PERSPECTIVE: Brooklyn Council Member Calls For Alternative Plan To Lower Citywide Speed Limit.

“Having missed my first Council meeting in five years, I wanted to ensure that my voice was recorded on an important vote today regarding legislation that reduces the citywide speed limit from 30 mph to 25 mph.

“The issue of traffic safety is of utmost importance to all of us, especially those families who have suffered unimaginable loss and pain. Many of them have bravely shared their stories with the Council.

“I fully support the need to reform traffic laws in New York City, and the majority of proposals offered in ‘Vision Zero’. When the issue of the citywide reduction previously came before the Council, I voted to give the City discretion on lowering the speed limit, since I believed the City deserved to make this decision. At the same time, I believe that this legislation is too broad in the form passed today and I would have voted against it.

“Instead of an overall speed limit reduction, the better approach is to study the City’s various neighborhoods and major arteries and assess, with specificity, where a lower speed limit makes the most practical sense. For example, it makes sense to carve out school zones as necessary places to have a lower speed limit, as many young people populate these areas. Many side streets and other ‘Slow Zones’ in my district would also benefit from a lower limit. In fact, I would vehemently support lowering the speed limit on many residential streets in my district–with some areas even lower than 25 mph.

“As written, however, the legislation will keep the existing 30 mph speed limit where currently posted, and future studies of those areas will decide whether a change is necessary. Any future changes will be made unilaterally by the Department of Transportation (DoT). I believe that a broad, citywide study, instead of the approach taken by this legislation, would have better served the city. However, any study by the DoT and resulting suggested changes should be brought back to the City Council and not ceded to the Department.

“I will continue to support increased enforcement, through speed cameras and stepped-up enforcement of current traffic rules and regulations, and have consistently done so.

“We owe it to the families and victims to not only do something, but to get it right. My prayers for peace and comfort are with those families as we strive to do so.”

 Council Member Jumaane D. Williams (D-Brooklyn), Deputy Leader, represents the 45th Council District, which covers Flatbush, East Flatbush, Flatlands, and parts of Midwood and Canarsie. He is the chair of the Committee on Housing and Buildings, and co-chair of the Task Force to Combat Gun Violence. He is a co-founding member of the Progressive Caucus, and a member of the Black, Latino & Asian Caucus. He was first elected to office in 2009 and re-elected in 2013.

Editor’s Note:  Council Member Jumaane D. Williams (D-Brooklyn) released the following statement after the City Council voted on Tuesday, October 7, to reduce the citywide speed limit from 30 mph to 25 mph. He was out of town for the vote.