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New York City 'slow zones' will reduce some neighborhood speed limits to 20 mph

If you drive in New York City, Mayor Bloomberg wants you to slow down. As part of the city's latest foray into tinkering with vehicle traffic laws, the mayor recently announced the expansion of the "slow zone" program, which will reduce the speed limit in 13 neighborhoods from 30 miles-per-hour to 20 miles-per-hour.

The announcement delighted many pedestrians but aggravated many drivers.

In a press conference, Bloomberg praised the city's gains in traffic safety, saying that the city's current rate of annual traffic deaths is the lowest it's been since the days of horses and buggies.

"Compared with the 10 largest other U.S. cities, New York ranks the safest with a fatally rate less than half their average," he said.

Slow zone neighborhoods will have special signs, road markings or even speed bumps installed.

So far, the city has run a test of the slow zone program in only one neighborhood, the Claremont section of the Bronx. Speeding in the area, officials say, dropped 10 percent since the program began back in November.

The program will expand to the 13 more neighborhoods by the end of the year, including Corona (Queens), Boerum Hill (Brooklyn), Riverdale (the Bronx), Inwood (Manhattan) and Rosebank (Staten Island). After that, it could expand much further, as 100 neighborhoods have already applied to be in the program.

A spokesperson for AAA was dubious about the planned slow zones.

"To unfairly impact upon one group of road travelers, we don't think is right," he told NY1. "The motorist is being castigated as a bad guy every time we look up. But everybody is out there, pedestrians and bicyclists, they're doing bad things too."

What do you think of the planned slow zones?

If you have been issued a traffic citation, fight to keep your driving privileges and your insurance premiums as low as possible. Consider contacting an attorney who understands New York's confusing legal system, and who can help you evaluate your options and make the right decisions.

This post was provided for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice.

Stay tuned for further developments from our New York vehicle traffic law blog ...

Sources:

The New York Times, "City expands 20 M.P.H. zones across more neighborhoods," Matt Flegenheimer, July 10, 2012

NY1, "'Slow zones come to 13 additional city neighborhoods," Josh Robin, July 10, 2012

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