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NYC could drop speed limits below 25 mph under Hochul proposal

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Gov. Kathy Hochul on Tuesday proposed legislation to allow New York City to lower speed limits below 25 mph.

The pitch — laid out in the governor’s State of the State speech — would alter current state law that prevents the city Department of Transportation from setting speed limits below 25 mph in most of the city, and 15 mph in school zones.

“Giving New York City the autonomy to change its speed limit can help the city determine how best to safeguard its own streets,” Hochul’s office wrote in a briefing.

The proposal mirrors legislation proposed in 2020 by Manhattan state Sen. Brad Hoylman that would give the city more control over its speed limits. Hoylman named the bill “Sammy’s Law,” after Samuel Cohen Eckstein, a 12-year-old who was killed by a driver on Prospect Park West in Brooklyn in 2013.

The policy change has long been supported by street safety advocates, who point to research that shows lower speed limits reduce deadly car crashes.

“Lower speed limits save lives,” said Elizabeth Adams of the advocacy group Transportation Alternatives.

A spokesperson for Mayor Eric Adams said the administration supports Sammy’s Law.

Hochul’s support comes six months after she signed a state bill to allow the city’s speed cameras to automatically issue tickets 24/7. Previous regulations only permitted the cameras to operate from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m on weekdays.

Updated to clarify that Gov. Hochul’s proposal mirrors a bill proposed by state Sen. Hoylman in 2020.

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