.